Choose a light that fits your purpose
If you want to fit in a bike ride around working hours it’s hard to avoid night riding with daylight savings behind us. If you’re going to keep up your cycling it’s pretty clear that you’re going to need a light. But with a bewildering array of lights on offer where do you start? We’ve put together a few basic tips to get you started for different cycling disciplines.
Different lights fit different applications, if you want a light for commuting then the focus is to be seen. We recommend you find something handlebar mounted with a self contained battery, keeping the light low avoids blinding people coming the other way (a problem with a high powered helmet mounted light) while a self contained battery keeps things neat and tidy and easy to remove when you park your bike. Don’t forget your rear light! It also doesn’t hurt to attach a small rear light to your helmet or backpack for extra visibility.
A light for road needs to fulfill the same requirements as a commuter, but you no longer need a light just to be seen. At road bike speed on an unlit back road, we need to spot those potholes in plenty of time! As a guide, a single car headlight is about 700 lumens. Most commuter lights are a few hundred lumens, but you’ll need the brightness of a car headlight or more for serious road riding. Beware of cheap ebay lumen claims! (There are plenty of dirt cheap lights on Ebay, if they’re not a reputable brand then take any big claims with a dose of salt)
Your commuter light will not cut it here, the general consensus for mountain biking is that the best setup is using two lights in combination. A bar mounted light for a wide beam, illuminating everything immediately around/in front of you and a high powered helmet light to show all the detail in technical sections. This also adds a handy fail safe, in case one of your lights goes flat or has a problem.
Try some lights out at The Dirty Weekend.
Bike SA have partnered with Exposure Lights for the Dirty Weekend. If you’re considering an upgrade, Exposure will be offering lights available for trial on Saturday night. Exposure offer an awesome range of fully contained lights (no clunky battery packs to deal with) Check out a review of some of their models, which will be available to test at the Dirty Weekend.
See you out there. (More info about The Dirty Weekend can be found at www.bikesa.asn.au/dirtyweekend)