Riding In the Dark

My cycling mentor got back from his UK assignment a little over a month ago, and it’s great to have someone at work who likes to talk about bikes and can give me some practical advice. He rode in yesterday and invited me down to where he had his bike stashed in an empty cube near his desk so I could see his light set-up. He’s all about “being seen” rather than using the lights to see. Now I’m lusting after the headlight he’s got, which I can’t afford.


Watch their sales if you want it. I should have just gone for it yesterday, it was an extra 20% off. ARGH. In addition to that Mentor has a Cat Eye LED light (much smaller than the NiteRider. I have a nearly identical one, made by PlanetBike, 5-LED Beamer). Then he has two taillights (don’t recall the makes) plus one of the blue Supernova flashers from RoadID that he wears on his arm (I think he uses the wrist strap, but it fits on his upper arm). I have only one taillight, the Planet Bike Blinky 1/2 Watt Blaze :

and on the front the already mentioned Planet Bike Beamer, plus a 6-LED light from Trek which does light up the ground, but doesn’t seem to perform too well in the cold. Or maybe the batteries needed replacing. (Note to self: start carrying extra batteries).

What I should do now, maybe will this evening is take photo outside after dark so you can see how bright the Trek headlight is. It does light up the ground, which was really helpful the first time I rode to work after it was dark in the morning. Going through such a rural area with no streetlights, this is crucial to be able to see the ground AT ALL.

What astonishes me, though, is how many people I still see riding after dusk with NO lights, front or rear, in dark clothes. These are people who appear to do more cycling than the average person, serious road bikes, helmets, the spandex arsenal, but NO LIGHTS. What’s up with that?? Not even reflectors, reflective clothes, reflective tape. Zip. Nada. Newflash, people: YOU DO NOT PHOSPHORESCE. Think of how hard it is to see a car in the dark, on a dark road, with no lights on. You’d probably think, “What a tool, why doesn’t he put his lights on?” Duh. Let’s look – and stay – alive out there.


About D. D. Syrdal

Writer of vampire stories and science fiction. First novel, "Revenants Abroad", available now at Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, Kobo.com, Smashwords. If you like a vampire you can go out drinking with and still respect yourself in the morning, I think you'd like Andrej.
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4 Responses to Riding In the Dark

  1. Wow he’s got quite the set up! Doesn’t that big light at the top have like a 5 pound battery pack or generator or something? I think I have a cateye similar to yours, and they are surprisingly bright!

    Yeah it’s funny. Most serious cyclists consider reflectors very amateurish. My mentor drug me into that mindset, and it took me a while to come back out from that. Now I know that being safe is better than looking cool.

    • Digital Dame says:

      Yes, he has the charger somehow attached to the fork as well. Not sure what it weighs. I forgot to mention that he has the lights up on a special extension bar attached to the handlebar. He wanted the lights up out of the way because he also has a cyclocomputer attached and it wouldn’t all fit! He also mentioned that he has a small one he attaches to the messenger bag he uses to carry his stuff, which sits on his lower back. He does scale back during the lighter months, but during the dark part of the year he’s well-lit 🙂

      I don’t get the attitude that it’s better to look cool and get run over than have reflective everything. Everyone just thinks those people are tools anyway, nobody thinks they’re cool. I set the smaller headlight blinking, and the bigger Trek thing steady on in the morning when it’s pitch dark out. I think eventually I’d like a second tail light.

  2. Haha, good point. We’re wearing spandex anyway, it’s not really possible to look less cool, is it?

    I think, though, it is within their ranks that they consider themselves cool or not cool. It’s not so much what non-cyclists think.

    • Digital Dame says:

      Ah yes, the pack mentality. Kind of like those churches on tv where all the women style their hair the same and wear the same kind of weird dresses with poofy sleeves.

      We can only hope a desire for self-preservation will outweigh the need to fit in, at least with some.

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