Monday, January 3, 2011

Winter Bike Commuting

Winter bike commuting means it is dark when I get on the bike in the morning and/or dark when I ride home from work. I love Christmas time when everyone has festive lights decorating my route. But now it's January and these will slowly disappear. However, these delights are often replaced with beautiful crisp cold sunrises with fog hovering over a dewy field.

Bike commuting is most definitely safer when it is light out. However, there are plenty of tools out there to keep commuters visible. I try to combine these with a less-traveled route when it is dark.

A few of the items I use when I commute in the dark include the following:
  • Reflective bands on my commuter bag and/or jacket.
  • Flashing red lights on the back of my bike and my bag.
  • Multiple bright white lights on the front of my bike - some pointing at the road and others pointing directly ahead so cars will see me coming and not pull out in front of me.
  • White clothes - I try not to dress ninja-style when bike commuting.
I have this NiteRider light on the front of my bike pointing at the road. It has a small battery pack that straps to my stem. The light is really bright. When I purchased it they only sold this version - but now they make one that has two lights working off one battery pack. I would recommend that one. 

A new favorite addition to my flashing ensemble includes these new mini LED lights. At under $20 they can't be beat. I of course choose green ones. What I really like about these is that sometimes I ride my bike in the morning for a workout (when it is light out) and end up at work. Then at 6pm I find myself stuck at work with a bike and it's dark. I can throw these in my pocket or keep a few at work for those days when I want to ride home instead of run.

TriSports.com recently did a review on a different version of the MiNewt light. I haven't tried this light, but it is a good in-depth look at another bright commuting option. If you purchase any lights from TriSports.com you can also use coupon code CWERN-S for 10% off your order.

Whether you ride or run in the dark this time of year - make sure you are visible and always take the approach that cars do not see you, no matter how lit up like a Christmas tree you are. Happy and safe commuting!

8 comments:

GoBigGreen said...

The biggest error i see is people not lighting themselves from the front. They think " I can see that car, so that car must see me." Not so.
Looks like you have it covered. I have never driven by cyclist and thought " wow,they have too many lights!"
Stay safe:)

ONEHOURIRONMAN said...

Wow! Bolder than I am... lights or no lights.
You be careful out there!

Christi said...

Way to be safe out there!

Alison said...

A helmet light is helpful as well. As you turn your head to look at something, that direction is lit as well, not just the direction your bars are facing. Cheers!

Steve said...

lol Charisa. You are funny. I stay on the sidewalks with my lights as much as possible, because not many are out at 4:30 am. :) Me isn't no speed demon eider!!! :)) (misspelling on purpose)

I live in MI and tomorrow looks like snow, so gonna have to look outside before I plan my commute. Especially since I am running tomorrow night.

EEEEEEEKKKKKKKK!!! all fun. I may just drive. :)))

Steve said...

for the record planning on a brisk walk. :)

Trigirlpink said...

Hi
So fun to find your blog! I have that same light and now wish I had the double as well. I tried using it in the dark on easy trails in the woods on a cross bike, but not enough. Maybe on the roads not so bad but a helmet light to supplement might be a good idea. Safe riding out there!

Meg said...

Great bike light colors!
Missed you guys at track, it was COLD but fun to be back! See you next week?