Nightriders

OP
Twilkes

Twilkes

Veteran
A82 and 83. Not as bad as they once were and you do see the odd brave soul like @Pat "5mph" and chums who fear nothing. :notworthy:
Ah okay, that's maybe different to extra-urban A roads in England that link towns 12-15 miles apart with half a dozen villages in between, there's no interruptions for miles on some of those roads. I would just be lit up well I think, that's what I took from the incident you referred to. I'm not a fan of normal hi-viz but I have one of those grey/silver jackets for nights and it's amazing the amount of light they throw back.
 

johnnyb47

Veteran
Location
Wales
Pick and choose your roads wisely and stick to them. The ride may become a little repetitive but its amazing how quickly you make a mental note of were the nasty pot holes are. They can come out of nowhere with even the best of lights.
Have the mentality to cycle slower too. They roads can throw up some nasty surprises this time of year. Leaves and greasy road surfaces can easily catch you off guard.
 

Fab Foodie

hanging-on in quiet desperation ...
I've wondered about this - first thoughts are to stay off the A roads, but visibility tends to be better on A roads as they're straighter and with shallower curves, and fairly regularly you'll go through civilisation lit by street lamps. Side roads/lanes may be quieter but then no-one will be expecting to see a bike and might be on top of you much more quickly. Guess it depends on the roads, but often you won't know until you get there. My scariest experience on a bike was bendy country roads shrouded by trees, very dark and visibility around corners was often very short, I dreaded the sound of an engine coming up behind me.

If a driver is paying attention, you're arguably more visible lit up at night than in the daytime, but they never seem to be able to pass you as sensibly though.
I rode across Dungeness in the dead of night, it’s scary enough by day, but at night alone in the still of the night....I’ve never pedalled so fast!
 

Ajax Bay

Veteran
Location
East Devon
bendy country roads shrouded by trees, very dark and visibility around corners was often very short, I dreaded the sound of an engine coming up behind me.
Why (dread)? You've got decent rear lights showing, you have said you're wearing a reflective upper garment, and the closing speed for a motor vehicle from behind is less. You will see the light from headlights behind, and I always look round: such movement aids conspicuity. Motor vehicles will slow and want to pass, and I'll look to help them (on bendy (narrow) country roads). On wider roads they just drive past, bit like in daytime.
Riding at night needs full attention (and potholes, leaves and gravel are the greater hazard imo).
You will see the loom of oncoming vehicle headlights approaching - I think on narrower roads it's actually safer than during the day, and I make sure my headlight returns the visibility compliment before switching to low power. Seeing your light the approaching driver will be expecting another (wider) vehicle and ease off/slow (depending on road width), and you'll pass one another safely.
Through the night rides: Sterling to Lochgilphead (early on West Highlands 1000 - 2018) and Daventry to Snaith (Easter Arrow 2019). More recently on PBP: Chateauneuf-en-Thymerai to Fougeres - 247km in 101/2 hours of Sunday's darkness: not much loneliness that night!
 
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StuAff

Silencing his legs regularly
Location
Portsmouth
I rode across Dungeness in the dead of night, it’s scary enough by day, but at night alone in the still of the night....I’ve never pedalled so fast!
I rather like the place. Like Dunwich, it has a bleak blasted edge-of-the-world quality. And a nuclear power station. Derek Jarman's garden is lovely.

(Yes, my inner goth is undead and well)
 
OP
Twilkes

Twilkes

Veteran
I didn't have the reflective back then. It was the visibility, some corners you couldn't see very far around so I never quite knew whether a vehicle would know I was there from far enough back. Oncoming cars rarely dipped their lights meaning I was blinded for a few seconds before and after they passed until my eyes adjusted again. And the overhanging trees meant it was starless and Bible black. :smile:
 

Pat "5mph"

A kilogrammicaly challenged woman
Moderator
Location
Glasgow
A82 and 83. Not as bad as they once were and you do see the odd brave soul like @Pat "5mph" and chums who fear nothing. :notworthy:
Not quite true this lol.
I love riding at night, though, when the roads are quiet, urban riding that is of course, not tried country lanes.
Mind, night as in 10pm and later, not early evening, when there can still be quite a lot of traffic.
 

Fab Foodie

hanging-on in quiet desperation ...
I rather like the place. Like Dunwich, it has a bleak blasted edge-of-the-world quality. And a nuclear power station. Derek Jarman's garden is lovely.

(Yes, my inner goth is undead and well)
Don't get me wrong, I like the place in the daylight. But alone in the pitch-black it becomes a bit too much 'otherworldly' for my liking. At one point I was spooked by a badger just sitting on the opposite verge watching me with menace in its eye....
 

Fab Foodie

hanging-on in quiet desperation ...
Not quite true this lol.
I love riding at night, though, when the roads are quiet, urban riding that is of course, not tried country lanes.
Mind, night as in 10pm and later, not early evening, when there can still be quite a lot of traffic.
I agree, Urban night-righting is the dogs-dooh-daahs....
 
OP
Twilkes

Twilkes

Veteran
Remember to put reflectives on the sides.
Check out the 3M spoke reflectors.
Good call, I had something similar years ago for a commute but once they got dirty they were impossible to clean. Will have a look what's available now. Maybe some Spokey-Dokeys for the blind drivers.

Also have some wrap around heel lights that my wife bought me, the up and down movement should draw people's attention.
 
Be familiar with where the pot holes and lumps, bumps and road edges are on your route before riding in the dark. If riding on unlit country roads, have a spread of light that allows you to distinguish where the road meets the verge.
 

si_c

Veteran
Location
Wirral
I truly love riding at night, and in winter, rush hour is my favourite time to be on the bike, but that's because I like the brilliance of the lights compared to during daylight.

Good lights are an imperative - depending on how often you ride at night and for how long - modern battery lights are fantastic. Expect to spend between £60 and £100 for a good main "to see with" front light with a good range of power levels and battery life. Also budget for a secondary light to blink / in case your main dies and a set of good rear lights (I've got stacks of these varying from expensive Lezyne ones to Aldi's finest).

Once you've got lights sorted you need to think about reflectives - a good night time jacket/gilet with reflective strips to catch car headlights and as mentioned spoke reflectors help raise your visibility from the side as well as the front or rear.

To start with just get out and see where your existing equipment feels lacking and then find something to fill the gap. You'll work out what works for you given time.
 

Dogtrousers

Kilometre nibbler
This takes me back to my only long solo night ride, an audax. All roads were new to me. The low point was a stretch of smallish A road/large B road where I was repeatedly dazzled by oncoming traffic, who didn't see fit do dip their lights for me. This got to the point that I could be effectively blind when the vehicle had passed and I'd have to stop to pull myself together and recover. I didn't enjoy that.
 
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