Even if you ride your bike to work, chances are you’ve never had to ride at night. Even when you had to stay late at work you probably hitched a ride home instead of riding your bike. Your reasons for this were good ones! Without the right gear, night riding is as terrifying as it is dangerous. Until you get used to it, riding at night can be scary. But there are steps you can take to ease into it, safely.
Tips for Cycling at Night:
- Tip #1: Choose a Lighted Path
Many bike paths keep their lights on well into the night, making them suitable for bicycle commuting well past when the sun goes down. Finding a lighted path means a cyclist doesn’t need much more gear to be able to ride at night. Be sure to read the signs before entering to find out if the lights run all night or if they have an automatic cut-off time.
- Tip #2: Wear Clear Glasses
Plenty of cyclists own snazzy and functional eyewear. But if you’re used to riding during the day, they probably have dark lenses. When searching for those perfect glasses, you probably wondered why anyone would want anything but sunglass lenses. The reason is clear. Clear is the best choice for night riding. If you don’t have a pair of clear, cycling-specific glasses, a pair of basic safety glasses will work just fine.
- Tip #3: Be Aware
If you thought riding in traffic in broad daylight was scary, night riding is a whole new adventure. If you’re used to riding around on auto-pilot during the day, you will need to switch over to a more alert mode when riding after sunset. If this is your first trip out on a bike at night, go slow and keep your eyes open for unexpected obstacles, bumps in the road, potholes, and other obstructions. Be mindful of your position to take the weight off of your seat and put it on your feet, on the pedals. Use your legs as suspension to soak up anything you might not see with your eyes first.
- Tip #4: Overuse Reflective Tape
Make yourself as visible as possible! Add reflective strips to your bag, bike frame and the clothing you plan to be riding in.
- Tip #5: Make a Plan
The above tips are perfect for when you find yourself staring down an unplanned bike trip in the dark. Stopping at a nearby hardware store on your lunch break, using Google to find a bike path, and making sure you are covered in reflective tape will help you for an unexpected ride. To become a night riding expert, you will need to take a few more steps. One of them being, actually making a plan.
- Tip #6: Pick the Right Bike
The right bike for night riding is one that can take a beating. A road bike with old parts and fatter tires is the perfect night-time bike. Fatter tires are able to soak up unexpected bumps better than the normal tires found on racing bikes.
- Tip #7: KEEP IT SLOW!