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26/03/2011 // INFO Leave a comment

What kit do you need for cycling at night?

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Night riding kit

A night ride is a wonderful way to roll. The darkness and silence can transform a familiar route into something very different and exciting. However, for many planning a night ride can seem intimidating, foolhardy; even extreme. It needn’t be.

With the appropriate kit a night ride should be a magical experience. In addition, if you are planning on doing an organised night ride, the route planning is largely done for you.

Lamps and tools

A night ride will typically involve several hours of cycling in the dark, often on quiet, country roads where support is not readily available. As a result it is important to carry kit that allows you to see and be seen. You should also carry tools and spares to deal with foreseeable mechanical problems.

Chill of the night

Most cyclists have been caught out by variable weather conditions and regretted their choice of clothing. However, on a night ride you know it’s going to get colder as the night progresses and can select your cycle clothing accordingly.

If you are doing a night ride in the summer months it may have been several months since you wore your spring cycling gear. However, you will be grateful for long fingered gloves and a gilet when the night chill sets in.

Food and water

If you are heading out on a long ride you will probably be used to taking food and water with you. When selecting your nutrition for a night ride it is worth bearing in mind that corner shops are unlikely to be open. Searching for an all night garage that will sell you a Mars bar will materially affect your enjoyment of a night ride.

Consider taking the following with you on a night ride

– Warm clothing to put on when it gets cold, damp or wet: a hat, gloves and jacket should suffice.

- Lights: if your route is lit then you only need lights that allow other traffic to see you. Standard bike lights (front and rear) should be fine. If you are pedalling off into the black then you either need powerful lamps that light up your route or have fellow cyclists to follow with strong beamed lights.

- Batteries: normal bike lights last for many hours, but bring spare batteries just in case.

- Mechanical kit: Bring a pump, tyre levers, a spare inner tube or two and a multi-tool kit.

- Money/Credit card: always handy

- Phone: just in case.

- Garlic: to keep vampire bats away (just kidding!)…but do keep a look out for bats, owls, hedgehogs and other nocturnal animals that you wouldn’t normally get the chance to see whilst out cycling. That’s part of the fun!

See Also:

Training for a long cycle tour

Bike guide for long distance riding

Image courtesy of Bicycle Images, Photographer: Roman Skyva

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