Don't Get Caught Out in The Dark?...Get a Bike Light
It's officially Fall. We've passed the Autumnal Equinox, it's getting colder (or at least it's suppoosed to be) and whether we like it our not, our precious daylight hours are getting shorter. For many people, once daylight savings time hits in a few weeks, and we set our clocks back an hour it means an end to any hope of getting out for an after work ride. It doesn't have to be this way. Here in Lake Placid and down the road in Wilmington, weekly after-work group rides continue to meet right up until the first snow falls. Local riders embrace the darkeness with rediculously bright lights created specifically for cycling that are available at one of our local bike shops.
Bike lights either come with a helmet mount or a handlebar mount. The brighter lights have an external battery that straps to the frame or goes in your pack. Some of the smaller lights available have the batteries built right in. Both are rechargable. Make no mistake, this is not your run of the mill headlamp. These lights are bright. Even the least expensive, smaller lights have more than enough power to light the way. The larger models allow full-speed riding all through the night. If you do pick one up be sure have a full charge every time you go out. Less than full charges in the battery can often lead to a very dark walk out of the woods. It is also a best practice to have a red colored rear light any time you are riding on a roadway at night.
Last week I went searching for available lights at all of Lake Placid's bike shops and found an ample selection at Placid Planet Bicycles. They have lights that would suit a variety. From small hemet mounted lights to giant lights that could be brighter than your car's headlights, they've got em. Prices range from around $100 to $350 for lights that would be suitable for mountain biking in the dark.
All of the mountain bike trails in the area are suitable for night riding so pick up a map at either High Peaks Cyclery or Placid Planet Bicycles, and get out for a ride. When riding at night is always a good idea to bring a back up light source in case your primary source runs out of battery. A simple headlamp would suffice for this purpose. Spending the money on a mountain bike specific light may seem a little silly, but the first time you go out for a ride and don't have to stop just because it's dark your purchase will be well worth it.