How to Setup your Bike for Night Riding

So this week I went 1/2 time at the day job which is affording me *gasp* time to ride during the day. There are more details on my setup below.

Night Cycling

Bike setup for night riding

As a tribute I made this video of a little bit of my night training escapades (mostly to scare my parents).

The video makes it look a lot darker than it really is (your eyes acclimate a lot). There are a few shots of the Swamp Rabbit Trail, riding through Furman, Climbing with lights off (surprisingly easy, and incredibly cool to do under moonlight), and finally the Paris Mountain Descent. Paris mountain is a pretty primary staple of the night training routine mainly because it’s close to home and there’s virtually NO traffic at night.

As far as Lights go, here are my setup:

Cycling Head Lamp

Light and Motion 1500

Headlamp: Light and Motion Seca 1500

This light is SUPER bright. I usually use it on the med or low setting. The high power is almost too much and kills any low light acclimation your eyes might have. Honestly I can’t think of any reason to have something more powerful. I’ve had cars flash me for high beams, and it seems like if there’s enough light for rainy mountain descents, it’s probably got enough juice for anything.

 

 

 

 

Light and Motion Urban 400

Light and Motion Urban 400

Handlebars: Light and Motion Urban 400

The handlebar light, for me at least, is best for seeing stuff you’re about to run over. Most of the time I think the eyes are focused pretty far down the road (as they should be), and only glance down occasionally for small obstacle avoidance. Because of this I have this one focused to a pretty narrow area of 5-30 feet ahead of the front wheel. Again this one is USB rechargeable which is REALLY nice for riding into work so you can charge at work.

 

Serfas Thunderbolt

Serfas Thunderbolt

Finally the Tail Light: The Serfas Thunderbolt

This is a great little light. It’s USB chargible (which I’m a huge fan of) and most importantly for me, it’s really waterproof. The reason why this is an issue with me is that I, like a lot of cyclist I see get the Planet Bike SuperFlash. This is a very bright inexpensive light…but as I’ve found in this case inexpensive = cheap. I’ve personally gone through 3. Not only are they AAA battery powered, but more importantly they are NOT WATERPROOF. I’ve fried 3 in the rain (and one literally fell apart after really nailing a rough bum in the road). Trust me, a rainy night time ride, is not a great time to have a tail light go out on you.

 

 

Hopefully this helps anyone curious about how to prep their bike for night riding. I HATE riding indoors, it’s the perfect way to suck the soul and joy out of cycling. If you ride at night there’s a ton of very cool experiences to be had.

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Late August Racing

If you follow racing in the midwest I’m sure you heard about the chaotic weekend of racing in Indy last weekend.

If not I’ll give you the brief summary. The Mass Ave Criterium in Downtown Indy was a pretty fun race last year where we went 2/3. We were hoping to improve on that performance a little. The triangle shaped course had two pretty tight hairpins. With all the accelerations coming out of the hairpins the race was pretty consistently hard. The field was quite a bit stronger this year than last with a good number of pro riders, all the midwest teams, and a few guys from California Giant Strawberry. The race split up quickly last year, but with the faster guys things really stuck together. When laps finally started counting down the field had dwindled to about 30 guys. With 10 to go a group of 4 went off the front with Kirk, Eric Young from Bissell and two others. It was about this time the sky turned black. We heard of inclement weather coming in and talks of possibly shorting the race given sever weather conditions. The nasty/dangerous stuff was really rolling in with 8 to go. I attacked thinking I didn’t want any part of being in a field when they shorten the race. My bet turned out to be spot on, a trash can blew into the course just as I attacked splitting the field. I caught up to Weston Luzzader just as they called 1 lap to go. With barriers, dirt, caution tape, and generally everything not bolted down flying everywhere, I just kinda rode in for 6th place behind Weston.

