Cycling at night

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by CJ87, 25 Jun 2008.

  1. CJ87

    CJ87 New Member

    As a student who has yet to find a summer job at the moment I'm free to pretty much go out riding whenever I want. Perhaps this is a bit wierd but I always feel like going out late at night (around 11). Does anyone else do this or am I just asking for trouble here?
    Obviously I'm going to have to kit myself out with the BEST lighting availiable (within monetry reason) could you guys please give me some suggestions as I'm pretty clueless! Also if this IS a big no no don't humour me just say so ;).
  2. kyuss

    kyuss Veteran

    You're not alone, I'm a bit of a night owl too. Being a freelancer I seem to have got myself into the habit of getting up late and working till 3 or 4 in the morning. I often pop out at midnight for a quick 20 miles or so. Quiet roads and clean crisp air. I love it, especially in summer, though I do often spook myself if I'm out in the country. I find it hard not to imagine escaped convicts/psychos, werewolves and other nightmarish creatures lurking in the bushes every time I hear a noise, though it does tend to keep the average speed up.;)

    On the subject of lights, the Smart 1/2 watt rear light gets good reviews. I don't have one myself but will probably get one this winter. If you can afford it, then two rear lights are better than one. I'm currently using an old Specialized Vegas and a Topeak 3 LED thing.

    With front lights it'll depend on where you are doing the riding. If it's all city street stuff, then a half decent LED will do the job as street lights should give plenty light to see by, so you only need something so others can see you. £10-£20 will get you something that'll do the job.

    If you're heading out into the country with no street lights though, then you are going to need something much better to see by. Smart's range of halogen lights come with decent reviews and similarly the Electron 5w/10w system which I owned previously are pretty good when it's pitch black.

    If you can afford it though, £100+ will get you something almost as good as daylight. I've got the AyUp roadie lights, which at about £150 are quite pricey but worth every penny. They are absolutely tiny, lightweight, amazingly well built and bright as f**k. Completely transformed my night riding. I can ride much faster and more safely than I could with the previous Electron halogens.

    Oh, and watch out for small animals. It's amazing the amount of wildlife that makes an appearance once the sun goes down and all is quiet. Hitting a rat at 25mph in the dark will test your handling skills to the extreme.
  3. zimzum42

    zimzum42 Legendary Member

    Singapore is so damn hot all the time that I pretty much only go out at night. On a weekend I'll ride to the beaches and cruise, but if I want to ride hard, I have to go out at night. It's nice, I like the place all lit up, and I used to do the same in London.

    But it's so hot here anyway I still come home sweating buckets!
  4. threefingerjoe

    threefingerjoe Über Member

    St. Louis, MO, USA
    I really enjoy night riding! Quiet, little traffic. Very relaxing. I mostly ride in the city, and am seldom in a hurry, so I do ok without the best lights. But, I have discovered, that, it's helpful to add an additional light down low, on the fork. I have one mounted to a small piece of PVC pipe screwed onto a front rack braze-on. This causes small objects on the road to cast LONG shadows, so they show up well.
  5. Tynan

    Tynan Veteran

    I'd consider some sort of effective hi viz top, lights aren't enough in lo viz in my opinion
  6. dantheman

    dantheman Veteran

    personally, i asked about cheap lights not so long ago, i got:-

    smart nova 1 watt led at front:

    and one of those 1/2 watt superflash smarts at the rear:

    the 1/2 watt's are GREAT, small, and really bright, i use mine flashing, and dont care about legal technicalities, if your a driver then youll realise that thats much more noticeable. definitely get this rear light IMO... as for the front light, i use it on commute at gone 10pm, on unlit country roads, its sufficient for me, but i use the same route all the time, wouldnt want to use unknown roads with it, cars dont seem to have any probs seeing me with these, but if you want to seriously push yourself at night, buy a bit better front light, if not, i got my front from ebay for about 12 quid, and the rear, a forum member sold to me for 6.50... if your really worried, you could fit 2 or more on the back, but i dont see as you would need to...
  7. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    The point about having 2 lights on the back is ... if one fails while you are out riding and don't realise... whereas you will notice the front one failing.
  8. dantheman

