The days are getting shorter, and not everyone is going to let that stop them from enjoying some time out riding. There is definitely no reason to pass up on some evening rides, but there are many more hazards present than when riding in the daytime.
But, by following the right safety precautions, you might find that your ride is not only safe but particularly fun and relaxing. Here are some tips to keep safe on your night ride.
Make Sure You Have Working Lights
A suitable set of lights are the single biggest requirement for a safe night ride. If your cycling route is going over unlit terrain, make sure to have had a particularly bright front light somewhere in the range of 800 or more lumens. This will allow you to see the path ahead well enough to avoid obstacles.
An important thing to keep in mind when choosing a front light this bright is its battery life. You will need this light to last the duration of your ride, and luckily in many cases, these lights can survive for more than an hour on full brightness, and many have lower brightness and flash settings that can allow it to last longer when visibility is better. Make sure you know the expected battery life so that you can plan accordingly and make sure you charge it when needed.
However, when using a bright light such as those suitable for riding on roads at night, you will need to practice particular caution to avoid creating further hazards. This involves directing the light away from oncoming traffic when you are riding on unlit lanes and using it on lower power settings if possible when using it in areas with another lighting source. As always, using equipment responsibly is as important as having it in the first place.
Though with a good set of lights and proper planning, it shouldn’t prove necessary very often, it is a good idea to make sure you have a backup light. If it is needed, you will certainly be thankful you had it; just make sure to keep the batteries fresh and check it every few weeks. For your extremely critical rear light, it is a good idea to run two at once so that if one fails, the other will still be running.
High Visibility Outfit
As long as you have lights that are running, you are likely visible enough for drivers that are paying attention. However, a visibility enhancing outfit, such as clothing with high visibility elements, can offer a significant layer of protection in cases where your lights may fail and an extra layer of visibility in addition to any lights you may have. Regardless of whether you choose to wear dedicated high visibility safety gear, try to avoid dark clothing that could be hard to spot by drivers.
Plan Your Route
You may be able to see ahead with your powerful front light, but the fact is you will still struggle to see as far as you would have in the daytime. The best way to help deal with this is to know your route ahead of time. This way, you can avoid surprises and always know what is ahead.
Also, remember that it is always okay to slow down when you are unsure of what is ahead. It is always better to get home a little later and avoid hitting a pothole and damaging your bike, and possibly hurting yourself.
Finally, remember that if your regular route isn’t as safe in the dark, then feel free to change it. Sometimes a path that looks safe during the day can take on an entirely different character at night if there are no streetlights. Whether it is frequently flooded, collects debris, or has sharp curves, sometimes it is better to simply take a different route when the days get shorter.
Ride With Friends
If you have a friend that also loves to ride their ebike at night, arrange to go together. It is always safer to ride in numbers, and you will be more visible to passing motorists as well. You might also be surprised how much easier it is to repair your e-bike’s tire with someone to hold a flashlight for you while you work.
If a riding buddy isn’t an option, try letting someone know what your plans are and bring a cell phone in case you need to contact anyone for help. It is certainly no fun to walk your bike home in the dark with a flat tire and on the same note, make sure to bring your basic repair tools just like you would during the day. So, do yourself a favor and make sure you can contact help just in case.
Try Riding Off-Road
If you have the right e-bike for it, riding off-road can sometimes be a safer option than riding along the road. With an all-terrain electric bike like the Espin Neroyou, you can add a lot of variety to your ride without the danger of passing motorists sharing the road.
Now with offroading, you will want to be prepared for unexpected rocks, slick mud patches, and likely more than one fall riding offroad in the dark. More than ever, this is where a good riding buddy can come in handy, but with a little bit of experience, this can be a great and often safer way to enjoy some night riding.
Night riding can be a great way to enjoy some ebike rides without the hustle and bustle many of you deal with in the day. But, this exposes riders to a number of dangers that make it crucial to apply some extra caution. Try taking these steps to keep your ride safe and enjoy riding your ebike no matter how short the days become.