It’s that time of year again: the nights have been drawing in gradually, then the clocks go back and all of a sudden it’s pitch dark at home time. Being prepared to ride in the dark and/or poor weather doesn’t have to be costly or complicated and with some basic kit you can continue to enjoy the benefits of riding right through the bleak midwinter.
The most important thing is to ensure that you are clearly visible to other road users, for which you need two things:
1. Lights. These are a legal necessity after sundown. Research shows that a flashing rear light increases visibility significantly during daylight too, so particularly for longer and rural rides it’s a good idea to have one on at all times.* Some tips for choosing the right lights & not being caught out:
> If parts of your route are unlit you will need stronger lights (400 lumens+) – most lights are to make you visible to other traffic rather than to make every inch of the road surface visible to you
> Have a spare set of lights at your workplace for anyone who forgets theirs
> Carry a set of cheap lightweight lights with you as a back-up
> Torch T2 helmets have front and rear lights built in (you can win one by logging rides in December, plus we’ll have a hefty member discount)
2. Hi-viz. This ensures other road users can see you clearly. Lights alone can have the effect of making it difficult to judge how far away a bike is but if you're in hi-viz it’s much easier. Proviz make the best hi-viz gear in the business and it looks like stylish, regular gear in daylight.
Snap bands. Research shows that having lights or reflective strips on your legs helps motorists to recognise you as a person on a bike from as far away as possible. Proviz do them and some local authorities and businesses give them out for free: they’re cheap, help to keep trouser legs away from oily chains and are more useful for making you highly visible than they are usually given credit for.
Follow these easy tips and you’ll be safe and seen on your bike. Invest in some basic waterproof gear too and you’re all set to ride through the winter.
In the UK there’s a prize draw every day in December and we’re giving away awesome winter riding gear, so get saddled up and make sure you’re ready to be a Winter Wheeler! Register for Winter Wheelers at lovetoride.net.