's Forum Archives - General

Archive Home >> General(1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 )

Got caught in the dark(7 posts)

Got caught in the darkPsalm 147-10_11
Sep 8, 2003 12:52 PM
I planned a 50 mile ride for Saturday afternoon, but left about 45 minutes later than I expected (unexpected drop-in company).

Anyway, I usually ride in the mornings and somehow forgot that it gets dark earlier now. Long story short, I didn't get home until 8:15 pm, in the pitch black. Oops.

Making matters worse, I don't have any lights on my bike. However, I arrived safe and sound, AND, I got in my planned 50 miles.

A few questions:

1. Do you have blinky lights on your bike and do you use both a back and front light?

2. Do you use reflective tape, and where?

3. Why don't helmet manufacturer's make a reflective helmet?

4. Would you have continued your ride home, or called for a SAG?
Answers to your questions . . .ms
Sep 8, 2003 1:38 PM
1. Once the days begin to get shorter (like now) through May, I always have a blinker on the back of the bike. Notwithstanding my best planning, the sun often is below the horizon before I get home from a ride late in the day. If I know that I will be out after dark, I take my NightRider Blow Torch. But, there are times like your ride yesterday, when I get caught without a front light and the back light usually is good enough.

2. No. But, I do have a night vest with reflectors that I wear when I am riding after dark.

3. Don't know. But, one guess: sunlight reflecting off of a helmet could be a hazard for others.

4. Depends. My greatest concern about riding in the dark is not my being hit by a car -- usually a car's lights will put you into view before you are hit. But, I do worry about falling or crashing because of road conditions. I know the roads near my house fairly well and am confident on them in the dark. If I knew the road and it did not have potholes, dangerous curves and/or descents, I would have continued. Otherwise, I probably would have called for the SAG.
Another factor with respect to calling for the SAG, would be whether there was any "price" for the SAG. In the past four years I have called for my wife three times. The first time, during a torrential rainstorm, my wife had no complaints. The second time, I had flatted twice, used up all of my CO2, and was 25 miles from home because I decided to do a 90 mile ride instead of the 50 mile one I had told my wife that I going to do. I still hear about that pick up. The third time, I had crashed and needed to go the the emergency room. Only the severity of my injuries has saved me from post-pick up comments. If I were in your shoes, my decision to call would have been influenced by whether the drop in company were my friends of friends of my SAG pick up. If it were my friends' fault that I got a late start, I would not have called. If it were my wife's friends or relatives, I may have called.
I used to freak out about the same thing.PseuZQ
Sep 8, 2003 2:17 PM
Seriously. Like, "Oh. My. God. It's getting dark! Maybe I should PANIC!!" I got caught a couple times where there were no streetlights.

Now I just pack lights. Not always my regular "night riding lights" per se, but my "backup lights" which include a PrincetonTec 3led headlamp and a pocket blinkie from Vistalite (the one that can go on a belt).

As fall approaches though I've just been putting my EL300 in my hydration pack or jersey pocket and using my regular blinkie.

Or, just stop and a hardware store/7-11/packie and buy a cheap flashlight. (If you can.)

For me, any additional weight is mitigated by the fact that I no longer have to say to myself, "I am a dipsh*t because I got caught in the dark despite the fact that I have perfectly good lights that I was too lazy to bring." :-/
I have blinkies on my bikes...biknben
Sep 8, 2003 2:43 PM
1. I have a blinkie on the seat posts of my road bikes. I use it near dusk, after dark, or when raining.

2. I use reflective tape on my commuter. A thin strip on the cranks, fork, and between two spokes on each wheel.

3. The best place to use reflective material is on things that move and rotate. This way the attract more attention. You head doesn't move around much. Some helmets do have dabs of reflective material.

4. I would have shortened my ride to get home before it got pitch black. JMHO, though.
re: Got caught in the darkKEN2
Sep 8, 2003 3:05 PM
Reflectors in general are overrated. See this article on the perils of depending on reflectors:
In particular, reflectorized helmets can create a false sense of security, where in reality anything high up on the bike (and that's the highest) isn't going to catch much headlight action, especially as the car draws closer. Better to use reflectorized tape lower, and on moving parts, as a backup to a blinkie.
re: Got caught in the darkMR_GRUMPY
Sep 8, 2003 4:35 PM
1) Only if I plan to get home after the sun goes down. (Then it's a NiteRider in front and a strobe in back)
2) No way, someone might think that you were a "Fred."
3) Other manufacturers do.
4) I would have planned the ride to get home 15 minutes before dark. If I had to, I'd cut the ride short.
re: Got caught in the darkFatnslow
Sep 9, 2003 8:35 AM
I have found myself in this situation a couple of times. Once on my mountain bike returning from a trail, and last night on my road bike. Usually, I have trouble gauging when it will get dark so, as soon as I think it may be getting dark, I head home (I'm only 2 miles away from my house at the loop where I usually ride).

Since I live in Charlotte, NC where bad drivers are the norm and courtesy towards cyclists is nonexistent, and since my route home is mostly fairly busy roads, if I'm out after dark, I ride home on the sidewalk so I don't have to worry about a car not seeing me.

I currently have a blinkie light on order to keep with me at all times just in case it happens again, but even with the light on, I may do the sidewalk thing.