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Gear Talk: Bike Bling for After Dark

29 Sep

The hot weather may still feel like summer, but the early sunsets don’t lie. I’ve already flipped my lights on for my commute home twice this week. Years ago, when I first started commuting to work, the dark drove me off the bike, but not anymore. I have awesome bike lights that I almost look forward to using.

I’ve gathered quite a number of lights over the years, but I’m going to let you in on my favorites. First, and most important is the front light. My top pick: the NiteRider MiNewt USB. At 150 lumens, it’s bright enough for unlit bike paths, and the O-ring attachment for the headlamp and velcro for the battery make it easy to move the headlamp from bike to bike. It cost me about $90, but it’s worth every penny.

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I recharge the MiNewt at work with a simple USB connection, but since it runs for 6 hours on low intensity, I’m not left in the dark if I forget to top it off.

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Red rear lights are important too. For Zella, I wanted one that mounted permanently under my saddle so it would always be there. Once again, Cateye came through with this wide one that fits her perfectly.

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But my favorite lights are amber spoke lights from Cateye. These lights project in the most overlooked direction–from the side. I’m a lot more comfortable rolling through an intersection knowing I’m visible from all directions. They attach directly to the spokes, and turn off and on with a simple thumb-press.

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Finally, since you can never be too visible, I also have front, rear, wheel and pedal reflectors on my transportation bikes. And Zella Mae even has reflective sidewalls in her tires. Isn’t she sharp?

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Check out the video below to see how it all works together.

Are you and your bikes ready for fall’s early sunsets? What are your go-to night riding accessories?

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4 Comments

Posted by on September 29, 2011 in Gear Talk

 

4 responses to “Gear Talk: Bike Bling for After Dark

  1. velogirl

    September 29, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    I use my Minewt to SEE but I add a front white blinky to BE SEEN. The modern Nite Riders are so bright that I think they can easily be confused for motorcycles or cars. I think the blinky alerts other road users that I’m a bike. My favorite blinkies are Blackburn USB Fleas.

     
  2. ladyfleur

    September 30, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Dick and I have different thoughts on blinking vs. solid lights. He likes the blinking settings, while I only set my lights to blink when it’s not fully dark. At dusk I feel like I need the extra attention of the blinking. But after it’s fully dark, I think it’s easier for others to judge the bike’s distance when the lights aren’t blinking. Plus his lights are so bright that I can’t stand riding behind him when they’re set to blink.

    In Amsterdam we learned that blinking lights are reserved for runners and that bikes are not supposed to blink. I’m not so sure if that’s a law or just tradition, but that’s what the bike shop guy told us.

     
  3. Rachel Unger

    October 4, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Where did you get your spoke lights? I followed the link, but they don’t seem to have them any more. It seems simpler than getting the BikeGlow rope lighting.

     
  4. ladyfleur

    October 4, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    The Cateye Orbits are available at REI as well as Mikes Bikes in the SF Bay Area. They are much simpler (and classier, IMHO) than adding rope lighting.

    http://www.rei.com/product/793782/cateye-sl-ld120-orbit-spoke-light-kit

    http://mikesbikes.com/product/cateye-orbit-spoke-kit-2-spoke-lights-sku-lt4405-qc129.htm

     

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