With the clocks set to go back one hour this Sunday (27/10/19) it means that the winter is officially upon us. Although the change is designed to give us an extra hour of light after work, many people will still find themselves cycling in the dark, so here are a few tips for those winter rides.
It is an obvious yet essential piece of equipment every rider will need when riding in the dark. Several lights are available, but LED lights are recommended.
If you are biking down country lanes, the front light will not only make you visible to oncoming drivers but also illuminate your path and reveal any potholes or dangers. Your rear lights will also need to be right and clearly visible.
It may also be wise to carry a spare set of lights when out on a ride.
Alongside lights, reflective clothing is another essential when riding at night. There is a wide range of choice of reflective clothing.
The motion of pedalling when reflected may attract more attention from drivers than a reflective stripe across the back, so reflective pedals, overshoes or ankle bands may be a worthy investment.
Riders may want to even add some reflective tape to their bike for extra visibility.
- Plan your route
No matter if your training or just cycling to get some miles in, always be sure to plan your route ahead of your ride.
A dark evening may be best for an intense one-hour ride, rather than a long steady three-hour ride, meaning a short loop avoiding poorly surfaced as much as possible areas may be best on a dark evening.
- Ride with a group or partner
Riding as part of a group or alongside a partner is a safe way to approach night rides, by having more riders there are more people on sight if a medical or mechanical issue occurs.
- Be prepared for mechanical issues
Firstly, ensure your bike is in full working order ahead of your ride, but be sure to carry enough tools to repair the most likely failures.
Some riders will carry a spare inner tube, a multi-tool with a chain breaker and a pump.
Also be sure to always take your mobile phone on any ride, allowing you to contact anyone if needed.