Cycling After Hours: 7 Night Riding Tips for the Uninitiated

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Even if you ride your bike to work, chances are you’ve never had to ride at night.

Maybe you tried it once, scared the bejesus out of yourself, and swore it off forever. Last time the boss asked you to stay late, you threw your bike in the back of a co-worker’s truck and scooted home with your tail between your legs.

And for good reason.

Without the right gear, night riding is as terrifying as it is dangerous. Even with the right gear, night riding is scary until you get used to it. But there are steps to take to ease into night riding, do it safely, and stay on your bike after hours.

Tip #1: Try Night Riding on a Lighted Bike Path

Many bike paths designed for commuters run lights well into the night, making them suitable for bicycle commuting well past sunset. Cyclists don’t need much more gear than they’re used to in order to use these paths.

Read the signs before entering the path to find out if the lights run all night or if they shut off at 10 or 11 PM.

Tip #2: Wear Clear Sunglasses or Safety Glasses

Plenty of cyclists own slick, cycling-specific eyewear. But if you’re used to riding during the day, you probably own dark lenses for them. Maybe you found yourself at the bike shop, looking inside a case full of shades, and wondered why anyone would want clear, yellow, or rose-tinted lenses. The reason is simple.

Some cyclists ride at night.

Clear is the best choice. If you don’t have a pair of clear, cycling-specific glasses, a cheap pair of clear safety glasses picked up from an auto parts or hardware store on your lunch break won’t break the bank while solving most of your “boss asked me to stay late, but I rode my bike” problem. If you’re feeling quirky, a pair of vintage aviation goggles works, too.  

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