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sally_in_wales

Bike lights?

We picked up an excellent pushbike for Gareth today from Freecycle, really an amazing find and very generous of the person who gave it away. We now need to get him some lights for it but there seem to be a fairly dazzling variety out there.

We're currently wondering about rechargable lights, but would welcome some thoughts from those who cycle as to what to look for. Any other must have accessories- will be looking for a helmet for him too, though he won't like that much Rolling Eyes
RichardW

Those LED flashing ones are supposed to be the dogs danglies. Tecnicaly they are not legal as the bike is without lights when they are between flashes but a few CPO's have said that they will pay any fines for people as they are so good for road safety.

Justme
dougal

LED lights will give the longest battery life.

IMHO, flashing definitely attracts attention - so no "never saw you, squire" and most offer a choice of flashing patterns.

BUT - for you to see where you are going, powerful LED beam lights are likely to be a bit expensive. So maybe something different for that job...
For all bike lights, look for clips that are robust but easy to use (even with cold fingers), so that the things can be taken off the bike easily every time you leave it unattended.

Use standard High Capacity "Nickel Metal Hydride" (NiMH) rechargeable batteries. Lidl are excellent and cheap, but not now.
Aldi had some reasonably priced last time I was in.


Wide velcro-fastening ScotchLite bands make good "cycle clips" and put the reflective material right down low (where its picked up by dipped headlights) and the pedalling movement makes the reflective stuff attention-grabbing. Being DayGlo as well does no harm.
And they can be seen from all angles.

Reflectors mounted on the wheel spokes are excellent for side-on visibility.

You can get DayGlo/ScotchLite material as sticky tape. Ideal for helmet decoration apart from anything else.

IMHO bike locks in the form of a precoiled (springback) wire anchored to the bike frame are easiest to use and light, if not the most secure.


Somewhere, I read that Halfords were among those stores having an online sale starting at 0001 hours on Christmas morning... not that I suspect that I shall be among those fighting to log on...
Nick

dougal wrote:

IMHO, flashing definitely attracts attention - so no "never saw you, squire" and most offer a choice of flashing patterns.


As a motorist, I agree, totally. However, I'm pretty sure that they aren't actually legal. This may have changed, but I'd still go for them on the grounds that having legal lights that don't get easily seen compared to illegal ones that do is better, especially when (not) filling out a life insurance claim.

If you want a helmet, 1) Don't tell Cab, he'll stone you, and 2) Tell me. I'm pretty sure we have a couple in the garage unused.
Nick

Oh, ignore the legality bit, it's been changed. As you were!
Treacodactyl

As a car driver I tend to find most bike lights not that easy to spot, even the flashing ones, especially when other vehicles are about with much stronger lights. Wearing something reflective helps far more I find.
Nick

You'll spot them when they collide with your bull bars.
dougal

dougal wrote:
... Wide velcro-fastening ScotchLite bands make good "cycle clips" and put the reflective material right down low (where its picked up by dipped headlights) and the pedalling movement makes the reflective stuff attention-grabbing. Being DayGlo as well does no harm.
And they can be seen from all angles.
...


Just to stress that IMHO putting *personal* reflectors at the *ankles* is massively more effective than having them high up - in the standard form of Sam Browne belts or tabards.
There are a variety of types available for example -
http://www.hivizextras.co.uk/armbands.html?gclid=CNPy39qcv5ACFQhrMAodXm13OQ
Having these things on your ankles is a 'brilliant' way to be seen in dipped headlight...
AND extra ones on your wrists, allow your turning signals to be seen, too...


However, in daylight, having your "hi viz" stuff *higher* (think motorist eye-level) will make it more visible. So those tabards and cross-belts do have their place.
dpack

Nick wrote:
You'll spot them when they collide with your bull bars.

recipies?
Northern_Lad

dougal wrote:
Use standard High Capacity "Nickel Metal Hydride" (NiMH)


...or better yet, go for LiO - Lithium Ion - far more powerful and longer lasting.

All depends where he's going. If it's roads that are lit, got with a pair of flashers up front (at different rates) and a flasher at the back. Solid lights just blend in.

Also, if he does go for two up front, mount one on the helmet: it'll make him look a little odd(er) but make him stand out as not being a normal road user.

If he's going somewhere un lit then have a look here. A friend has just got a JoyStick and it's absolutly fantastic value for money.
Brownbear

I saw a chap the other day who'd clipped a second flashing red light to his backpack. It was very effective.
Treacodactyl

Northern_Lad wrote:
Also, if he does go for two up front, mount one on the helmet: it'll make him look a little odd(er) but make him stand out as not being a normal road user.


