Don’t let the shorter days stop you from getting out on the bike. Cycling in the dark is still an option, as well as being a great way to stay focused and keep the same level of fitness you had all Summer. With the clocks changing this weekend and daylight hours decreasing, there are lots of things you can do to make your commutes, training rides or weekend spins that little bit brighter.
The right clothing and accessories can make all the difference, and once you are kitted out with the right gear, it will see you through many winter cycling seasons. The first step to take is to make sure that both you and your bike are visible:
Wearing reflective or hi vis clothing like a gilet, or reflective socks can help get you noticed more on the road. Here at See.Sense we are all big believers in wearing hi vis clothing on the parts of your body that are moving - your hands and feet. Reflective overshoes, socks and gloves being a good way to keep these areas visible. If you aren’t keen on the full hi vis look, then what you can do is ensure that your kit has some reflective parts on it (most cycling kit has some sort of reflective material on logo). Another useful piece of kit for dark rides is to wear a pair of clear sunglasses to help keep the flies and dirt out of your eyes.
Now for our favourite bit... the lights! If you are riding in urban areas with street lighting then you will need a really good pair of intelligent ‘to be seen’ flashing lights (just like ours) - to help attract attention from drivers. Using multiple flashing lights to brighten yourself up even more is a good idea too, you can mount your lights to your backpack or helmet as well as your bike.
If you are cycling anywhere near a quiet road or unlit lane, then you will need a fairly strong and reliable front light to help guide your path and help you spot potholes or anything that you will need to avoid. Plenty of these lights from Chain Reaction Cycles will more than do the job for you. Making sure you have everything fully charged up including your phone before your ride is another good tip to make sure you don’t get caught out.
Luke: “Point your front lights downwards not to dazzle pedestrians/drivers/cyclists”
David: “Be very aware when riding and keep an eye out for potholes. When starting to cycle in the dark, start with a familiar route.”
Jonny: “Have a rear light with variable flash patterns to keep you visible”
Allen: “Have all your repair stuff close at hand in case you get a puncture, make sure you have a light you can disconnect from the bike to see what you are doing when changing the tire.”
Here at See.Sense we think cycling should be fun. It can be easy to be intimidated by the darkness the first time you head out after hours. Cycling with a few friends can help improve the whole experience for you - so if you are training in the dark or heading out in the dark for the first time, try and ride with someone else.