Night lights

I’ve recently started riding in the dark. At the moment I use a head torch but it’s not very comfortable (as I can’t get it over my helmet, so has to go round my forehead underneath the helmet). Does anyone use any other form of lighting when unicycling in the dark other than head torches?


flashing LED light

I put a LED taillight on mine; Cat-Eye brand. It either flashes or stays on continuously.


I’m interested in this too. I’ve found with a headlamp that the line of the beam of light is too close to the line of sight and consequently the light doesn’t cast a visible shadow, especially for minor bumps and dips. I figured some kind of handlebar mount light for a bike but mounted to the seatpost would work but then it’s only adjustable right and left. I’ll bet somebody’s figured out a decent lighting system for a uni but I haven’t seen one yet.

change the bracket around

As for a front light, depending on the bracket, there should be some way of alternatively attaching the bracket to allow up/down adjustment of the light.

I did something similar to mount a Schwinn bike computer on the downtube of my uni (use the mounting bracket in a non standard way).


There are two reasons to use lights: one is to see with; the other is to make you visible to others.

Strictly speaking, the lights should be attached to the vehicle, not the rider, to comply with UK law, but as so many cyclists use no light at all, the police are very unlikely to worry about lights that exist but are not fully compliant - especially if the rider is on a bloody great unicycle with no brakes.:wink:

I have owned 3 head torches of very different design, and all of them have been adjustable to fit round my helmet. I would be surprised if yours cannot be made to fit.

The problem is getting the elastic to sit still instead of slipping up the outside of the helmet. An answer to this is to get some sticky-backed Velcro discs - the hooky ones, not the furry ones, and stick them to the helmet. This will snag the elastic of the head band of the torch and hold it in place.

A 3 LED head torch allows enough light for steady road or pavement riding, and easy towpaths and the like. As it is near to your eyeline, there is some back scatter from fog or dust, and it also attracts insects towards your eyes, which is a Bad Thing.

Any single point of light will give you only limited information about the surface, because you don’t get the full 3 dimensionel effect. The ideal is to have two sources of light, although very powerful head torches (£100 plus!) will do the business. I haven’t ridden in the dark for a while (getting old and lazy), but when I did, I relied on a 3 LED head torch and carried a small hand torch (Mini Mag-Lite). I’d use the hand torch for scanning the route ahead, and giving more detail on tricky bits, and the head torch to provide a pool of light a few metres ahead of me. It is important to be able to ride by feel, so that you use the lights to tell you what’s coming, but your skill to deal with what’s immediately under your wheel.

As for the lights to be seen with: there are various cheap and cheerful LED lights available. I have a red LEd mounted on the seat post, fairly high up, and a white LED mounted just above the fork crown.

Good luck, you’ll have lots of fun.:slight_smile:

I’ve tried mounting lights in various places, but if the light is for seeing by (rather than being seen by) then I’ve found that it has to be either head-mounted or hand-held.

Anything mounted to the unicycle will present problematic shadows, and usually distracting moving shadows as the legs go past on either side.

Anything mounted to the body (I’ve tried abdominal lights) will move from side to side with each pedal stroke, which is distracting.

Head-mounted or hand-held lights will remain steady as you ride and can be directed wherever you most need the light. In good weather I prefer head-mounting. In snow, rain or fog the reflections from a head mounted light will render the light useless, so it has to be hand-held.

The advantages of head-mounting are so great on a unicycle that I am willing to wear a helmet in order to mount my Lumicycles to it - the only reason that I would wear a helmet on a unicycle.

I’ve used pedals with LEDs like these on my 29er at night. Just watch out for rubberneckers! :wink:

You can make a pretty sucsessful headlamp at home

Go to a hardware or lighting store and get a 40-50watt small lamp, (i cant remember what it was exactly) but make sure you get one of the ones that is low heat, the lower the better

You then mount this either in a wire frame or in a peice of plastic tubing (hence the low heat thingy) add a switch and a 12v battery (in a backpack) and you have a bloody strong headlamp, there was one when i was at the 2006 cateye Moonride (a 24 hour mountain bike race, that we did on unicycles of course) and it was fantastic, mounted on your helmet

Well hope that makes sense



I converted a maglite to a 12V DC 20 Watt Halogen for my night riding on mountain bike.

50 watt would be big time overkill and generate too much heat. You would also need too big a battery (heavy) to power it any reasonable length of time. Even the 20 watt one I built needed a 5 lb battery which was fine for a bike but I’m not willing to carry it on the one wheeler. I also don’t feel I need 20 watt for the uni. I needed 20 watt for the bike to illuminate far enough ahead to allow me to ride at high speed and see stuff in time to navigate it. Speed isn’t so much an issue on the uni so I’ll be modifying it to a 10 watt setup with a much lighter power source. I can probably put together a lighter NiMH cell pack that will hold up for 2 hours or so now.

