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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I have a tiny Phil Liggett inside me

I found this video on Cyclingfans.com. It’s sort of cheesy, but really a well done video.

I mean, if you haven’t had a running Phil Liggett commentary running through your head while hitting the local hill, or take a town sign sprint, you are not much a cycling fan and should watch more of le Tour.

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