The clocks are changing. Any advice for a potential first time night rider?

I have never done my regular 2 hours at night.
I'd like to hear from folk that do.

I have some decent rechargeable "be seen" lights.
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Comments

  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 25,705
    My advice is to leave earlier but I doubt that's what you were looking for. 😉
    Seriously, when I did it I only did so as I could use well lit roads.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • First.Aspect
    First.Aspect Posts: 14,615
    Back up lights.

    See by light rather than be seen (does both).

    Luminous for dusk.

    Reflectives on feet/ankles.
  • slowmart
    slowmart Posts: 4,480
    Unless you can see the road surface with decent lights or external road lighting I would slow down as potholes, detritus, manhole covers etc are much harder to spot and avoid.

    Make sure your hands, feet and head are insulated as the extremities are the first to suffer and getting this aspect right can make or break your ride.

    Try and get some mates to ride with

    A stem mounted light and a light mounted on your helmet if you feel the need.


    Don’t forget to enjoy the ride.
    “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring”

    Desmond Tutu
  • elbowloh
    elbowloh Posts: 7,078
    Let Kitt do the driving.
    Felt F1 2014
    Felt Z6 2012
    Red Arthur Caygill steel frame
    Tall....
    www.seewildlife.co.uk
  • davep1
    davep1 Posts: 836
    Is this a road ride, and if so, are you staying on roads with street lights? Be seen lights are fine in town or where there are street lights. They're NOT good enough away from street lights or off road, unless you are happy to go very very slowly. I always take 2 fronts and 2 rears, most rechargeables last around 2 hours.
    Have a think about how you fix a puncture in the dark. If you haven't got a head torch is there another way of getting light on a back wheel (for example) for 20 minutes while you fix something?

    I love proper dark rides but it is a little bit...nervy, if not actually scary. It's so quiet, the first time you hear a sparrow in the hedge or a squirrel in the leaves, it sounds like a raging bull elephant coming for you!
  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 25,705
    davep1 said:

    ... I always take 2 fronts and 2 rears, most rechargeables last around 2 hours...

    You need to clarify as this is patently not true.
    I have rechargeables that last for over 16 hours. Actual IRL, not claimed.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • Cargobike
    Cargobike Posts: 748
    Decent lights are de facto.
    Personally, if I'm night riding I like to get out of the city onto small rural lanes, there's far fewer cars, in fact if you ride really late like I do after the pubs shut at 10pm you can ride without seeing anyone at all, plus small rural lanes aren't blighted with manhole covers and all the other sh*te found on city roads.

    What I do is ride the same few routes often so that I quickly learn where the problem points are e.g. gravel in the corners, mud on the roads etc, then quicken my pace once I've got a decent idea of the general road conditions.

    Most importantly though, is going out with a positive attitude and enjoying the freedom night-time gives you.
  • I have never done my regular 2 hours at night.
    I'd like to hear from folk that do.

    I have some decent rechargeable "be seen" lights.

    My advice is "make the most of it". If you do your ride at midnight or 2amish then you've got the roads to yourself. Some bike lights are as bright as car headlights so invest in a 1000+ lumen front light and enjoy. I carry on the same as I do at other times but ice is gonna be an issue in winter.
  • mrb123
    mrb123 Posts: 4,608
    As above, two lights front and rear. One of each on flashing mode.

    Point your main front beam down a bit so as not to dazzle. Some electrical tape across the top of the lens can provide a bit of beam cut off if needed.

    Dodgy bit always seems to be getting out of town, never feel that confident of being seen amongst all the other lights. Have had a couple of near misses turning right at a mini roundabout with cars coming straight on.

    Once out of town it always feels pretty safe. Cars can see you from a mile off and seem to give you a wide berth.

    Over 40mph on a dark descent feels seriously fast!

  • I was half expecting a barrage of "It's too dangerous" type replies, so thanks for all the practical advice and careful encouragement.
    I think I''l try a loop on well lit A-rods when it's quiet and see how that goes.
  • mrb123
    mrb123 Posts: 4,608
    As I suggested above, I actually feel safer on unlit country roads, seems like drivers see you much better.
  • bikes_and_dogs
    bikes_and_dogs Posts: 130
    edited October 2020
    mrb123 said:

    As I suggested above, I actually feel safer on unlit country roads, seems like drivers see you much better.

    Yeah, just spotted your reply after my previous post. I like the idea of riding deserted country lanes but don't think my lights are up to it(yet). I have a B&M ixon iq premium 80-lux front light. How much more would I need to ride an unlit road?
  • Cargobike
    Cargobike Posts: 748

    mrb123 said:

    As I suggested above, I actually feel safer on unlit country roads, seems like drivers see you much better.

