By Tony Accurso
There is no doubt autumn is in the air; the leaves are turning, the nights are cooler, and with this change comes shorter days.
Gone are the days of finishing our rides at 8 p.m. by daylight, and soon it will be dark by the time we leave work. Thankfully, this doesn’t mean we have to stop riding! Thanks to modern technology we can continue to ride at night with lights. Bicycle specific lighting is not a new concept, but the product offerings, quality and value are now better than ever.
The choices are many, but choosing the right light doesn’t have to be confusing. When considering a light, consider how long the battery must last based on your typical/planned ride time. If you do three hour rides, you may want to choose a light with a remote battery and variable power output. If your rides are one to two hours, a self contained light may be sufficient. If you ride technical terrain, or alone, you may consider two lights, a bar mounted light and a helmet mounted light. If your trails are buff and not too technical, then perhaps a broad beam light will work well, or maybe a narrow focused lamp for more rocky and technical terrain. With the increased popularity of Fatbiking and winter riding, a light can extend ones season right through the winter!
LED lighting has come a long way, and the high output and low energy consumption make them a great choice for cycling. With lower weight, smaller housings and smaller batteries, they are more portable and convenient than some of the previous HID alternatives. Self contained units are now viable, as rechargeable battery technology is greatly improved. Remember to purchase the best light you can fit into your budget, as a good reliable light will last for many years.
Tony Accurso is the owner of Alpine Bike Works and Fat Bikes of Vermont, 2046 Route 4 in Killington.