Solo night ride

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.

Re: Solo night ride

Postby Grandad » Wed Aug 27, 2014 9:49 pm

Use the quietest roads you can find that have a white line down the centre. Ride on this until you see headlights from an oncoming or overtaking vehicle then move to the side. This way you are clear of the worst potholed areas for most of the ride. If the line starts moving from side to side it's a warning that you are getting sleepy so have a brief stop to get off for a drink and perhaps a very short walk (or if there is a bus shelter around a 10 minute nap!)

Also, in pitch dark, you can't keep an eye on which gear you are in!


I ride whichever gear is comfortable without worrying about knowing the details.
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby Ayesha » Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:09 pm

Grandad wrote:Use the quietest roads you can find that have a white line down the centre. Ride on this until you see headlights from an oncoming or overtaking vehicle then move to the side. This way you are clear of the worst potholed areas for most of the ride. If the line starts moving from side to side it's a warning that you are getting sleepy so have a brief stop to get off for a drink and perhaps a very short walk (or if there is a bus shelter around a 10 minute nap!)

Also, in pitch dark, you can't keep an eye on which gear you are in!


I ride whichever gear is comfortable without worrying about knowing the details.


Until the time when you've unknowingly got onto big ring and largest sprocket and then want a lower gear. :lol:
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby Redvee » Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:31 am

Myself and a group of friends rode from Bath to Cardiff and left Bath at midnight. I had a Magicshine light and a spare battery based on sunrise time for the day, in reality the main light was turned off at 04:45 as there was enough light to see by. The route was based on NCN4 but not entirely on it. We had 3 PF visits between the 8 of us and a headtorch was needed for the second one as it was on an unlit road and we had a paramedic stop and offer his assistance with an elostoplast for the tube :lol: well he stopped cause we were at the side of the road at 3am, some of us were pointing out headlights at the mechanic, a few others were pointing their headlights as one of the group watered a bush.
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby 661-Pete » Thu Aug 28, 2014 8:46 am

Redvee wrote:... as one of the group watered a bush.
Anyone who has the need to do that in pitch darkness - beware of farmers' electric fences! Or so I have been warned. :?
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby geocycle » Thu Aug 28, 2014 10:54 am

Tonyf33 wrote:I don't think I've ever had a close pass at night even on completely unlit roads..compare that with daytime riding and I'd not be overly concerned. More drivers tend to nod off on straight long roads that mean they can stay in one gear for long periods without ever having to brake. Most A-roads at least have roundabouts to break up the journey.

If you're going to have two rear lights, one on slow flash and one on steady is the way to go..


I have! I think that while your visibility should be higher in pitch dark because of the contrast, drivers are even less aware of the possibility of meeting a bike. Their concentration levels may be lower in the middle of the night and they are even more attuned to just looking for the familiar two red lights of another car. This is a problem in the day as well with SMIDSY type accidents where drivers are anticipating seeing a car.

I'm not usually an advocate of flashing lights but I think you are right that in this situation the one solid and one flashing combo is the way to go.
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby Tonyf33 » Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:21 pm

I probably ride very late at night on an unlit country road an average of once a week throughout the whole year (less during summer, more during winter). Two roads, both 60mph limit, both undulating/dips, both a bit twisty and with a 3-4% gradient on them in places. Both approx 1.5-2miles long. I do one more than the other but not by much.

There have been a few incidents including a few big ones (usual people blaming the road nonsense) on the one I do more frequently at night. However not once have I had any vehicles overtake too close, oncoming vehicles 99% of the time dip their lights, I feel relatively 'safer' than in many daytime situations.
Contrast that with daytime riding and I'd hazard at least one close pass that I'd acknowledge (for me I'd class that as 18" or less, the rest aren't worth the steam off your whatnot) or divvy driving 90 times out of 100 journeys.
I just think the probabilities of being struck at night or being overtaken too close are much much less than during the day.

That earlier this year a forum member described how a police car stopped her for having the temerity to ride up the A10 in the early hours and tell her it's be 'safer' to ride on the back roads (to no-where and not where they were going) just beggars belief! viewtopic.php?f=7&t=84143&hilit=+A10+night
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby BE1 » Thu Aug 28, 2014 4:36 pm

My overnight rides have always been in a group and never solo, however, a few things spring to mind.

A spare layer hat and long fingered gloves are very useful. Even at this time of year it can get very nippy.

2 lights front and back in case the worst happens to one of them.