    Yeah, just spotted your reply after my previous post. I like the idea of riding deserted country lanes but don't think my lights are up to it(yet). I have a B&M ixon iq premium 80-lux front light. How much more would I need to ride an unlit road?
    To be safe, being able to see the oncoming road while travelling at a fair pace, but also to be seen by other vehicles I'd suggest at least 1000 lumens for a main light, perhaps backed up by a flashing light to remind other road-users of your prescence.

    At the rear, without the need to see where you are going a couple of lights seems to work best, one flashing, one not. 50 lumens would be adequate.

    For my main light I use one of these http:/https://mtbbatteries.co.uk/mountain-bike-lights/lumenator-18//

    Not the most aesthetically pleasing but throws out a huge amount of light with a decent sized battery too. If I'm riding under street lights I throttle the brightness down, but once out in the pitch black I'll give it full beans. I can easily manage 4 hours of riding by managing the power output.
  • joe_totale-2
    joe_totale-2 Posts: 1,333
    There's no such thing as being too visible. A pair of good front lights and some decent reflective clothing really help.

    I agree with the others, unlit country lanes you know well feel safer to me as your lights are much more effective than on street lit roads.
  • bompington
    bompington Posts: 7,674
    I commute year round (on country roads in Scotland) and I have found that a helmet mounted light makes a massive difference: mine is simply the light unit off a £20 Chinese headtorch, which I have found to be more reliable than the cheap bike lights (may just be random variation but I have had a few of these headtorches for years with no failures).

    It has a more focussed beam which means that you can see what you want to see better, it doesn't dazzle oncoming traffic but you can point it in the general direction of e.g. cars at side roads so they notice you, and if they don't, then you can look straight at them... >:)

    I reckon oncoming cars see me a lot better - there is a really significant difference in how much sooner they dip their headlights. When cars pass I can focus on the verge 10m or so ahead and see where I'm going, unlike more diffuse lights which leave you squinting into absolute darkness.

    I have to admit to taking a childish delight in responding to drivers who suffer from premature application of full beam - you know, the ones who think they need to put their lights up a couple of seconds before they pass you - the sight of their pasty white faces in the glare of a thousand lumens or so never fails to please.
  • I have to admit to taking a childish delight in responding to drivers who suffer from premature application of full beam - you know, the ones who think they need to put their lights up a couple of seconds before they pass you - the sight of their pasty white faces in the glare of a thousand lumens or so never fails to please.

    I have to admit, I do like the sound of that. image

    Plus, there are those drivers that think you're so insignificant they don't bother dipping at all
  • Get a couple of good light sets (The reason I say a couple, is because you can’t point a single front light in different directions, and rear light failures aren’t uncommon at this time of year). Ride a little bit slower than you might do ordinarily, as stuff can appear as if by magic, if your not careful. and don’t ride through puddles if you can avoid it, as you’ll never see the issue that will deck you.
  • thistle_
    thistle_ Posts: 7,140

    I have to admit to taking a childish delight in responding to drivers who suffer from premature application of full beam - you know, the ones who think they need to put their lights up a couple of seconds before they pass you - the sight of their pasty white faces in the glare of a thousand lumens or so never fails to please.

    I find helmet mounted lights are great for this because you can aim them almost instantly.

  • First.Aspect
    First.Aspect Posts: 14,615
    When I said "backup lights" I didn't mean using lots of front/rear lights at the same time, I meant carrying a backup in case the main one fails. There are single lights available that are more than sufficient on their own.

    Also, statistically, dawn and dusk are the most dangerous times on our roads. In half light, reflectives aren't necessarily going to help. So a black or grey reflective jacket could, on a dull February morning, look like a black or grey jacket.

    Swallow your pride and wear something bright and reflective.
  • motogull
    motogull Posts: 325
    I love riding in the dark. Happy to go out not too long before dawn, but prefer a mid summer all nighter.

    I have a couple of torches mounted on the bars with spare batteries. Down some lanes you need both. I also have a head torch to read signs. I also wear a reflective belt sash thing. Our all nighters take us well of manor so seeing the next 10-15m is critical.

    Never in the wet. Stuff that.
  • As written numerous times above, redundancy lighting.

    Two rear lights turned on, because lets face it, very few of us remember to regularly check they are present and working.

    Two front lights, maybe with one not turned on, because it will be obvious if your active one fails.

