Tuesday, October 20, 2009
One of these photos is a cyclist (me) with an adequate light for night riding. The other photo is approximately what the cyclist looked like that I almost ran into on my bike last night. Sheesh people, I'm all for cycling but buy a light for heck's sake! I mean, these days you can buy a $1 LED keychain light that's brighter than my first cycling lights and duct-tape it to your handlebars!
When I started out commuting by bike (in college), I had an old-fashioned dynamo generator light on my sweet red single-speed Schwinn 40 pound fat-tired cruiser (can you tell I wish I'd never sold that bike??). The light caused a heck of a lot of friction while engaged, and put out a fairly feeble amount of light, but that was more or less what was available in those good ol' days.
Next, I moved on up while bike commuting to Microsoft. Since part of my 22 mile RT commute was on an unlighted powerline trail, I needed an optimum bike and lighting system. I upgraded my ride to a Specialized Rockhopper and my light to one of the new Niteriders, which came with this heavy duty battery that fit in your water bottle cage. It was cumbersome and I had to haul it in from the garage to plug it in every night, but it put out some good wattage and stood up to Seattle's rainy climate for years.
Now of course with the miracle that LEDS bring to our lives (let's all take a moment and truly appreciate the genius that is an LED folks), my bike light takes two rechargeable double-A batteries that last FOREVER. I can't remember the last time I had to recharge them, come to think of it. It fits in the palm of my hand, weighs a few ounces, and puts out a great beam (see photo above). The blinky on the back, also armed with LEDS and rechargeable batteries can probably be seen by sattelites orbiting the earth.
All of this to say, if you're out there and you're riding without a light, you're endangering yourself and everyone around you, and there really is NO EXCUSE. No cumbersome dynamo, no expensive gadget-laden professional lighting system, all you need is an el-cheapo LED and BINGO you're visible!
Myself, being the bike geek that I am, I really want some of THESE. They have internal micro-generators so they don't need any batteries and recharge themselves fully after 30 seconds of pedaling.
Made by DOSUN, I'm eagerly awaiting seeing them in stores.