Author Topic: Do i need lights and a handlebar mirror for Pacific Coast in July?  (Read 9406 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Daveymac

Good evening!

I have 2 quick questions...I plan on cycling down the Pacific Coast from Vancouver to Mexico, in July.
I only plan on riding during daylight hours..

Do you think I will need front and rear lights at any stage? (tunnels etc)

Also, would any of you recommend getting a handlebar mirror to keep an eye on traffic behind me...would it offer any additional safety/time to react if a vehicle gets too close?

Thank you!

Dublin Dave.

Offline cgarch

Re: Do i need lights and a handlebar mirror for Pacific Coast in July?
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2017, 03:17:51 pm »
Just my opinion . . You shouldn't need a headlight in July. A tail light however is strongly advised for the tunnels as mentioned. Given that the coast can be foggy that time of year, a tail light is a definite plus. As to a mirror, that's a personal preference that is always hotly debated (along with helmets). I ride with a mirror mounted on my sunglasses. It makes it easy to maneuver the mirror to see what's behind me, keeps my head pointed the right way, and significantly reduces my neck strain. I have no preference for handlebar mounted mirrors, as looking down instead of forward isn't so great (my opinion). You should try the mirror of your choice before your trip to see what works best for you. It's good to know when those semis are coming up.

cg
Santa Rosa, CA

Offline etsisk

Re: Do i need lights and a handlebar mirror for Pacific Coast in July?
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2017, 04:48:26 pm »
I'm a careful kind of guy, so I always have a headlight and a taillight or two. You might not need the illumination, but the folks on a cross street  ahead of you might appreciate the heads up. Which is not to say that some knucklehead still won't pull out in front of you. I assure you that they will!

Sent from my SM-T560NU using Tapatalk


Offline Daveymac

Re: Do i need lights and a handlebar mirror for Pacific Coast in July?
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2017, 05:06:57 pm »
Hi! Thank you for the replies...
I will bring lights then.. I have owleye lights that charge via usb cable...
Re the mirror...
The helmet mounted one sounds effective... But my immediate thought is uncool.... Sorry!

Are there any ong tunnels on the Pacific Coast route?

re cars coming out in front on me.. I commute 40km daily through Dublin city... So i have quite good experience of this!

D

Offline DaveB

Re: Do i need lights and a handlebar mirror for Pacific Coast in July?
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2017, 06:07:06 pm »
I've tried every type of mirror available and settled on the Third Eye handle bar end mirror (for drop bars) and I have one one every bike I own.  I will not ride without one.  Their only negative is that they don't work if you have barend shifters.

A rear flasher is always a good idea everywhere, all the time. 

Offline Patco

Re: Do i need lights and a handlebar mirror for Pacific Coast in July?
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2017, 07:41:23 pm »
I am in agreement with DaveB. I, too, use the same type bar end mirror, and when touring I always have a rear light. I have never used a front light. As for the tunnels on the Oregon Coast, there are two and both have a flasher system that you activate before entering that warns drivers there are bikes in the tunnel. They are not particularly long. One tunnel is slightly uphill. My approach has been to wait for a suitable break, hit the flasher, then pedal hard to quickly get through the tunnel.

Offline cgarch

Re: Do i need lights and a handlebar mirror for Pacific Coast in July?
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2017, 07:49:28 pm »
Are there any long tunnels on the Pacific Coast route?

There are two tunnels in Oregon, neither particularly long. The northern tunnel, Arch Rock, isn't that long but it has a bend in it (i.e. you can't see the other end) and is slightly uphill. There's a button for the warning lights and supposedly vehicles are limited to 35 mph- good luck with that. The warning lights are not on long enough if you're heavily loaded or just plain slow or both. The second tunnel at Heceta Head is a short and straight - no issues there. The only other tunnel (Tom Lantos Tunnel)  is in CA north of Montara (Half Moon Bay). It is long but has really wide shoulders. But you don't have to take that as you can take the Devil's Slide trail (old highway) - if it's open. All three are well lit.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Do i need lights and a handlebar mirror for Pacific Coast in July?
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2017, 10:07:52 pm »
Odd questions.  I have taillights with me whenever I ride.  I have one hanging on the back of my helmet.  Zip ties through the rear vents of the helmet.  Two more hang on the back of my saddlebag.  I always have them.  Whether I use or need them isn't a question I even ask.  For a headlight I always carry a small flashlight with me when touring.  I use it to see at night in camp.  It has one of those mounts that allows you to mount it to handlebars.  Can't remember what the brand of that mount is.  But it lives on the flashlight so its always available to use if need be.  Again, I don't even ask the question.  As for a mirror, I use a Take A Look mounted on my sunglasses.  I like having it.  Don't really care about other people's opinions.  As for using a mirror to see cars getting too close, it does not work that way.  You don't look in the mirror constantly.  You have to look ahead to see where you are riding.  You only look for a second or two in the mirror.  Cars coming up behind you will generally not swerve to the side until they are close to you.  You will not be watching them the entire time they are behind you and watch them swerve out.  The mirror just allows you to know a car is coming behind you and make you ready.  If a car is going to run you over, there really isn't anything you can do about it.  Except dive into the ditch whenever you see or hear a car behind you.  Irregardless of whether it is going to hit you or not.  Think about rear view mirrors in a car.  Seeing a car behind you with the mirror does not tell you if a car is going to rear end you.  It just tells you a car is coming up behind you.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Do i need lights and a handlebar mirror for Pacific Coast in July?
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2017, 07:01:38 am »
I don't think either is a necessity, but a tail light is good idea for tunnels, foggy days, or if you will ride in twilight or at dawn.  I usually take a little light weight blinkie, typically picked up for $5-6 on sale at Performance.

