Paolo Laureti talks about the difficulties of night riding
Paolo Laureti, endurance cyclist born in 1976, talks with Elastic Interface® and gives a description of the main difficulties he had to overcome during his long career. Amongst them – and one of the most serious – is night riding: cycling during the night, on roads that are open to traffic.
Paolo gives some useful piece of advice to all those who – for the first time – decide to tackle an ultracycling challenge during the most difficult hours of the day: being able to stay focussed and keep motivated is never easy; nonetheless, everyone’s safety – riders and all other road-users alike – must be prioritised. Let’s see what our ultracyclist has to say…
Dealing with difficult situations: night riding
“Ultracycling has not only been all about riding to the best of my ability. Quite often I had to deal with very difficult situations, and night riding has definitely been one of them, together with lack of sleep and navigation.
When we are riding throughout the night and on roads that are open to traffic, priority should always be given to safety and to the rules of the road, which unfortunately many people still don’t know.
It is important not to underestimate the fact that in low-light conditions, or in the darkness, the visibility of the cyclist is paramount, to avoid the risk of not being spotted by drivers. As a matter of fact, although there is enough road lighting, many drivers only see the cyclists at the last moment especially at dusk or at night-time.”
The equipment for riding safely at night
“Gearing up with the right equipment for night riding is critical: front and rear lights, reflective vest, reflectors installed on all moving parts: pedals, wheels, shoes. It is also very important to wear bright colours, keep to the right side of the road [depending on the country!] and be especially careful when making a turn.
Other doubts raise when it comes to the choice of the equipment that can provide us with good vision while pedalling, especially when we are preparing randonneuring or ultracycling challenges, all events that involve many hours in the saddle.
In recent years huge steps forward have been done in what concerns front lights and level of lighting, which in some cases is now so good you would believe is day-time.
There is a wide offer of lighting systems, and some lights come with batteries that last the whole night, with no need to think about their charge at all.
In my early years I remember the small light mounted on the handlebar that was barely able to illuminate the front wheel.
At Northcape4000 my bike setup included a wheel with a dynamo hub that powered a front light and, thanks to an adapter, was also charging a few other devices: my mobile phone, the GoPro and the – fundamental – sat-nav.”