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I'm lit ...(6 posts)

I'm lit ...tarwheel
Nov 26, 2001 8:27 PM
I finally broke down and bought a lighting system for my bike so I can ride after work, which is the best time for me on weekdays. After shopping around, I decided to buy a Cygolite NiCad 6/10/16W system on sale at REI for $70. I found some other systems I liked better, but they cost 2-4X more and I would rather spend my money on other stuff.

Took my first ride with the Cygolite this evening and it was a nice experience. The weather helped, too, as it was up in the 70s today in NC. Riding in the dark is sort of like riding a trainer or spin cycle as you tend to focus more on just riding because you can see very little scenery. I did see a fox that ran across the road in front of me! That was cool. You also are a lot more aware of noises while riding in the dark.

My system seems to be a good setup for road riding. The 6W bulb is fine for roads with lots of streetlights, and the 10W will suffice in most circumstances, but the 16W sure is nice and bright. I used 2 Vista LED tail-lights in back because I'm paranoid about getting run over. Here are a few of my initial observations for others considering a lighting system:

1. It's nice have some different wattages to choose from, but if you can get only one, get at least 10W.
2. I had no problems with cars seeing me. Every car that passed me gave me very wide berth, much more so than under normal lighting conditions. I passed several cars waiting to pull out from side streets, and they seemed to have no trouble seeing me either.
3. The big risk from night riding seems to the danger of hitting road obstacles -- gravel, potholes, sticks, etc. -- which are harder to see at night, even with a good system.
4. My glasses tended to fog up when I got stopped at traffic lights, but quickly cleared up once I started moving again. Might have been the high humidity as patches of fog were starting to form.
Is it a helmet mount..........STEELYeyed
Nov 26, 2001 8:37 PM
or bar mount? All my night riding friends are telling me to get a helmet mounted light,because the beam shines where you are looking instead of one place on the road,plus less vibration.
bar mounttarwheel
Nov 26, 2001 8:43 PM
It's a bar mount, but Cygo sells a helmet adapter. My impression is that the helmet mounts are more useful for mountain biking. I had no trouble with the beam pattern or vibration with my unit. It can be swiveled up and down as well as sideways to get the beam just right.
this may not be so greatET
Nov 27, 2001 7:10 AM
I was thinking the same thing until someone responded to me here a little while ago that all that's going to accomplish is blindingly shine the light directly at the driver trying to avoid you, and also fails to provide light straight ahead when you turn your head, e.g. at an intersection where you want to see the driver coming from the side. Obviously, it's good for MTB riding to see the path in front of you, but for road riding, I think it makes more sense to have a steady light in front of you for all to see, along with visibility strips that hopefully are built on to your jacket, and one or two of those blinking armbands so as to be seen from the side (IMHO better than Illuminite, which, aside from the dork factor, is inferior from a breathability point of view and also needs to be shined on directly to be seen, which may not happen in time from the side).

I guess an interesting question for those that would rather have overkill than road kill is, should one get a helmet-mounted light in addition to a bike-mounted one, or is it just beter not to due to blinding the drivers.
Bar mount for road ridingRich Clark
Nov 27, 2001 9:45 AM
A very important element in traffic safety for cyclists is to be seen *as a vehicle* by drivers. That means behaving according to vehicle rules, positioning yourself predictably where a vehicle would logically be, and not doing anything that takes drivers by surprise.

Vehicle lights that move around unpredictably are, IMO, a danger, because drivers don't understand what they are or what they mean. You could turn your head left and a driver approaching you from behind could swerve because he thinks you're moving left, because on a vehicle if the light's path turns it means the vehicle is turning.

Besides, when you're road riding there's no real need to illuminate where you're not riding. Just make sure you choose a light that has a wide enough pattern so you can see where you're going when you turn, and be willing to slow down when turning. A dual lamp spot/flood combo, bar mounted, is IMO ideal for road riding, and it's what I use for my nightly commutes.

I've never had any issues with vibration on either of my bar-mounted lights, a NiteRider Pro6 and a Performance Dual.

Finally, this: For commuting, my favorite accessory is my Take-a-Look glasses-mount rearview mirror. It's saved my ass on more than one occasion, and it's hard to imagine riding without it. But it requires a little sideways turn of the head (much like using the door-mount mirror on a car) when you glance at it. How would that appear to drivers if I were wearing a helmet-mount light, with the light flashing to the left every few seconds whenever I looked in the mirror?

Helmet-mounts make sense for off-road night-rides where you need to choose a path that might not be directly in front of you. For road riding, I believe the bar mount is far superior.

re: I'm lit ...brider
Nov 27, 2001 9:40 AM
The best way to go is to have both a helmet mount and a bar mount. There is a tendency to oversteer corners with just a bar light, as the light doesn't point where you are going (the helmet mount takes care of this). Also, with just a helmet mount, you totally lose obstacle shadows (the shadows are hidden from your view because the light is above your eyes), which the bar mount remedies. Also, the moving light on the helmet can alert drivers much more readily (without blinding them if you have the light aimed properly).