Winter cycling: Getting the right cycle light
Different kinds of lights
There are so many lights available it can be somewhat bewildering. The first thing to think about is where you are riding, as this will dictate what kind of light you should use.
If you’re riding in a city where there’s a lot of street lighting, you don’t need a really bright light. Your light doesn’t need to be concentrated into one beam.
Riding in the countryside
On country lanes or in dimly lit areas where there’s not any street lighting, you need a much brighter light.
One light for both types of riding
Most lights suitable for darker conditions will have multiple settings, so you can always bring it down to the lowest setting when you’re in the city and then when you get into the countryside you can crank it up.
If your light only has one bright setting, make sure you point it down when you’re in the city so that you don’t blind other people.
Flashing or steady beams
A steady beam can be better for drivers gauging distance, but it’s not going to get people’s attention so sometimes people have both, where the flashing light gets attention but the steady beam means they can judge how far away you are.
If you need to get some lights, head to a cycle store and get some advice. They will be able to offer you the best light for what you need. It’s important for you to know what kind of routes you ride and whether there is any street lighting.
Reflective fabric has become more accessible lately. You can put it on your person or on your bag and become more visible when a light shines on it. Many cycling jackets, for example, come with lots of little reflective points on the side, on the back and on the front so you are visible as a human being.
There are little accessories that you can put on that reflect light, including reflective bands which are also useful because they will also hold your trouser leg so it doesn’t get caught in your chain.