    dantheman Veteran

    point taken.
  9. Soltydog

    Soltydog Guru

    near Hornsea
    I often commute during darkness, due to working strange shift patterns. As mentioned Hi vis clothing is a must & if you are riding on unlit roads then you'll really appreciate good front lights. I have a similar one to this
    but mines 10w & 2w. The 10w is fine on unlit country roads.
    It's a bit spooky at first, cause you'll hear all sorts of creatures in the road edges ;)
  10. RedBike

    RedBike New Member

    Beside the road
    I would second the advice on two lights on the back. If the light fails for whatever reason, low batteries, water, shock you wont notice.

    The 'main one' should be as bright as possible,. The Cateye TD 1100 and the smart 1/2watt both spring to mind.

    The second is more of a backup.
    I used to use two Electon Backups Now I use a dynamo light on the mud-gurad.
  11. Iceniner

    Iceniner New Member

    I also do a lot of my riding at night beacuse its normally quieter and cooler.

    On my bike i run 2x Busch and Muller Ixon IQ lamps
    - 4xAA batteries
    - a good 5 hours on full output of 40 lux each. Equates to the dipped beam of car lights when i have BOTH running.
    - well built and not had a single problem with them since purchased some months ago.

    Bush and Muller Website
    Dotbike Link

    This German site might be cheaper. This is where i brought my first light and the delivery was less than a week which was nice.

    Cost me ~£62. At the time I brought mine from and they even included a power adaptor because they are european plugs on the chargers. The nice thing about these lights is that they come with a charger you can just plug into the light itself to charge the battery and it cuts itself off when the battery is fully charged. Means less hassle taking batteries in and out all the time.

    Magnatom has done a little youtube comparison of the BM light compared to a cateye comparison

    Many have mentioned the ayup lights which looks fantastic but at the time i couldnt afford ~£130 in one go for them (student as well). But i needed a good front light so i brought 1 ixon light and later added to it with a second as i was so impressed. If you want to know more, i know User has a set of ayups along with many others on this site.


    I used to run three 1/2 watt smarts, (2 still 1 flashing) Brought here
    they were great. I built this little mount to hold two together and save space on the seat post. Dual Smart

    However i now run 1x1/2watt (flashing) and a BLT XR9 1 watt on steady. Below are the links to info on it plus some pictures of the beam comparison compared to the 1/2watt. I love this light, its plenty bright and does a good job of illuminating the road behind me as i fly along. Although i did have some mounting issues, but i fixed them with a bit of a hack. Im sure if i had time i could think of something better. Cost for the XR9 is ~£25 though. But its well spent in my view.

    XR9 Light
    Brought from here

    Hope these are of help to you.
  12. Fiona N

    Fiona N Well-Known Member

    I like riding at night in winter and often go out about 7pm when the usual commuter traffic has died down and before the drunks get back on the roads (this used to be a real problem in Switzerland if you were cycling between about 10pm and midnight - nowadays they're really hard on drunk drivers and the limits are lower than in the UK).

    Besides the 2 rear lights on the bike, I usually also attach one to my jersey or jacket - not entirely sure why, a bit of the 'belt and bracers' philosophy possibly :evil:
  13. HF2300

    HF2300 Insanity Prawn Boy

    Don't forget visibility from the side at junctions etc., particularly in town / suburban areas. Tyres with reflective sidewalls, hi-vis jackets, light clothes, reflectors or flashing LEDs on the frame or spokes, whatever.

    Worst time can be around dusk or dawn - it's bright enough to make everyone think they can see, but not bright enough to see dark objects well.
  14. Iceniner

    Iceniner New Member

    I brought some 3M reflective tape. As my bikes silver the tape really doesnt stand out during the day time.

  15. 4F

    4F Active member of Helmets Are Sh*t Lobby

    I use 3 of the smarts on the rear all on different settings ;)
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