Riding a bicycle in the dark
|Niterider Digital Headtrip|
All summer I ride most of my morning commute in darkness. When daylight savings time ends I will start to ride most of my evening commute in darkness all winter. Riding in darkness has it's advantages and disadvantages. I will discuss some of the best ways to optimize riding in the dark based on my experience.
Just this year alone as of this writing I have cycled 6,883 miles. Of that mileage I have bike commuted 4,768 miles. I estimate that almost half of the bike commuter miles was in darkness. I have ridden my bike in the dark in California, Oregon, Texas and now Georgia. Each time I have stopped riding for a year or two and I start up again I have to relearn a few things on my bike. For this discussion I had to relearn how to ride in darkness I have been putting off writing about this for some time, but today is the day to write it.
|Niterider Pro 1800 Race|
|My Niterider Solas and a generic flasher on my rear tool bag.|
|My helmet flashers|
|My Niterider Pro 1800 with battery on my areo bars|
One of the main advantages that I have found by riding in darkness is that I am more aware of where motorist are when I am cycling. For a long time I always cycled with a rear view mirror on my glasses I have been riding without one for almost a year. At night you can see headlights coming towards you and you can see them coming up from the rear without looking. Most motorist drive on country roads with their lights on, but I know that I have occasionally seen a motorist driving with their head lights off so I am aware of these crazy folks are out there and they may be drunk.
Another advantage to riding in darkness is that it is cooler than riding in full sunlight especially during summer days. As a bike commuter if I do not ride my bike to work and then to home I do not have enough time to get in my cycling fix. By having lights on my bike I extend the time during my waking hours that I can enjoy cycling. Do not let the fear of cycling in darkness steal the valuable time when you are awake to ride your bike. Ride in darkness when all of the motorist are asleep.