Winter Cycling Essentials: Lighting
It’s that time of year again, you know, when the weather is cold, wet or worse and if you’re commuting by bike it’s dark when you set off and dark again when you leave. So here’s a couple of tips to make life just that little bit safer and more comfortable so hopefully you can still enjoy the ride out there on the roads.
First of all we’ll start with your bike and the most important addition to add during winter is a good set of lights, not only to help you see where you’re going but so other road users see you! It’s important not to scrimp on your lights and luckily you don’t have to break the bank as there are plenty out there that will do the job and not cost a fortune. Whether you go for rechargeable or normal batteries is down to personal choice, and to how often you’ll be in the dark or likely to be caught out.
I’ve been trying out some good examples this week and all of them do the business. The first was the rechargeable B’TWIN VIOO 300 USB Bike Light Set, they are easy to set up on your handlebars and seat post (no tools required), and have a great beam. They can be used either in a flashing or continuous mode which is of great advantage to anyone caught in the dark. The front light has a great beam on it when it’s used on the continuous mode (which I did) and the flashing mode is great too. The rear light is also very bright and when I used them I rode in town and on to an unlit main road where I had no problems seeing where I was going or with motorists seeing me which is obviously a very good situation to be in. Charging times were good too and these lights come with two USB chargers as well so that both lights can be charged at the same time.
To be even safer, and to give you greater peace of mind, if you’ve got a longer commute it’s always wise to have a second set of lights on your bike. These can be used either alongside your main lights or as a back up in case the batteries do die on your main lights. I used the BTWIN VIOO LED front and rear lights which came in at just £2.79 each, bargain! Even better they come with a set of batteries. I used the front light in flashing mode on my handlebars and the rear light on my helmet also in flashing mode to give myself high amount of visibility. These are great little lights and so easy to use as they don’t even need tools to set up them up, this is down to the unique rubber strap which is designed to wrap round the bars or seat post providing a secure fitting. During testing, I also had the chance to try out a VI00 clip 300 USB light which is a great addition and can be used in a number of ways. It has a clip and a rubber band that can be used to fix it to your bike, clothing or rucksack making it extremely versatile, and therefore very useful. At just £8.50, it’s a great bit of kit and throws out an incredible light.
Despite the state of some of the roads, I didn’t have any problems at all with any of the lights slipping or coming loose and after a 2 hour ride in the dark, not one of them died on me or appeared to lose any charge which was a great result. No scary moments as there’s nothing worse than thinking you might have to ride part of the way with no lights! During my product testing I have also been wearing a B’twin 700 high vis gilet which I’ve been well impressed with as it really stands out in the dark. It’s great for wearing over a long sleeve jersey and is waterproof at the front, windproof and has a handy rear pocket for gels or a set of keys. For days when it’s damp and cold it has been better than using a long sleeve waterproof jacket. It’s more breathable ensuring that your arms don’t sweat like they would wearing a long sleeved jacket making you cold due to the moisture becoming cold against your skin. Due to it’s size, it can also fit into a jersey pocket for when you’ve warmed up.
So there it is, a quick overview of the best new products to keep you safe during your winter rides out on the open roads. For more information and expert advice why not head over to www.decathlon.co.uk to discover our full winter cycling product ranges and to find many other products that will help you pursue your passions.
(Notes on the author – Mick Johnson is an avid cyclist from our Sheffield Decathlon branch. He currently works as an expert sports adviser ensuring each cycles customer leaves the store kitted out with everything they need for their next adventure out on the roads or trails. Are you interested in a job that lets you pursue your passion? Why not scoot over to our careers site and discover the many positions available – http://www.decathlon-jobs.co.uk/ )