Lights! Lights! Lights!

Cycling on the roads can be intimidating, especially when you’re doing it for the very first time, or that you haven’t done it for awhile. Between big roads, speeding cars and errant drivers, the noise and chaos can be overwhelming.

It takes experience to be comfortable cycling on the road. With experience, you will learn defensive riding, road behaviours and ways to act to avoid being put in dangerous situations. Experience will also give you more confidence. Another important factor in building self-confidence, peace of mind and comfort is the right kit! A good helmet, bright clothing (if you prefer), reflective bits on your clothing and most importantly, your lights!

We recommend a minimum of two lights when you’re cycling – a front light and a rear light. Front lights are supposed to be white and rear lights red. There are a variety of lights to choose from in the market, varying from a couple of dollars to even above a hundred dollars. Of course, as with everything else, you generally get what you pay for. More expensive lights generally come with better build quality, better illumination (are brighter), better battery life and come with more features.

Cycling can be an expensive hobby, and we often try our best to offer tips to save a couple of dollars. However, we recommend that you never skimp on lights. Lights are your first beacon (no pun intended) of safety and your first line of defence in protecting you from dangerous situations. Spend as much as you can afford on bike lights. In fact, when purchasing your first bike, we recommend setting aside a fraction of your intended budget on bike lights.

So what should you look out for when looking for your first pair of lights?

1) Battery life

Most bike lights nowadays come with built in rechargeable batteries. Try to get yourself a bike light with a battery life that can last you for the duration of your ride. You don’t want to be carrying a portable battery charger just to charge your lights halfway. Worse still, you don’t want your lights to fail on you in the middle of your night ride. In Singapore, most roads are lit but there are many darker spots in less busy areas. You may be visible on these roads, but your goal should be to alert drivers and not just blend in with the surroundings.

2) Brightness