Category Archives: Lighting

Get Out and Ride While the Leaves are Falling

While COVID-19 has eliminated or moderated several bicycle-related activities, the fine early fall weather provided plenty of opportunities for social distanced rides. Looking ahead, there is some nice riding in late fall and winter whether for recreation/exercise or errands/work. Here are a few riding tips to encourage your riding and to keep you safe:

  • Check your lights front and rear. “Too many lights” are just about right in the low light, fall and winter conditions. Your lights are to make you visible (both day and night), but also to avoid those hidden ruts, potholes, and bumps in the street. Road debris at night is another hazard which good front lighting will help you avoid.
  • Add a helmet or head-mounted lamp to help see those potholes, debris, etc. at night. While a front light in blink mode makes people more aware of your presence, the headlamp helps you see obstacles. The advantage of a headlamp is that when you move your head, the light goes with you. When on trails with little or no street lighting, both the headlamp and front light (in steady mode) will light the path.
  • Replace the batteries. Keep your re-chargeables charged.
  • Have someone view your bicycle from behind in the dark with the lights “on.” Ensure that your gear or clothing does not block the light beams (front and rear) and that the rear light(s) aim toward following vehicles.
  • Spoke lights or spoke reflectors are both fun and provide visibility from the side.
  • Watch other people on bicycles and judge their visibility index as a guide to improving your own.
  • Add an extra “blinky light” front and rear and use them both as nighttime supplements and as “daytime running lights.”
  • Use a helmet-mounted rear-facing light.

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  • You will probably ride safer and smarter if you are comfortable – so plan your riding gear accordingly. Think layers.
  • As you bundle up, look at your outer layer. If it is dark in color, either choose something that is not or pick up a reflective vest from your locally owned hardware or big box home center.
  • Wet leaves and snow are slippery so anticipate your stops and turns.
  • Pay special attention to puddles of water or clumps of leaves as they can mask the plentiful potholes, ruts, utility caps, and craters in the paved surface.
  • Recall that some pavement markings can also be slippery when wet or extra slippery when covered with wet leaves, snow, or ice.
  • Keep your chain clean and lubricated (especially after riding in melted slush).
  • You might want to inspect your tires for wear. You might swap the front to the rear (since the rear takes the most weight and wears quicker). If planning to ride in snow, you might invest in wider, knobby tires for better traction (if your bike accepts them).
  •  Consider reducing tire pressures from max by 5 to 10 psi for better grip.
  • Sunglasses are very important this time of year as well. With the days getting shorter, there is a greater chance you will finishing or starting a ride in low light conditions. Switch your tinted lenses to a rose or clear lens for better visibility in low light conditions.
  • When riding into that low fall sun, remember that the people in cars behind may not see you, as they also will be blinded.
  • Plan your braking and turns to avoid a spill.
  • Be mindful of slippery metal surfaces (such as utility covers and grates).
  • Fall and winter is a good time to get ready for next year’s riding with a tune up from one of our local bicycle shops. This is a good time to support your local shop and to help them over the slower winter season. November through March is good time to get that special attention from your bicycle mechanic. Find out where at – https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/resources/

Other winter riding tips –

To enjoy low stress, safe cycling, plan your route with the free, interactive CapitalNYBikeMaphttps://albanybicyclecoalition.com/albany_bike_map/

To find more bicycle-related events, go to – https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/upcoming-events/  

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Filed under COVID-19, Lighting, Local Bike Rides, Rides, Winter Cycling

The Leaves are Falling (and a Little Snow Too)

There are plenty of opportunities for some nice riding whether for recreation/exercise or errands/work. Here are a few riding tips to keep in mind during the fall season:

