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College Boy
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I plan on getting into riding my bike at night to get some time in after work.

I know the basics of getting some lights which I will have covered but is there any other special rules. During the day light I quite often ride alone. Is that still safe a night or should it be a no go?

Anything else different that I should be prepared for that does not happen during the daylight.
 

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In the very little night riding I've done I have learned the hard way that:

if you mount your only light on your helmet you lose a lot of depth perception

repairs are difficult once the sun sets, and a flashlight is a lot easier to work with than trying to use your lamp

you lose heat faster without the sun, especially when stopped to fix a chain and trying to use cold fingers to open a powerlink

I usually ride alone, so I stick to trails I know very well and loops that never take me too far away from the trail head.
 

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Depth perception

is my biggest problen. You cant tell how deep that hole is til you hit bottom. I cant ride as smoothly as in the light. Watch out fot those gremlins that are at the edge of your field of vision. Jim
 

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i also unicycle
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back up lights are a must. i run a my biggest brightest light on the handlebar, a medium power one on my helmet and carry a mini maglite and zippo just in case. never ride out more than 40% of your burn time, that way you have extra if you have a problem. riding alone can be fun but more dangerous so be extra careful and stick to places you know. otherwise have fun.
 

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ArmySlowRdr said:
beware things that go bump in the nite---such as that mountain lion right behind ya!
How true. The pic below(originally posted by plantguy, an open space ranger) was taken by one of those motion detector cameras at a local open space preserve that occaisionally allows night riding. More pics on their website show whole mnt lion families. http://www.openspaceauthority.org/nature/trailcams.html

Still want to ride alone? :yikes:

Anyhow, basic rules of night riding are:
1. Do a thorough check of your bike before heading out to avoid trailside repairs.
2. Make sure your light is fully charged and freshly charged. Just because it was fully charged a month ago doesn't mean it will still be now.
3. Take the aerobic and technical difficulty down a few notches from what you do in the daytime. Stay well within your limits.
4. If you stop for any break more than a minute or two turn off your light to conserve battery power.
5. Let someone know where you are going, what trails you plan on taking, and when you'll be back.
6. Like boomn and markf have already mentioned, bring back up lights and a flashlight for things like repairs. An inexpensive AAbattery type headlight works best and is way better than sucking on a mini-mag while trying to fix a flat.
7. Bring a lighter.
8. If you're riding with someone else or meet someone onthe trail don't shine your light in their eyes.
 

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CrgCrkRyder
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Like Markf said, stick to trails you know pretty well. Even then, everything looks different at night - including your most familiar trails. Also, like Markf I carry multiple lights. I ride with my best light on my helmet, and another light on the bars. Its pretty much a matter of personal preference as to where you put your most powerful light. Last thing you want is to have a cable come loose and lose all your light while you are cruising through the woods. I ride alone a lot, but when I do I am on trails that have an easy exit. It would be preferrable to always have a riding partner, but you know how that goes. If you just use your light to come out of the woods at dusk, you can get by with less light than if you go into the woods at pitch dark (that's when the multiple lights really come into play). Good luck and have fun!:thumbsup:
 

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good idea to bring your gps and phone.

The most important emergency equipment you can carry is your cell phone. This seems even more important at night. Bringing a GPS has the added advantage that if you need to call for help you can identify your exact location.
 

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On our trails, people ride backwards at night.

If in a group, the person with the brightest light is in front. I've found a really bright light behind you is too distracting when they are looking at something you're not.
 

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I can add that you can figure on atleast 300 lumen's at minimal for night riding,anything less was simply not enough for me.

I personally like to stay away from technical trails at night,prefer smooth trails that I'm familiar with.

I use a helmet mounted light only which produces 390 lumen medium beam with 4hr burn time.
I do agree that both handle bar and helmet mount in conjunction would be optimal.
 

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College Boy
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
texas said:
The most important emergency equipment you can carry is your cell phone. This seems even more important at night. Bringing a GPS has the added advantage that if you need to call for help you can identify your exact location.
I agree a cell phone is among the most important emergency equipment and I never ride with out it.

See as some people post I was thinking of getting dual dinotte 400L. One for helmet one for bars
 

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I've gotta add, night riding is one of the most scariest/funnest things i have ever done.

I once got stuck following someone down a large hill with curves and w/ out a light. Its such a rush to be doing downhill by the light of someone else thats ahead of you.
 

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I agree. If you can afford a light for you helmet and handlebars, go for it. But that can get pretty expensive. Me on the other hand, I just got a nice HID light for my helmet. I was previously using a halogen light and had some depth perception issues while riding. Going to the HID which produces more of a white like rather than a yellow light really seems to have helped that issue. Did any of you other guys find this was the case?

My first few rides I placed the light on my handle bars before making the switch to mounting the light on my helmet. And I really like that better. I can put the light where I want it. I can look further up the trail when I'm going faster and closer to my bike when I'm going slower through a more technical section. I can look around corners for hazards and the like. However, you do have to train yourself to ride this way. You have to learn to move your head to get the light to go where you want it to go while often times looking somewhere else with your eyes. Not tremendously difficult, but it takes a little time.

Good luck.
 

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My Brain Hurts!
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At night, forget the term, "bombing through the woods" or any of it's derivatives. Unless an Ambulance ride or a night alone on the trail all busted up or unconcious is your goal. The later can also be amended to being called Bear, Mountain Lion or Wolf munchies depending on what part of the country you wrecked...

Other than that, everyone else has great ideas here.:thumbsup:
 

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i also unicycle
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i might be weird but i prefer my biggest and brightest lights to be on my bars. lower helps cast better shadows and makes seeing the terrain changes easier (i think), plus i don't want something that heavy on my head nor do i need my head to be that much taller (i'm 6'4 and have to duck often during the day time), plus a head mounted light really lights up all the crap in the air and puts in right in your eyes. think about running car headlights in a snow storm, the brights are a definite no no, and if you've got 'em fog lights are great. and i currently use a cheap serfas camping style headlamp that fits over bike helmets as my helmet light. i've tried plenty of others and for serious night racing, a bit brighter light is probably a good plan, but for most stuff this serfas thing works great.

http://www.serfas.com/product_details.asp?ID=301
 
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