Night Rider

Dunuh dunuh dunuh. Dunuh. Dunuh.

Dunuh dunuh dunuh. Dunuh. Dunuh.

Doot doo-dee doo! Doot doo-dee doo! Doot doo-dee doo… deet doo!!!

(For those of you who don’t read music, that’s the Knight Rider theme)

I did my first night biking ever tonight on my way back from Amy’s apartment, where there were many SWIL alumni, gaming, and (too my knowledge) my first significant exposure to indian food.

It was great to see all of the Swarthmore connection that are available in the Boston area. I’ll have to have some sort of house-warming thingummy in a few weekends.

It was so much more quiet, with very little traffic on the road. I didn’t have any problems, and I only got called a “fucking moron” twice, and both of those occurred in the last 0.2 mile stretch on Mt. Auburn St. approaching my apartment.

It’s very quiet in some areas, particularly with my bike only making a slight buzz of road noise. When the breeze comes up, with the cool night air, it just feels great.

Incidentally, although I have not yet purchased a super reflective safety pinney, I have the state-mandated front and rear lights, plus all of the required reflectors and a reflective helmet and cargo bag. I passed several riders who were missing some of these, including a guy coming towards me in the other half of the lane with no helmet and no lights. S-M-R-T.

8 comments on “Night Rider
  1. irilyth says:

    Does MA require rear lights? Effective Cycling doesn’t think they’re any better than a good large amber reflector. (I can look up why if you’re curious.)

  2. I’m curious. What’s their reasoning?

  3. irilyth says:

    This is from p337:

    Some people advocate rear lamps, either steady or flashing. Because a rear lamp can go out, and generator-powered rear lamps go out whenever you stop, it must have a backup reflector. Because a well-chosen rear reflector by itself prevents nearly all the potential collisions, there are very few collisions that the additional rear lamp could prevent. So, there is no reason for carrying a rear lamp, with its greater cost, trouble, weight, complexity, and power consumption. The power that it consumes (battery or generator) is better devoted to the headlamp.

    It goes on to talk about flashing vs steady lights (flashing lights are worse, becuase they make it harder for people to estimate how far away you are), and there previous bit talks about rear reflectors (recommending a 3″ diameter amber reflector) and headlamps (3 watt).

  4. irilyth says:

    http://www.massbike.org/skills/lights.htm likes rear lights, but also backs up the “large amber reflector” recommendation. (And they’re right that auto parts stores are the right place to find them.)

    They say that “Mass. law requires a red rear light or reflector and pedal reflectors or ankle bands”; I have clipless pedals, so I guess I’m supposed to wear ankle bands. My shoes have a reflective patch on the back… And I remain unconvinced that anyone who doesn’t spot the gigantic seat-level amber reflector is going to notice two moving pedal-level specks anyway. But I don’t want to get pulled over, so.

    Oh wait, that says red rear light or reflector. Hmm. Well, I suppose I can clip on a dorky little light as well; I still have a couple floating around somewhere. Sigh.

  5. Nicolas Ward says:

    I have a multi-mode rear light. I think the blinking is useful during the day because it’s the sort of obnoxious pattern that makes people look at you, and therefore acknowledge that there is a bike on the road that they may not otherwise expect.

  6. tirerim says:

    My rear light is LED-lit, as most are these days, and is thus unlikely to go out, as well as being very low weight and low power consumption; in addition, it’s built a lot like car tail lights, so it works as a reflector even when it’s off. And I also like using the flasher on dark, overcast days; I sometimes use the flasher on my headlight for that, too.

  7. irilyth says:

    “Doesn’t use much power” doesn’t mean “will never run out of power”; eventually, your battery will die, although I suppose that if it lasts more othan a year on a charge, you can just change it annually and call it a day.

    Most taillights are nowhere near as reflective as a 3″ amber reflector, though.

Nurd Up!