difficulty in night riding

Is it me only or is riding the uni at night very difficult?
In poor lit area or darkness, my sense of balance goes out the door, I can’t determine the depth of the aspalt road.
Been progressing well on my Coker at tightening my circle and idle. I work late, getting off 7pm so there is only about 2 hours of sunlight for me to enjoy my Coker. But the moment it gets dark, it’s near impossible to mount or go over speed bumps! Grrrrrr!! :angry:

When it gets dark, I sometimes uni in front of parking lot of department store where it’s well lit. Maybe I should put a headlight or something on my head.

I’m atcually quite good at nighttime muni, with almost no visibility. You llearn how to take a smoothe pace and feel whats under you as you come along.

It works for me…

I think it varies very much between people depending on how much they rely on sight for balance. I’m like you…much worse at night. A lot of bike trials riders seem to like going for night rides. I’ve gone on a couple and have been far less confident. This also explains why I’m no good at balancing with my eyes closed.


For me it’s worse at dusk than after dark. Something about the orange glow of dusk makes me feel like I’m back in college abusing chemicals again. (Not quite a flashback, mind you, though that might be fun too.)

I’m ok on the road after dark; I’ve never ridden off-road after dark. But I’m game to try.

Midnight Muni can be exhilirating if you’re over your fear of the dark, and/or riding in a familiar location. I have finished a couple rides a bit later than planned and ended up doing the last mile or two of (fire road) downhill in the pitch black. What a rush!

I have to listen to the crunching of the gravel beneath my tire to ensure I stay on track… listening to the reflections of sound off the surrounding trees… pedaling as fast as one can manage in complete blindness is definitely fodder for the thrill-seeker in me!

The lack of light does not seem to bother me, so I can’t relate to the other posts… I dunno if it’s a learned ability, or something biological that allows one to balance without vision, but it definitely gets easier each time I’m out riding in the dark / dusk.

for riding in the dark, try putting more weight on your pedals than on your seat for unfamiliar terrain. it gets you tired more easily, but you definitely won’t fall off as much.

I love riding at night - this time of year it’s really nice out. I’ve never had any problems dealing with regular road/sidewalk terrain though.

Want an adrenaline rush? Glide down a pitch black hill… might be a good idea if you know where the pothole are before hand…


I like riding at night–then again, I always ride on the west side bike path in NYC, so I don’t have to worry about cars. I ride with 4 lights–a white front light on my helmet, a red blinker on the back of my helmet, a really bright white light mounted on the frame, and a bright red blinker mounted in the rear of the frame. It is probably a little silly, but I am more concerned about bike riders than I am about the bike path, which I know pretty well now. The lights let people know I’m coming–in many ways they serve the same purpose as helmets and padding–I ride better when I’m less worried about hurting myself–the lights take away any needless anguish about crashing into a speeding Lance wanna-be and allow you to see the road in front of your tire, which your eyes can see anyway because by the time you are a few feet into a night ride, your eyes have adjusted to the darkness anyway…

Have fun! Riding at night totally rocks!

The first thing I thought of after reading your post was the More Than Human episode featuring Kris Holm (see http://www.unicyclist.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=30854 ). They claimed that humans balance using a combination of our eyes and our inner-ear accelerometers. When you remove the eyes (for example, when the sun disappears), you must rely solely on your inner ear. One of the test they did on the show was timing how long Kris could stand balanced on one leg with his eyes closed. Anyone can try it. It is kind of interesting that as soon as you close your eyes, the margin for error seems much smaller (or at least it does for me).

Thought I haven’t tried it, I imagine that riding in the dark is like any other uni skill: practice makes it easier.

This message is totally true 4 me.In dusk I literally can not unicycle.:frowning:

Bad tarmac is the worst thing for night riding, as it’s really hard to see the bumps in it. You get more used to it if you practice a lot in the dark.

Once you get onto proper terrain and riding fast, you might want to buy some lights.

I do night muni and night cokering quite a lot (most days in winter), I use lumicycle lights http://www.lumicycle.co.uk which are great, but very expensive. I justified them because I was saving a couple of quid a day by commuting through the city on my coker rather than getting the bus. There are lots of cheaper helmet mounted bike lights which are still good enough to go night riding, there’s a thread you can search for about lights with loads listed.


I’ve gone on a few rides at night and i like it because it isnt as humid outside (where i live). I rode 4 miles last night on my 20" unicycle and you just have concentrate more on watching for bumps and curbs. Streetlights every block or so help too. All my night rides are in familar or somewhat familiar terrians.

Night riding is dope. I don’t ride much anymore though.maybe like 30 mins. A week. Its a real shame and I’m hoping to get on more.


You could make yourself a set of lights. Its not that hard to do and a lot cheaper than buying a set from a bike shop. Don’t bother with anything less than 20W if you want to go offroad, 10 or 15W would be OK on road.

I was out for half an hour last night, but the light wasn’t a problem, as at 10:30pm it is still really bright here.

It was a little darker in the woods, the tree roots, were a bit more of a challenge, but I still had quite a lot of light.

I know what some of you are talking about the dusk thing, sometimes it is easier when there is less light.

I don’t have a problem on the tarmac at night when it is dark though, just off road.


I made a 10W and a 5W light, they’re fine off road. More might be nice, but that means a bigger battery or shorter run times. If you make it yorself its easy to change the bulbs over though, so get a selection and see what works.
The main thing in DIY jobs is knowing that the sizes of MR11 and MR16 bulbs are strangely similar to 32mm and 40mm plastic plumbing fittings.