Buying cycle lights

Choosing which kind of cycle lights will be best for you and your needs isn’t quite as simple a task as one might imagine! Once upon a time it was an extremely easy job as there were very few choices about. Now that technological advances have taken place in the world of lighting, there are seemingly endless variants and endless options!

A keen cyclist will more than likely be very sure of their needs regarding lighting, but a new or inexperienced cyclist may need some guidance when it comes to making the final decision on their cycle lights. Some questions which may be sensible to ask before choosing your lights are as follows.

Do I anticipate being out after dark
What kind of terrain will I be travelling through?
Do I want battery operated lights?
Would solar lights be best?
Should I wear reflectors on my clothing?

What to consider when choosing cycle lights

The options are very varied when it comes to types of cycle lights. Remember that there is a big difference between seeing and being seen. In other words, if you are planning on riding through rural lanes in the pitch black, then you will need a powerful light with a large spread of light which will illuminate as much ground as possible; you may also want to consider a head-lamp which you can sweep about at will in order to view dangers such as animals, pot holes and pedestrians which may otherwise be invisible. If you are riding on well lit roads in suburban or urban areas then a large concern will be your visibility to other traffic and this is where reflectors are particularly useful in addition to cycle lights.

Types of cycle lights

LED (light emitting diode) cycle lights are very popular amongst those riders who are often in urban areas. This is partly due to their brightness and also to the fact that they do not use an enormous amount of power. LED lights can be set in different modes, flashing, constant or strobe and this is another reason for their popularity. The amount of bulbs within an LED light varies from as little as one or two right up to ten; the average amount of bulbs needed in a cycle light meant for ordinary urban use would be around three. This would give a good illumination without dazzling.

For people who are mountain bike enthusiasts and who may enjoy night riding, stronger cycle lights would be preferable. Lithium ion batteries are common choices for the powerful lights on these cycles and are large and relatively heavy; they will usually be attached to the body of the cycle for ease of transport.

Are cycle lights enough?

Whilst it cannot be denied that reliable lights are a must for any rider, another important factor in safety is reflective clothing. Armbands and reflectors for pedals are excellent at increasing a riders visibility and whether you are cycling during a misty morning or a balmy summer evening, your visibility on the road can be impaired by poor lighting conditions. Ensure that your equipment is well cared for and check it regularly for signs of wear. Good protective clothing is a must and well maintained kit could save lives.