Commuting in the dark of night.

fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
Here's my full commuting set up for what it's worth

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Need a new battery for my rear C&B Seen light - front still holding out well. Great lights.
 

lazybloke

Let's go sledding
Location
In a cemetery
Keep a mental map of where you notice the frost developing too... for me it was a concern around the lower parts of my ride, in the valleys and on bridges
Garmins and similar devices can read and display air emperature, or you can look at the data later eg on the Analysis page on Strava.

However, you can feel the cold part of the ride.
They are typically where the road has a low point between fields.
The cold air forms, then sinks & settles into the dips on the road. Depending on humidty, mist may also form.
 

classic33

Legendary Member
I've hit fog when riding up a slope with less than a 15 foot height difference. Go back 30 yards and I was clear of it. Stayed on the same road and came out of it when the road started downhill again.

From clear to not being able to see the footpath on the other side in such a short distance.
 
OP
Lovacott

Lovacott

Well-Known Member
Here's my full commuting set up for what it's worth
I have a similar set up but with cheaper lights and a mobile phone holder adapted by connecting a car windscreen suction holder to a handlebar reflector mount. I wear a work supplied Hi Viz vest over my tee shirt to complete the look (I have a hi viz jacket but it's too bloody warm to wear it at the moment).

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When I was commuting in London (over 20 years ago), I only had lights to make me road legal and there wasn't one stretch where I actually needed them to see where I was going. This business of riding in the pitch black is brand new to me and yesterday I discovered one of the disadvantages.

As I rode down the lanes alongside the hedgerows, my lights became a magnet for every insect within a hundred yards of me. I arrived at work with my sweaty face full of gnats and tiny moths. Hopefully, it's just the time of year (with it still being relatively warm etc.)?

Yesterday afternoon (5pm) I had to use the lights on the way home because a pea soup of a Devon mist came rolling in off the sea about ten minutes into my commute and visibility was down to about 30 yards. All in, the rechargeable lights were on full power for 1 hour 50 minutes yesterday and were still showing nearly full charge when I got home which I think is pretty good. I'll have to see what they are like in two or three months time.
 
OP
Lovacott

Lovacott

Well-Known Member
Garmins and similar devices can read and display air emperature, or you can look at the data later eg on the Analysis page on Strava.
However, you can feel the cold part of the ride.
They are typically where the road has a low point between fields.
The cold air forms, then sinks & settles into the dips on the road. Depending on humidty, mist may also form.
I cycle from one river valley to another on the other side of a 422 foot peak and the air temperature changes are very noticeable. I'm at the highest point of my commute 15 minutes in and for the next 20 minutes or so I am skirting along the top within an elevation range of only about 40 feet. The last 20 minutes of my ride is mainly a descent and I am heading further away from the sea at the same time. There is a very sharp drop in temperature at the same point in the ride every day which was noticeable even in the middle of the summer. I've set off without needing gloves and had to put them on half way due to numb fingers. The fog I hit yesterday was thickest in areas above 100 feet elevation and gradually eased as I descended.

I can see a definite pattern in the climate along my route and it will be interesting to see how it pans out in the winter months.
 
I don't commute that often as I work 12 hour shifts, with 3 periods a year of 5 weeks each on 8 til 4 office days, and it's during this time I try to ride 3 days a week. It's 28 ish miles each way,mainly flat and on a mix of unlit gravel track, rural single lane roads, urban lit areas and some A roads so I have over time slowly replaced the cheap stuff I started with with something better, although I used to buy a chinese retina burner and replace it every year. @fossyant is correct the C& B seen lights are very good.The camera is there for my own geekyness really, although in three years I have reported one driver.

My Commute Steve292's trundle to work
 
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Lovacott

Lovacott

Well-Known Member
Dynamo systems are theoretically mandatory here, so you'll find a lot of systems are German.
To be fair the helicopter was shining a spotlight on me, so I returned the favour.
I'm toying with the idea of doubling up on my dynamo lights because I am sure that the dynamo is generating a lot more power than the lights are using. They are at full brightness when I'm pottering along at only a few miles per hour so it seems a shame to not use the additional energy my legs are generating. Plus, the dynamo has a spare pair of wiring slots. I could then lose one of the re-chargeable lights (use it simply as an emergency backup).

Not sure if it will work though?
 
I'm toying with the idea of doubling up on my dynamo lights because I am sure that the dynamo is generating a lot more power than the lights are using. They are at full brightness when I'm pottering along at only a few miles per hour so it seems a shame to not use the additional energy my legs are generating. Plus, the dynamo has a spare pair of wiring slots. I could then lose one of the re-chargeable lights (use it simply as an emergency backup).

Not sure if it will work though?
I wondered that myself as I have a lamp fixing point on my luggage rack, but in the conditions I ride I fortunately don't need to worry too much about traffic.
 
OP
Lovacott

Lovacott

Well-Known Member
I wondered that myself as I have a lamp fixing point on my luggage rack, but in the conditions I ride I fortunately don't need to worry too much about traffic.
The way I see it, is that a bottle dynamo capable of running incandescent bulbs front and back should be able to manage more than a couple of LED's front and back?

My old dynamo (years and years ago) needed a fair bit of pace on the bike to hit full output but my current lights are fully lit just with me wheeling the bike along at walking pace (just tried it now).

Shitty ride in this morning. Pitch black and heavy fog so I arrived in soaked through to the skin. Saw a magnificent stag though in a field about half a mile out from work.
 

si_c

Veteran
Location
Wirral
I think you've got enough already on the lights front to be honest, a dynamo light and two reasonably powerful battery powered lamps is more than sufficient. I'd suggest going for a ride out and back on your commute after dark in the evening - say around 9-10pm so you can experience the full run in the dark.

I don't think you have any need to improve or change your equipment, you just need to build confidence.
 
OP
Lovacott

Lovacott

Well-Known Member
I think you've got enough already on the lights front to be honest, a dynamo light and two reasonably powerful battery powered lamps is more than sufficient.
I'm more than happy with the level of lighting I have but I'm thinking of doubling up on the Dynamo lights and dumping one of the re-chargeables (keeping it as a spare). I figure that as I'm already generating the power with my legs, I might as well use it?

I did most of the run in this morning in the dark and it went well (it was also quite foggy as well).
 

si_c

Veteran
Location
Wirral
I'm more than happy with the level of lighting I have but I'm thinking of doubling up on the Dynamo lights and dumping one of the re-chargeables (keeping it as a spare). I figure that as I'm already generating the power with my legs, I might as well use it?

I did most of the run in this morning in the dark and it went well (it was also quite foggy as well).
Doubling up on the dynamo lights will just make them half as bright.
 

cougie uk

Well-Known Member
On a rural route you can place small reflective markers on trees etc to highlight particular hazards.
There's a Sustrans Route fairly close to me that I've done a couple of night rides on. Always surprised me that they use grey steel gates to stop motorbikes getting on. No reflectives. No hi Viz.
 
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