Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Safety first; accidents last.

Lights are important things to have on a bicycle if you plan on doing any riding at dusk or after dark. I'd prefer giant, pulsing strobes that would cause F/A-18's to try to land on my luggage rack, but I had to settle for multi-LED units.

And lor' bless the lowly LED: Before they became cheap and plentiful, you needed a dynamo on the bike, because a light any brighter than a half-dead firefly would suck the copper right out of a battery in about an hour.

I know this sounds silly to those of you who have only two thumbs, but I was inordinately happy when I got both lights mounted and functioning on my bicycle yesterday, and even after pedaling like mad up and down the rutted gravel alley, they remained attached and pointed in the proper direction. I rode to Fresh Market with roomie last night in two-tone, strobing splendor...


(...and a general hat tip to Xavier and all his mad bikie linkz.)

21 comments:

og said...

Sweet! What did you end up with?

I have a lot of inordinately thumby friends that come to me to fix their stuff. You don't strike me as more thumby than normal.

Tam said...

Just an inexpensive little Trek headlight/taillight combo. 3-LED front and 7 in the rear, and you can set them to burn steady or strobe.

Tangalor said...

I have lights on my bike, too (It's the 'law' and such) but I always have a 4 cell D Maglite mounted on the handlebars, just in case.

They just invented these things called 'bike lanes' here in Florida, and a lot of people aren't used to 'em, so's I like to turn it on once in a while to make sure people know I'm there.

Turn that thing on in a dark alley, and you look like a really quiet Motorcycle. ;)

Anonymous said...

I do a lot of nighttime mountain biking, especially during the winter when it's already dark when I get off from work. There are some insane light systems out there, lights that would make an oncoming motorist flash their lights in protest.

They're not cheap though. "Low end" starts around $100 with "high end" being $300+. Run times are 1.5hrs to 5hrs.

FWIW, this is a pretty decent system that performs better than anything else in it's price range:http://www.geomangear.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=4_41&zenid=3bllhjp5op8seunbn3a6tq39d6

A person I ride with uses it and it seems to be a good performer. I'm trying to decide if I want the Magicshine or spend 3x as much for an Ayup kit from Australia (seen it in action as well, very nice).

Chris

Tam said...

"I have lights on my bike, too (It's the 'law' and such) but I always have a 4 cell D Maglite mounted on the handlebars, just in case."

Unless it's also an auxiliary whuppin' stick, a D-cell MagLite is so... '80s. ;)

I've considered springing for a good SureFire M3L, which will fry a retina over-easy and fill a hand reassuringly...

Andy said...

Reflective tape on your pannier/rack. Maybe a piece across the heal of your biking combat boots (I wonder if they make those with SPD clips?).

From the point of view of a driver approaching from the rear, the reflection is far more noticeable, and is a good combination with a strobe rear. A constant rear light just looks like someone's driveway marker.

You ARE riding with a helmet, right? I don't recall the mention in other bike posts. Bright colors, please. And more reflective tape.

Matt G said...

I'd like to reiterate every word that Andy just posted.

That reflective tape is AWESOME for being visible from oblique views where your other reflectors and your lights aren't working. Also, under the "2 is 1 and 1 is none" theory, they make superb backups. The best is commercial grade sold at tractor supply stores by the foot (usually about a dollar a foot for 3" tape), in alternating red and white.

og said...

I have a similar front light but I didn't install the taillight. Too many "does this light make my ass look big" jokes to be made. Plus I never bike on any actual roads.

Tangalor said...

Unless it's also an auxiliary whuppin' stick, a D-cell MagLite is so... '80s. ;)

Hey, some neighborhoods are better than others, if'n ya catch my drift.

And, yes... I'm an '80s kinda guy. :P

DirtCrashr said...

I figure a G2 LED would be plenty, but I don't go out at night much.

Nat said...

I leave for work, now that we are entering my favorite time of year, while the sun is still catching his last few Z's for the day. I see a couple of guys riding up the road with their front light on s-t-r-o-b-e. It has been a while since I was riding for anything other than to hang with my kids, but that seems like to drive me crazy if I was using that to light my way. I could see setting up two lights with one on strobe like some motorcycles have, but I would want the primary path detection device to be always on. You bike a bit, what is your thought on this?

Tam said...

Nat,

If it's just dusk (ie, "light enough for me to see the road",) I reckon I'll use the front on "strobe" as it's there more to make me visible to oncoming motorists.

If I need it to see, I'll put it on "steady".

I'll keep the taillight on "blinky", regardless...

RWC said...

It would be nice if the folks (undocumented something or other) around here would take your advice. Hmmm, wearing all black, no reflectors, riding in the middle of the street or on the side of a windy road. Great idea.

wv - pimalderc

I think I just got a new word to describe 'em.

Don said...

I LOVE my LED light. Mine pops off its mount easily, and I carry when I walk the dogs late at night, too. That way I can walk on the edge of the road with the strobe on and the dogs can't reach anyone's yard.

Joanna said...

I got a taillight geegaw for my birthday (along with a lot of other gadgets -- yea, it was indeed The Year of the Bike), and so far I like it. Steady, strobe (which my mom freaked out over because my dad has seizures) and tracking back and forth in a nice, bright red. Plus it comes off, like Don's, so that's a plus. Still need a headlight, though. What was that about Maglights? And duct tape?

Tam said...

A proper-sized rubber O-ring and a good, bright LED flashlight would make for a good field-expedient headlight.

Joanna said...

But what if I want to go veering off every time the weight on the handlebars shifts? o_O

George said...

I go out to my sister's in Victoria, BC several times a year. Victoria's a city well suited for the Left Coast ... lots of heavily wooded streets, no sidewalks and and often, no street lights. Bike riders there have learned their lesson: Helmet lights, fore and aft lights ... usually strobes, reflective tape, etc.

Works for me ... as a driver out there.

Now here ... in Steel Town, Ontario, there is a definite move by the gene pool to do some cleansing. As someone's already said, dark clothes, no lights, wrong way riding (we have lots of one-way streets), totally ignoring road rules, etc. It helps, I guess.

Be safe, Tam and Miss X.

Regards.

The Freeholder said...

You're worrying me. Bicycling? You? Ms. Bimmer?

Please tell me you aren't buying any tofu. But if you are, we're organize an intervention for you. :-)

Andy said...

Tofu, the firm variety, cubed, dredged in egg and fried and then tossed in your Thai curry... can be mighty nice. And lots of protein that angry calves will be asking for.

wv: laulay. Sex at a Hawaiian beach party?

rickn8or said...

"... a D-cell MagLite is so... '80s. ;)"

Yes. I used to refer to mine as a "Junior Officer Fine-Alignment Tool".