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dark nights and mornings

chopchopchopchopchopchop Posts: 98
edited September 2014 in Commuting general
Really cranking up there miles now on my commute and saving a fortune. Most of my 23 mile route is unlit country roads. Is great this time of year but what can I do when the darkness comes. Any one else do this type of commute in the winter, of so any advice please?
Specialized Roubiax elite
Pinarello Uno
Shwin MTB

http://www.strava.com/athletes/hughes_terry

Posts

  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Obviously good lights and reflectors/visible clothing.
  • redveeredvee Posts: 11,921
    If you're on unlit roads/lanes then you'll need a decent front from the likes of Exposure, Magicshine etc. They won't be cheap but they pump out the lumens.
    I've added a signature to prove it is still possible.
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,226
    the real danger is low sun on wet roads in an E-W orientation.
    Change your time or route. Ride with extreme caution.
    With modern lights + backups, and reflective gear, night-riding is not a problem.
    I use B+M lights with a hub dynamo.
  • check out all the sales at the mo and dont be afraid to spend a decent amount on lights - they will make soooooooo much difference. Remember you'll need 2 sets front and rear in case one fails/runs out of battery etc.

    Normally you have a main light to see by (always on) and a secondary light as backup set to flash mode to ensure people see you (if for some insane reason they havent noticed your funking great big main light ;) -)
  • Just don't go cheap on your lights. And make sure you carry a second set with you. As well as having reflective clothing etc
  • Kieran_BurnsKieran_Burns Posts: 10,052
    The human eye will see movement first, so I find hi-vis ankle bands REALLY useful... I know but honestly, they work. You can get 3M snap bands from Halfords and they really get you noticed (and also negate the "must have pedal reflectors argument)

    However: as above... 2 sets front and rear, make sure they are angled down so as not to blind oncoming traffic

    I run a Magicshine mj-880e and a Hope Vision 2 at the front, with a Hope District 3 coupled with a Cateye LD1100 at the rear. My commute is 12 miles each way mostly NSL country lanes

    I also like to run down the river /canal path alongside the Trent in Nottingham even over the Winter and put the front lights on full brightness when bowling down the tracks... great fun!
    Chunky Cyclists need your love too! :-)
    2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
    2011 Trek Madone 4.5
    2012 Felt F65X
    Proud CX Pervert and quiet roadie. 12 mile commuter
  • tangled_metaltangled_metal Posts: 4,023
    A mate got a relatively cheap chinese Ebay front light with a claimed lumen higher than most car headlights. It was a multi use one so could be used on bike bars, helmet, as an off bike headtorch and as a handheld torch.

    Obviously he used it responsibly with the light angled down, as in a dipped headlight. He never used it with a slightly loose fitting so he could tilt it up at drivers who never dipped their headlights. No, he'd never do that...give them a dose of their own medicine. I did when walking with a suitably powered and focussed headtorch once down a country lane without a footpath. The guy slowed because he had seen us but did not dip, so I did not dip m,y head but stared straight at him with full beam. Stupid but he was the last in a long line of idiots in cars and got me annoyed.

    Anyway, anyone else buy one of the Ebay lights with huge claimed lumen figures?? I heard there were a few that were actually worth getting. My mate';s cost him about £10 and it had a cree LED IIRC and rechargeable batteries. he said it was proving pretty reliable on his winter commute along dark country lanes in the Lakes.
  • And make sure you carry a second set with you. As well as having reflective clothing etc1mnQwaB
  • seajaysseajays Posts: 330
    Anyway, anyone else buy one of the Ebay lights with huge claimed lumen figures?? I heard there were a few that were actually worth getting.

    I got one of these last week (getting prepared for winter): http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/111250557576 - seems pretty bright when I shone it at my wife... she did throw something at me when I did it repeatedly though... :lol:
    Cannondale CAADX Tiagra 2017
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  • BobMcbobBobMcbob Posts: 104
    seajays wrote:
    Anyway, anyone else buy one of the Ebay lights with huge claimed lumen figures?? I heard there were a few that were actually worth getting.