    They've been cheaper (shock horror), but https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/CLCAPRKRTC/carnac-parky-reflective-toe-cover are great for visibility from the front and side, while also potentially increasing the insulation to your feet in cool but not freezing conditions.
    ================
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
    2016 Voodoo Wazoo
  • mrb123
    mrb123 Posts: 4,608
    Tyres with reflective sidewalls are worth considering.

    Also you can get 3M reflective tape which is good for putting on the bike, loops round seat stays, seat post, crank arms etc.
  • davep1
    davep1 Posts: 836
    pblakeney said:

    davep1 said:

    ... I always take 2 fronts and 2 rears, most rechargeables last around 2 hours...

    You need to clarify as this is patently not true.
    I have rechargeables that last for over 16 hours. Actual IRL, not claimed.
    Well, in my experience it is true! I'm talking the smaller ones, £50 or less. And even if the light in question lasts 2, 4 or 16 hours, do you keep a log of that? What I was trying to say was you can't rely on one light front and rear, you need a back up.
  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 25,705
    edited October 2020
    davep1 said:

    pblakeney said:

    davep1 said:

    ... I always take 2 fronts and 2 rears, most rechargeables last around 2 hours...

    You need to clarify as this is patently not true.
    I have rechargeables that last for over 16 hours. Actual IRL, not claimed.
    Well, in my experience it is true! I'm talking the smaller ones, £50 or less. And even if the light in question lasts 2, 4 or 16 hours, do you keep a log of that? What I was trying to say was you can't rely on one light front and rear, you need a back up.
    I simply asked for clarification. If you were talking about front then that needed saying. Rears last for significantly longer than required.
    Moon Orion, £26 for a F&R set. Lasts all day 9:00-18:00 in FL2 mode IME.
    Claimed -



    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • Another vote for thinking about being able to see in the event of a puncture/mechanical. If I know I'm going to be out after dark I put a little head torch in my back pocket or saddlebag. The one time I needed it I was very glad to have it.
  • me-109
    me-109 Posts: 1,915
    Find a couple of smaller loops to ride laps of. When it's cold, dark and maybe wet, it's easier to call it a day (night) and get home. It's no fun being 20 miles from home when the temps seriously drop or you have a puncture or mechanical that leaves you either stranded or stationary for 15 mins or more. Loops of 3, 6 and 10 miles are great without getting too boring.
  • davep1
    davep1 Posts: 836
    pblakeney said:

    davep1 said:

    pblakeney said:

    davep1 said:

    ... I always take 2 fronts and 2 rears, most rechargeables last around 2 hours...

    You need to clarify as this is patently not true.
    I have rechargeables that last for over 16 hours. Actual IRL, not claimed.
    Well, in my experience it is true! I'm talking the smaller ones, £50 or less. And even if the light in question lasts 2, 4 or 16 hours, do you keep a log of that? What I was trying to say was you can't rely on one light front and rear, you need a back up.
    I simply asked for clarification. If you were talking about front then that needed saying. Rears last for significantly longer than required.
    Moon Orion, £26 for a F&R set. Lasts all day 9:00-18:00 in FL2 mode IME.
    Claimed -



    I wasn't talking specifically about front. I never go out on a ride that will start or finish in the dark with only one front and one rear light because I don't know if they will last long enough. That isn't just charge though, sometimes the bungy pings off or breaks, the light itself can break, so many things can go wrong with just one light.

    Also, runtime on flashing for a front light is not valid for me, I can't ride in the proper dark with a flashing front light.
  • pblakeney
    pblakeney Posts: 25,705
    Ah well, horses for courses and different experience will gain different opinions.
    I'd concede on a front in dark conditions but I've been running a single rear for a year now and sometimes on for 9 hours constant flashing. Never had a fault, never been close to draining the battery. I also have plenty of reflectives so it wouldn't be that much of an issue anyway. Assuming the driver isn't driving with their lights off. 😉
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • parmos
    parmos Posts: 100
    I have two cateye lights on the front 1200 & 400 the 1200 i have the middle setting the 400 i just use the flashing light with that one.

    i've found of late that using quiet country lanes is the way forward the light light up the road don't really like riding when its turning dark i find that harder to see for some reason prefer it dark.

    last few weeks i've done a proper hill climb in the dark as not finishing work till gone 6pm every day
  • mrfpb
    mrfpb Posts: 4,569
    Do Lezyne still do USB chargeable lights with spare batteries? I have a few that came in their "Loaded" sets from a few years ago. The spare batteries have their own little cannisters (like old camera film cases).

    My main advice is a repeat of others - get a helmet light in addition to your bar mounted light: you will always appreciate having a light that points exactly where you look.