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Cycling at night: Top 9 tips for road riding in the dark

Top 9 tips for road riding in the dark | How to cycling confidently at night

Cycling at nightIf you’re cycling at night, whether it is on a brightly lit road in the city, on unlit roads or off-road, it’s important to be properly prepared.
There are some obvious things, such as lights, but there are other steps you should take to make night riding safer and more comfortable.

1. Use the right light

Cycling at nightIf you are riding in a lane without lights, you need a headlight powerful enough to illuminate the road.

“The law requires a front white light and a rear red light during dark hours (from dusk to dawn),” Woodcock said. You can read our UK Bicycle Light Law Guide for more information.
The lights needed for cycling to work in the city are quite different from the lights needed for cycling on unlit country trails or off-road street lights. If you have good street lights on your route, the lights you need on your bike are more to ensure that you are seen by other road users, and on dark roads or dark trails, you need lights to illuminate the road ahead. Road or trail you.
Woodcourt Ke said :”If you are riding on a country road with no lighting, you will need a different lighting setting than if you are riding in an urban environment — or, if you are riding in both environments, you may need mixed lighting.” 
Therefore, although lower power flashing lights may be used as headlights in cities, you need more powerful headlights to ride mountain bikes or country roads-from 400 to 800 lumens on the road, or even more off-road, depending on Depending on where you are riding and the speed at which you are riding. In all cases, you should have a red taillight.
It is also worth having multiple lights. If you are riding on the road, you can use one blink to alert other road users, and the other to stay on to illuminate your road. It is also easier to calculate how far the always-on lights are than the flashing lights, so the second taillight is also useful.
“Many cyclists use helmet lights because they not only directly illuminate your sight, but they also make it easy to see if you need any bicycle maintenance,” Bennett said.
When off-road, helmet lights can illuminate turns and dangers better than lights installed on the crossbar, because it points to where you want to go, not where the bike is going, and is installed higher. But keep it light, heavy will be uncomfortable and may move the helmet when you move.
• Why you need bike lights

2. Ride where you can see

Improving visibility on the road at night is not just a matter of illuminating yourself. Generally speaking, drivers are looking forward, so you have to make sure you are in their field of vision.

This means riding a little off the road-about 70 cm to 1 meter. In this way, you should also avoid the most serious obstacles on the side of the driveway, such as potholes and gutter covers.

“When cycling at night, ride in the correct position so that you can see clearly. Let others know your intentions earlier than during the day,” said Woodcock of the British Cycling Team.

Cycling at night

3. Add reflection

The reflective details on the clothes help improve visibility on the road at night. Adam Garson/Instant Media

“Another legal requirement is to have a white reflector (front), red reflector (rear), and pedal reflector,” Woodcock points out.
“Research shows that installing reflectors on your pedals or ankles will help you stand out more because other road users will notice the elliptical movement of the pedal stroke,” he continued.
Bennett recommends that you go beyond this range to increase your visibility. “In addition to the law requiring the use of front white lights, rear red lights and reflectors at night, you should also make sure to see you from the side,” he said.
This is something to consider when buying bicycle lights-do they provide any side visibility? If you are commuting, the reflective details on key parts of the kit or on the cycling backpack can also help.
“It has been proven that reflective equipment looks better at night than high-light equipment,” Woodcock added. “The reflective piping on your clothes, especially your gloves, will help others see you and your gestures.”

4. Don’t show off oncoming vehicles

Some high-power headlights have a brighter beam than car headlights. “Please be aware that some strong lights may bring glare to other people, so make sure to shoot the beam towards the road so as not to dazzle the driver,” Woodcock said.
The beam pattern shape of some special road lights can avoid dazzling other road users. If you have a headlight suitable for off-roading, if you have to ride on the tarmac for a period of time, it is best to lower its brightness or switch to flashing mode. This will also save your battery.

Germany has stricter regulations on the beam pattern of headlights than other countries to avoid glare, and you can find lights that meet the requirements.

Cycling at night

5.It has a spare light

Running two lights allows you to keep one light on and one blinking. If your main light fails, it also provides you with a backup option. Oliver Woodman / Instant Media
Make sure you have fully charged the lights before setting off at night, and choose a light mode that allows you enough time to complete the journey comfortably. Keep in mind that the runtime claimed by the manufacturer is not always accurate.
As we have already covered, it is useful to have a second front and rear lights, so you can run these two lights at a lower power setting than the main light to extend battery life. In this way, if someone stops working, you will not be kept in the dark.
Once your eyes are accustomed to the darkness, you can dim the lights in less complicated terrain or areas with street lights to save the brightest settings for technical route extensions or unlit roads.
If you plan to do a lot of night riding, it may be worthwhile to invest in a generator front wheel and light set so that you are not affected by battery power. Modern generator hubs are very efficient and add minimal resistance.

6. Ride cautiously

If you are new to night cycling or are exploring unknown terrain, please stay steady.
“Watch out for hazards, such as slippery leaves, and try to ride on familiar roads as much as possible, or choose a path with better light,” Bennett said. It is also easier to hit invisible obstacles at night.
Even if you know the route you are going to ride, it will look very different at night. Therefore, don’t plan to take on anything that is too ambitious, and don’t try to fight it.

If you are riding with other people, leave enough space between you and the rider in front of you so that your lights will not cast a shadow in front of them, making it difficult for them to see their path. In addition, if you are riding with a group of people, avoid dazzling the rider behind you with oversized taillights.

Cycling at night

7. Summary

Wrap it up when you ride in the winter-and be prepared for the temperature drop at night. Robert Smith/Direct Media

You don’t need us to tell you that it may be colder at night, but please make sure you are properly prepared for these conditions. If you plan to ride regularly during the colder months, investing in suitable winter riding equipment will be of great benefit.
Even on summer nights, it can get cold, but if you don’t have the right equipment, riding in winter temperatures close to freezing can be very unpleasant. Switching to full-finger winter gloves, tights, and thicker socks will help keep your limbs warm.
Mist or fog can also make you feel cold, so even if you don’t want rain, it is worth having a waterproof outer layer. If rain is forecast, a high-quality waterproof jacket is essential.

8. Let others know where you are going

Let others know where you plan to ride and how long you expect to be out, especially if you are going off-road.
If you have mechanical equipment or are injured, far fewer people will find you out at night, especially when you are venturing off the beaten track.

If you don’t move, you will also cool down quickly at night-this is another reason to wrap or carry an extra layer when you stop unexpectedly.

9. Pay attention to team travel

It is more reliable for a group of people to go out for a ride at night, but there are several issues that need attention. For example, familiarize yourself with the riding gestures in advance, do not ride side by side during the ride, and so on. Before the start of the ride, you should specify the leader and finisher, and inform everyone of the precautions for riding.

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