The Chainlink

I mean I can't see you as I'm riding, cars have enough trouble "seeing" us and it's not that expensive.
Front and rear cat eye lights $30 I really don't want to be in (another) bike on bike accident.


#2 see if you can get the tax credit for biking to work http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/05/bicycle-commuter-credits.php


So far I've had 2 employers who didn't want to give me $20 that the govt' gives them but if enough push for it maybe, just maybe.

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I think people are being way too polite about this, generally. You have absolutely no business, none, being on the road at night without lights. It's just plain wrong. You're endangering other people's lives.

I don't know what could be done to set that expectation and make people think about ninja riding the way they would think about, say, unprotected sex with a stranger, but it would be worth doing.
Bitched at for having a light that's too bright? Haha, nice. I just might join that club one day (NiteRider Flight 2.0 HID here).
chrisc927 said:
Out here in the burbs some of the remote segments of bike trails can get so dark the old saying "you can't see your hand in front of your face" rings true.

Cyclists without lights are common. Pedestrians who unwittingly wear all black are also common. The thought the one slamming into the other fills me with dread.

The upside are those who bitch at me for having a headlight thats too bright. Sigh.
Best
comparison
ever :)

If only people would equate the two...
Dr. Doom said:
I think people are being way too polite about this, generally. You have absolutely no business, none, being on the road at night without lights. It's just plain wrong. You're endangering other people's lives.

I don't know what could be done to set that expectation and make people think about ninja riding the way they would think about, say, unprotected sex with a stranger, but it would be worth doing.
The downside is that the battery life on the fleas are kind of low. I'd be concerned about them keeping full power if I was out on a bender or something.

However there are rechargeable 2032 cells available for barely more than the cost of regular 2032s
They do put out a bit more voltage than normal 2032s but I don't think that'd be too much of a problem for the LEDs.

http://www.batteryspace.com/li-ionrechargeable2032buttoncells2pcslr...



Joe TV said:
USB charging has thus far been my favorite. I was a fan of the knogs, but it's a drag when your light dies and that means another trip to the store. (especially with the watch batteries). I was turned on to the Blackburn Flea lights and I love them. When they are getting low, I just leave em charging thru the USB adapter on the computer for a few hours while I surf the chainlink and I'm bright again!
I think what Todd Allen said is true, and I am guilty of it at times, but also what Dr Doom said is true.

For instance, what if I came out to my car at night and both headlights didn't work, would i drive it? no I wouldn't at least I hope so. Maybe someone would think "the streets are lit I'm only going a few blocks" but that would still be dangerous. A car is of course more dangerous, but so are bikes to pedestrians ( and their dogs :) )

If you read the Commuting forum at bikeforums.net, you can see many people advocate backup lights just for the reasons mentioned. Your main light might not be working.
I always carry a Knog or a cheap headlamp in my saddlebag for exactly this reason. And I think the comparison to driving is exactly right. If your car's headlights went out you wouldn't dream of driving it. Same should be true of bikes.
I love my hub powered lights- no batteries to take care of and they really are bright on the front and back- I use a helmet light too- as do my kids when we are riding in the cargo at night. ( They have used hub powered lights on their own bikes from Working Bikes from good scrounging but we don't let them ride their own bikes after dusk.) The initial investment is steeper but it's a long term benefit. I think they have them or can get them at both Rapid Transit and Boulevard Bikes. Our kids especially notice the lightless riders when we are out lately.
Batteries are inconvenient?
I believe this to be mostly true. Being a car driver and cyclist, I'm much more aware of "what's likely to happen" as well as "who can and can't see me." For example, I often get stuck at an area on my commute where there's a bottleneck at a busy intersection. The light changes and the traffic is blocked and no one (in a car) can go.

There's usually going to be a car to my left trying to move over to the right to turn right who won't see me. There's probably going to be someone coming towards the traffic who wants to turn left and will decide to do it since no one's able to move. I will sneak through (carefully, slowly...somehow) and get cursed at by both the right turner and the guy coming at me trying to turn into the bottleneck. Am I correct to think the person trying to turn left right into a bottleneck is not allowed to be mad at me? If he is supposed to be mad at me, I understand, but I'm not sure I need him to tell me that I should watch out because "Jesus F*ck! Can't you see there are cars trying to drive here?"

Also, when I ride my bike all the time, I do not know how to parallel park. It takes at least 2-3 attempts. When I used to drive a car with a lot more frequency, I could parallel park with one hand while drinking a diet coke. I also regretfully seldom noticed if a bike was coming from behind me.

But...can we talk about hub generated lights? If I can't shell out $300-400 for that, what should I buy? I don't feel like my lights are that great. They're the cheap $40 setup I've used for years--a $12 Planet Bike blinky in the back and a Cat's Eye $25-30 light in the front. I tend to try to wear bright colors, but is there an upgrade I can do that won't cost an arm and leg, but do more to illuminate? Santa wants to know what I want for Christmas.



mike w. said:
's funny you should post this tonight. Tonight i nearly clobbered a guy who decided to pedal though a four-way stop across my front end -not two blocks from my house. No headlamp. no reflectors, and a weak-assed tail blinky (which wouldn't have done him any damn' good.) He and i are lucky that my wife saw him in time to warn me to stop again.

i think that it's just possible that bike riders who don't drive have no clue as to just how invisible they are to those of us who do drive -especially at night. i've found that cycling made me a better driver and driving made me a better cyclist.
Yeah, hub dynamos can be pricey, but if you shop around you can go fairly inexpensively. It doesn't have to be a SON dyno and a top-line superlight... right now Velo Orange has a very nice dynohub on special for $35, and you could probably build a nice setup for under $150 with some judicious shopping and creative wrenching. The advantage is you'll not ever need to buy a battery or keep a rechargable cell topped up for a headlamp. If you don't want to wire up a taillight, there are some very good units out there that aren't battery eaters. The other advantage is that with a dyno setup, you'll always be equipped for any unexpected ride after dark.


