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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 10-05-07, 09:11 PM   #1
ax0n
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Worst-case scenario lighting

I have owned these two Photon MicroLight II's forever. At least 10 years. The red one I got in high school to read star charts with. The white one I got at DefCon from the DIS.ORG crew back in 97 or so.

Anyhow, I keep them with me when I'm commuting in case I need some light to find a puncture in the dark or otherwise need light, with the benefit that as tiny as they are, I can still rely on them as worst-case-scenario backup lighting. The white one sticks out like a turd in a punchbowl with a pretty wide angle. It's useless for anything more than being seen and as a pothole-spotter. The red one dangles from the seat rail and flails around while I ride. Very, very visible.

I snagged some pics.

Shown with my Incite 11i for size. I am using hair elastic bands that I stole from my wife to hold them to the clip in my seat bag, and to attach them to my bike if needed.



Shown on my Diamondback Outlook, since that's what I rode today. I've never had to actually road-test this lighting setup, but I used it in our very dark parking lot and bystanders said it wasn't too shabby.



What do you guys use? Just keep a spare LED headlight and blinkie handy? Some spare batteries? Post 'em up.
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Old 10-05-07, 09:32 PM   #2
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here's the setup i used last year because i was poor as a mother flipper. the front is a head lamp that i strapped to the bar, but after a few bumps it always ends up facing down. the rear is just like yours only i strapped the mini-bungee to the seat post. this season i can afford to buy something that will actually light the road. i'm pretty close to getting a night rider road rat or minewt. by the way, love the image of a turd floating around a punchbowl.
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Old 10-05-07, 09:59 PM   #3
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-I have one of those Photon Micro Lights on my keychain
-In my pack I have a Princeton Tec Eos Headlamp
-I also have a SureFire E2e flashlight which is part of my EDC (Every Day Carry)
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Old 10-05-07, 10:02 PM   #4
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FYI, My primary setup is a NiteRider Evolution (upgraded to a 15W bulb) up front, with a Blackburn Mars 3.0 (strobing) on the back of my helmet and a Trek DiscoTech (steady) under the seat. This winter, I'll probably carry my Blackburn Quadrant with me in the panniers to use as backup, as I may need more runtime than the NiteRider can muster up.
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Old 10-06-07, 06:07 AM   #5
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I've always carried a good LED flashlight along with one of the TwoFish handlebar blocks.

For additional roadside safety and general illumination I've got a couple of those chemical glow sticks. If I'm doing a repair of something I activate em and hang them off the bike and around my neck.
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Old 10-06-07, 07:07 AM   #6
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#1 night visibility solution is light colored clothing.

If you are on you bike at dusk at the typical dollar store you can buy a cheap flashlight, batteries, and duct tape. I suggest you keep it simple, stick to a cheap incandecent bulb, buy an extra.

I have my doubts about how useful a red blinky is. It is unlikely that a driver who does not see your reflector, will see anything.
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Old 10-09-07, 10:19 PM   #7
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Gee, I have not had a failure of my D.I.Y. system in quite a few years so I do not carry a spare. Hypothetically speaking I'd use the cell phone and call the wife.
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Old 10-09-07, 11:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geo8rge View Post

I have my doubts about how useful a red blinky is. It is unlikely that a driver who does not see your reflector, will see anything.
not trying to be argumentative, but have you ever looked directly at one of those red LEDs? its like looking into a lazer
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Old 10-10-07, 07:23 AM   #9
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That, or watch from behind as your buddy with even a crappy blinky passes a bike ninja with only a red reflector. You can tell the difference quite easily.
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Old 10-10-07, 08:06 AM   #10
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If you ever get hit, you may 2nd guess your lighting decision to no end. A superflash can be had for $20. That's the cost of one copay to the ER, your physician, or physical therapy. Do yourself a favor and get a better light that really catches a driver's attention. That slight led glow probably isn't as visible from 200ft as it is from 10ft where the pic was taken.

Personally, if that was my only solution, I'd be on the sidewalk.
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Old 10-10-07, 08:49 AM   #11
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Keep in mind this is just my worst-case-scenario setup if my Mars 3.0 goes south. The Mars is just as bright as your PB with a fresh set of batteries. I don't really feel like riding to work with pockets full of superflashes just to limp it home if my lighting fails, but thanks.
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Old 10-10-07, 10:57 AM   #12
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I carry a Photon 3 in my bag for an emergency backup(it has flashing modes).

I know some folks who use those tiny Frog lights and Cateye bungee cord lights as their regular lighting. They aren't nearly as noticable as proper blinkies. But for emergency backups,they're ok.
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Old 10-10-07, 11:08 AM   #13
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Spare lights? I just think bright and hope for the best.
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Old 10-10-07, 11:18 AM   #14
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I run two front lights (costco headlamp on the helmet, MiNewt X2 dual on the bars) and three rear lights (Cateye 1000, Cateye 500 and a PBSF on helmet). I don't have a backup for the rear since I think three should have me covered but I do keep a Cateye 410 in my handlebar bag as a backup for the front lights or in case I get caught out after dark on a day I did not bring the Minewt with me.
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Old 10-10-07, 11:20 AM   #15
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Since I started buying lights that felt good and heafty in my hand I haven't had a faliure of my light system. In looking at the faliure modes of my lights I realized that they were all failing because the cheap light weight plastic frame got damaged and either allowed water to penetrate the case or allowed the contacts to seperate. So now I buy only heafty lights with good solid frames; ideally with a high metal content.

I charge batteries on Sunday morning while I'm doing the puzzle section of the paper. Just a dumb habit I guess, but I haven't had a light quit from battery problems ever. Of course I use NiMh rechargebles in all my lights.

So I guess I can sum up my approach with: quality (and a little OCD) over quantity.
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