    I got one of these last week (getting prepared for winter): http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/111250557576 - seems pretty bright when I shone it at my wife... she did throw something at me when I did it repeatedly though... :lol:


    I have one and it is super bright but bought a new higgher capacity battery for it as the ones provided were useless
  • OuijaOuija Posts: 1,386
    BobMcbob wrote:
    seajays wrote:
    Anyway, anyone else buy one of the Ebay lights with huge claimed lumen figures?? I heard there were a few that were actually worth getting.

    I got one of these last week (getting prepared for winter): http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/111250557576 - seems pretty bright when I shone it at my wife... she did throw something at me when I did it repeatedly though... :lol:


    I have one and it is super bright but bought a new higgher capacity battery for it as the ones provided were useless

    Nice light but the batteries that come with those are terrible. You can get a similar light with a battery pack that actually runs it for the claimed three hours on high from Trustfire. Also comes with better handle bar mount and a remote switch to mount on your grips (i put mine just above my gear levers).

    If you want something more powerful, then the three head version is quite good with the added advantage of being able to rotate the different heads to point at different distances (so you could have one pointing off in the distance, one pointing into middle distance and one point down just in front of the wheel). Same quality battery pack and remote switch.

    Or, alternatively, the single head version is quite cheap.
  • I bought these when I got my bike with winter in mind, didn't think of a back up pair though or reflective gear. Thanks for the advise.
    http://www.halfords.com/cycling/accesso ... light-pair
    Specialized Roubiax elite
    Pinarello Uno
    Shwin MTB

    http://www.strava.com/athletes/hughes_terry
  • Hope R4...expensive, but so worth it...great light spread....180 degree illumination from your handlebar forward from left to right.....those Chinese cree would kill me on my 50 mile commute, as the lens is just too focused, and you miss the smaller details , potholes etc
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Light spread can be easily dealt with by just adding tape to the lens.

    The 'Chinese' Cree do tend to vary a bit, but the ones I have had have all been good. Not 3 hours run time on max, more like 2, but hey, 15 quid?
  • InitialisedInitialised Posts: 3,047
    Ouija wrote:
    BobMcbob wrote:
    seajays wrote:
    Anyway, anyone else buy one of the Ebay lights with huge claimed lumen figures?? I heard there were a few that were actually worth getting.

    I got one of these last week (getting prepared for winter): http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/111250557576 - seems pretty bright when I shone it at my wife... she did throw something at me when I did it repeatedly though... :lol:


    I have one and it is super bright but bought a new higgher capacity battery for it as the ones provided were useless

    Nice light but the batteries that come with those are terrible. You can get a similar light with a battery pack that actually runs it for the claimed three hours on high from Trustfire. Also comes with better handle bar mount and a remote switch to mount on your grips (i put mine just above my gear levers).

    If you want something more powerful, then the three head version is quite good with the added advantage of being able to rotate the different heads to point at different distances (so you could have one pointing off in the distance, one pointing into middle distance and one point down just in front of the wheel). Same quality battery pack and remote switch.

    Or, alternatively, the single head version is quite cheap.

    +1 I have the three lamp version of the Solarstorm, good enough for unlit, off roading but the battery doesn't last long if you use the highest setting. To make it last longer I unplug the battery while it's not in use, it seems to make a difference between daily and weekly charging. The one with the rotating heads looks like a good idea.
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • OuijaOuija Posts: 1,386
    Yeah. Battery packs from China over the last year have been diabolical. The ones included with the Solarstorm are a prime example of that (even Torchy said "nice light, censored battery" when comparing it against the trustfire i mentioned).

    I actually ordered a six cell pack with one of the last lights i ordered from Lightmalls (or was it DX, i forget). Binned it the day after i received it. Ordered a eight cell rubberized pack from Kaidomain to get even longer runtimes than three hours with my Trustfire twin head lights.... it could only run it for an hour despite having twice as many cells than the Trustfires. Suspected dead cells or that they might be out of sync so i broke it down and charged them individually........no dead cells. Hour and a half was all i could get from it after i'd finished.

    At that sort of quality i'd of needed a 16 cell pack just to match the 4 cell Trustfire packs that came with the lights and a 32 cell pack to double the runtimes.

