a Blog About Adventure Travel for Kite-Surfing and Cycling with a Custom Built Van
Bike Lights
Bike Lights

Bike Lights

Bike Lights

Cycling out on the road is great, but can be dangerous if the drivers out on the road can’t see you. When I am cycling, I like to wear bright colored jerseys and reflective gear. In addition to my neon jerseys, I also have a few bike lights on the front and back of my bike. 

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Bright Jerseys are Great!

What is the Purpose of Bike Lights?

Although bikes have as much legal right to the road as cars do, they are not as easily seen as. Due to the size of a bike, drivers miss them especially if they are distracted (phones, radio, kids, etc.) or the visibility is low (fog, rain, sun, etc.). Just like headlights on a car, bike lights are primarily for being seen not seeing. If you are out riding day or night, both front and rear lights are recommended if you want drivers to see you.

Where Should You Attach Your Bike Lights?

Getting lights to fit your bike can be tricky. On my carbon fiber frame, it is often difficult to find bike lights that will attach where I want them. As far as placement goes you want a rear facing red light and a front facing white light. Along with light placement, I always have my bike lights blinking and at their brightest setting. This way, I am doing everything I can to be seen. 

I keep two on my front handlebars (one on each side of my aerobars). On my seat post, there are also two red lights (one on my saddle bag and one on the post). If your helmet is made for it, I would also recommend a helmet light.  

Front-Facing White Bike Lights
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Front Lights

How Many Lumens Do Your Lights Need?

Since your lights are primarily there to help drivers see you, you want to make sure your lights are bright enough. I have read a few articles about the minimum number of lumens, but I personally recommend around 200 lumens. If you are doing a lot of night time riding (which I am not into and don’t recommend), then 400-600 lumens would be better.

I personally use a combination of 4 lights.

  1. I have a front-back light that can be attached to the top of my helmet (I use it on my left handle bar.) It is 100 lumens and I keep it in flash mode. 
  2. On the right side of my handle bars, I have a 460 lumen Cygolite Dash that I always have blinking when I ride. 
  3. On my seat post, I have a red blinking 200 lumen Blitzu.
  4. Finally, I have an additional LED Cubelite II on my saddle bag for a little more visibility from behind. 

This is probably overdoing it on the lights, but it makes Andrew very happy. 

Rear-Facing Red Bike Lights
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Back Lights

Are Battery Powered or Rechargeable Lights Better?

Personally, I use all rechargeable lights. Once a week, I plug them all in to charge after a long ride. Usually, I can get about 7-8 hours of riding in on a single charge. That seems to be enough for me. 

However, if you are doing longer bike events such as a brevet or multi-day bike packing, then you might consider using battery powered lights instead. When you are out on the road for a few days at a time, recharging lights can be a challenge. An alternative to batteries is a portable charger or portable solar charger, both can also be helpful for your phone. Portable chargers are great when traveling with limited power sources, we use them a lot while camping and traveling in our van.

Solar Charger for Charging Bike Lights on the go
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Solar Charger

I am probably a bit over cautious, but please ride with a least one rear and one front light! Be safe out there and remember to have lots of fun. – Thanks for reading. ~ KiteBikeVan

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