Solo night ride

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LondonBikeCommuter
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Solo night ride

Postby LondonBikeCommuter » 27 Aug 2014, 9:40am

There have been lots of 'official' group night rides from London to Brighton. Unfortunately none have been at a time when I've been able to join one. I note there's 1 going out on 5th Sept which is now closed but also I'd need to be back in London early Saturday morning due to family commitments making it impossible anyway.

As summer is coming to an end was thinking of doing it this Saturday night.

Main issues are being solo at night and route well that and partner not being happy at all.

Lighting wise I have an Exposure Diablo mk5 on the front and the Blaze on the back. Looking at a fairly direct route so probably fastish roads. Is this suicidal at 3am on a cycle?

Anyone have a doable route I can load into an Edge 810?
Thanks

Ayesha
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby Ayesha » 27 Aug 2014, 10:11am

Take a spare small front lamp that operates off AA Batteries. Take some hefty rubber bands and a lump of sponge.
Not only does the spare lamp come in as a reserve for your main lamp, it can be used to floodlight a puncture repair.
With the rubber bands and sponge, you can fix it on your handlebars or on the side of your helmet.

Fit two rear lamps.
Have them NOT so bright that they dazzle drivers.

If your shoes do not have reflective panels, wear anklebands of amber or yellow. The vertical oscillation of your ankles will allow an approaching motorist to judge your distance and position, because most motorists have a pretty good idea of the crank throw of a bicycle. If your rear lamps are too bright, the motorist might be dazzled and unable to judge the movement of your ankles.

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661-Pete
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby 661-Pete » 27 Aug 2014, 11:36am

What route are you currently proposing to go on? A lot hinges on whether you propose to tackle Ditchling Beacon or not. Clayton Hill, on the A273, as an alternative is a lot easier and quicker and should be quiet in the early hours - it can be a nightmare in the rush hour, but then so can DB which becomes a rat run!

It is possible to make fairly quick progress even on minor roads, of which there are lots of choices, some of them avoiding most of the big hills.

Anyway I can plot out various routes for you on Google, if you like.
Suppose that this room is a lift. The support breaks and down we go with ever-increasing velocity.
Let us pass the time by performing physical experiments...
--- Arthur Eddington (creator of the Eddington Number).

Bicycler
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby Bicycler » 27 Aug 2014, 11:59am

I reckon if you are cycling outside urban areas on anything other than fairly minor roads it is possibly safer to do so at night than during the day, though maybe in some parts of London there may be personal safety considerations entirely unrelated to traffic. Lower traffic volumes mean fewer vehicles in general. Those there are will be more likely to give you space. As possibly the only thing of note in a driver's view, a well lit cyclist (I agree with Ayesha not to go overboard on brightness) is going to receive more of a driver's attention than they would on a busy road in daylight with other traffic. I actually find it quite liberating to be able to freely use roads which are either uncomfortably busy or simply gridlocked during the day.

There are some unique night riding considerations you need to be aware of. Firstly, it is harder to see potholes etc. in front of you so more attention is needed. If you are riding on fairly main roads this is generally less of a concern than on minor roads. You will probably end up cycling more slowly. Speed perception changes at night and you will probably be travelling slower than you feel you are. For the same reason distances can feel further at night. You can feel tired more quickly at night and this may be especially the case if you don't get the proper amount of sleep beforehand. On main trunk roads, beware of the thought in the back of your mind wondering about how fatigued the following drivers are :shock:

Overall though I enjoy it. When I worked nights my 3AM commute was the best bit of my working day.

thirdcrank
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby thirdcrank » 27 Aug 2014, 12:07pm

I don't know if there are any reliable stats but IME cycling at night doesn't seem any more dangerous than riding in the daylight. Although night time traffic is much heavier than it used to be, it's generally lighter than it is on the same road during the day, especially during the peak hours. This does mean that the slowing effect of congestion doesn't apply, but OTOH, there ought to be less driver impatience. I suppose if you are unfortunate enough to meet a car driven by a total nutter, then they are likely to be the worse for wear at night, all aggravated if there's a car full of passengers of a like mind. I'd say that's pretty rare, but no fun when it happens.

You don't mention the "issues around" staying up all night. If that's because you are used to it OK, but if you are not, then it's worth thinking about. We've had a few threads on that subject with different opinions about whether it is a problem and if so, how to deal with it. The main point is that around your usual bedtime, the body's equivalent of the central heating timer switches off. Also, since it's normal, though not inevitable, that the world cools down during the night, if you set out thinking "I'll be OK in this" by 0430 you'll probably feel frozen. If you are solo, there's nobody else to alert you that you are nodding off.

CliveyT
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby CliveyT » 27 Aug 2014, 12:19pm

One slight problem with this weekend is it's only a couple of days after the new moon. It won't affect the cycling, but the countryside can look amazing when lit up by a full moon. In the open I've even been known to turn my light off and just cycle by moonlight (with teh switch to hand should someone be inconsiderate enough to come the other way).

