Fat Tire Tuesday: Riding at Night for the Solar Powered

 Oh, and psst … wanna win some rad stuff? !!

By Sarah Hansing


Ok. We’ve all tried to be good sports about the whole Daylight Saving thing … but it’s time someone just comes out and says it: Getting out of work when it’s dark is stupid, and I hate it.

I don’t think I’m alone in this sentiment. (I might be a bit more vehement in my objections to Daylight Saving, but I’m certainly not alone).

After all, the fact is that I “run on solar-power.” The less daylight, the less energy I have. When it’s dark by 5pm, it’s incredibly unmotivating to run home, change into cycling kit, and get out and ride. Quite honestly, I almost daily feel like an old person that insists upon eating “supper” at 6:30pm, before turning in for the night. I mean, I certainly don’t feel like a rock-star when I’m getting ready to get into my pajamas and go to bed and I look at the clock …

And see that it’s only 8:15.

But in my defense, it FEELS like I should be in bed  I mean, it’s been dark for hours by 8pm.

I remain amazed at  just how quickly I can summon a bevy of excuses (and perfectly valid reasons) to NOT ride my bike. If I get out for a night ride on the trail twice a week, it’s an incredible exercise in … well, not necessarily discipline … but in shaming myself into riding.

I mean, I’m dragging my feet to just even commute to work. (Because commuting to work means having to ride home in the dark, after all.)

SOooo many excuses…

It’s dark. It’s cold. There are wolves. I don’t have bike lights. I’m freaked out by the cars that can’t even seem to see me in the daylight, even though I’m wearing the equivalent of a day-glo hazmat suit with reflective piping all over it.  I’m basically a rolling discotech of high-viz, blinky lights, and I still have at least one close call with a car per week.

I don’t like being off my bike as much as I have been, so it’s solution time.

My mental game of: Go Ride Your Bike Sarah I Mean Honestly Stop Being Such A Baby About It doesn’t have to be a losing battle.

There are ways to make the aforementioned riding deterrents easier to overcome.

It’s Dark and It’s Cold
Remember, just because it’s lovely in the morning when you ride into work, does not mean that when the sun goes down (basically right after lunchtime) it won’t get cold. Not chilly, but cold. That’s going to happen. So remember that, and bring warmer kit to ride home in. Layers are our friends.

Don’t make direct eye contact, don’t try to pet them and don’t actually think you have seen one, because I made the wolf thing up.

You Don’t Have Bike Lights
Go get some bike lights. And I recommend just ponying up for the good ones. They aren’t that pricey, they are usb rechargeable, easy to take on and off the bike, and they’ll help you see all of the potholes in the road and help people on the road (or sidewalk) see you. Also you can use them as an awesome flashlight when you can’t find your flashlight or your phone.

And finally, The Big One: Cars.
Cars: Cars at night. Cars during the day. Close calls that should and could be completely preventable. And the reality of the situation is that it’s our responsibility to save ourselves. No it’s not fair. No we shouldn’t have to feel like a neurotic cat near a vacuum cleaner when we see headlights, or when we want to turn down a street. Or even when we just want to keep on pedalling down the road, and see a car pulling out from a parking lot or driveway.

The name of the game here, and the way to feel confident riding at night is. BE SEEN. BE VISIBLE. ANNOYINGLY, RETINA BURNINGLY VISIBLE.

We’re here to help at ASJ. There is a new “Ouch! My eyes!” light that has recently been released by Bontrager: The Flare R taillight, which is so freakin bright, it’s obnoxiously visible even during the daylight. And when it’s dark? Yeah. The whole “I didn’t see the bicycle” thing would only be applicable if someone had their eyes closed, or was blind. In which case I should hope they would not be driving in the first place.

The Flare R is visible from 2km away DURING THE FREAKIN DAY (which in the language I can understand: about 1.2 miles) and from 5km away at night (3.1 miles). It surrounds you in its halo of safety 270 degrees. There IS no not seeing you. You’re the prom king or queen with the spotlight on you, basically.

Anyways – because we love you, we’re giving away 18 of these lights in an effort to keep everyone safe, and stoked to keep riding their bikes through the dark days and nights of winter.


But just because we love you doesn’t mean that love isn’t a two way street. We want you to post on Instagram or Facebook, a picture of you and your bike – or even just your bike – in a place you’d feel a lot better having the Bontrager Flare R. Day or night. Could be your driveway. Could be a seedy alley. Could be downtown, in your living room using it for a dance party … just make sure your bike is in there somewhere, ok?

Hashtag that jazzy picture with #ASJBONTRAGER and #BELOUDER. Oh, and it done by midnight New Year’s Eve.

C’mon. You know you already have a ton of pictures of you with your bike, and you’ve probably posted em on Instagram and Facebook already – just hashtag ’em and you’re entered into the contest.

As if that wasn’t enough motivation…

Of the 10 winners of the Flare R taillights, 1 lucky ducky who win a light will also win a lot more stuff! Like … a LOT more stuff. Drum roll please …. THE GRAND PRIZE! Including:

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 2.13.59 PM

Check out the details here!

Let’s get seen, ya’ll! (And win some rad stuff in the process!)


​Fat Tire Tuesday columnist Sarah Hansing has been slinging wrenches as a pro bike mechanic for 15 years (with the exception of a one year stint working for Trek Bicycles in Wisconsin.) Epicenter Cycling scooped her up as their lead mechanic and the shop’s crew plans to ​keep her forever. Sarah loves riding singlet​rack, wrenching on bikes, and hanging out with her jerk-face but adorable cat Harlan. (Who is a jerk.)

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