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:
- 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.
- Replace the batteries. Keep your chargeables charged.
- 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.
- Watch other people on bicycles and judge their visibility index as a guide to improving your own.
- Add a blinky light front and rear and use them both as nighttime supplements and as “daytime running lights.”
- You’ll 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’s dark in color, either choose something that isn’t or pick up a cheepy reflective vest from your local big box home center.
- Wet leaves and snow are slippery so anticipate stops and turns.
- Pay special attention to puddles of water or clumps of leaves as they can mask potholes 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.
- Plan your braking to avoid a spill.
- Be mindful of slippery metal surfaces (such as utility covers and grates).
- Fall and winter is a good time to 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 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/
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.”
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
- 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)
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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.
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.