Road riding at night- thoughts? advice?

It sounds super dangerous to me. Maybe doing laps around a residential area with zero traffic? I’d stay off main roads.

Do you have trails near you? I’ve had friends who mountain bike at night all the time.

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Hope are amazing for warranty on lights. Reliability is an issue with lights, dropping them, damaging cables etc, so the warranty from Hope is great, along with a massive battery with something like 4 hrs at full chat ~ 1500 lumens not fake with the R4. Also have the rear light, the District+, which is 135 lumens, but all in the red end of the spectrum, so it seems brighter. The other thing is the colour of the front light…Hope produces an even white beam. Buy right, buy once etc.

the Bontrager Flare R rear light has a really disruptive pattern, that I’d recommend… for riding anytime, even during the day. Also, I use a tiny bar-end mirror made by Beam called the Corky… frankly I think this is better than the Varia, bc I see cars approaching, and can deviate my line to provide them space and/or even draw their attention if it appears they aren’t providing me enough space. If you have a friend or loved one who’d be OK with you sending them a live location (say, through WhatsApp or something via your phone), I’d recommend that as well.



All right! Welcome to the world of night riding, @toribath !! I love riding under a moonlit sky through an almost empty country side…or bathed in the sodium glow of a deserted cityscape. It’s awesome!

Rest easy! It’s a thousand times safer to ride @ ~3am than it is to ride during the day. Primarily because interactions are a couple orders of magnitude lower. If you don’t encounter a car it can’t run you over! But also you will be safer because when you do encounter a car it will be more likely to notice you. You will actually be MORE VISIBLE on the road at that time than during the day…and you will be the only thing going on for other commuters to notice.

But, @toribath, I don’t know if I like that 12a to 2a time for riding. There can be a lot of drunks making their way home during that time…depending on what the ‘last call’ laws are in your area. So keep that in mind.

GEAR…here is what I use:

rear lights:
On each chainstay:

On the seatpost:

front light:

This light:
With this dispersion lens:
Battery stuffed in this top tube bag:

ankle straps:
(put the little one around your ankle. put the big one around your bicep)

Somebody else in this thread recommended a reflective gilet. I don’t always wear one but think it’s a great idea. Here is what I use:


I once rode along a small country lane at night, and could see the rear lights of a slow moving car quite far ahead of me. A couple of seconds later, I realised they were actually the rear lights of two cyclists riding next to each other, directly in front of me! At that point I was only about 30m behind them - luckily I wasn’t in a car.

As a result, I prefer to have my rear light flashing, especially when riding with others…

This was my first thought - I would imagine many more drunks at this time vs. the 4:30 AM bliss I have experienced.

Also, definitely be on the look out for wildlife. I have confused a number of deer on the road before - dangerous for both of us!

That is some good advice! I once thought a bobcat that was running full tilt right at me was going to attack. Turned out he was just running from a skunk that was in the road…and which I hit. So there is one thing to avoid.


Lots of good advice on lights and clothing that I won’t reiterate

Just a further note about routes. Roads that are safe during the day can be much more dangerous at night, and likewise dangerous daytime roads are something fairly safe at night

You’ll have to experiment with what works in your area - but don’t be afraid of trying a ride on what are normally busier roads - these might be better lit and still have vanishingly few cars on them in the middle of the night.

Also - someone mentioned this above, but road surface is key, particularly if you’re riding fast (descending, or just a fast rider). You’ll have less lead time on potholes or other hazards, be careful and be aware of where these problems are before you get to them

Further, if you’re in a wildlife friendly area sometimes staying to neighborhoods and higher population density areas might reduce your risk by reducing the frequency of run-ins with the local flora and fauna

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I dont ride at night necessarily, but early mornings, in winter generally only 1 day a week when the sun is fully up before I am finished

Good reliable lights are a must, the newer daybright rear lights are the go. High vis colours and reflectives (stuff like the Rapha Brevet range in the bright colours, not the dark ones). Not had any issues with cars myself, but im also often in a small group of 3+ riders, which helps

Knowing your route helps, after a while you will know where all the potholes/obstacles are and you can avoid them without really thinking about it

EDIT: ah yes forgot about wildlife. Being in Australia and riding outside of a major centre, we often have to dodge roos, even nearly collected a peacock 1 ride, no idea where that came from :expressionless:

That’s one experience vs studies done but you do you. And flashing lights in a group? Not in any group I’m on.

