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A Guide to a Safer Night Bicycle Ride

Sometimes it is difficult to venture out during the day, due to the heat, cycling enthusiasts’ resort to night cycling.

A Guide to a Safer Night Bicycle Ride
Written by Editorial

From casual evening rides to long biking sessions in the night, the cycling enthusiasts are venturing out in the dark, for biking trails.

Sometimes it is difficult to venture out during the day, due to the heat, cycling enthusiasts’ resort to night cycling.

Paddling at night especially in summers is divine.

Less traffic in the night, favorable temperature and less wind are major reasons why cycling in the night is better than cycling in the day.

The advancements in technology, such as smooth roads, well- equipped cycles and proper street lights, have helped making the cycling experience at night favorable and exhilarating. Good lights in the front and back of the cycle provide for better visibility.

If you’re cycling at night, whether on lit roads in town, on unlit roads or off-road, it’s important to be properly prepared.

SpokeHerd brings certain steps you should take to make riding at night safer and more comfortable:

Always Use appropriate lights

If you’re riding along unlit lanes, it is advised to carry a different lighting setup than while riding in an urban lit setting.

If riding on unlit lanes, you’ll need a front light powerful enough to illuminate the road. 

If there’s decent street lighting on your route, the lights you need on your bike are more about making sure you’re seen by other road users, while on dark roads or pitch-black trails you need lights to illuminate the road or trail ahead of you.

It’s worth having multiple lights. If you’re riding on the road, you can use one flashing to alert other road users and the other constant to light your way. Helmet-mounted lights are used by many cyclists as they not only directly illuminate your line of vision.

Try to be on a route where you can be seen

Upping your visibility is a major factor in night cycling, you should aim at increasing your visibility on the roads at night. Usually, drivers are looking ahead, so you want to make sure that you’re in their field of vision. Try to ride a little way out into the road – around 70cm to 1m. That way you should also avoid the worst of the obstacles at the side of the carriageway, such as potholes and drain covers.

When cycling at night, ride in the right position to be seen clearly. Make your intentions known to others earlier than you would in daylight.

Add reflective details

Reflective detailing on your clothing can help boost your visibility on the road at night. Studies have shown that having reflectors on your pedals, or ankles, will help you stand out more because other road users notice the elliptical movement of the pedal strokes,” he continues.

Reflective detailing on key parts of your kit, backpack, rug sack and/or your cycle. Having reflective piping on your clothing, especially your gloves, will help others see you and your hand signals.

 Never blaze on the oncoming vehicles

Some high-powered front lights have brighter beams than car headlights. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the dazzle some powerful lights can cause to others, so ensure that you direct your beam of light down to the road surface to avoid blinding drivers.

Certain road-specific lights have a beam pattern shaped to avoid dazzling other road users. If you’ve got an off-road-ready front light, it’s a good idea to dial down its brightness or switch to a flashing mode if you have to ride on the tarmac for a while. That will conserve your battery too.

Always carry backup lights

Once your eyes become accustomed to the dark, it should be possible to dim your lights on less tricky terrain or where there’s street lighting, saving the brightest settings for technical trail stretches or unlit roads.

Running two lights enables you to have one steady and one flashing. It also gives you a back-up option should your main light fail. 

Make sure you’ve fully charged your lights before heading off at night and select a light mode that should give you the burn time to comfortably complete your journey.

If you’re planning to do a lot of night riding, it might be worthwhile investing in a dynamo front wheel and light set, so you’re independent of battery power.

Ride with caution

If you’re new to night riding or are venturing out onto unknown terrain, take it steady.

Keep an eye out for hazards, such as slippery leaves, and where possible stick to riding on familiar road routes or else opt for better-lit paths.

Even if you know the route you’re riding, it will look very different at night. So don’t plan to take on anything too ambitious and don’t try to thrash it.

If you’re riding in a group, avoid dazzling the rider behind you with an overpowered rear light.

Let someone know where you’re going

Let someone know where you plan to ride and how long you expect to be out for, particularly if you’re headed off-road.

There are far fewer people out at night to spot you if you have a mechanical or are injured, especially if you’re venturing off the beaten path.

Summing it up,

Go take a steer in the night sky on your bike, but keep the above points in mind for a safe and pleasant ride.

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