Nov 11, 2010

Night and Day

Dawn Shadows
Originally uploaded by Snak Shak
The switch to Daylight Savings time has dramatically altered the ride to and from work. Prior to last weekend, I was running my powerful lights in the morning and rode home in low sun. It's now reversed; low sun in the morning (or dawn, depending on when I get moving), and darkness on the way home.

After a close call or two last year, I run lights if the sun is at all low on the horizon. At night, lights are obviously necessary, but I think they are even more important in low sun. I generally use the "flash" setting front and rear at dusk and switch to steady beams after dark. The trick in twilight is to catch the attention of drivers and pedestrians; at night it's more about being visible and being able to see.

As I have said earlier, there is something magical about riding a bike in the dark, even if it is in rush hour traffic.


  1. I'm with you. The blinkies catch others attention and that's what helps prevent us from getting run over. I like a bright, steady beam to see the potholes and other obstructions that can hurt me too. So I ride with a blinkie and a steady light in front. It's not much trouble.

  2. I usually run a steady light on the off-street trails, and a flasher when I'm on the street. Although I just learned today that MN statute 169.64 prohibits the use of a flashing headlamp!

  3. Interesting. I have gotten negative feedback from drivers for using my Nite Rider front lights on flash mode at twilight (they were not aimed too high but the driver said they were distracting - it was actually quite a nice discussion at an intersection and she was a cyclist. At dusk the flashers make perfect sense, but in the dark, steady lights seem most effective. That said, my routine set-up in the dark includes a Planet Bike Superflash on steady red in back and either a Blackburn Flea (on my bag or the back of my helmet) on flash. A little flash in back can't hurt.

  4. @SnackAttack - yea, I'm somewhat aware that drivers may not always appreciate the strobe effect, but I guess I keep doing it exactly because I know it might be distracting enough that I'm more confident they actually see me.