Riding with lights (at night)

Night Riding

I did a night MUni ride with Roland and Steve and it was fun. You always have to be on the ready because you see much less detail than during the day. I think that night riding can improve your regular riding skills.


Gadge and I ride at night from time to time.

I have some lcd front and rear “be seen” lights on the uni, and a powerful head torch. On a smoothish surface it is fun to ride with just the “be seen” lights. With the head torch, you need more care than in daylight, but you can ride pretty much everything that you could ride in daylight. IT just takes a bit more care.

Be careful not to dazzle oncoming pedestrians or road users.

If I hear a car coming up behind me, I tend to shine the head torch down to my offside to make a pool of light on the road as an additional warning of my presence.

I’m a big fan of riding my 36er at night. I’ve always had a 900 lumen MagicShine 808e mounted way out there on the “T” of my Shadow handlebar. Like most bke lights, the MagicShine’s mount is designed for bcycle handlebars where there is plenty of real estate to put things like lights, computers, etc. Mounting a light on a unicycle poses a challenge. If you could figure out a way to mount it on your frame (something I’ve yet to be able to do), you are going to get a lot of interference from your knees going up and down. My solution (mounting the light-head way out on the end of the Shadow handlebar) does not have a problem with the interference but my latest UPD broke my lighthead. I’ve ordered a replacement off eBay (GeoManGear has gone out of business) for $50. If I break another one, I will probably end up buying a 2000 lumen MJ-880 and going back to a helmet mount but I hate the MagicShine helmet mount that came with my 808e. I might consult my LBS to see if they have a better mount. I will probably buy a cheaper helmet dedicated specifically to night riding so that I can just leave the mount in place. I would be very interested to see other people’s light mounts be they helmet mounts or on the handlebar/frame/etc.

Not a great picture, but here’s mine with two cheap led lights out front. Not enough for hard trail use, but it’s gotten me through a number of very dark tunnels on dirt and works fine on the street.

You sissies and your need to light up the entire neighborhood.

I use echolocation in the dark. Still have yet to hit anything, even when riding at full tilt.

I even taught a blind man to ride a bike…

Yeah, and when I get off work tonight I’ll administer a tapetum transplant on myself and enjoy a night ride. No echolocation needed. All I need is a scalpel and my dog’s anatomy within my fingertips.

Oh, me too!

Just finished a leisurely 10 mile night time ride on the Coker near a local lake. It was my first real chance to try out my new lights, some Bontragers. Here’s a link to them: http://kulshancycles.com/product/bontrager-glo-headlight-ember-taillight-combo-76175-1.htm
The lights should be removed if you ever leave the uni in an openly public place like a bike rack, as they’re easily stolen. I have the taillight on my seat post and the headlight on my pi bar, next to my cycle computer. It’s a tight fit on my bar, but the lights are safe from collision with the ground during falls, so it’s worth it.
I wish I had taken a camera; the view over the lake with a big moon and stars, not to mention fading light on the horizon, was beautiful. Next time I go (probably within a few days, weather permitting) I’ll be sure to take a few pictures.

I managed to dodge two cows standing on track and woke the sleeping horse, my light uses a Cree U2 led giving over 1000 lumens, although I only use it on half power as it gives plenty of light light rain made track quite slippery


This is a pretty good deal.

That is a very good deal. I wish I had seen it before I paid $50 on Amazon for pretty much the same thing.

I’ve pretty much given up mounting this thing on my 36er full time. It truly is overkill for a daytime “be seen” light. I’m just going to get a little white blinking light that runs on AAA batteries.

It turns out that GeoManGear’s helmet mount is not so bad after all. You’ve just got to use the right kind (lots of vents) helmet. I’ve got a “take a look” mirror mounted on there as well. It’s a fairly cheap ($40) Lance Armstrong Giro. It will make for a nice road helmet. Now I’ve got to get myself a nice MUni helmet.

Knog Frog Strobe “be seen” light

New white (front) light for my 36er. It is very small. Runs on two CR2032 coin batteries.

Here is a view from the front (sorry for the glare).

Here is a profile view.

Here is a view of the whole (Shadow with Ergon GP1 grip) handle.

Thank you for posting that link. I ordered it and can’t wait to test it out.

That is a very good deal. I wish I had seen it before I paid $50 on Amazon for pretty much the same thing.

Got the light installed on the seatpost. Ppl had mentioned the advantage of having a light mounted low so as to see the irregularities in the path ahead.

Here’s a pic. Now I may need to find the diffuser stick-on that John Childs mentioned to spread the light out a little.

coker w head light lowest res.jpg

I have done a few night rides recently.

On the 36, I have hung a cheap 5 led front light upside down under the T bar handle. This has allowed me to do 5 - 10 mile rides along country lane and easy unmade roads without UPDs (or planned dismounts) and on moonlit nights I have enjoyed turning off the front light and riding by the light (by the light) of the silvery moon for long distances.

On the 29, I have ridden quiet back roads and sections of bike path/foot path just with cheap LED “be seen” lights.

I have a super powerful LED head torch strong enough to make toast but I have come to prefer the tranquility of riding steadily relying on feel and night vision, rather than turning night into day with a headtorch brighter than a thousand suns.

I tried that, but the shadows thrown by my legs were really annoying. For me, a light anywhere below about mid-chest works well enough to see bumps in the trail. I attached my light at the end of the touring handle, using a Minoura bar extender (“Spacegrip-3” 22-29mm quick release). It’s a nice little accessory mount - you can also turn it 90 degrees and connect it to the seatpost or long part of the T handle.

For a diffuser, I tightened the lens ring over a disposable white plastic grocery bag - the optical properties are remarkably good! It worked just as well as a more expensive diffuser filter that I tried.



My latest two set ups:

The KH29 now has a KH T bar, and I have hung two 5-led bicycle headlights underneath it - one to spotlight the ground immediately ahead, and one to shine further ahead and to make me look like a bicycle to other road users. The rear light is a standard bicycle rear light attached to the seat tube.

The 36 has a Nimbus Shadow handle and under that I have slung my Hope hi-powered “you can use it to make toast” headlight, with the battery pack bungeed to the frame. Again, the rear light is a standard bike unit mounted in the obvious place.

All very well if you have a handlebar. Personally I made an attachment to mount a light to the bolts on the seat handle Post Your Current Projects Here - which positions it to have the least leg shadow effect (there’s still some, but a lot less than with a light mounted on the seatpost and it’s not that irritating). Though that was last winter when I’d only been riding a few months and hadn’t yet learned to use the handle when riding - I think it will get in the way of using the handle (or at the least my hand will block the light), so I’m going to have to build something with a bit of downwards extension to get it out of the way.

It is fun to ride with lights on. But we need to be more careful in night

Night riding season is on, two rides so far, this tends to be my midweek ride theme due to not getting to the trails until dusk. So far both of my rides were 36er single track mini, been doing some crank length testing…

Riding is tough right now due to the leaves making everything look the same, roots, rocks, surface undulations, ugh!

The cold and dark makes starting off a miserable experience, esp after working all day at a desk, I almost always feel like just heading home, but after a few minutes I get warmed up and it’s all good :smiley:

I really like riding the 36er on trails at night because it gives me a little more sight distance, the big tire accommodates unseen obstacles better than a small wheel, and being up high gives me more time to dismount clean when I UPD.

Geoman light system is da bomb! 900 lumens, two li battery packs, mounts, all for ~$100, sweet.

Don’t wait, get some good lights and hit the trails! Skip those silly camping headlamps, they are nothing in comparison to a proper riding light system.

My next step is to get a second light to improve depth perception:p