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  1. #16
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    north woods of Wisconsin
    Posts
    661

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    Best of luck, Jolt. I did a lot of commuting in the dark. At night, it is sometimes safer (and more reassuring) to use well lit main roads with some traffic instead of dark side streets, especially if those side streets are in questionable neighborhoods. For the same reason, I always avoided parks and even bike trails after dark, but most of those are closed after dark (for good reason), anyway. Be safe. You can do it.

    One more thing. In addition to the lights on the bike, I often used one of those lights mounted on a headband that hunters and such use at night. It helps when you need to check something off to the side and it's especially helpful if you have to stop and make an adjustment or repair on the bike because it leaves both hands free. You can usually find these at outdoor stores. I think someone makes a light that can attach to your bike helmet, too.
    Last edited by north woods gal; 04-27-2016 at 07:52 PM.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,847
    I keep adding more reflective stuff for night riding. I love the reflective ankle and wrist bands from RoadID. They seem more visible than those from other brands. (I also use their reflective shoe laces in my sneakers.) Endura makes some great hi-viz bike clothes with lots of reflective bits, and Bontrager has stepped up their hi-viz clothing recently. For lights, I have small Knogg lights on my helmet -- a white one in front and a red one in back. I use them in blinky mode. I have two different very-bright headlights. One is from Light & Motion and the other is from Bontrager -- it only cost about $100. The L&M cost more but was not super expensive. Bright lights have come down in price a lot in recent years. I use them both because I'm out riding for fun and exercise at night, 1.5 - 2 hours, which is too long for the batteries in my lights at the highest setting. I also have a Bontrager tail light clipped to my seat bag, which is very bright.

    My night rides used to include some MUTs but I've changed the route so now I only use them to cross over some busy intersections. Even in good neighborhoods they are not safe in the dark. I typically stick to lower traffic residential streets (again I'm riding for fun, not commuting, which allows me more options in choosing the route). I'm lucky though because if I need to shortcut the ride or feel I should be on streets with better lighting (like when I had the flat tire problem recently) there are bike lanes on most of the main streets in my area.

    Riding in the dark does take some getting used to, especially on roads that aren't well lit, but I think it has helped my bike handling abilities. More than once after a daytime club ride I've heard people complain about things like having to navigate potholes on a fast downhill or ride on milled pavement going up a steep hill. And I always think the conditions they complained about weren't so bad, because I deal with similar lumps and bumps in the dark on a regular basis. Although I must confess, just last week I was riding along in the dark thinking about this very thing and feeling quite proud of my nighttime bike-handling skills when suddenly as I rounded a corner I felt some thick dirt beneath my wheels that I had not seen coming. Luckily I wasn't braking at the time and was able to ride through it without my wheels skidding out from under me. But I came very close to learning the hard way that pride goeth before a fall, literally.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Black Hills of SD
    Posts
    700
    I commuted for several years except when it got below minus 20. I always felt better. My attitude at work was better and my seasonal depression was almost nil. Then I had a Series of Unfortunate Events. I just recently (a couple of weeks ago) re-started commuting. This job makes it a little more complicated than my old one but I just get in really early and I can take my time putting myself together. I grew out my hair so I can put it up or back if necessary. After losing my Dad and best friend last year, I'm finding that getting back to riding is the best thing. My winter woolens got mothed so I'm gradually replacing things as I need them. When I apologized to DH for the expense he just laughed and reminded me of the expense of psych appts. and meds. Not to mention the side effects. Wish I had read the glove tip before yesterday! Dropped a chain and got to work all greasy.
    2016 Kona Rove ST (M/L 54) WTB Volt
    Camp Stove Green Surly Karate Monkey (M) WTB Volt
    Kona Dew Deluxe (54cm) Brooks B67-S

 

 

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