Bicycle News from the
ADVENTURE CYCliNG ASSOCIATION
by Portia Masterson, from the newsletter of Self Propulsion Inc. a bike shop in Golden, CO
DON'T BE LEFT OUT IN THE DARK!
Many cycling injuries and deaths occur after dark because people do not equip themselves so motorists can see them. The law only requires a white front light, visible for at least 500 feet. We believe rear illumination is equally important to wam motorists behind you of your presence. Leg lamps and other side illumination is critical in intersections.
We also recommend using reflective equipment in conjunction with illumination. When vehicles are close enough to hit you, their headlights flood on' your bike lights. Only 3M reflective materials will help you. Here are precautions to make night riding safe:
- 1. Avoid heavily traveled roads with lots of illuminated signs
- 2. Avoid peak traffic hours
- 3. Use a large bike-mounted miffor to evaluate vehicles approaching from the rear.
- 4. Wear a brightly colored jacket and helmet
- 5. Ride defensively, obeying all laws and interacting with motorists so you each know what the other is doing.
- 6. Use lots of reflective gear
- 7. Use dependable, high-wattage headlights. A helmet-mounted light will allow you to see well and allow you to signal motorists where you are.
- 8. Use LED Vista Lites on the rear and sides of your bike. They can flash or be constant and are economical, getting over 500 hours per set of batteries.
- 9.Wear clothing that allows free movement and comfort so you can ride relaxed and controlled.
Now you look like a mobilized Christmas tree, right? It is worth it. Many night rides are tranquil and solitary. Best of all, you can maintain your usual fitness level, and feast without guilt through the holidays!
By Edward Helwig, from "The Pedalar", newsletter of the San Antonio Wheelman, TX
Every year I am faced with the same problem of having to stop riding my bike during the week because of a lack of day light. This year my son bought a road bike. We meet at the Old Taco Company after work for a 25-32 mile ride. One of my favorite things to do is to race the sun at the end of the day. In September and October it's a real workout. Sometimes my son would be ahead of me, and even though there was plenty of light left, he was hard to see because of the way the light was being cast by the setting sun. I finally decided to look into lights-something I really didn't want to do. I already have to carry enough things, such as water bottles, pump, tire repair kit and so on. The search was on for a good light set up.
I found lighting systems from $15.99 to $249.99. What I wanted was something with no wires, didn't weigh a lot, could be mounted and dismounted easily, and didn't cost an arm and a leg. Trek makes a tail light with three light emitting diodes that clips on and off a mount. It requires two AAA batteries that so far have lasted over 50 miles of riding. It is very bright for its size and flashes or runs solid. The cost is about $12. Where we ride there is no light so this tail light really works well.
After getting caught in complete darkness one evening, I ended up buying a headlight. The sun won that round. It also clips on and off the bike and can be used as a flash light while fixing a flat, etc. In addition, there is a battery indicator to let you know when the battery is getting low. My indicator came on and I still had about 10 miles to go. The light did fine. The beam is wide and when my son and I ride side by side, we light up the lanes where we ride. I don't know how fast we are going, but the light we have seems to be enough. It is made by Specialized and costs about $20.
The only down side of night riding, so far, is that approaching cars may temporarily blind you with their high beams. With everything you have to be careful. We don't ride at night just to be riding at night, but now I'm not worried about getting caught in the dark. We even used the light to ride down Kreuger Canyon. They have given us a few more weeks of riding. Now, it's December and almost dark before we can get started, so Nordic Track here I come.
a s s o c i a t i o n
P.O. Box 8308, Missoula, MT 59807