Muni in the dark

Anyone have any experience with this? Where I live it’s getting pretty dark by 4:30 this time of year which means that if I’m going to be doing any muni over the next couple of months it’s going to be in dim light at best 5 days a week.

I’ve got some pretty bright rechargeable head lights that I use for work, (I think they have a 400 lumen rating).

Good lights will work but make sure that they are not only mounted on your helmet. You need some light as far from your line of sight as possible. With a light only on the helmet you lose essentially all depth of field. You will not be able to see humps, dips, roots, rocks and such.


Thanks. That hadn’t occurred to me.

I don’t have experience with Muni at night. But, this summer I started practicing riding bike paths and sidewalks at night to get ready for winter. It has worked well. I can even take the dog on a run at night with all of my unicycles (Trials, 24”, 27.5+), which works really well. I try to only ride at night on routes that I have completed previously during the day.

I originally started with lights only mounted on the unicycle (different areas of the frame, plus on the front saddle handle/bumper. I learned that adding a light to my helmet helped dramatically.

Photos of my light setups are attached.


Riding in the dark adds another level of complexity, especially on forest paths. Depending on how bumpy they are you can take it as a challenge but I think I wouldn’t dare the difficult ones in the dark anymore. Good lights definitely help. And I can only second the observation that @JimT has made, however the brighter the lights are the less important this “out of line of sight” gets I’d say.

Two light sources are a must for serious muni or if you want complete daylight conditions in the dark.
It makes more sense to put the brighter light on the more stationary mount (your head) while the lower powered light creates the shadows to aid in your depth perception.

A brighter light on the uni would give great shadows at the cost of creating shadows that move around much more. This could be hard on your peripheral vision.

I find 2/3rds of my light coming from my head (Cygolite Expilion 850) and another 1/3rd with a Cygolite Zot 450 mounted on my handlebars works perfect for me.

Mounting in complete darkness with light only illuminating your immediate surrounding can be harder as you don’t have a horizon line to help with orientation.
You have to rely a bit more on “feel”. (this is justification for practicing skills with your eyes closed!)


This is what I have.

The thread is worth a read.

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Very useful information. I use a headlight and I have this annoying issue, but I ride on tracks and roads that I know very well. However, I did take some unknown trail several times and it was a big problem.
I was riding with cyclists and I asked one to stay behind me so their own light could light the trail in front of me at a lower angle. It helped very much… Not that I suggest that the best way to use a light with a unicycle is actually having someone else do it for us… :stuck_out_tongue:

Didn’t find any proper way to mount a light on my unicycle. Dut didn’t search much either.
I had a fixed light on my frame for a while, but the issue was that the light angle was static, and when riding a unicycle, the angle of your frame will go up and down as you accelerate and slow down. If your light beam is narrow, it will follow that angle won’t light enough the road (and other stuff) in front of you. Same when you’re riding a slope (up or down).

I stick with my headlight, plus front and rear blinking LEDs for the only purpose of being seen in the dark, but a better option to see the road properly would be good.

Trivia: this apparent flattening of rugosities on a surface from a light source is called the opposition effect.

It can be seen when looking at the exact antisolar point (opposite angle of the sun, or any light source really) on pretty much any uneven surface and at any height (your own height or from a plane).
Here’s an example I did on a clover field a while ago:

Cast shadows disappear.

Other examples, on an plowed field
Opposition Effect on Ploughed Soil

On a forest from a helicopter (I guess)

Opposition Effect – A Darker View

You can also find other interesting examples in photos from other planets.