Of course you could wait a couple of weeks and then it'll be overcast anyway

LondonBikeCommuter
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby LondonBikeCommuter » 27 Aug 2014, 12:19pm

661-Pete wrote:What route are you currently proposing to go on?

Anyway I can plot out various routes for you on Google, if you like.


I want to leave at around midnight from the Highgate area of north London and arrive in Brighton at a time when I can get a hot cup of tea and breakfast.

The obvious route would be to draw a line straight down but as you say there are some hills of note involved in that approach and also I'd expect to reach Brighton at a rather unsociable 05:30ish.
Was wondering how feasible a route more westward would be via say Kingston, Woking, Guildford and West Grinstead? Benefit would be that its flatter and gets me to Brighton at about 7am but on the minus side its around 20 miles longer. Have been looking at this option on Google maps but the huge elephant in the room is that its routed me on to gravel/farm tracks and other unsuitable surfaces in the past.

I'd be more than thankful for any route suggestions.

Ayesha
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby Ayesha » 27 Aug 2014, 12:21pm

This is the problem with cycling after the pubs close. You might get a full moon.

LondonBikeCommuter
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby LondonBikeCommuter » 27 Aug 2014, 12:30pm

Ayesha wrote:Take a spare small front lamp that operates off AA Batteries. Take some hefty rubber bands and a lump of sponge.


Thanks for the advice I wasn't intending to take anything other than the Exposure lights but I have some other button cell ones I will now take. Have used AA battery lights in the past but find they can die for no apparent reason and so need multiple extra batteries and not from the same pack.

Will be taking 2 spare tubes so roadside repair won't be an issue. Good point about the reflectives will see what I can get a hold of.

What's the sponge for?

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661-Pete
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby 661-Pete » 27 Aug 2014, 2:26pm

If you want to avoid big hills, coming into Brighton, the route via Shoreham is your best option. Here is a plot from Horsham to Brighton, along A roads but avoiding the A23. It's not hill-free but a lot less strenuous than either the Beacon or the Saddlescombe route.

For the bit north of Horsham I suggest you seek advice from others, because that's off my 'territory'.

I wouldn't go that way for preference, not in daytime, I'd choose more minor roads: but at night the roads should be relatively quiet.

If you'd rather have a route on more minor roads, I can map one out. There would be more hills. :shock:
Suppose that this room is a lift. The support breaks and down we go with ever-increasing velocity.
Let us pass the time by performing physical experiments...
--- Arthur Eddington (creator of the Eddington Number).

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661-Pete
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby 661-Pete » 27 Aug 2014, 2:30pm

I should have added, avoid the cycle path running north-south through West Grinstead, unless you're coming on a full-sus MTB!! :roll:
Suppose that this room is a lift. The support breaks and down we go with ever-increasing velocity.
Let us pass the time by performing physical experiments...
--- Arthur Eddington (creator of the Eddington Number).

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Mick F
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby Mick F » 27 Aug 2014, 3:36pm

A few years ago, I left home at 4.30am to cycle to Bridestowe to meet up with a chap cycling JOGLE. I met him outside his B+B about 6.30am.

I left in the dark and arrived at Bridestowe just before dawn was breaking. It was the first time in my life that I had ridden in total darkness along pitch dark roads for 20miles. I thought I had good lights, but I reckon my front one wasn't good enough! It's very important to have a very bright one with a good lens because I found that anything over 15mph I couldn't see far enough ahead.

Also, in pitch dark, you can't keep an eye on which gear you are in!
Small point, but it really got to me.
Saying all that, I really enjoyed the ride there. Silent empty roads.

Highly recommended. :D
I've even considered doing a "nocturnal" LEJOG.
Mick F. Cornwall

Psamathe
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby Psamathe » 27 Aug 2014, 3:44pm

Earlier on somebody mentioned a head-torch.

Last year I got a puncture (in car) at night and happened to have a head-torch in the car - and it made life so much easier changing the wheel. Both hands free and light exactly where you want/need it.

Of course if you took everything you might ever possibly find helpful you'd be needing more than several trailers. But thought I'd mention how impressed I am with the head-torches.

Ian

CliveyT
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby CliveyT » 27 Aug 2014, 4:49pm

Psamathe wrote:Earlier on somebody mentioned a head-torch.

Last year I got a puncture (in car) at night and happened to have a head-torch in the car - and it made life so much easier changing the wheel. Both hands free and light exactly where you want/need it.

Of course if you took everything you might ever possibly find helpful you'd be needing more than several trailers. But thought I'd mention how impressed I am with the head-torches.

Ian


even more important if you rely on dynamo lighting (not that I've had to walk several miles to find a street lamp, I wouldn't be that disorganised.......)

Tonyf33
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Re: Solo night ride

Postby Tonyf33 » 27 Aug 2014, 9:35pm

I don't think I've ever had a close pass at night even on completely unlit roads..compare that with daytime riding and I'd not be overly concerned. More drivers tend to nod off on straight long roads that mean they can stay in one gear for long periods without ever having to brake. Most A-roads at least have roundabouts to break up the journey.

If you're going to have two rear lights, one on slow flash and one on steady is the way to go..