I wondered that, I've a couple LED head torches and they give out a decent amount of light. There's many reasonable ones around for under 10 now.
sally_in_wales

lots to think about there, cheers guys!
Northern_Lad

Treacodactyl wrote:
Northern_Lad wrote:
Also, if he does go for two up front, mount one on the helmet: it'll make him look a little odd(er) but make him stand out as not being a normal road user.


I wondered that, I've a couple LED head torches and they give out a decent amount of light. There's many reasonable ones around for under 10 now.


The main reason for having lights on, if you're on the roads, it to help other people see you rather than to help you see. Daft buggers like myself who seak out small trails in remote woods, and do them at night, need ones to see by.
dougal

Northern_Lad wrote:
dougal wrote:
Use standard High Capacity "Nickel Metal Hydride" (NiMH)


...or better yet, go for LiO - Lithium Ion - far more powerful and longer lasting.

... have a look here. A friend has just got a JoyStick and it's absolutly fantastic value for money.


Even better value, now its *discounted* to 145
http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=22850
A spare battery is only about 45 ...

Ideal lamp a FreeCycle bike, some would say! Wouldn't they? Laughing
jema

The reflective coat is key.

Speaking as someone who almost splattered a cyclist perpendicular to me at a roundabout Embarassed

Side on lights may not show at all!
Northern_Lad

dougal wrote:
Even better value, now its *discounted* to 145


Hey, you gets what you pays for: for lumes per pound you'd be had pushed to beat it, plus it's really easy to use and mount.
Northern_Lad

jema wrote:
The reflective coat is key.

Speaking as someone who almost splattered a cyclist perpendicular to me at a roundabout Embarassed

Side on lights may not show at all!


Lots of bike mounted lights now have slits on the side of the bulb casing so they shine sideways too.
sally_in_wales

Northern_Lad wrote:
dougal wrote:
Even better value, now its *discounted* to 145


Hey, you gets what you pays for: for lumes per pound you'd be had pushed to beat it, plus it's really easy to use and mount.


Hmm, just shy of two weeks wages for Gareth for a set of lights. With the best will in the world, the budget just doesnt stretch that far Sad
Treacodactyl

Northern_Lad wrote:
Treacodactyl wrote:
Northern_Lad wrote:
Also, if he does go for two up front, mount one on the helmet: it'll make him look a little odd(er) but make him stand out as not being a normal road user.


I wondered that, I've a couple LED head torches and they give out a decent amount of light. There's many reasonable ones around for under 10 now.


The main reason for having lights on, if you're on the roads, it to help other people see you rather than to help you see. Daft buggers like myself who seak out small trails in remote woods, and do them at night, need ones to see by.


As a novice rider I find pot-holes rather hazardous and would like something to light them up if I rode at night, the roads round here are covered with them and not everywhere has street lights.
dougal

jema wrote:
The reflective coat is key.

Speaking as someone who almost splattered a cyclist perpendicular to me at a roundabout Embarassed

Side on lights may not show at all!

As explained upthread, for *daylight* a DayGlo (fluorescent) jacket/tabard/hat makes lots of sense.
But at night, (especially away from tightly packed and crawling traffic) headlights (and drivers) will pick up ankle-mounted reflective bands first. From all angles.
Them noticing you earlier makes you safer.

For the same reasons that reflectors are best mounted *low*, indication-of-your-presence (flashing) lamps are best mounted *high* - out of headlight beams reach...

Wheel spoke reflectors are very cheap (way cheaper than tyres/wheels with ScotchLite strips built-in) and do provide excellent side-on night-time indication of your presence.

Final point to remember. Reflectors work much better if they are clean... [/i]
Northern_Lad

This one is probably your best bet - wide angles, forward focus, and you can get it to flash. Rated well by people who've actually paid for it. And it's on offer.
sally_in_wales

Northern_Lad wrote:
This one is probably your best bet - wide angles, forward focus, and you can get it to flash. Rated well by people who've actually paid for it. And it's on offer.


That looks ideal Very Happy
cab

Good kit there from Northern Lad.

I go for the Cat Eye brand, partly because I find the build quality excellent, partly because they're good for battery life, and partly because they mostly all take the same brackets, making replacement easier.

I'm sorely tempted by these, I've seen them in action and they're outstanding:
http://www.cyclelane.co.uk/products.php?plid=m2b4s40p195

For towns, where theres some lighting, these are very good:
http://www.cyclelane.co.uk/products.php?plid=m2b4s40p295

Get a decent set of rechargable batteries and keep some normal batteries as back up, just in case.

Regarding reflectors, make sure you have rear and pedal reflectors. They're just brilliant to help you be seen. And if you can get to an ikea store any time soon they've got some high viz vests with excellent reflective strips on them, think they're less than three quid each there. Failing that, get some from somewhere like screwfix, they're often cheaper there than in cyclign shops.
vegplot

I bought these recently, they're very good but changed the 10W bulb back to a 5W so use one light and keep the other as a spare.
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