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We all know there's safety in numbers. If you're not an experienced night rider, in addition to making sure you have adequate light, think about also taking along a friend.
At night the chances of getting lost or of falling off are greater, and riding with others means that if something happens you will have the ability to get home. And, here's another bonus, you might even be able to get extended riding time. If not everyone in your group has their lights on at the same time the rotation lets you ride longer.
Technological advances have really made riding at night a much more enjoyable and safer experience for cyclists. Today's lighting systems are brighter and last longer. Most have low and high beam features just like a car, can be mounted to different parts of the bike or to you, and also offer battery and wattage choices.
*As long as you know how you ride, what the terrain is like, and what your budget is, a bike shop should be able to point you in the right direction.
Trail riding by day can be treacherous enough—imagine if you couldn't see dangers around you. At night you need a good bicycle light set up to keep you safe. A combination of head-mounted and bar-mounted lights is ideal.
• The bar-mounted light is good for illuminating the road in front of you, allowing you to see hazards
• The head-mounted light moves with you as you turn, giving you the ability to see farther down the trail
For road cycling you must have a front white light and a red rear reflector in most states. Most motorists understand that a white light is something moving toward them while the red is moving away—this only works, however, if the lights are visible.
*Inexpensive bike lights seldom light up enough of the path for you to see, let alone motorists to see you from a distance. If you're going to be doing a lot of night riding, it's best to go beyond the minimum for your money.
Tired of the daily routine? You can put some excitement into your biking by becoming a night rider. If you've got good lights to guide a night ride, there are lots of reasons to ride at night, including:
• Riding on trails that you've only done during the day will be completely new and exciting
• You can also set off on a long ride without worrying about getting back before dark
• You can set off on a trek before sunlight and find a beautiful spot to see the sunrise
Don't burn out! Bicycle lights can be expensive so make sure you choose some that will be worth your money and won't leave you in the dark. Lead acid or nickel-cadmium battery powered lights, while the most expensive, are the brightest (a company like NiteRider is a reliable source for quality battery powered lights).
*Lead acid batteries cost a bit less, but have the least recharge lifetime. Ni-cad batteries cost more, but have a longer rechargeable life.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|