Now, let’s get something out of the way immediately, my goal is to get home safely every single night. Night riding is one of my favorite things about biking and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do but it needs to be done safely! These are the 5 tips I live by to stay safe and love riding at night.
- Don’t Wear Black. I absolutely loathe that so much of fashion and cycling spandex is black. I want to be seen, not blend in. A few years ago my mom gave me a super expensive long and warm down jacket. It is black. I’m currently covering it with reflective tape but will most likely switch to a brighter color if I can find one. (Apparently, all outdoor fashionable clothing seems to also in dark colors.) If you have to wear black, maybe add a swanky vest over your clothes? I love the convertible vest from Pearl Izumi and the Verspertine line. The convertible jacket is a mainstay for me in the spring and fall, and the Verspertine VESPERT VEST is over the top of that black down jacket all winter long. While you are at it, buy some of the affordable reflective stickers and add them to your shoes, gloves, and shoulders. Moving objects catch people’s attention much faster.
- Buy the Brightest Lights You Can Afford. Lights and details are many more articles. There are lights “to be seen” and lights “to see”. I personally try to run a Planet Bike Superflash on all bikes and at least a 400-lumen headlight on my handlebars. I go even brighter if I’m riding in the pitch dark going more than 10 mph.
- Be Prepared to Fix a Flat or Call a Friend. This is also the case when it is daylight out but you have more things against you at night. I’m not saying you need to be able to change a flat tire on the side of the road but you should have someone on call (even AAA!) to come get you if something goes wrong. If all else fails, lock up your bike in a safe place, and call Uber.
- Know Where You Are Going. The world looks very different viewed through your bike headlight. You can’t see around you as well unless you have a headlight on your helmet, and the streets, potholes, signs, etc. are very easy to miss or be disoriented in the dark.
- Be Aware of Ice. Some of the worst
fallsmy hips have endured have been cornering in the dark under a bridge. Go slow turning if the ground looks damp or shiny.
What are your top tips for night riding? Add them below!