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jonm42

Night rider(s)

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(with no apologies to David H. Or KITT) I'm currently stuck in the northern hemisphere, which means daylight is at a premium, but I still want to ride. I do not want to get run over or run into things however. I'm wondering what sort of gear to investigate to make riding at night a more viable option, not to mention keeping myself and my ewheel in one piece. Thanks!

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I’ve been riding with a pocket friendly but reasonably powerful flashlight that I just hold in my hand when I ride in the dark. It’s good to be able to point it where I need to, and mostly I just keep my hand hanging straight down so it doesn’t get tired.

In addition I have reflective strips around my jacket so I should be reasonably visible to others as well.

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If you're feeling crafty, you can make yourself an LED riding jacket. There are all kinds of LED strips on amazon that can be run off a 12V powerbank (I'm sure there are plenty of 5V strip options too.) Just takes a bit of soldering and hand sewing. My girlfriend and I did something similar for our bikes and backpacks at Burning Man last year.

Chooch also posted a video where he mounts a head lamp under the visor of his helmet for night riding. Seems like a pretty solid idea.

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You can get a bright bicycle light that is rechargeable for about 50 bucks these days.  I have a cygolite expelian 750 lumen I use.  It’s plenty to keep me from hitting something.  I have a motorcycle jacket that I wear that has reflective material in it so it helps.  I have seen some riders in New York with leds all over their helmets.   Watch some of ustrides videos on YouTube there is a guy they call the panda who has his helmet all lit up.

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I personally found it extremely difficult to figure out holes and stuff on a helmet mounted flashlight, because the shadows always point away from you. Apparently a few other people also have this problem, but since most do not then it's probably just a "train your brain" situation.

However, just by moving the flashlight to one side a few feet, suddenly I can see 3d and holes properly.

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1 hour ago, LanghamP said:

I personally found it extremely difficult to figure out holes and stuff on a helmet mounted flashlight, because the shadows always point away from you.

I accidentally went down some shallow stairs for exactly this reason. I just didn't see the height difference until I was almost on top of them, and then it was too late. Didn't crash, but yep, this is a problem. How did you move the flashlight to one side a few feet? Hold it in your hand?

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1 hour ago, LanghamP said:

I personally found it extremely difficult to figure out holes and stuff on a helmet mounted flashlight, because the shadows always point away from you.

I completely agree. After hitting a few holes that I never even saw, I realized how perspective diminishes when the light source is only a couple inches from my eyes. A light on the wheel, and one in my hand, seems to be the best combination for night rides, IMO.

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Yes the light on the wheel seems to show imperfections in the pavement best, and the bike light in my hand goes where I want it to.

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I ride with two flashlights, one in each hand (clipped to Flexmeters). I found a good trick with my left flashlight which is focusable and when focused shows a sharp image of the CREE emitter (it looks like a battery with 6 cells, no kidding). So when I project this image to the left and forward of me (in the middle of the car lane to the left of me if I'm riding in a bicycle lane), this dramatically increased the average room the drivers are giving me. It looks like a watermark (lightmark) on the road and is clearly visible by drivers from afar, since it is stretched out like those signs painted on the road. If the traffic is not dense and there's more than 1 lane, most drivers go to the second lane, giving me very generous amount of space! If the traffic is dense (cars go right after one another), then this trick doesn't work, unfortunately.

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17 hours ago, Aneta said:

I ride with two flashlights, one in each hand (clipped to Flexmeters). I found a good trick with my left flashlight which is focusable and when focused shows a sharp image of the CREE emitter (it looks like a battery with 6 cells, no kidding). So when I project this image to the left and forward of me (in the middle of the car lane to the left of me if I'm riding in a bicycle lane), this dramatically increased the average room the drivers are giving me. It looks like a watermark (lightmark) on the road and is clearly visible by drivers from afar, since it is stretched out like those signs painted on the road. If the traffic is not dense and there's more than 1 lane, most drivers go to the second lane, giving me very generous amount of space! If the traffic is dense (cars go right after one another), then this trick doesn't work, unfortunately.

You can point the flashlight directly down, or have a second flashlight hanging downward. I think this method is the most visible of all methods, as it appears you are floating on a circle of light.

