Unlit roads commute

chippykchippyk Posts: 529
edited 5 September in Commuting general
My commute is about 20 miles, the first/last half is unlit roads, I can pick my route a bit to stay off the faster roads and go down some very lightly used roads. This time of year it’s daylight obviously, but I’d like to do a few days a week in winter, when it’s dark.

I’m thinking Exposure Diablo and a strong flashing light to see/be seen at the front and a Proviz type jacket and rucksack. Some advice on the best lighting would be appreciated please.

What other advice would you give?

Posts

  • essex-commuteressex-commuter Posts: 2,188
    I commute on unlit roads. I don't wear anything hi-viz.

    Exposure Toro on the front (4 years old, still gives amazing battery life) which I use on low power until I get to the unlit miles then it goes on medium or occasionally high (unless it's misty, then it's low because anything higher just lights up the mist!) Exposure TraceR (pulse mode) on the rear along with a small unknown light that I have there just in case the battery fails on the TraceR or the light falls off without me knowing. It never has but it stops me being paranoid and keep checking for the light being there between my legs.

    Since being knocked off head-on in broad daylight by a Mum picking her Daughter up from school I now use both lights in daylight as well. I run the Toro in pulse mode and it lasts for many weeks during the Summer months.
    The older I get, the faster I was.
  • essex-commuteressex-commuter Posts: 2,188
    Should also mention that I feel safer commuting unlit roads in the dark than I do in broad daylight.
    The older I get, the faster I was.
  • chippykchippyk Posts: 529
    Thank you very much.
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 6,451
    Commute all year round with exposure joystick mk12 and a moon xpower 300 with 2 rear lights on bike plus a small blink thing on helmet. Approx 10mile unlit country road and 3 mile lit town road. Always have 1 on flash when on town roads when dark or dull. Have a few reflective straws on my wheels plus if overshoes on they have reflective stripes. I have a proviz gillete thing that's for really dark and cold conditions. I always have 2 lights front and back just in case of failure or loss. No excuse on not being seen either.
    Moda Bolero wet bike.
    Giant Anthem SX
    Giant TCX CX bike
    Defy Adv Pro 2 shiny nice bike.
    Boardman comp hardtail. Not so little oxo,s
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Two rear lights just in case.

    A decent named front light and back it up with an eBay nitestorm light on the front too.

    If you have reflectives they're best on your lower legs as the movement tells drivers you're a cyclist from way off.

    I'd ride the route in daylight First so you know the Dodgy pothole bits.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,858
    I never wear high viz. If you cant sè my lights then you wont see my high viz either. High viz means you maybe more visible but that does not mean you are noticed.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • chippykchippyk Posts: 529
    Top tips thank you
  • grahamcpgrahamcp Posts: 986
    the Proviz stuff is really good - I have the gilet and wouldn't be without it.
  • wolfsbane2kwolfsbane2k Posts: 2,832
    I second much of the comments above. I have 2 options to get to work - busy urban streets/highway through , or unlit, rural roads. I pick the rural roads any day of the week, and as Essex-commuter says, I feel safter riding the rural roads at night over daytime as others can see your lights casting ahead of you well before they see you - and they oftencan't tell if its' a car or a cyclist, so they default to slowing down in case they have to pass a car.
    My typical commute is about 10 miles each way.

    I don't wear hi-vis, but do wear reflectives, especially in winter - normally overshoes have a reflective strip at the back, which really help grab attention, especially if you're using clipless pedals without reflectors on.

    I have 3 front lights - 2 seeing lights ( a Halfords 1600 lumens bike light, does 400 lumens for 4 hours without a problem, and a very old cateye nanoshot+) and a aldi be seen moon comet knock off, which runs for about 16 hours on low flash.
    I can always slow down if I run out of battery on my main lights - but I'd rather not be without anything at all.

    3 Rears - a moon shield, and 2 aldi flashers (1 normally off)

    In my view, it's essential that you run with 2 rears, as you'll never know if one goes caput while you're riding until someone says they can't see you....

    I looked at the Exposure Strada a lot last year, as the shaped beam is, personally, really important to avoid blinding oncoming drivers/cyclists/other road users - and while I didn't buy it (I couldn't justify to the other half a £300 light), I've modified my seeing lights with Fresnel lenses to give a similar, cut off, beam shape.
    Intent on Cycling Commuting on a budget, but keep on breaking/crashing/finding nice stuff to buy.
    Bike 1 (Broken) - Bike 2(Borked) - Bike 3(broken spokes) - Bike 4( Needs Work) - Bike 5 (in bits) - Bike 6* ...
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,284
    Unless the road surface is wet, you don't need high power front lights - especially not on flashing - it'll ruin your night vision and piss off the drivers coming towards you. So - like WolfsB - I use a good front light on low power - I'll usually back that up with another light (cheap Cree torch for me) just incase the main one packs up - but expect to leave it off most of the time.
    On the back is at least 2 rear lights - one on flash the other on steady.
    I do have a Pro-vis 360 jacket (phew it's warm!) as they were on special offer last autumn. but prior to that, just normal clothing with the reflectives - mostly in the overshoes.
    I've generally found that I get more space in the winter - because people can't tell exactly where you are.

