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Cycling on Irish country roads

  • 05-12-2021 11:38am
    Registered Users Posts: 1,444 ✭✭✭

    Would you cycle 12km on Irish country roads without street lights at night?



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,769 ✭✭✭cletus

    Not all country roads are created equal. There's plenty of then around me I wouldn't hesitate to cycle at night (with my lights on, obviously), but take, for example, the road from Two-Mile-House to Athgarvan in Co. Kildare. I wouldn't cycle that during the day, don't mind at night

  • Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 38,005 Mod ✭✭✭✭Seth Brundle

    I do a bit of cycling in the dark around N. Kildare. On average, I find people generally give you more room than during the daytime.

    I tend to have two rear lights on (one solid and one flashing). You'd need a decent bright light for the front to see where you're going.

    It will also depend on the road you are travelling on - heavy traffic or quiet back road?

  • Registered Users Posts: 32,608 ✭✭✭✭NIMAN

    Round where I live, simple answer is no.

    No issue doing it during daylight hours, but not when it's dark.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,929 ✭✭✭rolling boh

    kind of depends how busy the road is if the surface is in decent condition because you may have to keep in a bit more at times you would need to invest in a good set of lights if this is part of your other thread if at all possible ride the route during daylight and then you will suss out the spots to avoid .

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,389 ✭✭✭billyhead

    How wide the road is would be another factor.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 23,727 ✭✭✭✭breezy1985

    I have high powered front and back lights so I find night cycling safer on roads with blind turns and junctions. Cars see the light and slow.

    During the day you see some absolute shtshow driving round blind country bends. Places where if there was a car coming the other way everyone is fked.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,444 ✭✭✭fun loving criminal

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,727 ✭✭✭✭breezy1985

    Can't remember the name but it's a 500 lumens LED front. Put next to a car the back are as strong as a car light. Well worth even on city roads where streetlights are not good enough for potholes sometimes

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 47,870 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    i've never really cycled at night on unlit roads. would be curious about the balance between lighting the ground in front to see obstacles like potholes, etc., and lighting the distance so you can read the road ahead, without blinding oncoming traffic.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,793 ✭✭✭fat bloke

    Short answer, no.

    If you had a bit of a chain gang to ride with then maybe but I wouldn't fancy it solo.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 79 ✭✭Shoco83

    I used to do a lot of cycling at night round here, two rear lights and two front lights, one pointing down at the road and the other on the helmet, never had any issues with visibility, also knew the roads well so that helped.

    I always found it safe, much less traffic and because of all the lights car generally slowed down as they probably weren’t sure what I was!

    I just prefer the structured work on the smart trainer these days

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,727 ✭✭✭✭breezy1985

    LEDs are very narrow beam so just point it down a little and you will be able to see obstacles at a manageable distance and it will be far less blinding than a car light also.

    Do make sure it's a light with a bit of a side light. Some are like torches with forward only where as mine has a few tiny bits of side glass so you can see it side on too in dusk conditions

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,729 ✭✭✭✭tomasrojo

    I used to cycle out to Pollardstown Fen before dawn from Kildare town, doing scientific fieldwork. I just had an old dynamo set up; not sure how happy I'd be to rely on something like that now.

    But I have to say, I absolutely loved that cycle. And the fen is incredible at dawn.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,625 ✭✭✭Wildly Boaring

    Often do

    Find drivers a lot more courteous

    Same as when running roads at night.

    A decent set of lights and off you go.

    I throw 2 lights on back in case one stops working.

    I would not run/cycle one of the mad busy commuter areas just outside the streetlight, full of drivers used to street lights

    (like say Skerries to Lusk or even Bettystown to old N1- which is near here, I always go over the laytown footbridge or coast road from Drogheda)

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,353 ✭✭✭Ryath

    I'd be with the ones who say it's actually possibly safer once you've decent lights. I can only remember one close pass at night versus almost every spin during the day and that was deliberate by scumbags roaring out of the car who'd have done it any time. Cars are generally much warier and slow down around you. I've done a fair bit of night cycling in my time and even one over night 24 hr one.

    Good lights not aimed high so they are blinding on coming cars. I always use two lights on back even on the dynamo bike and usually two for the front too. Not a fan of flashing rear lights think they are distracting and can cause target fixation. I prefer ones that pulse or breath. Usually keep one light on steady.