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From my perspective as a driver, nothing works better than clearly seeing the person - any other cool effects, like lights illuminating the road underneath and around e-scooters or LEDs on segwheels, only add recognition time; actually, sometimes driver's amusement "wtf is that?!" makes them subconsciously steer closer! So, I'm going to add another flashlight, on the back of my helmet, pointing down and illuminating my whole back.

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I fitted an extra rear light to my Z10, and also bought those light strips for my helmet. Those lines you can see are laser lights that it projects down onto the ground behind you (optional on the rear light I added)

 

helmet lights (3).jpg

EUC rear light (2).jpg

Edited by Retrovertigo

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7 hours ago, Retrovertigo said:

I fitted an extra rear light to my Z10, and also bought those light strips for my helmet. Those lines you can see are laser lights that it projects down onto the ground behind you (optional on the rear light I added)

EUC rear light (2).jpg

Looks nice! How did you fit it there? Glued it on? :confused1:

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22 minutes ago, z3n said:

Looks nice! How did you fit it there? Glued it on? :confused1:

It comes with a bracket that is in two halves, so I bolted it through the gaps in the trolley handle mount. These pictures show how....they may not make much sense, but if you had the light you'd understand better how I did it :) 

The light clips on and off the bracket, and those rubber stops are to allow me to still lean the wheel onto the bracket to stand it up, without touching the plastic bracket at all.

 

light bracket 1.jpg

light bracket 2.jpg

light bracket 3.jpg

Edited by Retrovertigo

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1 hour ago, Retrovertigo said:

It comes with a bracket that is in two halves, so I bolted it through the gaps in the trolley handle mount. These pictures show how....they may not make much sense, but if you had the light you'd understand better how I did it :) 

The light clips on and off the bracket, and those rubber stops are to allow me to still lean the wheel onto the bracket to stand it up, without touching the plastic bracket at all.

Cool bracket! Never seen a light with such bracket before. Now I am tempted to get one too! :rolleyes:

Where did you get it from? Do you mind to share its link, maybe? Thanks a lot! :cheers:

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37 minutes ago, z3n said:

Cool bracket! Never seen a light with such bracket before. Now I am tempted to get one too! :rolleyes:

Where did you get it from? Do you mind to share its link, maybe? Thanks a lot! :cheers:

This is a link to the same light (Meilan X5) https://www.aliexpress.com/item/33029125837.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.0.0.ea8d7cf6ZR1ZNC&s=p&algo_pvid=ccf60a51-2d47-4604-8a2a-c3df277163a4&algo_expid=ccf60a51-2d47-4604-8a2a-c3df277163a4-5&btsid=0de42fa9-ac11-4a0d-bca5-e21cc292b85f&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_4,searchweb201603_55

I didn't buy mine from AliExpress, I got mine from Wish. I just used that link to show you the light :) It is important to get the Meilan X5, as it has the same bracket as mine. There are copies out there, but they have different brackets that would make it a lot harder to mount. You can buy it from places like eBay as well :)

The only thing I had to change, was getting slightly longer bolts as the ones supplied aren't quite long enough. But the bolts are easy to buy from many places and are very cheap!

Edited by Retrovertigo

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12 minutes ago, Retrovertigo said:

This is a link to the same light (Meilan X5) https://www.aliexpress.com/item/33029125837.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.0.0.ea8d7cf6ZR1ZNC&s=p&algo_pvid=ccf60a51-2d47-4604-8a2a-c3df277163a4&algo_expid=ccf60a51-2d47-4604-8a2a-c3df277163a4-5&btsid=0de42fa9-ac11-4a0d-bca5-e21cc292b85f&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_4,searchweb201603_55

I didn't buy mine from AliExpress, I got mine from Wish. I just used that link to show you the light :) It is important to get the Meilan X5, as it has the same bracket as mine. There are copies out there, but they have different brackets that would make it a lot harder to mount. You can buy it from places like eBay as well :)

The only thing I had to change, was getting slightly longer bolts as the ones supplied aren't quite long enough. But the bolts are easy to buy from many places and are very cheap!

Great info. Thank you! :thumbup:

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