Those who cycle when there’s light are doing it right, but those who cycle at night know what’s a true riding delight…
You know you’re serious about a hobby when you begin to become interested in all the additional pieces of equipment there are, the purpose of which is to improve or alter the experience. When it comes to cycling, deciding to equip yourself with the proper bicycle lights is never a bad idea since you never really know when you might end up in a situation that requires them, even if you didn’t plan to ride at night beforehand. However, for those of you that are willingly about to conquer the night on two wheels, you ought to know that not only is the night dark, but riding with no light can be full of errors and terror. The range of bicycle lights is wide, so in order to choose right, you must know the features that fit you needs.
First off, it’s important to know that there are lights specifically created to help you see and those created to help you be seen. The first type offers greater brightness and these lights come with a large battery. They feature a narrow beam angle that enables the cyclist to see into the distance. The latter type feature wide beam and side illumination and the number of lumens is lower since seeing into distance is not a priority. This results in the need for smaller batteries and lower cost. And while many believe that both of these types of lights can only be used at night, it’s proven that they can improve both the visibility of the bike itself and the ability of the rider to see clearly during daytime.
Next, you need to know how lumens relate to the brightness story of a light. The simplest way to put it is – the more lumes, the more illumination. When it comes to determining how bright is too bright, for regular commuters for instance, it’s advisable to use bicycle lights that won’t blind oncoming traffic and that could be used for both day and night. If you do however choose a light with high lumen count for this purpose, just make sure it’s tilted downwards as to avoid the eye line of oncoming drivers. Another option is to rely on two sets of lights, one more and one less powerful. The more powerful can be turned down or off when traffic approaches and the less powerful one can remain in flashing mode non-stop. The flashing mode itself can help cyclists differentiate themselves from streetlights and it can also help save battery.
Mounting wise, the majority of lights can be easily mounted to the most handlebars and seat posts, however that’s not the case when it comes to bikes with aero bars and aero seat posts. Most lights are secured in place with the help of a screw (for tightening the bracket around the handlebar) and velcro. They can also be mounted using a stretchable rubber strap. However, if you don’t have a standard circular bar, mounting could prove to be problematic. This is why when buying bicycle lights, you need to make sure your bike is compatible with them. Some people decide to mount a second rear light to their seatstays as to ensure more visibility and if you opt for this, keep in mind that you need to make sure the mount is secure and won’t turn right into your wheel. For this purpose, look for mounts that will enable you to easily adjust the tightness. What’s more, if the lights come with interchangeable mounting straps, that’s even better since this means they can be mounted on different handlebar diameters.
When it comes to the way your lights’ batteries are to be powered, they can either require batteries or be USB rechargeable (as most modern lights usually are). The latter option is a lot more viable since it means you’ll be saving money by not having to purchase batteries. The rechargeable batteries usually used for this purpose are Lithium-Ion. If you, however, choose lights that require batteries, make sure they are easy to find in supermarkets or service stations. Certain high powered lights require a battery pack which you’ll need to carry with you and plug into the light so that it can work. If this happens to be the case, make sure both items can be mounted on your bike. If that’s not possible, you can mount the one and carry the other, although that can get a bit uncomfortable for most people. However, some people actually prefer this cause they consider it a better way for the weigh to be distributed when riding. The final thing you ought to know regarding batteries is: the greater the capacity requirement the greater the size and weight.
Hopefully, all of the above-mentioned details will be able to help you make a right decision and have many safe and fun adventures with your bike, whether they occur during day or night.