  1. Check your lights front and rear. Too many lights are just right in the low-light fall conditions. Your lights are to make you visible (both day and night), not necessarily to light the path ahead.
  2. Replace the batteries. Keep your chargeables charged.p50315471 - Copy.jpg
  3. Have someone view your bicycle from behind in the dark with the lights “on” to ensure that their beams are not blocked by gear or clothing and that they aim toward following vehicles.
  4. Watch other people on bicycles and judge their visibility index as a guide to improving your own.
  5. Add a blinky light front and rear and use them both as nighttime supplements and as “daytime running lights.”
  6. You’ll probably ride safer and smarter if you are comfortable – so plan your riding gear accordingly. Think layers.
  7. As you bundle up, look at your outer layer. If it’s dark in color, either choose something that isn’t or pick up a cheepy reflective vest from your local big box home center.tumblr_inline_neml72xshI1r2v92h
  8. Wet leaves and snow are slippery so anticipate stops and turns.tumblr_li3fainZGQ1qakvm6o1_500
  9. Pay special attention to puddles of water or clumps of leaves as they can mask potholes and craters in the paved surface.
  10. Recall that some pavement markings can also be slippery when wet or extra slippery when covered with wet leaves, snow, or ice.
  11. Keep your chain clean and lubricated.
  12. Plan your braking to avoid a spill.
  13. Be mindful of slippery metal surfaces (such as utility covers and grates).
  14. Fall and winter is a good time to 414057_10150558104377778_290371472777_8772451_121834680_o with a tune up from one of our local bicycle shops. This is a good time to support your local shop and to help them over the slower winter season. November through March is good time to get that special attention from your bicycle mechanic. Find out where at – https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/resources/

Other winter riding tips –

https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/2015/12/21/ears-cold-try-these-2/

https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/2012/01/12/what-is-spinning/

https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/2011/12/05/windchill-effect-while-riding-a-bicycle/

https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/2010/10/23/1064/

To plan for low stress, safe cycling, plan you route with the Albany Bicycle Coalition BikeAlbanyMap – https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/albany_bike_map/

To find out about bicycle-related events, go to – https://albanybicyclecoalition.com/resources/events/

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Filed under Bike Tech, Lighting, Riding in Albany, Winter Cycling

Budget Light Mount for Auxiliary Safety Light(s)

You cannot have too many lights. Here is a low-cost way to mount (one or more) “Knog-style” blinky lights on the front or rear of your bicycle.

CAUTION – The “Knog-style” blinky lights should not be your primary nighttime lights – front or rear. They are appropriate for supplemental visibility lighting or as “day-time running lights.”

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 Here is what you will need:

  • M5 bolt (any head style will do – these instructions use a hex-drive head)
  • One flat and one locking washer to fit M5 bolt/screw
  • 4mm hex wrench (or other depending on the bolt’s head style)
  • Electric drill with bits
  • Hack saw (or similar)
  • File and/or 80-grit sandpaper
  • Ruler
  • Thread locker (optional)
  • Knog-style lights (red for rear, white for front)
  • 1-inch diameter RX/pill bottle – hopefully in a color that suits that of your bicycle (discard the cap)

Here are the steps:

  • Mark and cut the pill bottle to 1.5 inch in length
  • Smooth the cut edge with file and/or sandpaper
  • Mark the center of the bottle’s bottom
  • Drill a small pilot hole in the center
  • Enlarge the hole for a snug fit for the M5 bolt
  • Thread the bolt through the bottle’s bottom
  • Place the washers on the bolt so they are between the bottle and the bicycle frame
  • Place a drop of thread locker on the bolt or braze-on threads
  • Mount the bottle to a convenient braze-on or to a fender or rack mount – any place that will accept a M5 bolt.
  • Install the appropriate “Knog-style” blinky light and adjust so that it is visible from the rear (or front)

 

If this is too stressful, you can always shell out $22.00 – 24.00 for a Paul Gino light mount – another top quality product from Paul Component Engineering.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

While you are at it, replace the batteries in all your non-chargeable lights and then adjust them to they are also visible. A light with weak batteries or low charge that points down or to the side or is obstructed by straps or folds in pack-mounted bags or your riding gear is next to worthless.

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Filed under Bike Tech, Lighting, Product Review, safety