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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 07-05-11, 08:40 AM   #1
coyotebanjo
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small newbie commuting: helmet-mounting Mini-Mag tactical flashlight as headlight

Friends:

Newbie here, NW Texas. Getting into cycle-commuting for first time, at 50+. I mostly ride in daylight, on (very) dry streets, so lights are a major safety issue only rarely. But I do like to be able to see the road-surface clearly--Texas infrastructure & thus road repair sucks.

While at home supply store, ran across this Mini-Mag tactical flashlight, which has three quick-on/-off settings (bright, moderate, flashing); thought I would try hacking a simple helmet mount. It's a couple of zip ties, threaded through the helmet slots and through a hose clamp. Bit of old tube as shock mount, and then tighten down the clamp. The flashlight has a simple "tap once for bright, twice for moderate, three times for flashing" switch, at the butt-end opposite the lens.

I took it out last night for a first test run: dark night, few streetlights and almost no traffic in my suburban grid. Worked well: I'm a Rather Large Person (7 7/8 hat size), so the extra 12 oz of the light weren't uncomfortable.

On the bright setting, it casts a very bright, conical throw: you can see the edges of the circular beam on houses & cars 2 blocks ahead and details of the road surface are quite clear 30-40 metres ahead. On the moderate setting, it does an excellent job of picking up any reflectives (street signs, license plates, etc), and my surmise is that it would be readily visible by oncoming traffic. Don't think I would use intermittent except in an unusual circumstance: the strobe effect is a little disorienting.

Though this is a kludged-together demo and I'm sure I would do some things differently, two positives immediately emerged: one obvious and one less so.

(1) For me, the helmet-mounted light is essential, though I might add a fixed, bar-mounted headlight as well: having the light follow my line-of-sight as I turn my head is very, very comforting;

(2; less obvious) When on the bright setting, it seems to be HIGHLY noticeable to oncoming traffic, and it's bright enough that an approaching driver has to pay attention. I say this because, twice during the test run, I approached a 4-way stop with a car (both times large SUVs, driven by young women--in my college-town part of the world, sometimes a scary thing), and I could *see* those drivers look at me and then speak to their passengers, before very cautiously took their right-of-way. In both cases, it's my surmise that they had to (a) think for a minute about what I was (bright tactical light-beam, about 7 feet off the ground) and then (b) jumped to the conclusion that I was a cycle-cop. In both cases, both drivers seemed to be reacting in a MUCH more aware and cautious way than had they seen only a little red blinkie.

Caveats: the thing'll probably eat batteries, it's not ideally adjustable. Rechargeable batteries and an adjustable pivot joint b/w helmet and mag-lite would probably address these issues.

anyway--thanks for these fora! Very inspiring!






coyote
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Old 07-05-11, 03:01 PM   #2
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You need to go over to the Electronics, lighting and gadgets forum and read "Best headlight under $50" thread. You'll get a lot of ideas on different lights and mounts. And you're right. Rechargeable batteries are the way to go.
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Old 07-05-11, 05:37 PM   #3
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Ok!
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Old 07-05-11, 05:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scoatw View Post
You need to go over to the Electronics, lighting and gadgets forum and read "Best headlight under $50" thread. You'll get a lot of ideas on different lights and mounts. And you're right. Rechargeable batteries are the way to go.
Yep, you'll find more there than you thought you would.
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Old 07-06-11, 06:08 AM   #5
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Personally, I found in cold weather rechargable AAA & AA didn't have the life/ run time that I needed for my 6 mile commute. I aint a fast rider.
OTOH, it may have been the battery chemistry. I don't seem to have as many issues with my LiFePo4 battery, for my e assist, it does seem to use more amp/hrs for similar use.
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Old 07-06-11, 06:39 AM   #6
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http://www.rei.com/product/786357/pl...bike-light-set




http://www.walmart.com/ip/ROV-LSD-CHGR-W-BATTS/14860666

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