Shorter days and longer nights don't have to mean the end of your riding season. In fact, riding at night can provide some of the best experiences you'll have on a bike. Many roads and paths are clearer, the air is crisp and cool, and trail riding at night can provide an exciting new challenge to even the most seasoned mountain bikers. The key to making it work is choosing the right lights for your needs. Mike's is here to help shed some light on the subject. Read on.
Safety Lights: Commuting in Urban Areas with Streetlights Whenever you ride at night, your top priority should be to maintain your visibility to cars. The more brightly-lit you are, the safer you are. It's that simple. If you ride in places with streetlights, chances are you don't need the sort of headlight that illuminates the road in front of you. You just need some well-placed, bright, flashing lights. White in front and red in back will help motorists determine which direction you're headed in, another key factor in safety. And though they're no substitute for proper lights, but leaving those reflectors on that came with your bike is also a good idea.
A versatile, affordable pair of flashing lights like the CityLite Headlight/Taillight Combo ($29.99 each) are the perfect choice. These lights can be mounted on your handlebars, seatpost, and even rear rack.
For additional safety, a super-bright compact light like the BikeSmart SuperStar 1W Headlight or Serfas Thunderbolt Taillight ($44.99 each) pack a lot more punch and will help out when you take a turn down a dark block or if you're riding in inclement weather. With extended use, the Thunderbolt will pay for themselves as it is rechargeable via any computer's USB port.
Many people commute through rural areas that don't have streetlights. This type of riding, especially when it's done on a road bike where seeing potholes matters quite a lot, presents a challenge that is different from urban settings. In the past, bulky mountain bike light systems were the only thing bright enough to serve a rider well on an unlit road. Luckily technology has evolved, and there are now several choices in super-bright headlights that are both rechargeable and compact.
Possibly the most innovative commute solution we've seen is the Light & Motion Vis 360+ Light System ($189.99). This all-in-one system includes a helmet-mounted 250-lumen headlight connected to a blazingly-bright taillight, all running from a single compact USB-rechargeable battery. We've been testing this system thoroughly and we love it. For those that need an even brighter headlight, the NiteRider Lumina 550 ($109.99) is just the ticket with its blazing 550 lumen beam and slim light body containing an integrated rechargeable battery.
Our favorite type of night riding is in the woods, and thanks to the latest light technology nighttime trail riding is more fun than ever before. If you're a mountain rider and you haven't yet experienced your favorite trail in the dark, you'll be amazed at how different this new challenge can be. At Mike's Bikes we carry high-quality MTB light systems made by Light & Motion. The latest systems feature high-powered LED bulbs with Li-Ion batteries. These systems are incredibly bright, charge quickly, provide hours of burn time with no battery memory, and are durable enough to stand up to muddy conditions.
One of our most popular MTB lights is the Seca 1500 ($399.99) which blasts out 1500 lumens and easily mounts to a helmet or handlebar. The battery pack is seperate from the light body to keep the weight off of the rider's head when mounting the light up high. For those that do endurance racing, stepping up to the Seca 2000 ($499.99) will increase your light output while keeping things lightweight at only 343 grams.