    I also dug out two of the oldest Chinese 4 cell packs i got years ago with my first XM-L lights. Just plain affairs in blue shrink wrap. One of which was dead (drained and rusted from never being used for a couple of years). Managed to harvest two working cells from it and added them to the other 4 cell pack to make a homemade 6 cell pack (half height Green Giant sweetcorn tins make a great battery case)..... Second best battery pack i own, after the Trustfire ones. Even outperforming Magicshine and other 'boutique' battery packs i've bought over the years.

    Which says a lot for the quality of current Chinese packs that come with the cheaper lights if they can't even outperform some rusty old cells that weren't considered 'state of the art' even back then. It's something of a false economy in my eyes. Yes, the lights are great at their sub £30 price points but you then have to hunt around and spend anywhere up to £40 on a decent battery to run them. That's why i went for the Trustfire twinhead over the Solarstorm twinhead. When i got mine the Trustfires where about £6 dearer than the Solarstorms but saved me having to splash out on a decent pack, a better 'Hope' bar mount and even had better battery cases (rubberized battery, rubberized case, not fabric.. so easier to clean and with better straps). The remote switch was just a bonus (with a five stage battery indicator built in).

    Oh! And if you liked the rotating heads, then also take a look at something like this Ultrafire YL-03 tri-head design.....

    sku_294416_1.jpg

    The beams point in slightly different directions to give more flood (one ahead, the lower two down and to the left and right) so good for a offroad light.

    sku_294416_13.jpg
  • mrkev83mrkev83 Posts: 184
    I've got one of the Chinese ones with separate battery pack. Only way I can fault it is it sometimes moves due to only being attached by elastic. I can cope due to the price
    http://www.strava.com/athletes/mrkev83

    Built for comfort... Not for speed
  • InitialisedInitialised Posts: 3,047
    mrkev83 wrote:
    I've got one of the Chinese ones with separate battery pack. Only way I can fault it is it sometimes moves due to only being attached by elastic. I can cope due to the price

    I've just gotten around that problem by modifying an old CatEye mount I had lying about.

    Thanks for the inspiration!
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • MichaelW wrote:
    the real danger is low sun on wet roads in an E-W orientation.
    Change your time or route. Ride with extreme caution.
    With modern lights + backups, and reflective gear, night-riding is not a problem.
    I use B+M lights with a hub dynamo.
    This. My quickest commuting route is into the rising/setting sun and we are not far away from that dreaded time of year. I look forward to mid-November every morning from the middle of September onwards. Those damn clocks change in October and it puts my morning commute time right back around sunrise just as it's getting better (i.e. darker).

    Just make sure you've got a spare light both front and rear (i.e. min of two) in case of a flat battery (gets us all sooner or later). You can use them one flashing and one steady for attention and distance perception. Reflective clothing or adornments on your feet and consider changes to your route if it makes it safer.

    It's always interesting just how dark dark really is on a rural commute!
  • For me; 2 x Moon X300's & a Knog flashing LED light at the front, Moon Shield and Knog flashing LED light at rear.
    Hi Viz Backpack Cover, cycle jacket with reflective bits and reflective gloves, 2 of those Hi- Viz plastic trouser clip things wrapped around the top tube for some side-on visibility.

    The Moons are usb rechargeable off my work pc, I carry spare batteries for the knogs and a Petzl Tikka Headtorch which is a backup 'get me home' front or rear light.

    This might sound like overkill but it seems to do the trick (he says, touching wood nervously...)
  • For me; 2 x Moon X300's & a Knog flashing LED light at the front, Moon Shield and Knog flashing LED light at rear.
    Hi Viz Backpack Cover, cycle jacket with reflective bits and reflective gloves, 2 of those Hi- Viz plastic trouser clip things wrapped around the top tube for some side-on visibility.

    The Moons are usb rechargeable off my work pc, I carry spare batteries for the knogs and a Petzl Tikka Headtorch which is a backup 'get me home' front or rear light.

    This might sound like overkill but it seems to do the trick (he says, touching wood nervously...)
    Yep, I've got the Moon X300 front light http://www.wiggle.co.uk/moon-x-power-300-front-and-shield-rear-light-set/ as well and recharge it at work. I find it really good, but when really dark on unlit roads going at over 20 mph, you have to be fairly alert to spot pot holes in the beam of light hitting the road in front.
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