Because I thought I could
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Wash DC Metro
Bikes: November, Trek OCLV, Bianchi Castro Valley commuter
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IMO, a small "be seen light" gives drivers a target to aim at and your estate's lawyer the ability to argue you met the legal minimum for riding at night (contributory negligance states). Get something bright enough to see where you're going.
Not cheap but compare cost of light to repairing a front wheel, bike, or you (!) after you hit something! Exposure Lights Joystick. Stupid bright, good runtimes, and small enough to stuff in jersey pocket when not using. Has a rubber-band handlebar mount and a decent helmet mount (yes, I look like a dork on group rides but become everyone's friend when the dark monster comes out!). Options include a very bright taillight that comes in 2 versions (not interchangable) - one clips onto the Joystick (helmet mount) or seatpost (long cord). You can also use it as a regular flashlight and I think they sell a headband option. My other choice would be Dinnotte (I have a 200L with the AA battery pack, because single-use lithium cells have excellent run time and storage life) - I think their XML-1 is current equivalent. Not self-contained but reasonably small & light weight and every convenience store on the planet sells AA batteries. At almost any college, you want to be able to remove everything of value when the bike is parked/unattended.
For night riding, don't forget a taillight (PBSF, etc.) and a reflector if NY State requires it (my state does and I do enough commuting that my late fall/winter bike has one).
I would not worry about being "small enough for racing" unless you're doing endurance rides with intentional nightime riding. I may be mistaken (not a racer), but I thought the rules prohibited items like lights or cameras that might fall off during a race (I guess computers and water bottles got grandfathered in).
Last edited by ks1g; 07-09-12 at 10:37 AM.
Reason: Obsolete product info, taillight info.