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Thread: Lighting suggestions for Hains Point, Rock Creek park?

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    Default Lighting suggestions for Hains Point, Rock Creek park?

    I'm looking to get some fitness rides in several times a week after work at Hains Point. In order to get there I'll be going through some of the main roads of NW DC and using parts of RCP trails. I also thought of doing a short loop in and around RCP using Ross Drive and Beach. However, I realize that this area is dimly lit and wanted to get some thoughts on whether it'd would make a good alternative to the flat and windy Hains Point.

    My question is, how much light is needed to bike these parts? This is about all the nighttime riding I'll do, so I don't want to go overboard and purchase a lighting system that is overkill. Obviously, if I plan to ride through the dark sections of RCP at night then I'll have to consider going with more powerful lights. I'm on a budget and would rather not spend more than $200. Would a 400 lumen bar mounted headlight combined with a rear cherry bomb light be sufficient or do I need to go with a combination helmet and bar mounted lights? How important is it to have a backup light if I only plan on not riding any more than 2 hours at a time and only a couple of times a week?

    thanks in advance

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    DismalScientist is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    The cheap way to do this is to buy a 400 or so lumen Chinese flashlight on ebay for about $10. (These can take 3 AAA cells or rechargeable 18650 batteries) You can get a handlebar mount for about $1. I tie a second flashlight to my helmet with a piece of inner tube. I figure if the quality is insufficient, I haven't invested much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by A.C. View Post
    I'm looking to get some fitness rides in several times a week after work at Hains Point. In order to get there I'll be going through some of the main roads of NW DC and using parts of RCP trails. I also thought of doing a short loop in and around RCP using Ross Drive and Beach. However, I realize that this area is dimly lit and wanted to get some thoughts on whether it'd would make a good alternative to the flat and windy Hains Point.

    My question is, how much light is needed to bike these parts? This is about all the nighttime riding I'll do, so I don't want to go overboard and purchase a lighting system that is overkill. Obviously, if I plan to ride through the dark sections of RCP at night then I'll have to consider going with more powerful lights. I'm on a budget and would rather not spend more than $200. Would a 400 lumen bar mounted headlight combined with a rear cherry bomb light be sufficient or do I need to go with a combination helmet and bar mounted lights? How important is it to have a backup light if I only plan on not riding any more than 2 hours at a time and only a couple of times a week?

    thanks in advance
    I think you'd be fine with a 300-400L bar-mounted light and a good rear blinkie (something like the PlanetBike superflash). Personally, I like to supplement my "to see" lights with a "be seen" light, so when I'm on the roads I run a white Knog Blinder in blinkie mode in addition to my headlight. My opinion is that having a blinkie draws driver attention to your light, rather than it just fading into the see of headlights already on the road (but don't use that bright blinkie on the trail!). In addition, I have a couple of BikeArlington freebie lights permanently attached, so in the absolute worst case, I still have something...

    Right now, on my main commuter bike, I have a CatEye NanoShot+ (600L) on the front, backed up by a Knog Blinder. Out back, I have a Cygolite Hotshot backed up by a superflash. I also have a Cygolite 300L that I swap between my two road bikes. The CatEye is overkill for the city and most of the trails, but it's great for the darker parts of Fairfax county that I ride through when I'm working at my home office (I'm working downtown until January).

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    Quote Originally Posted by DismalScientist View Post
    I tie a second flashlight to my helmet with a piece of inner tube.
    That's what I do.

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    thanks. I think I'd feel safer with a good set a of bike lights rather than mounting a flashlight to my bike. So 400 lumens would be enough to go through some of the dark sections of RCP trails? I was thinking of going with that and then possibly combining that with a 400 lumen helmet mounted in the future if needed.

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    DismalScientist is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronwalf View Post
    That's what I do.

    Ah... my inspiration.

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    Quote Originally Posted by A.C. View Post
    thanks. I think I'd feel safer with a good set a of bike lights rather than mounting a flashlight to my bike. So 400 lumens would be enough to go through some of the dark sections of RCP trails? I was thinking of going with that and then possibly combining that with a 400 lumen helmet mounted in the future if needed.
    If I had to have just one light, it would be the helmet light (the directionality is very useful). I use the older model of the vis360, which is 110 lumen and plenty bright for my needs. (You can get away with a dimmer head lamp than handlebar lamp because you can point it where you need light.) That said, you do need more light the faster you go. I have a brighter handlebar lamp which I'm planning to upgrade when the new B&M models show up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by A.C. View Post
    I'm looking to get some fitness rides in several times a week after work at Hains Point. In order to get there I'll be going through some of the main roads of NW DC and using parts of RCP trails. I also thought of doing a short loop in and around RCP using Ross Drive and Beach. However, I realize that this area is dimly lit and wanted to get some thoughts on whether it'd would make a good alternative to the flat and windy Hains Point.
    I took the plunge and got a NiteRider MiNewt 600 last fall. It's been pretty awesome. I prefer the helmet mount to the handlebar, and the settings allow for bright enough -> super bright. We took it to the abandoned turnpike in PA and had no trouble seeing in the tunnels. The USB charging is easy too. You could probably get away with a 300 for what you want to do (cheaper). It's way more $$ than what these guys were suggesting, but unless you're deciding between food and a light, I think you'll be happy with the purchase.

    http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...=c&cagpspn=pla

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    Quote Originally Posted by creadinger View Post
    I took the plunge and got a NiteRider MiNewt 600 last fall. It's been pretty awesome. I prefer the helmet mount to the handlebar, and the settings allow for bright enough -> super bright. We took it to the abandoned turnpike in PA and had no trouble seeing in the tunnels. The USB charging is easy too. You could probably get away with a 300 for what you want to do (cheaper). It's way more $$ than what these guys were suggesting, but unless you're deciding between food and a light, I think you'll be happy with the purchase.

    http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...=c&cagpspn=pla
    thanks, that's happens to be the same light I was looking at getting

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    I've been happy with the Serfas True 500. I only use it on the second lowest brightness when I'm on the trails, and even then I have to redirect it when there's oncoming riders. It has an easy mount clip for the handlebar, and can swivel left to right, so it's easy to direct away from the trail for oncoming riders, so I don't have to cover it with my hand.

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