Holly said:
...But...can we talk about hub generated lights? If I can't shell out $300-400 for that, what should I buy? I don't feel like my lights are that great. They're the cheap $40 setup I've used for years--a $12 Planet Bike blinky in the back and a Cat's Eye $25-30 light in the front. I tend to try to wear bright colors, but is there an upgrade I can do that won't cost an arm and leg, but do more to illuminate? Santa wants to know what I want for Christmas.



mike w. said:
's funny you should post this tonight. Tonight i nearly clobbered a guy who decided to pedal though a four-way stop across my front end -not two blocks from my house. No headlamp. no reflectors, and a weak-assed tail blinky (which wouldn't have done him any damn' good.) He and i are lucky that my wife saw him in time to warn me to stop again.

i think that it's just possible that bike riders who don't drive have no clue as to just how invisible they are to those of us who do drive -especially at night. i've found that cycling made me a better driver and driving made me a better cyclist.
>>Holly said:
But...can we talk about hub generated lights? If I can't shell out $300-400 for that, what should I buy? I don't feel like my lights are that great.


I agree with you and Jennifer James above that a generator light is a great idea and really worth it for any bike you plan to ride for a long time in traffic, like your regular commuting bike. It's always fully charged, the new LED ones usually have a "standlight" that keeps them on for a few minutes at a stoplight, and they are bright these days, not like the one you had on your Raleigh in the 70's. Well, not YOU, you. You know. They are much, much, better than any little blinky lights I've had, especially if the batteries are more than a week old. And who wants to be replacing and charging batteries all the time, USB or not? You can see generator LED lights well during the day, too, like a motorcycle headlight.

The cheap pretty good way to do this is get a standard bottle dynamo from the olden days at Working Bikes or old stock somewhere. Union, Soubitez, Sanyo are all good, but anything will work. Make sure the brackets will fit together and fit on your bike. In general it's recommended that you put on a bottle generator with the tire moving away from the mounting part, toward the spinny thing part, so the generator can't get caught in your spokes or something and become an emergency brake instead. The axis of the spinner has to be exactly in line with the radius of the wheel to keep noise down. If you want to go fancy get a Busch & Mueller or Basta dynamo for about $50. For very fancy, next time you need a new front wheel get a dynamo hub for it. They start at about $65 for Sturmey-Archer or Shimano and go up toward astronomical for hand-carved aluminum hub jewelry from Germany, and they don't make noise. If you're lucky you might find an old 1960s Sturmey-Archer Dynohub. They last forever.

Then, you could get old lights with bulbs in them. Total cost for the system: $15 or less. But you'll be happier with LED lights. Boulevard Bikes and a guy in New Hampshire named Peter White are the go-to people I know about, though many shops in town can order these things. Read Peter White's website if you want details, then buy it locally. He is the distributor, so he'll still get his cut even if you don't order from him. Or go talk to the people at Boulevard Bikes or another place that has some in stock. I prefer to hook them all together with double stranded cable (two wires) which is more reliable than the old single wire.

The cheapest Busch & Mueller (good brand) LED front light with a standlight and reflector that I've bought new recently was $28 on special, but the really bright ones go up to over $100. The $28 one is really bright, and blows the doors off one of those blinky things. You can ride down a dark forest path with it. The bright ones like the $100 Cyo N Plus are even better for that kind of thing but may be overkill in the city.

The back light with a standlight will also be about $30 to $40. I like the Busch & Mueller Top Line Plus but any of them are OK. Get one that mounts well on your bike - fender, rack or cantilever brake nubbin. Other brands of these things include Spanninga, Basta, and I'm sure plenty of others. The back light connects to the generator just like the front one does, or it can connect to the front light itself if you want to turn the whole system on and off with a switch on the headlight. I just leave mine burning all the time and it doesn't ever need me to think about it.

Total cost: $15 (for old style) to $90 (new lights, old bottle dynamo) to $150-200 (new hub and lights) to $$$ for a SON hub with Schmidt EdeLUX lighting. There's a guy in Boston at a place called City Bikes who builds his own US made metal and glass retro styled LED standlight system - toward the high end of the scale.

It's a pain to plan it out and it takes an hour and some zip ties to connect it, but then you never have to think about it again, and it always works well.
Some thoughts in no particular order:

1) I see Todd’s doubling up on lights and raise him one. Three front and rear is best, miner-style.

2) You need a spare light, why carry it in your saddlebag? Put it on your bike.

3) I use 4 cheap little planet bike blinkies on the front of my basket bike. $32 and people look at me like I’m flying a UFO.

4) I buy watch batteries in bulk. Ordering a few other items to for free shipping and you’re at $0.25 each, vs. $3-$5 each at Wal-Drug.

5) Can we please, please stop using the phrase “invisible cyclist”? While lights certainly help visibility, Chicago streets are pretty damn lit. 80% of the problem here is inattentive motorists expecting only other motor-vehicles and the need to protect oneself from them. Unlit cyclists are hardly a danger to society.

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