Monday, January 18, 2010

Bright Lights

An urban bike like Chuck is not complete without a set of lights.  Keeping in line with my cheapskate philosophy, I have been looking for some purely functional lights since getting Chuck.  Over Christmas, my nephew showed me the lights on his little bike.  He uses them simply to be able to ride around the yard and go back and forth between Grandma's house and home.  I was surprised how bright the lights were and immediately asked my brother about where he had bought them and what brand etc.  Turns out they were just a cheap set he had picked up at the local store.

Well, I set about finding something comparable online.  I took time to assess exactly what I wanted the lights to do for me:  they needed to make me visible, but did not need to be extremely bright as most of the area where I plan on using them is additionally lit by street lights.  I also knew I wanted them to have the blinky function as I personally notice bikers using such lights when I'm driving.  I knew to keep costs in line that generator lights were out of the question for the moment, no matter how attractive they seem.  So for the most part, my lights need to attract attention from drivers.  With that in mind, I decided to go with cheap as my top criteria and ended up with these. The reviews seemed to reflect that these would function adequately for my purposes.

With my other project experiences in mind, I tried to slow things down a bit with this process.  I immediately noticed that Bell did a nice job of including spacers so the lights would fit a variety of tubes. The second thing I noticed is that Bell made it possible to install these with no tools, which is nice for those of us with no bike shop in a spare room.  I simply decided where on my handlebars I wanted the headlight, inserted a spacer, and twisted the knob until the light clamp was secure.  Then I popped the light onto the clamp and voila!  Headlight.

The taillight was just as easy and within a few minutes, Chuck was equipped with lights both front and back.  I know that anytime I am riding on the roads, both of these little lights will be on--taking extra precautions never hurt anyone.  I'm one of those people who drive my car with the lights on at all times--why should my bike be different?
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1 comment:

ksteinhoff said...


When I was a kid getting my driver's license back in the last century, MO had a slogan, "Lights On for Safety."

That made an impression on me, so, like you, I'm a daylight headlight user.

I carry that philosophy over to my Surly Long Haul Trucker. I use a SON generator hub that powers LED headlights and taillights, so they can run all of the time.

In addition, I use an inexpensive LED headlight on the bars as a be-seen light.