One of my favorite activities during the hot summers is going biking in the dark. Hot climates cool off dramatically in the evening, which makes riding much more pleasurable. For those of you who are trying biking at night for the first time there is a lot you need to know to stay safe, and have more fun.
This guide will cover what you need to do to stay safe while biking at night. It will also review the best headlights for both your handlebars and helmet, which are ‘must haves’ for night riding. Finally, we get into the benefits of biking at night in the dark.
Is It Safe To Bike At Night?
Biking at night is incredibly safe as long as you take a few precautions. The first, and easiest, thing you can do is wear high visibility clothing. Since it is night reflective neon colors work best.
The second precaution you must take when biking in the dark is preplanning your route. Only take routes you are familiar with, and that you know are in safe locations. If you are already familiar with your route getting help when mechanicals happen will be much easier.
The final precaution you must take before biking at night is adding adding lights. I highly recommend a two headlight, one tail light setup. The first headlight should be mounted to your handlebars, the second to your helmet. I’ll get into why this is so important in a moment. Your tail light should be bright, and also provide night time blinking patterns that fluctuate in intensity. A random pattern has been proven to draw the most attention, which is what you want if your night right takes you alongside cars.
Best Lights For Biking In The Dark
The best lights for biking at night will have 1,000 lumens or more. I use the Bontrager Ion Pro RT front headlight on my handlebars. It is 1,300 lumens and has multiple settings to adjust how wide the light casts out. Its perfect for seeing everything directly in front of you, but you also need to be able to see where you are looking. This is especially true for mountain bikers where the trail changes directions quickly. Adding a helmet light is an easy way to stay safe.
In addition to Bontrager lights, I also use a lot of Serfas bike accessories. Read Serfas Bike Headlight Review for their 600 lumen headlight I now use when my Bontrager Ion Pro is on the charger. It’s also an excellent light for biking at night.
Biking In The Dark Benefits
There are several benefits to biking in the dark. The first benefit is the reduction in traffic on trails and roads. Nothing is better than riding without having to worry about passing or getting passed by other cyclists and motorists.
The second benefit to night cycling is never getting a sunburn. Because the sun is not out, you safe money on sunscreen making cycling at night cheaper than the daytime alternative. All jokes aside, avoiding sunburn is a serious benefit to riding at night. I’ve scorched my neck many times because I forgot sunscreen while riding during the day. It’s one less thing to worry about at night.
The biggest benefit to cycling at night, to me, is the boost in mental health it provides. There is something incredibly peaceful about riding at night. Less noise and bright light have a calming effect. It’s just the sound of your bike’s tires running on the pavement/gravel/dirt.
In conclusion, biking in the dark is great fun if you properly prepare for it Know the neighborhood you are riding in, and make sure you are extremely familiar with your route. Mechanicals can also happen at night so bring your normal riding tool kit, too.