    I've also toyed with mounting lights on the lid - forward facing - for my own benefit as I find they're confusing to a driver (lights not steady, darting about all over & glaring) - but only use those if it's a narrow lane/path that I'm going along quite quickly and there are bends the normal light doesn't shine around - it's not essential though.
  • schlepcyclingschlepcycling Posts: 1,529
    I second much of the comments above. I have 2 options to get to work - busy urban streets/highway through , or unlit, rural roads. I pick the rural roads any day of the week, and as Essex-commuter says, I feel safter riding the rural roads at night over daytime as others can see your lights casting ahead of you well before they see you - and they oftencan't tell if its' a car or a cyclist, so they default to slowing down in case they have to pass a car.
    My typical commute is about 10 miles each way.

    I don't wear hi-vis, but do wear reflectives, especially in winter - normally overshoes have a reflective strip at the back, which really help grab attention, especially if you're using clipless pedals without reflectors on.

    I have 3 front lights - 2 seeing lights ( a Halfords 1600 lumens bike light, does 400 lumens for 4 hours without a problem, and a very old cateye nanoshot+) and a aldi be seen moon comet knock off, which runs for about 16 hours on low flash.
    I can always slow down if I run out of battery on my main lights - but I'd rather not be without anything at all.

    3 Rears - a moon shield, and 2 aldi flashers (1 normally off)

    In my view, it's essential that you run with 2 rears, as you'll never know if one goes caput while you're riding until someone says they can't see you....

    I looked at the Exposure Strada a lot last year, as the shaped beam is, personally, really important to avoid blinding oncoming drivers/cyclists/other road users - and while I didn't buy it (I couldn't justify to the other half a £300 light), I've modified my seeing lights with Fresnel lenses to give a similar, cut off, beam shape.
    Winstanley's have the Strada RS at £164.99 https://winstanleysbikes.co.uk/exposure-strada-mk9-rs-daybright-front-light
    'Hello to Jason Isaacs'
  • AndyH01AndyH01 Posts: 616
    I went through this last year when buying a new bike and I was seriously tempted with dynmano hub and light package.. however as would be my only bike I decided not too...

    In the end I went with a Hope R2 front and rear light, the best thing about this system is although external battery pack, both lights run off the same battery. I can have different size battery packs either 2,4 or 6 cells. Easily get replacement bits and decent brightness both on and off road. The rear light has same lenses as car brake lights.

    I looked at the exposure stuff but more expensive, spare parts not as easy to get and difficult to replace internal batteries and other than the little red eye the front and rear lights have their own internal batteries. Also the mounting didn't look as robust as the Hopes.
  • I commute on unlit roads. I don't wear anything hi-viz.

    Exposure Toro on the front (4 years old, still gives amazing battery life) which I use on low power until I get to the unlit miles then it goes on medium or occasionally high (unless it's misty, then it's low because anything higher just lights up the mist!) Exposure TraceR (pulse mode) on the rear along with a small unknown light that I have there just in case the battery fails on the TraceR or the light falls off without me knowing. It never has but it stops me being paranoid and keep checking for the light being there between my legs.

    Since being knocked off head-on in broad daylight by a Mum picking her Daughter up from school I now use both lights in daylight as well. I run the Toro in pulse mode and it lasts for many weeks during the Summer months.

    That applies to snow aswell.
    Should also mention that I feel safer commuting unlit roads in the dark than I do in broad daylight.

    Driving in general is better done at night. If I ever go travelling long distance, I will do so at night. Avoids the congestion but in the countryside, animals are more of a hazard as you can't see them very well.
    penis
    I personally don't use a flashing front light, it would do my head in. I use a Volt 300 for commuting and a Volt 1200 for my racy bike. On the back of my commuter I do use 1 flashing light and one constant.
    Don't criticize my advice. It's always 20p for the swearbox.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,512
    Don't under estimate the value of a good rear reflector, I bought a piece of 3M diamond tape and have a large disc on my mudguard and a stripe down the back of the seatpost.
  • Exposure TraceR (pulse mode) on the rear along with a small unknown light that I have there just in case the battery fails on the TraceR or the light falls off without me knowing. It never has but it....


    Until this morning. First time ever, arrived at work in the dark and my main rear light was off, I must have missed the flashing red light to tell me it needed charging. So, yes, always have 2 lights on the rear.
    The older I get, the faster I was.
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