A lot of people buy bicycles never intending to ride after dark and then sometimes find themselves pedaling home after the sun's gone down. This is dangerous because you're almost invisible to drivers and you can't see hazards that could cause a crash. It's also illegal and you could be ticketed should a cop spot you.
To avoid these risks we recommend coming in and picking up a basic lighting system comprised of a headlight and taillight. This will set you back only about $30 to $75 (depending on what you select) and offer you the peace of mind of knowing you'll be safe no matter how late you ride.
Reflecting on reflectors
You might wonder why you need a light when your bike is already equipped with reflectors. While these are helpful at night, they only light up when lit by a vehicle's headlights. And, many states require lights for night riding by law. Reflectors do not light the road at all to help you see. So, for optimum safety, you really need lights.
It's also good to dress in bright and light colors for night rides. There are now also jackets and vests made of, or featuring, built-in reflective materials that makes you light up in traffic like a reflective street sign.
Another inexpensive safety trick is adding reflective tape to the pedals, crankarms and rims (between the spoke nipples; not on the braking surfaces). This will provide moving reflectors that are more visible to motorists than stationary ones.
Selection of our Reflective Products
Be bright: use lights
A good set of lights is a significant investment. The key elements to look for in a light or light system:
Lumens: The measure of total light delivered by the light source.
Lithium Ion battery: The highest power, lightest weight batteries on the market. Li-ion batteries are commonly found in cell phones and laptops due to their light weight and high power. Unfortunately they are also the most expensive batteries on the market.
L.E.D - Light emitting diodes: These new solid state components are revolutionizing the lighting world. They are rated to last for over 20,000 hours and are the most efficient light source ever developed.
Beam Pattern: Lumen power is important, but a good beam directs the light where you need it. Reflectors are created to provide the best beam pattern for street and trail use.
Smart charging: About 1/2 your light system cost is in the battery and charger if it uses lithium ion cells. A smart charger helps the battery last longer and will charge it faster.
While these steps will increase your safety, headlights and taillights are most important for riding at night because they make you visible to cars and also provide light to ride by. The beam of light they cast reveals hazards that could case a crash, such as pavement cracks, potholes, glass and other hard-to-see road users, like a pedestrian in dark clothing.
The basic lights we carry run on standard alkaline batteries available in any store, usually AA or AAA. If you prefer, you can substitute compatible rechargeable batteries if you have them. More-expensive lights sometimes come with rechargeable batteries.
Headlights attach to the handlebars with a small quick-release mount that makes removal easy when the light's not needed. This means the light can also double as a handy flashlight for lighting the walkway to your front door; finding your keys; fixing flat tires; etc. Plus, it makes it easy to move the light to other bikes.
Taillights also have handy features. Most models offer flashing and steady modes and can be mounted to the bicycle or on a pack. When mounting it to a pack make sure the light remains visible when you lean forward to ride.
Keep in mind that regular battery lights meet the basic safety requirements for riding at night, yet they're best for roads lit by streetlights. If you get into serious night riding where you ride on unlit roads, or especially on trails, you should come in and look at our more advanced lighting options.
The new rechargeable LED systems are very bright and compact. The basic systems emit 150 to 300 lumens. Most urban riders can do with a 150 lumens headlight. If you are riding on very dark roads 300 lumens or more may be nessesary.
If you're riding at night, come in and see our wide selection of lights and let us light up your bike!
Sample of the lights we carry