Winter’s coming. It’s dark when we close the shop now, and the clocks go back next Sunday. Soon it’ll be getting dark at 4pm and commutes both ways will be in full darkness.
Time to dust off the lights from last year and see if they still hold charge. You did put them away fully charged? If not, the battery may not accept a full charge. New to commuting or night riding? It’s time to look at rechargeable lights. Our shops have a compliment of demo lights to try if you want to give night riding a go, or pop down after dark and we’ll fire them up outside.
There are many different lights for commuting and pleasure night-riding, but they boil down to disposable battery powered and rechargeable.
Battery powered lights are cheaper to buy, and are generally suited to casual commuting, and areas where there are streetlights to see where you’re going. A basic set start from £20 or so, run on AA or AAA batteries and give enough light to be seen (and to stop you getting fined by the police or worse: being hit by a car or bus). The more you pay the brighter the light, the higher the quality and the longer they last.
Rechargeable lights are more expensive to buy, but they save money in the long run as you don’t have to keep buying batteries. They are also often brighter, with the top lights being bright enough to cast a powerful beam and see where you’re going in the middle of the woods at midnight. Serial commuters (every day, all through winter), commuters with stretches of unlit roads and leisure road and mountain bikers should look at these over standard battery powered lights.
There are rechargeable rear lights now from Hope and Light and Motion, these are brighter than the battery ones and again, save on batteries. There are also some lights that recharge from USB, so ideal for recharging from the computer in the office!
When buying for offroad use you should always consider what your riding mates are bringing. If you have a 300 lumen light and others have 1000 lumen lights, you’re going to have to position yourself so you don’t ride in your own shadow cast by someone else’s brighter light! Also take into account run times, and adjust the light settings accordingly – turn the light down (or off) when stopped to preserve run times, and ALWAYS take a set of backup battery lights in case you stay out too long (e.g. a puncture) and use up all your battery.
You’re not afraid of the dark are you?