Lights for bicycle night riding on BikeAhead.com
The great thing about bicycle night riding is that you can ride the same trails you do during the day, but have an entirely different experience. Many people do not even think of taking their mountain bike on the trails at night. They don’t know what they are missing! Once you are charmed by the moonlight above you and the sound of the crickets around you, you’ll be hooked for good.
Folks have been bicycle night riding for ages. However, years ago, bicycle equipment was not as advanced as it is today.
Lights were famous for dying mid-ride, which obviously poses a problem when you are in a forest.
Thanks to modern bicycle lighting technology, riders can put their trust in a halogen or LED light, and feel confident it won’t let them down. Not only are they surprisingly bright, they consume significantly less power than old varieties.
Another reason bicycle night riding has experienced an increase in popularity is due to the 24-hour rides. A good example is the Midnight Marathon that takes place annually in Boston. More than 1,000 riders from all over come out for this event, and then enjoy a pancake breakfast party after.
What is the Attraction to Bicycle Night Riding?
Biking after sundown gives you an entirely new perspective of your favorite trails.Even those you have grown bored with during the day suddenly become exciting. Shadows make small bumps appear larger than they are, and often a little distorted, helping to sharpen your reaction time.
Riding at night lets you enjoy nighttime solitude. It is very rare that you will run into hikers on the trails. Not to mention, your chance of seeing other riders is quite low, so riding at night gives you the chance to truly escape civilization.
This activity essentially supersizes the thrill you get from a regular trail ride. Plus, just like mountain biking during the day, you get a great workout.
Tips for Selecting Your Lighting System
If you are a hardcore thrill seeker you might like to rely solely on the moonlight to illuminate your path. However, if you are like me, you want to see that tree in front of you, so you at least have the chance to react. Rest-assured, even with a light, bicycle night riding will satisfy your craving for an adrenaline rush.
There are a lot of light systems available today. It is important to become familiar with the options to make an educated decision. This guide will help.
Helmet Light vs. Handlebar Light
First, it is important to note that you don’t have to choose between the two.
The ideal light set up includes both. However, if you only want to buy one to get started, I recommend relying on one that attaches to your bicycle handlebars.
This type is commonly referred to as a “floodlight.” It illuminates the trail directly in front of you and also provides a little peripheral vision to both sides of the trail. Ideally, the one you choose should be at least 10 watts.
If you choose a helmet variety, mount it toward the center of the helmet at the top of your head. The higher you place it on the helmet, the better stability you will have. Your helmet light should be aimed about 8 feet in front of you.
Halogen or LED
Most bicycle lights are halogen or LED. They are both fantastic options, and have their unique advantages and disadvantages.
These lights are efficient, affordable, and offer a fairly good output of bright, natural light. On the downside, the lights don’t last as long as LED varieties, and you go through batteries quite fast, if you are a frequent night rider. Using a rechargeable battery system is recommended.
These lights are bright, highly efficient, and long-lasting. Most give you the option to adjust brightness, and they can be turned on and off easily. Also unlike halogen lights, LEDs die gradually be decreasing the brightness. Plus, they do not flicker. This variety does tend to be a little pricier, but they last longer and use minimal battery life.
How Much Does a Light Cost?
Lighting systems for bicycle night riding are available in an array of price ranges. Determining your budget before you start shopping will make the decision a little easier.
If you are newly being introduced to the idea of riding at night you may want to buy a $100 lighting system until you know you enjoy the activity. If you are an experienced rider you might want to invest in one of the more advanced lighting systems that run around $300.
To learn more about the lighting systems you have to choose from, visit the page of bicycle lights for all the information you need.
4 Tips for Bicycle Night Riding
Biking at night is different and exciting, but it can also be a little dangerous. These four tips will help keep you save.
- Carry a Spare Light – Relying solely on one light is not a good idea. At least if you have one on your helmet and another one on your handlebars you can use one and save the other for a backup.
- Protect Your Eyes – Like riding during the day, you want to protect your eyes with cycling sunglasses. However, the ones you wear at night are clear. They will protect your eyes against branches, dirt, and bugs.
- Never Ride Alone – I personally always have at least one person with me for bicycle night riding. If you have a group, then the path is bright from the multiple lights. Some riders can even turn their lights off to save as backup.
- Wear Long Sleeves – The last thing you want to do is put a long-sleeved shirt on in the middle of summer. Fortunately, you don’t have to. A pair of arm warmers will keep your arms warm when the temperatures dip halfway through your ride. Shivering burns more calories, which could have you hungry and out of energy before your ride is done. At least pack the arm warmers in your hydration pack, so you have them handy, in case you need them.