Gatwick airport may make a good coffee stop. It's on the way, there is 24 hour coffee and food and if you feel the need you can bail out and be back in London with ease. (And if yoiu forgot the gloves and it is cold the 24 hpour Tesco's in Horley is close by)

Getting back. If you are riding , chapeau!, if you intend taking the train check for engineering works

Getting out of London, the nightlife of Sutton or Epsom (to name but two places that spring to mind) can be rather lively. 60 bikes down the High Street usually leads to people stopping and staring. On your own do what you feel confortable with.

As for route planning put "FNRttC GPS Brighton" into your prefered search engine and you will get a choice plus some other useful bits and pieces.

I hope you have a great night out :)
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby BE1 » Sun Aug 31, 2014 6:24 pm

Did you make it in the end?
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby LondonBikeCommuter » Sun Aug 31, 2014 7:31 pm

BE1 wrote:Did you make it in the end?


I didn't no. Brother in law got involved in a car accident late Saturday night. Didn't quite know at the time what had happened only info was from rather dramatic sister in law from hospital. Turned out to be a 'low speed' shunt but being Saturday night....

Have re-planned for this Thursday..... fingers crossed. The bad thing is that a train ticket back to London Friday morning as opposed to Sunday costs an arm and a leg. The advice about going via Gatwick is a blinder.
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby 661-Pete » Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:15 pm

Bear in mind that bikes (except folders) are not allowed on trains from Brighton to London timed to arrive between 07:00 and 10:00, Mon-Fri. :(
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby mjr » Mon Sep 01, 2014 12:39 am

Mick F wrote: Also, in pitch dark, you can't keep an eye on which gear you are in!

And that is one way that any lever shifter is better than indexed trigger shifters or brifters ;-)

From some shorter night rides, my top tips would be get dynamo lights, take spare good AA or AAA battery lights as backup or to spotlight repairs and use red reflective tape to make most of the mudguard and seat post backs into extra reflectors.
MJR, mostly pedalling a Revolution Streetfinder with 28mm DC front, 37mm M+ rear. Webmaster for hire, part of software.coop, so keen on practical sustainable transport. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby Redvee » Mon Sep 01, 2014 12:47 am

Some roads that have streetlights might not have streetlights once the clock strikes twelve. Several local councils turn the streetlights after midnight to save money. I found out the hard way a road on my short commute home was under this rule when finishing work one night last Christmas at midnight, rode the 1.5 miles of country lane with lights on full power and was expecting to turn them down when I got to the main road but still needed full power for another mile.
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby LondonBikeCommuter » Mon Sep 01, 2014 5:01 pm

Again some fantastic advice thanks everyone.

2 point have sprung to mind since Saturday....

What with the BiL it got me thinking on what sort of id I should be taking in case the worse happened. Originally I was only going to have my wallet with 2 bits of plastic and my phone. Anyone have any thoughts?

Theres been quite a range of temperatures over the past week, everything from what you'd expect for an August night/morning to bloody freezing. I'm gong to cop out if the forecast is for too much rain but anyone with any ideas on a what to take in terms of clothing. Main worry is having a non-fixable mechanical and ending up miles from anywhere and being freezing or the other extreme lugging around clothes I don't need. Will only be taking a smallish day pack. Again any thoughts?
Thanks
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby mjr » Mon Sep 01, 2014 5:53 pm

My windstopper jacket (sometimes called a Roubaix jacket, possibly just to annoy Spesh - my exact one is a Tenn but it's not currently available AFAICT) copes with a surprisingly wide range of temperatures, about 0-16 depending what's underneath. Worth considering?

If you have a non-fixable mechanical miles from anywhere then carrying the bike will keep you warm :evil:
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby thirdcrank » Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:13 pm

I've several Windstopper tops and I find it very a good fabric, but it's not cheap and perhaps not worth buying for a single ride. Before Windstopper was available - and when I'd have been unable to afford it anyway - I used to carry a large rectangle of breathable fabric, cut from the back of an old anorak. That was compact enough to carry in a back pocket for stuffing up the jumper when needed. Going back even earlier, I've salvaged newspaper from bins for the same purpose and even a bit of cardboard, but that was largely through setting out unprepared: assuming it would stay warm throughout a long ride.

A lot depends on what you would wear anyway at this time of year. I'm a softy and I hate cold extremities so a hat and gloves would be a must for me and even thin overshoes. I have ridden all night in midsummer in shorts but I'd take tights.
Gang warily.
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