The Fishers crit NW of Indy the next day was a pretty low key event. About 25 starters with a windy technical course everything blew apart. David Williams from Bissell and JJ from Nuvo got away and there was no chance of bringing them back. I attacked a few times but the California guys in the field didn’t feel like working. So we 10 man field sprinted. I thought I had a clear line into the last corner but a California guy dove on my inside, then once realizing he totally overcooked the corner, took me to the curb. Oh well
In other news the job continues to go well and I’m continuously impressed with the riding around here in Cincinnati, you could litteraly do a hill repeat every day for a week without riding more than 20 miles or riding the same hill twice. I’m also keeping up with the bike commuting, perhaps even more than I should. Once I got over the whole waking up a half hour earlier, I’m really starting to dread the days I force myself to take off and drive into work, It’s the two worst 20 minutes of my day.
Racing definitely is winding down, although there are still a few weekends in the works. Since Via Italia isn’t happening this year I guess I’ll be waiting till 2012 to make it two wins there, instead the 4 race serries in St. Louis “Gateway Cup” will take care of my labor day. This weekend I’m still in the air between going back home for the downtown Birmingham crit or this Red River Gorge Stage Race in Chatanooga TN (which has a ton of money). Then possibly Univest if we can get in and the Cap city Crit on Oct. 2 (super late! I’ll be in CX shape by then…which is drinking shape)
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So where do I live now?

It’s been a while and a few hectic weeks here. In case you haven’t gotten the story from me here’s how things have been going down for me the past few weeks.

About a month ago we got word down in Greenville that shit was going down and all of our contracts for our Aero group got canceled. At first we thought it was just temporary, but it quickly became apparent that there would be no work for the majority of us working down there. We had the option of going to work in East Hartford CT or Cincinnati, OH. I chose Cinci since it was much closer to home (which is sounding like the right choice, East Hartford sounds like not a great town).
So three weeks ago our company brought us up for a week to scout out the Natti and find a place to live. I decided to drive up myself to go to a family wedding the weekend before the week in Ohio. Once we started working I got together with two other of my co-workers and we found a house together in East Wallnut Hill, which is roughly in-between Hyde Park and Mt. Adams (both very cool neighborhoods). After our week in Cincinnait, we had to go back down to Greenville to gather our belongings and get something of a work week done (nothing got done). We got everything packed up into a Budget truck and headed up to Cincinnati the next Saturday. We moved all our stuff in on Saturday and went to work that next Monday (I think that’s the 25th we’re at now).
The first weekend I went up to Lakewood OH and Milford MI for a few crits that went really well as evidence here:

And here:

I wrote a more detailed report for the Panther website that you should check out if you want more info. I should start figuring out some Mark Cavendish victory salutes if I keep the streak up

Anyway the chaos has somewhat subsided for now. I drove up to Chicago for Tour of Elk Grove but missed my start on Saturday due to a faulty website (believe it or not this is the first time I’ve ever missed a race).

It was a really frustrating weekend for a good number of reasons. It’s a bad sign when the best part of a race weekend is going to a Carnival to see the worlds best cover band.
One especially tough part of the move has been the commute. In Greenville I was only a few minutes from work, but here it’s a 20-30 minute drive. The hour of driving was really killing me. Instead of reducing my training volume like most normal people would probably do, I just rode till 9 pm most nights then made dinner and went right to bed, which as you can imagine sucked a whole lot.
So the obvious solution is to commute by bicycle to work. This required quite a bit of planning. First there’s nothing of showers at our office, so we had to get a membership at a racquet club next to the office. This worked out well, since all my roommates got a family membership and we got a killer deal. Second there is literally nowhere to lock up a bike, thankfully my bosses are cool with me keeping my bike in my cube (which is huge), when the weather turns foul that’ll be a whole other challenge to tackle another time.
So today was my first day of riding to work, and it went great. Even though I was pretty well prepared I was more nervous riding to work than I am before a lot of races. Regardless at 7:30 am today I rolled out into the unknown world of bike commuting.
The route to work is great considering it spans most of the metro-Cincinnati area. It goes through a parkway near Xavier University campus, then by a Jim Bean factory, then there’s an entire 5 mile stretch with not a single stop sign or traffic light. All in all it was 12 miles this morning and took 40 minutes.
Now time for a little score keeping (I’ve been doing a lot of excel at work lately, I’m in the mood). Per day I normally drive an entire hour to and from work. Today I essentially took all that time and put it into riding, since it only takes me 40-45 minutes to ride to work I tacked on only an additional 30 minutes to my daily commute. I can discount my showering in the gym since I shower in the mornings anyway, plus what ever time I’d spend getting kitted up in the afternoon would take place anyway, so why not do it at 5 when I get out of work.
Ok, so I’ve only done this one day, but today went great, I rode more after dropping my clothes off at home, and had 3 hours of riding in by 7:30.
Now it’s all a matter of self discipline…..which I have none
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