Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Trike lights at night (and as daytime running lights, too)

This is my trike lighting scheme, which grew a little at a time with fits, starts, and missteps. All products shown here are sold through Amazon, and while they are not necessarily the lowest-priced items, they're as low-cost as I felt I could go and still get decent quality from someone who would take care of defective items.

Waterproof 500 Lumens LB-XL T6 4 Modes Headlamp & Bicycle Light + 6400mAh Battery Pack ~ It says 500 Lumens, but it's really 1200 on its "high" setting, which is so bright that I usually stick to "medium." This light has a larger battery than most others in its price range. I also got a little lens ($5) for it that spreads the light in an oval pattern. Less than $23 for the light itself. There are many similar (really identical) headlights out there for $50 - $100. Get this cheap one and enjoy the savings.

Blinking "Hi, there" front light: The Tahoe Super Bright LED Flashlight  The bigger front light (above) is the one I use to light my path. It's my headlight. This smaller light is my 500 Lumen front-facing blinker. On my wife's folding bike, this is "the" headlight, set as a solid light instead of as a blinker. If she starts riding much after dark or cruising at more than 10 mph, we'll put a bigger light on her bike. Or maybe not. This is really all the headlight most of us will ever need, even on dark streets. She already has two taillights for safety. They're the ones described in the next two paragraphs.

Cocoweb High Intensity Waterproof LED Bicycle Bike Lights: Waterproof my ass. It has no sign of weather sealing. But it's a nice light, with a little inertial sensor in it that makes it sort of a brake light. A great deal for $9. I could probably water-seal it, but I park my trike in a carport and don't ride in the rain by choice. 

Z ZTDM New 5-LED Bike Tailight  Simple, cheap bike tail lights. $5.99, including shipping. Well worth six bucks. You can get the same or similar lights for a little less -- usually shipped from China, which takes a month or more. So we have one of these on my wife's bike, and two on my trike. I've used this style of light for a number of years, and have had good luck with them. Not only are they outstandingly bright (5 LEDs), but batteries in them last 100+ hours if you stick to blinking instead of solid "on," which isn't as visible as blink blink blink anyway.

Adorox 6 Pcs 18" Multi-color Changing 3 Modes Flashing Light up Foam Glow Sticks $8.99 and free shipping -- for 6 of these foam wands. My first experiment with a vertical hi-viz light was a "light saber" that cost about $10. For one. And it didn't last. Now I have these cooler, brighter, flashier "Foam Glow Sticks" for a buck and a half each. I was going to mount two of them but decided one is really enough most of the time. So I have 6 to go through -- they come with batteries -- before I crack into the stock of 50 "button batteries" I got for super-cheap on sale. 

Or I can buy more wands for even less per unit than the ones I got -- like 16 of them for $9.99, including shipping. Amazing. No bike or trike rider who thinks they might do any after-dark riding (or might get caught out at dusk) should be without one of these, in addition to whatever other lights they have.Talk about visible! Also cute. And I like cute. :)

Handlebar Grip LED End Marker lightsThese marker lights improve visibility from the side. I chose this type because almost all of the others I've seen were red, which I didn't feel was appropriate for side-facing lights. My friend Kurt, the magic bike mechanic, says he can get them any color I want from one of his wholesale contacts. Okay. When these multicolored ones go bad, I'll have Kurt get me some yellow ones.

And that's about it. I am HIGHLY visible at night -- and in the daytime, too, because I run  blinking front and rear lights almost all the time - and I have both a U.S. flag and an Army flag on a 6' pole. Patriotic! Yep. Plus I've read studies that say a U.S. flag gets more drivers to notice you than almost any other flag you can get.
I was not paid to review or mention any of these products, and I bought all of them for the prices shown on Amazon at the time of purchase, same as anyone else...

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