Cycling along the Tamagawa at night

mrkamot

Speeding Up
Dec 28, 2010
129
18
38
Kawasaki
#1
Anybody tried it yet? Thinking of getting some lights and doing some leisure cycling at night and I do not know what to expect, many homeless people lying about or old ladies walking their dogs at night?
 
May 22, 2007
3,564
1,379
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Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
#2
Do it all the time. Ya need good lights and a bell. And remember it's a shared-use path. Watch out for ninjas and Billy No-Lights.

This light is adequate up front. Cateye HL-EL540. There are versions with and without a recharger. Mount is interswappable with most other Cateye lights.

There are some sections where the path dips below the level of the adjacent road and car/truck headlights can dazzle you. Watch out for that (and slow down!)
 
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rommelgc

Maximum Pace
Sep 3, 2009
362
101
73
Setagaya
#3
:tup

Also have done it several times, a good way to beat the summer heat.
Installing a small backlight (red blinker) also helps so that you are seen from behind.
Some walkers carry lights (or use reflective clothing, mostly the late night joggers), some don't so watch out for them!
Watch the pathways (up and down the slope in the grass) some sleepy person might pop up in the most inopportune time.
 

leicaman

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Sep 20, 2012
2,469
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Asakadai, Saitama
#4
Please, for the love of god, don't get the light @Half-Fast Mike linked to. It's the biggest and ugliest light I've ever laid my eyes upon. @GrantT has one and every time I see it, I get an irresistible urge to poke him in the eyes.
@saibot got this http://www.amazon.co.jp/キャットアイ-CATEYE-VOLT300-リチウムイオン充電式-HL-EL460RC/dp/B00FIZGCZE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1409281204&sr=8-1&keywords=cateye volt300 recently and it is a great little light. Super bright (with the ability to reduce the brightness, thus prolonging the battery life). It's brighter than my "moon 300" (great light also).
Ys road in Ikebukuro (the Charlie's discount shop, not the one near sunshine city) has some Lezyne lights on sale at the moment. They look like a great buy, too.
 
May 22, 2007
3,564
1,379
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Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
#5
Please, for the love of god, don't get the light @Half-Fast Mike linked to. It's the biggest and ugliest light I've ever laid my eyes upon.
Of course there are other lights that will do. I mentioned that particular model because it's what I have and I know it's up to the job of illuminating a dark Tamagawa. Since my honour has been besmirched by a Rapheur, though, I will defend my purchase decision: (1) I don't care what it looks like, (2) it is powered by 4 AA cells so if the rechargeables expire when I'm on a long ride after dark I can replace them on the fly with batteries from any shop. I already have enough things to forget so I don't want to have to remember to recharge my light(s) every day.
 
Likes: Musashi13
Apr 3, 2012
401
98
48
Tama Center <-> Otemachi
#6
You'll find me along the Tamagawa cycle commuting, usually way after the sun has gone down. You definitely have to use your judgement regarding speed and passing other users.

Safety:
  • Not a race. Ignore Strava and other segment gimmicks.
  • Everyone else is the weaker party. This means if an accident was to occur, you're likely to be held responsible. Yielding is the safer bet.
  • As the stronger party, you should avoid intimidating other users. I usually announce "to-o-ri masu" at a reasonable volume while approaching.
  • Even with a bright lamp, at speed, on dark sections, I've been surprised by joggers dressed all in gray coming the other way. Its even worse when the riding glasses is stained with sweat and fatigued.
    • Dip your lamp if you are approaching other cyclists please. At the very least, set the lamp up to not blind me.
  • The etiquette is fast moving users (cyclists) stick the middle area of the path.
    • On coming joggers and walkers will be coming up on your left (against traffic).
    • Not everyone follows this.
Comfort:
  • Crazy amount of flying bugs. Glasses a must. The beetles and moths can't be good for the eyes.
  • When the weather gets cooler, it feels about 5dC cooler as you head past the Yomiuri land area. Layer appropriately.
  • Not too many vending machines.
  • Unless you know the path, it's a lot more difficult to figure out which route to take. Some paths turn into gravel (rideable) while others dead end.
Notable things I've encountered on the Tamagawa at night:
  • Dog walker where the leash is strung across the path. (crazy panic stop)
  • Gaggle of school kids. (Dispersed with 1,400 lumens of flashing lamp power)
  • Joggers decked out in completely dark clothing. (Ninja)
  • Drunks splayed out across the path. (Speed bumps)
  • Surprise ride through of flocks of flying bugs. (Protein)
  • Mopeds. Usually on the gravel roads.
  • Motorcycle stunters. Very polite, no issues.
  • One crazy ojisan riding an LED covered bicycle. Visible from way off!
  • The occasional bicycle club heading downriver at casual pace but no lights at all.
If you see someone on a road bike, backpack, bright front lamp, struggling up river; it's probably me. Say hello and if I may, please let me hide in your wind shadow! :D
 

leicaman

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Sep 20, 2012
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Asakadai, Saitama
#9
Of course there are other lights that will do. I mentioned that particular model because it's what I have and I know it's up to the job of illuminating a dark Tamagawa. Since my honour has been besmirched by a Rapheur, though, I will defend my purchase decision: (1) I don't care what it looks like, (2) it is powered by 4 AA cells so if the rechargeables expire when I'm on a long ride after dark I can replace them on the fly with batteries from any shop. I already have enough things to forget so I don't want to have to remember to recharge my light(s) every day.
I think we will just have to agree to disagree ;)

Out of interest, Cateye has a good comparison between the volt 300 and the ugly beast light on their website.

The top picture is the volt, the bottom is the ugly beast. The only benefit I see from having the ugly beast is the ability to run AA batteries but I have ridden with my Li-ion battery light may times and never had any problems. On longer rides I take an external battery that I can use to top up the light battery.





Disclaimer - No amount of Rapha gear will make the ugly beast light look any less ugly.
 

snoogly

Maximum Pace
Oct 14, 2007
695
48
48
Machida, Tokyo
#10
The Volt 700 seems to be new, and not many reviews around on the Net. Pricey, but has a battery that's easy to change, and there is an external charger for the battery.

Anyway, just wanted to throw it into the mix.

http://www.cateye.com/en/products/detail/HL-EL470RC/

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/cateye-volt-700-rc-front/

Edit:
Just noticed that the Volt 300 also has a changeable battery
http://www.amazon.co.jp/キャットアイ(CATE...id=1409630512&sr=8-3&keywords=cateye+volt+300

and uses the same external charger as the 700.
http://www.amazon.co.jp/キャットアイ-ボルト3..._sim_sg_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=139RM3KHSRCYXP1EMDPB
 
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Likes: Sibreen

Tanki

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Aug 7, 2014
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#11
Great thread. Thanks for all the info on the lights. Now I don't need to start one. I had to google "Rapheur" and I was still none the wiser. I deduce from further posts it has something to do with bicycle attire.