Get Lit - Front and Tail Lights
Next to a helmet, lights are the alpha and the omega for safe riding. I always have a front and rear blinky with me, no matter when and where I ride - better safe than sorry! As I sue my bike both for commuting and racing, I have alight that’ll get me home when I’m not in well-lit city environments. The planet bike Touch 800 is a light operated by simple swipe of the finger and has amber side lights for 240 degrees of visibility. It features 5 modes, so you are equipped for all occasions: 800 lm (high), 420 lm (medium), 220 lm (low), Courtesy™ (150-240 lm) and Superflash™ (550lm). Depending on the mode, the run times vary between just over 2 hours to 40 hours. The light has a low battery light that reminds you to recharge, which is easy to do via USB. One of the advantages I enjoy is that it uses a Flex Mount™ mount, so it can be easily swapped between bikes and adjusted without any tools. (Don’t forget to take your light off when you lock it up, because it also makes it easy to steal!).
As for my tail light, I use Planet Bike’s SupeFlashUSB. The three-in-one light features 1/2 Watt Power LED and 2 eXtreme LEDs for visibility up to 1 mile and features both super flash mode as well as a less intense “courtesy” mode. The light has a 36 hours runtime from a 2-4 hour charge, and also comes with a lighting pattern indicative of low battery.
An addition to your traditional front-tail light show is the bottle blinky. It is a pretty new (to me) way to add to visibility to your ride, and works especially well for commuters who don’t necessarily need two bottle cages on the bike. The bottle blinky can be attached to your frame instead of a cage, and adds more side/all around visibility to your commute.
Reflect & Protect - Stickers
And because I really like visibility, most of my bike and gear is equipped with RydeSafe reflective stickers. RydeSafe designed their decals to keep cyclists safe at night, because they believe in the bike as a transportation and leisure choice. The stickers are made of engineering-grade “conspicuity film” that contains microscopic glass spheres, which reflect light back to its source. So no matter what direction the light is coming from, the stickers reflect it right back to the source. A few on the spokes, a few on the frame, and some on my helmet and I’m hi-vized up! On training rides, I usually also wear a reflective Smiley LED Vizlet from AmphiPod, just because it makes a sprint easier on the person behind me :)
Be Smart - The LUMOS Helmet
If you’re as forgetful as I am, the LUMOS is a real game changer that has won several awards for design and innovation. The LUMOS is not only a full protective helmet, it also integrates both front and rear lights. And what makes this wonderful piece of gear even better is that it allows you to visually communicate with fellow cyclists and drivers around you. After switching on the power button at the back of the helmet, the 60 built in LEDs add predictability on your ride because you can easily signal your turns via the wireless, handlebar mounted remote. The LUMOS has a small LED on each side of the helmet shell that can be seen by the rider, so you are always aware which signal you’re using, if any. Furthermore, the LEDs automatically detect slowing down via the built in accelerometer and indicate it with a brake light to traffic behind you.
The LUMOS comes in black and white and is water resistant. Both the helmet and the handlebar remote can easily be recharged via USB. A charge usually lasts me a week of commuting, or roughly 6 hours. The only downsize to the LUMOS is that it comes in ONESIZE, and as my head is on the smaller side of things, it is a little big for me - but that also means that it accommodates wearing a thick hat during my winter commutes! If you need another testimonial, check out what Bill Nye Science Guy had to say about the LUMOS on their kickstarter page as well as the founder’s full tour of the helmet.
Jasmin Welter is a dedicated commuter and competitive cyclist and triathlete, riding her mostly pink bikes around Chicagoland year-round. Jasmin is an Ambassador for The Chainlink and is involved with several other initiatives and brands to get more women on bikes. Jasmin writes regularly about new products, women cycling, commuting and more. Follow her on Instagram: @tri.heart and @princess_layup.