I have recently begun experimenting with some night riding, mainly at Green Mountain, which is a City of Lakewood (Colorado) open space park. It is basically just west and north of Alameda and east of C-470. It’s winter now, so night riding also includes some cold weather considerations, but I’ve really enjoyed the trips so far. Just bundle up and head out. Gear-wise, I’ve been using a few inexpensive LED flashlights, the kind that can use 3 AAA batteries or one of the big 18065 battery. I use the 18065’s and haven’t had any problems with battery life. I use two on my handlebars, mounted with Two Fish Lockblocks. I haven’t had any problem at all with these coming loose or falling off. I also mount one more flashlight to my helmet using a “Livestrong” type bracelet stretched over the light and through the vents on my helmet. The only gear malfunction I’ve had so far has been one of the flashlights on my bar likes to switch to flashing mode if it bounces around too much. Annoying, for sure. When I remember, I’ll swap it with the one on my helmet and see how that works.
Since I also ride on the streets and cross a fairly busy intersection at night, I’ve also added a couple other night riding items. I have a Blackburn red flasher attached to my seatpost. I’ve also striped a few spots on my bike with some 3M black relfective tape. I put it on a few of the black parts of my bike – front fork tubes and half of the spokes on each wheel. The tape is hard to notice in daylight, but reflects bright white at night when car lights hit it. Yes, I am one of those people that take the reflectors off my bike as soon as I leave the shop. That saves them ending up littering the trail later when they fall off! Finally, I found a cool “vest” that is really just a really long belt that goes around your waist and over your shoulders. It has reflective material and is super bright. I also have a belt of the same material. I usually wear one or the other when I’m riding or running at night. I decided to start wearing them after I passed a few people on the trails at night, the folks that were wearing reflective gear were much easier to see and make a safe pass than the people that weren’t.
If you have an area where you can do it, give night riding (or trail running) a try! It is much less crowded, that’s for sure. The solitude and quiet give it whole different feel compared to riding in the daylight.
How about you? Anyone else out there like riding at night? Or maybe even trail running at night, which I haven’t tried yet, but plan to soon.