Bike lights are important for night riding, whether you are commuting or hitting the trails. However, charging them can be challenging at times. Charging bike lights at home is pretty straightforward, but what if you aren’t near a power outlet? Let’s take a look at how to charge bike lights, no matter where you are.
How to Charge Bike Lights
There are two basic types of bike lights. Some charge via an AC adapter, while others use a usb charger. The process and options for how to charge them differ a bit.
Preparing to Charge Your Lights
Before you charge your lights, there are a few things you should do. First, you’ll need your charger and a power source.
You should also take a look at your owner’s manual. It’s a good idea to read the instructions on how to charge your lights, and any safety precautions you should follow.
You’ll also learn how to know if the battery is charging, and when it’s completely charged in your manual.
Charging Bike Lights with an AC Adapter
If your lights come with an AC adapter, your options are limited. To charge them, plug the AC adapter into the wall, and then into the charging port on your bike lights.
Allow them to charge until the indicator light shows that they are fully charged. Most indicator lights will be solid green when charging is complete, but check your owner’s manual if you are unsure.
Charging USB Bike Lights
When charging USB bike lights, you have more options. You will plug the small end of the charger into the light or battery pack, depending on the design.
Then, you can plug the large end into an AC adapter or your computer’s USB port. Allow them to charge until the indicator light shows they are fully charged.
Again, this is usually a solid green light. High-end lights may feature a battery bar or other indicator.
Charging Bike Lights on the Go
One of the issues with bike lights is how far you can go on a single charge. If you plan on long rides, you may need to charge your lights on the go. The good news is, there are a few ways to do this.
You may own a battery pack to charge your cellphone or other devices. These are very handy to have, particularly if you are busy. You always have a charge, and it can easily fit into your pocket or backpack.
If your bike lights have a USB charger, you can also charge your lights with a battery pack.
First, be sure your battery pack is charged. Then, just plug your USB cable into the pack, and plug the charging end into your lights or battery.
If you have high-end bike lights, your battery may be separate from the lights. This reduces the weight of the light itself, which is helpful for mounting it on your helmet.
Another benefit of this is that you can simply carry extra batteries. When the battery gets low, simply swap it out for a fresh one.
Choosing Bike Lights
Now that you know how to charge bike lights, it’s important to know how to choose the right bike lights for your needs. Which bike lights work best for you will depend on the type of riding you do, and why you need them.
Visibility vs Being Visible
Do you need visibility, or do you need to be visible? If you are riding on a highway or in the city, you may want lights to make you visible to drivers or pedestrians.
If you are riding on the road, you’ll need lights that make you visible. You may be required to have a light on the front and back of your bike. These are known as safety lights. They can also be mounted onto the wheels or frame of your bike, since the goal is to help others see you.
If you are riding anywhere without lots of ambient light, like street lights, you’ll need lights that improve your visibility.
You may know your favorite trail well, but when you try riding it in the dark, you’ll see how important it is to have enough illumination. Lights for illumination while riding are brighter than safety lights.
Helmet vs Handlebar Mount
If you are commuting, a handlebar mounted front light, and a rear light are probably all you need. If you are riding on roads that aren’t well lit at night, be sure to choose a light that’s at least 400 to 600 lumens to provide visibility.
If you are trail riding, you may want to start with a handlebar mounted light. These are typically more secure than helmet mounted styles. The downside is that they will only cast their beam in the direction the bike is pointed.
A helmet light, however, will move with your head. If you look in a direction, the helmet light will also move. This is helpful if you are going around corners, or navigating technical trails.
You’ll need at least 1,000 lumens for trail riding. If you ride fast or travel on technical trails after dark, the light should be at least 1,500 lumens. Some lights go as high as 7,000 to 8,000 lumens.
Internal vs. External Batteries
Another factor when choosing bike lights is internal vs external batteries. Generally, more powerful lights come with external batteries. This is because they require more power, which means the batteries need to be larger and heavier.
Less expensive lights typically have an internal light. While they may be less powerful, they are also easier to install.
If you are a serious trail rider, you should consider both a handlebar and helmet light.
Now you know how to charge bike lights. Charging bike lights is straightforward. Just plug them into a power source, and let them charge. Be sure that they are fully charged before you head out, and carry a backup light or battery for long night rides.