    There are roads I do avoid even in the day time. N roads with a 100 limit and no hard shoulder are especially unpleasant though a few I cycle are unavoidable for short stints.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,090 ✭✭✭nilhg

    A reflective Sam Browne type belt is a great help cycling at night and not too constraining to wear, the one I have is below,

    As others have said in general I find drivers more willing to give a little space to riders at night, but you need to make a good effort to light yourself up properly.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,727 ✭✭✭✭breezy1985

    I don't think cyclists should ever use flashing lights. It signals that there is a problem or something that is not a moving vehicle. Due to my job I have cycled at night for years in various lighting conditions and definitely feel safer

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,444 ✭✭✭fun loving criminal

    How would others feel using a front and rear lights and a back up light on a helmet for example. The reason I say helmet, is so that I can light up my handlebars as well.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 47,870 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    i think the vast majority of people are accustomed to flashing lights on bikes, so would not take it as a problematic signal.

    the one thing i did one read as a suggestion (have never seen it proved) is that a flashing light makes it harder for depth perception to give an accurate idea of distance, so when i am cycling at night, i like to have one light flashing, one steady, both front and back.

  • Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators, Regional South East Moderators Posts: 28,428 Mod ✭✭✭✭Cabaal

    Depends on the roads, but generally I would say yes.

    I don't cycle much but I've run 1000's of KM's on country roads at night and I generally feel safe, if anything I find it safer then day time as a super bright head tourch freaks motorists out :D

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,048 ✭✭✭hans aus dtschl

    Every day. Get good lights. Two lights front and two lights back. I use a strong steady light alongside a weaker flashing light, to try to help motorists with depth perception. You don't need to see your handlebars or gears, so I've given up on the head torch these days.

    As everyone else has been saying, night feels far safer than day. Friends who have joined me on night spins have also commented on same: night feels way safer: fewer close passes, and oncoming traffic slows down more often.

    Group spins are a bit more difficult, because you have someone else's lights in your face, and you can't see the road ahead as easily, as a result.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,208 ✭✭✭Macy0161

    In general, I wouldn't have a problem with it*. Now I've a German standard light, I really couldn't recommend a wide dispersal CREE/ MTB/ Aliexpress light. Great for off road, but some difference with a focused pattern.

    *It's come up recently as a few people have asked would I not commute from home rather than drive a bit of the way. Time is definitely a factor, but I'm really not sure I'd trust the drivers on the roads I'd have to take, having seen some of the manoeuvres vehicle commuting over the years, and the sheer speed. But the road is a sh!tshow even on a Saturday and Sunday morning that I try to avoid anyway tbh. So like everything, I'd say "it depends"

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,646 ✭✭✭Large bottle small glass

    IME the natural light level isn't relevant to whether I'd ride a particular road or not.

    It sounds like you are going to be commuting, and imo they are the worst type of road user to share a road with; maybe someone with God on their side trying to make 11am mass in Coolea (or wherever) driving both ditches in their 520d might be a close second.

    If you are not happy riding that road when bright you are probably not going to be happy when its dark; it'll probably be a bit better but still not great.

    I ride that road and similar regularly, it's lovely. Recently I rode it around 6pm and met 2 cnuts in about 2km, when typically I might meet 5 mannerly drivers in total in a 40km odd spin.

    Look up and input your start and end points and that'll give you an idea of the best bike friendly route. I'm pretty map obsessed and like to map nice cycling routes, but even in areas I'm really familiar with that website will be match for me and often better and finding good cycling routes.

    IME night riding is some of the best riding you can do, especially in the country side. Most of my riding this time of year will involve riding to some degree in the dark.

    Decent lights with two at rear (as lads have mentioned already) are a must. Arm band type light on ankle is a winner for being detected quickly.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,727 ✭✭✭✭breezy1985

    What's the 2 lights thing about?

    I've never felt the need

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,208 ✭✭✭Macy0161

    One steady, one flashing? fwiw I wouldn't generally, but as I don't trust my own capabilities wiring the dyno lights, I've been carrying backup (and have had to use the rear one!). If you're going to carry back up, might as well be on, and on the bike?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,646 ✭✭✭Large bottle small glass

    Redundancy at the rear, failure is obvious at the front

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,727 ✭✭✭✭breezy1985

    Having both on is a bit of a waste if your on a long spin and the reason for the spare is battery life.

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 18,065 Mod ✭✭✭✭CatFromHue

    I used to cycle at night on some country roads and have to say I loved it, it's less windy and the traffic is far lighter.

    When you got out into the dark I turned off my flashing light as it tended to give me a headache and just used my 350 lumen light, which is probably the lowest brightness of light you'd want to be using. You will have to invest in good quality lights, 20 or 30 euro ones won't be enough.

    Like all things local road conditions apply so keep that in mind too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,048 ✭✭✭hans aus dtschl

    Two lights because of redundancy for the most part. It happens rarely, but all lights die. I lose one a year or thereabouts.

    Bring the backup, and use the backup so you know it works.

    If you're only ever in groups you don't need double, obviously.

    Agree with the previous poster that you can get a headache from the flashing light, so I have much lower strength on the flashing one always.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,048 ✭✭✭hans aus dtschl

    OP is talking about 12km. And most lights will do a few hours anyway. The reason for the secondary is for redundancy, and to test/prove it works.

    You can get away with a phone as a "torch" light if the front light goes. I have done this but prefer just bringing the spare light. It weighs very little anyway.