Author Topic: Bike tour headlight recommendation needed  (Read 2893 times)

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Offline mzimmerm

Bike tour headlight recommendation needed
« on: March 19, 2019, 05:30:02 pm »
We are planning a TransAmerica trip. Self supported. Does anyone have a recommendation for a good headlight? Probably only would consider battery operated to avoid charging concerns.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Bike tour headlight recommendation needed
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2019, 06:34:59 pm »
Unless you truly planning late into the evening (8pm or later or before 5:30am) you do not need one.  A good small flashlight like a Fenix e12 is very good for a campsite.  About the size of your forefinger but very bright and uses 1 AAA battery.  Waterproof, crushproof, etc.  Highly recommend.

Tailwinds. John

Offline mzimmerm

Re: Bike tour headlight recommendation needed
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2019, 07:21:39 pm »
Good point I suppose.
We’ve done shorter tours before and used headlights. Mostly only for better visibility for oncoming traffic. Never used for evenings or mornings.
We have trusty headlamps for the campsite.
We can sure do without the weight of a (battery operated) headlight on board.  Thanks.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Bike tour headlight recommendation needed
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2019, 10:30:13 pm »
If you are looking at daytime visibility, consider getting a dynamo generator hub with a lighting system.  There are several good ones out there.  Check out the Peter White Cycles website for detailed info on lights.

Tailwinds, John

Offline John Nelson

Re: Bike tour headlight recommendation needed
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2019, 10:31:48 pm »
I do not carry a headlight, but in a pinch, I wrap my headlamp around my handlebar bag.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Bike tour headlight recommendation needed
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2019, 09:22:15 am »
I took a headlight on my cross-country tour.  I think I used it for its intended purpose once.  But it was useful to rotate down to keep my map from flapping.  (1/8" shock cord does that job now, and weighs next to nothing.)

Offline mzimmerm

Re: Bike tour headlight recommendation needed
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2019, 11:13:11 am »
Thank you all. Makes perfect sense.
Headlight is scratched.
Trying to unload weight. Not add it.
Headlamp in a pinch is our answer.
Mitch Z

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Bike tour headlight recommendation needed
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2019, 01:17:56 pm »
Headlamp in a pinch is our answer.

You may find yourself in a "pinch" more than you might imagine. The year I did the Northern Tier it was a very hot summer. Found myself riding before dawn on numerous occasions to get in miles before the dense fog burn off and the sun started blazing down. Wish I had some sort of front light for both seeing and being seen in dark and/or foggy conditions. I often rode with a member of our group who had a light and would follow his track on faith.

Might want to consider rechargeable batteries. I have some Watson AAA cells for my headlamp. (My bike light charges via a USB.) The charger is pretty light. You can usually find outlets in private campground bathrooms and even some state parks to charge.

Offline hikerjer

Re: Bike tour headlight recommendation needed
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2019, 11:35:48 pm »
Well, I hate to disagree with some of the very knowledgeable people on these forums, but I think a head and tail light are essential to take on a tour. Sure, most of us do not plan on riding at night where they are necessary,but things don't always go as planned and you may well find yourself riding in the dark even when you didn't plan on it regardless of well you planned.  In addition to a headlight for your bike, I would take a headlamp for your person for use around camp.  It help's enormously to have your hands free when your'e doing camp chores.  The added advantage is that if either light fails, you'll have a backup.  Just my two cents worth based on personal experience. As for which headlight, there are so many out there it's hard to choose one.  I like this one:

https://www.cateye.com/intl/products/headlights/HL-NW100RC/

Offline John Nettles

Re: Bike tour headlight recommendation needed
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2019, 10:05:54 am »
Hikerjer,

I guess it boils down to your comfort level and/or what makes you happy.  So I would not say you disagree, you just have a different risk tolerance perhaps.

I totally get some people want to have lights on the chance they have to ride after night.  Others weigh the chance of being REQUIRED to ride at night based on past experience.  While I would not disparage someone who wants to take a light or whatever makes you happy, for me, after close to 40 years of loaded touring, I have had maybe 3 times I have ridden at night (not counting riding from a movie back to campground).  Two of those times I intentionally rode at night but on full moon, clear nights, out in unpopulated areas on good roads.  The other time I don't remember but I included an extra time to play it safe.

You should note however that I typically have no desire to ride when I can't see the countryside for that is a primary purpose I enjoy touring.  Riding in a tunnel of light is not for me.  YMMV.

My point is take what you want if it makes you happy but be sure to balance it out with all factors.  I know a guy who brings a full-sized floor pump and a full-size folding lawn-chair just because he likes it better.  He knows it slows him down a lit and is bulky but he prefers the positives to the negatives so he carries them.
Same with lights (or anything else), just weight the pros and cons and decide on factors that are important to you. 

Tailwinds, John

Offline hikerjer

Re: Bike tour headlight recommendation needed
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2019, 12:04:59 pm »
No arguments from me, John. You've got to do what works for you and what you're comfortable with.  The small weight penalty for a light is well worth it to me. I can think of several occasions where I was very thankful for having a light. I guess it's my Boy Scout training - always be prepared and all that. Like so many things in touring, it comes down to personal preference and style. RYOR.

Cheers.

Offline dkoloko

Re: Bike tour headlight recommendation needed
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2019, 12:21:46 pm »
I carry a powerful, compact headlamp. Use night, if caught short of camp. Use dimmed in camp (have free hands). Use day in tunnels.

Offline mzimmerm

Re: Bike tour headlight recommendation needed
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2019, 05:23:02 pm »
Great conversation. Pros and Cons.
We do not plan on riding at night or super early in the morning. My only real concern is that there may be several (or many) mornings similar to “BikelisciousBabe” where we depart very early and there is fog or very dim light. Probably more to “be seen” versus to “see”. But maybe a little of both.

We will either:
-utilize our current camp headlamps as early morning headlights if needed-
OR
-purchase the very small/light weight (Bontrager?) rechargeable headlight and only use if needed.

We’ve done a fair amount of long distance self supported tours and have had a headlight. But ALWAYS used it just to be seen.
So now trying to cut back and/or eliminate clutter/weight/stuff to keep up with.

Thank you all for your experienced feedback!!
 

Offline hikerjer

Re: Bike tour headlight recommendation needed
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2019, 10:57:20 pm »
Regardless of  how you light your way, I wish you a great trip. Perhaps we'll cross paths on the road.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2019, 11:15:07 pm by hikerjer »

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Bike tour headlight recommendation needed
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2019, 11:50:31 am »
I'll be sporting lights for my next western trip as it will include the nearly 9,000' St. Paul Pass Tunnel along with some others.