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needs more sleep
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well since the price of gas sucks, I've decided to start riding to work. It's about 17 miles one way, not too far but, I work swing shift and get off at !:30 am. I live in Pasadena and work in Burbank. There are some dark streets (west Glendale / Eagle Rock) that make me a littile nervous. Any pointers / tips on night commuting. I have a dual beam Night Rider and red flasher so I shoulde be well lit. Any advice will be appreciated.
 

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Flashers & reflectors

bigchromewheelssuck said:
Well since the price of gas sucks, I've decided to start riding to work. It's about 17 miles one way, not too far but, I work swing shift and get off at !:30 am. I live in Pasadena and work in Burbank. There are some dark streets (west Glendale / Eagle Rock) that make me a littile nervous. Any pointers / tips on night commuting. I have a dual beam Night Rider and red flasher so I shoulde be well lit. Any advice will be appreciated.
Your lights sound good. I would recommend adding reflectors to the wheels (better side visibility) and a second flasher in the back. Two flashers will never be in perfect synch and so create a more visible image to a driver from behind. I have also supplemented with a front white flasher (lime green, actually) again to catch the driver's eye. Recognize that on Friday and Saturday night, a significant fraction of the drivers will be drunk at that time of the morning :(
 

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Downhill Juggernaut
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That sounds like plenty of light. To me it seems like I'm more visible on the darker streets because I'm not competing with any other lights around. I've done many a ride home in the wee hours of the morning because I got off work late. Luckily there's not much traffic to contend with.

I think it's mainly just getting used to the idea of riding in the dark for you... Good luck with it. You'll get used to it and come to love it. Some of my most relaxing rides home are at that time of night.
 

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Big is relative
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I often feel safer when riding in the dark versus the afternoon trip home. I have an HID headlight and a good tail light. A car pretty much has to see me. In the afternoon, many drivers are distracted by traffic, phones, etc. To take care of that and aid with the night visibility, I have a jogger belt around my rack bag. It gives me about 300 degrees of hiviz reflective yellow. I also have yellow reflective tape on my seat stays, fender, and the back of my helmet. I have three Voler hiviz commuter jerseys. You can find them at velowear.com. I used to commute through a bad area in the dark in Norfolk VA. I would always be aware of my surroundings, have an alternative route planned (ie cut through a parking lot) if I saw potential danger, and I rode with purpose. Never give anyone the impression that you are lost. You should be fine.
 

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I commute often through some of DC's best and worst (well, not worst, but certainly a bit sketchy crimewise) neighborhoods. The dark part of my commute is in the worst neighborhoods and the key is to just go-man-go. Seriously, the worst thing I've found is dodging broken glass on Monday mornings, a few busses, and one jerk who I see everyday and seems to be quite honk-happy. Like Big Bill said, keep your head up and know what's up. 99.5% of people are just going to let you be, but if you do see that .5% then you'll be able to get out of there if you're thinking and alert.

The main thing for me with lights is to "Be Seen" rather than to "See", but that is certainly dependent on route. I have a flashy on the back of my helmet and a stationary light on my seat post. I have a straight light up front and a blinky headlight right next to it, but I probably have only a few more dark commutes left before my schedule changes, which is nice.
 

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Know where the potholes are

bigchromewheelssuck said:
Well since the price of gas sucks, I've decided to start riding to work. It's about 17 miles one way, not too far but, I work swing shift and get off at !:30 am. I live in Pasadena and work in Burbank. There are some dark streets (west Glendale / Eagle Rock) that make me a littile nervous. Any pointers / tips on night commuting. I have a dual beam Night Rider and red flasher so I shoulde be well lit. Any advice will be appreciated.
My commuting route has a lot of bad road surfaces (potholes, old streetcar tracks, sewer grates that are aligned the wrong way, etc.). If you can avoid it, don't take a new route for the first time in the dark. Even though your lights should pick up road problems, you don't have the same ability to pick up these things in the dark as you have in daylight.

One commuting difference between us East Coasters and those of you on the West Coast, is that we often ignore traffic signals and that your compatriots usually observe them. Unless the CHP is on your butt, I strongly would recommend that you keep moving at night, even if that means going through some red lights (that is, after you make sure that nothing is coming on the street with the green light).

Keep your tires well inflated and in good shape. Changing a flat tire in the dark is not easy. Unless you can call for a rescue, you also should have an emergency flasher and small white light for the front in case your main light system has a problem.

Good luck
 

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bigchromewheelssuck said:
Well since the price of gas sucks, I've decided to start riding to work. It's about 17 miles one way, not too far but, I work swing shift and get off at !:30 am. I live in Pasadena and work in Burbank. There are some dark streets (west Glendale / Eagle Rock) that make me a littile nervous. Any pointers / tips on night commuting. I have a dual beam Night Rider and red flasher so I shoulde be well lit. Any advice will be appreciated.
Take note of what MarkS says regarding street conditions. Pasadena is great; Eagle Rock is chock full of potholes.

Overall, I think you are riding in a relatively safe area. This is a very good thing, since it is imperative to stop at the lights (the local PDs are very likely to ticket for not obeying the signals). Also, there are more and more red light cameras going up around the area; I'm not certain if or how they would track you down, but you might want to check to see if any intersections have these on your day-side commute.
 

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needs more sleep
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I feel easier now

Thanks for all the info, alot of potential issues have been brought up that I didn't even think about. Last night I drove the route I will ride and traffic was almost non existant, so when it's safe to do so I'll probably blow most of the lights. Glendale and Eagle Rock have some pretty sorry street conditions. Anywho thanks again and maybe I'll turn it into a ride report. Have to finish the build on the commuter first. cheers
 

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Travels by Map
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bigchromewheelssuck said:
Thanks for all the info, alot of potential issues have been brought up that I didn't even think about. Last night I drove the route I will ride and traffic was almost non existant, so when it's safe to do so I'll probably blow most of the lights. Glendale and Eagle Rock have some pretty sorry street conditions. Anywho thanks again and maybe I'll turn it into a ride report. Have to finish the build on the commuter first. cheers
If the lights are not on timers then you will often have to run them unless you want to try and trip the sensor or press the "Walk" button. A bicycle and rider will not usually trip the sensor that determines whether someone is waiting at a red light.
 
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