Night Cycling, Blinking Lights, Harold and Maude

I have a Niterider taillight mounted to the rack that I run in flashing mode any time I’m on the road. As soon as it starts getting darker, I have a Vistalight on my Camelbak that I usually run in solid mode. I also have a clip-on blinking button-type light on the back of my helmet (They are available for $2.95 at Home Depot. I buy them by the handful and pass them out to bike riders I meet on the road at night.)

My riding shoes have a reflective strip on the heels; I wear a bright yellow jersey; I’ve added some reflective tape to the front and rear of my helmet. I also attach a small piece of reflector tape to the strap on my gloves. That way the car behind me has a better chance to see my signal at night.

The front of the bike has a NiteRider Digital Pro-12. At night I use whatever brightness is appropriate for the ambient light. During the day, I put it in into strobe mode whenever I’m in a high-traffic area with lots of cars making turns in front of me.

Despite all of the recent controversy, I like wheel reflectors. Unless you hold an absolutely straight line, at some point the car behind you is going to see the reflection. And there’s no mistaking that you’re looking at a bicycle when you see them.

Since most of my riding is at night, I like to count on the “Harold Factor” to help keep me alive. That’s when Maude pokes Harold in the ribs and says, “Harold, what’s that crazy thing in the road up ahead?”

When that happens, mission accomplished.

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