Or you could do both when riding alone like I suggested

Trail riding at night looks fun!
There’s no way I would ride a road bike at night. Less traffic but more drunks.

I love riding at night in the city. There’s a certain sense of excitement I get out of it. I’ve done it a lot at home (L.A.) and when traveling in places like London and Italy. But in those scenarios I’m usually going at a social pace … like zone 2. However I recently crashed descending a steep road at night when I couldn’t see a sharp turn ahead. Was simply going too fast (I had a lot of confidence in my descending skills up to that point) and even though I had two lights (Garmin UT800 on bike and NiteRider 800 on helmet) my vision was likely compromised due to speed (over 25mph) and no street lights on the road I was on (mountains). My point being riding at night is awesome but consider your own safety first and foremost because it’s easy to get over confident and not realize how limited our senses are in addition to others around you.

Read most of the above, and echo most of the good advice. I used to do intervals at night on gravel. One really good 900+ lumen headlight, a different angle helmet/bar mount light in the 300+ range, and I always carried an older spare (third) which matched an already available mounting system.

Two rechargeable taillights, one of which beeps as it fades, sometimes a spare third. On flashing mode, they all last longer than my workouts, so the third never got used…

IMO, rural after-sunset riding is probably safer than daytime riding. The lights don’t have to be AS strong enough to overpower the visual noise from other traffic, the setting sun, the weird angle on someone’s metal roof, etc.

Do what you gotta do to get the hours, the intensity, and the consistency in. Oh, and enjoy the rides while you’re at it.

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:face_with_head_bandage: yeah i dont think id be bombing descents in the dark, especially if i didnt know the route intimately

I see here lots of recommendations for 700-1000 lumen headlights and was told the same by a shop mechanic who I trust.

I have to say… my wife and I LOVE our 1800 W boost NiteRiders. We tend to ride fast and draft close, even at night. (Descending Mt. Lemmon for repeats all night… yes I supertucked.)

If climbing we had the lights at their 350 lumen mode and we were fine. (<10mph)
If descending we had it at the 1500 lumen mode and/or 1800 lumen boost mode, and honestly wished for more.

While on flats, we feel comfortable with the 700 lumen mode if it was a straight, quiet, clean road with good markings and road surface and no traffic nearby, but as soon as it gets dirty, or road surface is variable at all, I find that I’m thankful for every bit of the 1500 lumen and sometimes the 1800 lumen boost mode. Could I do with less? Sure. But I love having access to that brighter setting whenever I want it.

Biggest reason I advocate for getting something like the Lumina Dual 1800: you get a longer battery life for the lumens. (3 hours at 700 lumens)

If riding when dawn or dusk the pulse mode is sweet. 10 hours with 1000 lumen pulse + 100 lumen steady in between.

I say go overkill on light brightness. I like being able to see everything when I want to.

We use a combo of very bright flashing red taillights (also from niterider) and these. We usually have the niterider one on flash or pulse mode, and have the others on a mix of steady and various flashing patterns. The more obnoxious the better in my book.


Yes, well, that’s a different use case than most. Better to have and not need, than to need and not have, I get that. And battery life is another good reason.

Moderately maintained midwestern gravel roads didn’t pose any problems for me doing intervals with sub 1000 lights, but I did have two angles, which helps highlight significant bumps or obstacles. But like I said, my after kids’ bedtime interval rides were usually under two hours and always under three hours… Low mode through town until I hit the open road and then medium or high as required for conditions…

I felt fine, but that might have something to do with starting to ride gravel before sunrise for my commute with about 600 lumens total, back in the NiCad Light & Motion days.

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Which model beeps when it fades? That sounds like a really useful feature in a rear light.

5 minutes of research and I realize that the Serfas Thunder-something-or-other is only offered in a white front light now… Sorry to have brought it up…

I have the red version of this: USLA-7 Thunder Blast Headlight (100 Lumens) - Serfas

Serfas Thunderbolt USB Taillight

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