Fall is here, which means it's getting darker sooner, and anyone who bikes to work will be biking back in the dark. Visibility is a big issue for bikers even during the day, so learning how to bike at night is extra important. Here are the best ways we've found to be seen and stay safe on our city bikes!
Make sure your bicycle is properly equipped. In most states, bicyclists are required by law to have BOTH a white light on the front and a red light on the back of their bicycle. Many lights are relatively inexpensive (think $15), but consider paying a few dollars more for rechargeable ones. (Our city bikes are all outfitted with USB-powered lights for charging while we work!)
Similarly, most states require a bicycle to be outfitted with a white reflector in front, and a red in back. Under federal law, all new bikes come with reflectors, but if you're buying used, make sure you check before you decide to bike at night.
It's also important to note that when visibility is decreased (like at night, or in the rain), you'll do well to get noticed in other ways--especially by making noise. New York law requires every bicycle to be equipped with a bell, but just because that might not be the case in your state, doesn't mean it's not a good idea. It will help you communicate your whereabouts to pedestrians and drivers who might not have seen you in the dark. (Now might be a good time to check out the cutest bells we've found for city bikes...)
The more of you is visible when you bike at night, the safer you'll be, and adding reflective strips to your clothes & gear--or even purchasing garments specifically designed to be reflective--is a great way to make this happen. Check out our recommendations for various jeans and other reflective clothes!
We all love to spend summer days on our city bikes cruising to some awesome tunes. But at night, it's a different story. Here in Brooklyn, it's legal to ride with one earbud in--but that doesn't mean it's advisable at night, when you need to be able to rely on your other senses--specifically your hearing. If you do want to listen to music, consider a small speaker. It will keep you in the groove and actually help you stand out to drivers who might not see you.
While riding in traffic isn't dangerous per se, it certainly gets more dangerous at night, when drivers who probably aren't expecting you may now also be unable to see you. Making sure you stay in a bike lane for the duration of your commute is a great way to limit the dangers of riding at night.
There are usually at least two ways to make a turn when riding. The first way is to ride across the intersection, stop at the crosswalk, wait for the light, cross with the pedestrians, then merge back into traffic and continue on your way. The second is to wait in the turn lane (i.e. in the middle of the street) with all the other cars. The former can be a time suck, but it's definitely the safer choice when visibility is decreased, and waiting in the middle of the street to turn becomes a dangerous choice.
Have other strategies that help you bike at night? We'd love to hear them! Leave a comment below or tweet them at us.
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|COLOR-MATCHED FENDERS & CHAINGUARD||SADDLE|
|3-SPEED INTERNAL GEARING||GRIPS|
|KICKSTAND INCLUDED||TIRE COLOR|
This is probably the most notable difference between our step-through models. With the Willow featuring our Swept-Back Handlebars. This means a much more upright (European-style) riding position (think sitting in a chair) that is well suited for leisurely riding.
The Franklin models feature our Relaxed Ride Handlebars, which are slightly more aggressive and ideal for both commuting and leisurely weekend rides.
The Willow comes with cream tires, whereas the Franklin sports black tires. Do note that regardless of color, all our tires offer an added layer of puncture resistance.
The Willow is our premium model and includes a rear carrier, as well as an upgraded sprung saddle and grip set from Selle Royal’s Royalgel™ line.
The Franklin features Selle Royal Vegan Leather saddle and grips. Please note that this bike does not come with a rear carrier. If you would like to purchase a rear carrier for this model, you will need a 26” carrier for the S/M Franklin and a 700C carrier for the Large Franklin model.
Both models come with color matched fenders and chainguard, as well as a kickstand.
4. RUST-PROHIBITIVE COATING & GEARING
As our signature model, the Willow has a few additional premium features including a rust-prohibitive coating on the chain and internal gearing resulting in less maintenance and more riding.
5. FRAME MATERIALS
On a more technical note – the geometry on both frames is identical, however the Franklin and Willow models are made from different materials. Are you currently thinking “WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?! I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT BIKES!!”? Do not fret – we totally get it! Take a breath and read on…
The Willow frame is made with double-butted 4130 Chromoly Steel. We use a stronger grade of steel, which allows us to use thinner tubing resulting in a lighter frame.
The Franklin frame is crafted with specially engineered high-tensile steel. What does this mean? We are able to offer a similar bike of a more moderate price point. Our Franklin model is the most economical step-through model in our portfolio of bikes (as well as a team favorite)!
Don’t forget: All of our bikes include Free Shipping & Professional Assembly.