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26-09-2022 | Frank Jansen

5 tips for riding in the dark

It's a big step for many riders: training in the dark. That's actually quite strange, because for instance running without daylight is quite normal and on the city bike, many will have made enough rides in the dark. Although the need for cycling in the dark may have become less due to all the developments in the field of indoor training, it's still worth a try. In this article 5 tips that make cycling without daylight more pleasant and especially safer.

1. Choose the right lamps

The right lighting is of course crucial if you want to go cycling in the dark in the evening. Good news, there has been a lot of improvement in this area over the last 10 years. No more malfunctioning halogen bulbs with moderate NiMh batteries. Nowadays LED and Li-On are the standard, although avid evening cyclists also like to choose a hub dynamo. The light output is tremendously better than a few years ago. The world of lighting is a world in itself, full of fierce debates. An evening of Googling is definitely worth it.

In short, there are two camps: AliExpress and A-brands. In the latter category Lezyne is recommendable. They offer different models, all at fair prices. Think in advance about the purpose of the lamp, is it only visibility or do you also want to ride it through a dark forest? In terms of light output I recommend to take a little too much rather than too little, a stronger lamp can always be turned down. Please note that output numbers on specification sheets are often not very realistic. It's much better to read reviews.

Obviously you'll mount a rear light as well. Needless to say 1000 lumens is not really useful here.

2. Make sure the direction of the beam right

The last thing you want is to blind your fellow road users. Therefore point your lamp downwards and not straight ahead. If you have a car at your disposal, it doesn't hurt to test it yourself.

3. Think about your route

It goes without saying that you plan your route with as many lit roads as possible. Your best option: larger roads with separate cycle paths. Not very common outside of The Netherlands, unfortunately. Second best option: quit, lit roads. Whatever you do, already chose roads that you know by heart.

4. Think about the drop in temperature

If you go cycling during the day, the temperature usually remains fairly constant or even rises. In the evening this is often different, then the temperature usually drops. Keep this in mind by dressing warmer or by taking extra clothes with you. Speaking of clothing, reflective clothing is not only good for your visibility, in some countries it's mandatory as well.

5. Make sure they know where you are

Riding is the dark is not entirely without risk. Inform the the people at home of your plans and route, turn on live tracking, always bring a phone and make sure you have a sufficiently charged battery.

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