For those that are interested here’s the project link. Maglite Project

to get a good headlamp without spending a bunch of money you’re basically going to have to homebrew one much like what’s posted above. the lower end Niterider lights are under $100US, and some pretty good ones can be had for around $250. Cateye makes a light call the “doubleshot” which is lightweight and incredibly bright. What you’ll spend depends on how much light you need. 24 hr mtn bike racing needs as much as possible so systems for that run $300-600. riding a unicycle after dark down a sidewalk doesn’t need much but $70-100 would probably be a good investment. if you can still see but need others to see you, $25-50 is probaly more than sufficient.

I’ve been looking for a decent light for night riding as well. Has anyone tried CygoLite such as the following…

HiFlux200 B*ke Light

Would the water bottle cage mount for the battery work on a Uni?

seems like a solid light. and the battery would work fine, you’d just have to get a helmet mount for the light and put that battery in a jersey pocket or camelbak.

My commercial head torch uses a halogen bulb type MR11 (6V 10W). However if you use the larger MR16 bulb (say 12V 10~20W) you can mount it in standard plumbing adapters, I have nearly finished building one for my bike. A 50W bulb would result in very heavy battery, or a very short battery life.

The easiest way to mount the lights to your helmet is with velcro straps (this is the bit I have still to do).

The total cost, excluding battery and charger, is less than £10. I already have the other bits but total cost should be <£30.

I will try and bring them upto Manchester, alternatively search the web for “homemade cycle lights” and you will find lots of pictures, including full parts lists. e.g. in the UK Maplins is the easiest shop to buy the parts.

I used to ride with a Petzl head torch, but found cars would pull out on me even if I shone the beam into their eyes. If you have a 10W bulb this does not happen, if a car is blinding me on a lane a quick lifting of the head to ‘flash’ the driver usually results in them turning off full beam.

Also a quick look back when a car is approaching fast from behind is a great way of slowing them down (I avoid shining the full beam at them) as it is unusual. This normally results in me being given sufficient road space.


Cathy is this on road or off road riding? I can only comment on off road muni and XC riding in the dark. All the times have been with a Petzl Xenon head torch. This has provided enough light to ride by but to be honest something a little stronger would have been nicer. I have also started taking out a 3W LED small hand torch that is proving very useful.

XC night riding is excellent fun and is a great way of improving your riding.

I’ve got a 12w and a 10w pair of halogen lights. They’re head mounted. They work.

They’re pretty expensive though, from

Mounting to your heads works best almost all the time. To mount lights that don’t come with helmet mounts to your helmet, you can buy velcro zip-ties from a DIY store to put them on. Night riding is different, and things look different, but you get used to watching the shape of the ground in other ways than looking at the shadows.

Generally, people either use halogen bulbs, or LEDs. LEDs are v.v. expensive for a good one currently though.

Personally I’d not bother building my own halogen light any more, unless you have lots of bulbs, batteries connectors etc. already, because you can buy things like the Electron lights
for about the same as the parts would cost to make a similar light yourself.


I have a Lumicycle light too, and if you don’t mind the price I can recommend them. They seem to be well-built and pretty good value.

Mine is the 12 watt single light with a 2.2 Amp/h Li-Ion battery. I haven’t got a helmet mount yet but I’ve used it for night muni by clipping the bracket around my forefinger and holding the battery pack in my hand, and it works prety well. The best thing about it is that the battery pack is pretty tiny and still lasts for almost two hours.


Thanks Mike. I went back to my helmet. Took off the take offable peak. And lo and behold it fitted (duh!).

So now the posts about good head lights are relevant.

Norry - as social conditioning has conditioned me to be afraid of rape and pillage if I venture out into the dark and isolated spots on my own, I’m going to stick to road riding for now. Having said that I have found it great fun to ride round a certain local field in the dark. So perhaps when I have more confidence in riding in the dark I’ll go with the statistics - which suggest I am safer in the dark and isolated spot than I am at home.

So thanks for all the replies. It’s time for some shopping.


I realise you write half in jest, but the number of people raped by strangers each year is tiny; the number of cyclists killed on the road is large.

Well that was my (half in jest and almost totally obscure) point I think. The media doesn’t get as hysterical about cyclists being killed on the road as it does about women being raped by strangers (especially if said strangers have some kind of mental health problem). In my most feminist/paranoid moments I wonder if its all some kind of plot to keep women from getting too adventurous. And since cars reign supreme in this country, we wouldn’t want to emphasise their killing power too much now would we. :wink: