Thursday, October 08, 2009

Night Time Etiquette

Depending on where you live, you may have noticed that it is getting dark sooner. At my latitude, there is less than 12 hours of daylight and those 12 hrs are shrinking, by the end of the month, there will be only 11hrs between sunrise and sunset.

But don't despair! Less daylight riding means more night-time riding!

However, before you rush right out and blind your riding partners, we need to go over some ground rules.

First, while it's desirable to run a helmet light--and bar mounted light--it is bad form to shine said light into another's eyes. It is worse form to continue talking to said person blissfully unaware as to the reason that you can see his/her face so clearly while it is dark everywhere else.

Instead, when joining a group standing waiting for the rest of the riders, turn off your lights, enjoy the stars, and don't look at the lights of the riders coming up to join you...

Sometimes, when the moon is full, the group may decide to ride without lights. This adds to the richness that is night riding and the decision of the group must be observed. It doesn't matter that you can't see a darn thing, democracy has spoken. Remember, by using your lights, not only are you giving the proverbial finger to the group--and labeling yourself as a loner, a rebel, and a free-thinker (the worst!)--but you are killing the acquired night vision of those around you. Even when your light is on low. If you must ride with lights in such an occasion, you must ride at least 200ft from the nearest rider. This rule is very similar to the rule for passing gas on a group ride, so it should be easy to remember. Especially if you are running lights and passing gas on a group ride where lights have been voted off.

So, to recap:

1) If you can see your riding partners just fine, but they keep averting their eyes, stop pointing your helmet light at them. Better yet, just turn them off if you must look at the person you are speaking to.

2) When the group-think has determined that there is sufficient ambient light to ride by, thereby ruling that lights are NOT to be used, you must adhere to this ruling or be relegated to riding 200ft from the nearest non-lighted rider.

Feel free to print these rules and affix to your top tube for easy reference.

Now, go and enjoy, nay, embrace the dark!


Anonymous said...

As you say "it is getting dark sooner", so when can we expect the 2010 review of lights??


James said...


That is a very good question. It is that time of year, isn't it.

I'll have some info in the coming weeks.

Los Bluemels said...

You just reminded me I'm going to lose .5 hours in 2 wks and and hour in a month. Sad, as for the rest I'm wondering if you recently encountered said experience and I'm laughing and I'm remembering the days of riding in the moonlight. aaahh

Dan Ray said...

Speaking of light reviews, have you heard of/seen the Magicshine MJ-808?

It's cheap. Just wondering if it's worth the money.

James said...


Thanks for the link. Geomangear, as far as I can tell, is a reputable place to buy lights. I'm going to have to look into these, since they are using (it seems from a cursory glance) the same emitter as the (much) more costly Lupine Tesla.

Also, the new Exposure Diablo is rated about the same lumens.

Naturally, I'll keep you all posted as I find things out and when/if I can get a review unit.

Anonymous said...

What ever happened to the 2010 review of lights??

James said...


Still working on it. Life interfered, but I'll have some more stuff posted soon.