Tips and Tricks how to Play with Light
How powerful should be your bike helmet light?
It depends not only on the fact how “dark” you are going to ride. The other important factor is your speed. You don’t necessarily need to pedal faster than light to realize that bright part of the road becomes too short to ride safely.
By the way, did you know that bicycle speed record is 268.83 km/h (about 167 mph)? It was made in 1995 in the USA. Impressive...
Imagine what light this guy should install on his helmet to ride such speed at night...
OK, back to reality.
And reality says that when you ride in the forest or choose single path roads further from civilized asphalt pavements, you should consider buying a more powerful bike helmet light. At least more than 2 - 3 watt.
Stronger light will hurt your pocket more.
Purchase a couple of weaker lights. You can fix them on the handlebars of your bike. It will look quite impressive and enlighten your road better. You’ll end up somewhere in between entry level and hi-end biking light.
However, if it’s just commuting in the city not exceeding 12-15 mph (19-24 km/h), simpler light (1 - 2 watt) should be enough to lead you home safely.
Weaker bike helmet light is usually not designed to show you a road.
Its main function is to make you visible on the road. Talking about more visibility, make a combination and attach one front and one rear (red) light to your helmet.
Push the button and you are on. With your bike helmet light attached with an elastic strap to your helmet.
And... how does the road look like now?
Don’t be hasty and don’t blame the light if you can see nothing more than one tree on your left side and couple of trees on your right side. Correct positioning of the light may be a problem.
If you have a LED light (and most probably you do), pay attention to the vertical-horizontal visibility.
As most of the LED light models are made to have as broad horizontal visibility as possible, you need to be very patient to find that perfect angle of your light.
Actually, you don’t necessarily need the brightest light to have a good visibility of the road.
Just make sure you level it right.
Good news for helmet light fans is that the height of the spot where the light is attached makes a big impact for the overall light performance (because of the angle of ray).
It means light on your head fights the darkness more effectively than a light fixed on your bike frame.
Need more light? Use the light from the sources around you. Reflect. It is never too much light when you cycle in the dark. Your safety depends on the light. See and be seen.
Already having all those light-making instruments on your head, consider one step further than merely bike helmet light. Appropriate mountain bike clothing can make significant impact to your visibility on the road.
Modern cycling clothing materials reflect much more light than couple of tiny reflectors on your pedals or backpack.
If I may use such a romantic expression, it’s better to look like a lightning then like a candle light on the road.
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