If you use a mirror for your riding around home then I'd use one on tour.  I personally see no reason to do differently just because it is a tour or because of anything about that specific route though.  I don't use one at all myself.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Do i need lights and a handlebar mirror for Pacific Coast in July?
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2017, 11:31:41 am »
Headlight: Not necessary.
Taillight: Essential. You will otherwise be nearly invisible in the fog, and they are a really good idea for the tunnels too.
Mirror: Personal preference, but I like one, especially in situations like fog where you would like to have some idea if that car behind you seems to see you or not. Handlebar mirrors are just one option. Try all options to see which one works best for you. I use a helmet-mounted mirror.

Offline walks.in2.trees

Re: Do i need lights and a handlebar mirror for Pacific Coast in July?
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2017, 01:36:27 pm »
I say yes to all lights.

I think a mirror is essential as long as it stays put... For instance I tried a helmet mounted mirror, and it kept getting knocked out of alignment, especially on rough road, it's pointless to have it if it points the wrong way and you have to keep adjusting it. A mirror you have to adjust every five minutes is probably more dangerous than no mirror at all... I wouldn't say it's essential all the time, only for the same reasons as in a car... Situational awareness... When you notice that giant wheel eating pothole coming up in your line of travel, you want to know there's a gap in traffic to swerve around it or if you have to brake to wait for one... When you need to prep for that left hand turn, you you want to know when there's a break in traffic to cross traffic from the shoulder to the center... And you need to do it without turning your head, because looking over your shoulder will cause you to drift the way you're looking, not to mention takes your eyes away from your line of travel, which might mean that you don't notice that pothole that your approaching, and won't know to steer around, because your watching behind (been there, done that: ripped the bars right out of my hand and put me on my back with my bike on top of me in the middle of a busy highway... Fortunately during a large gap in traffic)

As for looking cool, some people like to be fashionable for the coroner, but I personal prefer to avoid all coroners for as long as I can

Sent from my SM-T817V using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: April 10, 2017, 01:39:43 pm by walks.in2.trees »

Offline zzzz

Re: Do i need lights and a handlebar mirror for Pacific Coast in July?
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2017, 03:16:51 pm »
"And you need to do it without turning your head, because looking over your shoulder will cause you to drift the way you're looking"
 


Over the years I've gotten a number of people into cycling by going out with them after they buy a bike and taking several rides w them until they feel safe(r) and confident on the road. I try to do this by emphasizing the fundamentals. Those are things like riding in a predictable manner in a straight line, where to place yourself on the road etc.

One skill I always hammer home is to be able to look over your shoulder and to maintain a straight line while your head is turned. Primarily whats required is to not twist your
shoulders when you turn your head. I don't happen to use a mirror but I think this should be part of the skill set of every rider, even those that use a mirror, and worth practicing on a empty piece of road until it become second nature.

Offline Daveymac

Re: Do i need lights and a handlebar mirror for Pacific Coast in July?
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2017, 03:57:57 pm »
Good evening!

Thanks a mil for the feedback and replies..
I apologise for the comments on helmet mirrors being uncool... i am only joking... if it works for you; great..!
I take the advice on the rear light...probably no harm bringing the front light as an extra in very foggy weather,
I don't plan on cycling at dawn/nighttime...

I am still in two minds over a mirror...
I hear some good reviews on this mirror..

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=sprintech+mirror&tag=googiehydra-21&index=sports&hvadid=155830935004&hvpos=1t1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=7300443642294416949&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1007850&hvtargid=kwd-7690428685&ref=pd_sl_3vf61nexf5_e

And i think this one is very unobtrusive and cool...sure its Italian made!...

http://www.italianroadbikemirror.com/Worldwide.htm

I appreciate the info on the tunnels and warning lights,

Dublin Dave

Offline staehpj1

Re: Do i need lights and a handlebar mirror for Pacific Coast in July?
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2017, 06:39:56 am »
It always puzzled me that folks suddenly start talking about mirrors for a tour.  Whether you do or don't use one at home I really don't get why a tour would be different.  Personally I rely more on my ears to monitor traffic from behind.  The majority of my riding on tour is on the open road with very few in town miles.  On the open road it is easy to hear approaching traffic.  So I figure that if anything I am less likely to use a mirror on tour.

Oh and before someone mentions how quiet electric cars are, I say that it is the tire noise that you hear not the engine so gasoline, electric or hybrid make little difference on the open road.  In a parking lot or other low speed situations that can be different, but those are not typically overtaking situations.

Offline walks.in2.trees

Re: Do i need lights and a handlebar mirror for Pacific Coast in July?
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2017, 12:55:29 pm »
"And you need to do it without turning your head, because looking over your shoulder will cause you to drift the way you're looking"
 


Over the years I've gotten a number of people into cycling by going out with them after they buy a bike and taking several rides w them until they feel safe(r) and confident on the road. I try to do this by emphasizing the fundamentals. Those are things like riding in a predictable manner in a straight line, where to place yourself on the road etc.

One skill I always hammer home is to be able to look over your shoulder and to maintain a straight line while your head is turned. Primarily whats required is to not twist your
shoulders when you turn your head. I don't happen to use a mirror but I think this should be part of the skill set of every rider, even those that use a mirror, and worth practicing on a empty piece of road until it become second nature.
As a child I grew up riding horses, I was taught early on that the horse follows you're head. Turning your head translates throughout your entire posture, the change in which the horse also feels, and the same is true in everything we do. Maybe you have the flexibility in your neck to do it without turning your shoulders, but I can't see enough behind me without turning my shoulders, DEFINITELY can't in winter gear. Maybe I can get some flexibility back with some stretching, head rolls and such.

Sent from my SM-T817V using Tapatalk