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cycling at night [with planet bike]

September 9, 2010

As the days have gotten shorter, it’s become increasingly imperative for us to have lights on our bikes. While I initially explored hub generated lights that would keep with the vintage look of the Raleighs (like these Busch & Müller Lumotec Retro ones), I just had to concede to something more affordable for now. And so we settled on Planet Bike LED lights for both of our bikes. Planet Bike came highly recommended by our local bike shop and a little research revealed that this company is worth supporting; 25% of my purchase went to support bike advocacy groups. This is their contribution policy, all the time.

Ride your bike!

Their site also offers tips on making positive changes in your community  – 5 things you can do – as well as information on bicycle advocacy groups throughout the US. And who can resist a packaging that urges you to ‘ride your bike!’.

We installed a headlight and a tail light. The latter we usually keep on flashing mode to make us even more perceivable to cars. Both install easily and remove quickly to take inside when leaving your bike parked. We’ve both been very happy with our new lights and I’ve enjoyed those evening rides knowing that I’m not just a dark blur on the side of the road.

What lighting system do you use on your bike? And do you go beyond installing blinking lights or a headlight to make you visible? I’m less concerned with my ability to see (the roads are usually well enough lit for that) and more concerned with cars and traffic seeing me. How do you negotiate that problem?

Planet Bike LED Light

Planet Bike Rear Light

11 Comments leave one →
  1. September 9, 2010 01:46

    I have a hub generator (that came with the bike) for my front light, but I got a handy schmandy solar powered tail light (by bridgestone) put on the back. It replaced the reflector so it is screwed onto the rear mud guard. I really like this option because both lights turn themselves off a few minutes after stopping so I never forget and leave them on, neither require batteries, and both are permanently attached to the bike, so I can’t forget my lights somewhere and have to ride home in the dark (which was constantly happening to me before).
    I think when I move back to N.A. I will supplement with more powerful battery lights, but for now I’m really pleased with this combo. It requires no effort (not even turning them on) and they are always ready for me.
    I think the solar tail light might fit nicely on your raleigh without spoiling the look either. It wasn’t so expensive, around 20-30 bucks, but it will never cost you in batteries.

  2. Kelly permalink
    September 9, 2010 01:52

    Have you considered dynamo-powered lights? I have a Pashley which comes with a built-in hub dynamo, but I think you can install a sidewall dynamo on any bike. These seem to be more common in Europe than in the US (you can get them dirt-cheap in the Netherlands, for example), but from a quick Google Shopping search it looks like the components are available here, too, in kits at pretty reasonable prices. Looks like you can get slightly higher-end versions, too. I really like that my bike lights are built-in so that I don’t have to worry about losing them or getting them stolen if I leave them on the bike (people in my town steal ANYTHING off your bike if it isn’t nailed down).
    I have a separate battery powered rear light, I suppose for visibility from behind when you are stopped at a traffic light in the dark and aren’t pedaling to power the dynamo, which seems like a good idea.

  3. September 9, 2010 04:57

    I use a nitelight 900 as I work shifts and commute in the dark. It’s fab, I use the low setting unless I’m on an unlight bikepath with a green belt. I like being able to charge it whilst the battery pack stays on the bike, but, it has done as the lighting in my tent when I’ve camped as well. I have actually been told to ‘dip’ my headlight by a pedestrian. (It was already on low and angled at the path). I also use a red ‘flasher’ on the back, but, I’m wondering about this as I have heard that although it gets motorists attention it makes it harder for them to judge their distance away from you.

  4. September 9, 2010 17:49

    Thanks for your comments, all!

    I especially like the suggestions for lights that can stay on the bike and not be stolen off. I also don’t have any faith in the goodwill of my fellow citizens and remove my lights every time I park. It would be great not to have to do that but trust the lights to still be there at my return.

  5. September 12, 2010 02:30

    I have the same light on my Specialized and a hub generator light on my Breezer. I love biking under the stars but wouldn’t consider doing so without a good light. Bob and I passed two tweens on bikes this past Thursday night and even with reflectors they were hardly visible.

  6. ridon permalink
    January 3, 2011 04:44

    i have the same rear light. did you buy a bracket to install it onto your basket like that? i have a rear basket, too and i clip my light to my messenger bag. i have no idea if people see my light or not! is my bag high enough? i have no clue!

  7. ridon permalink
    January 7, 2011 04:37

    ooh i see where you put the ties now! they are gray/silver colored like the basket, how clever! i guess i don’t own the same light.

  8. May 2, 2011 22:52

    Great work gently reminding people to be visible through the darker part of the year. It’s so easy to forget to get your lights sorted out.
    We review bike lights every April issue ready for the Australian winter. We’ve just blogged the full results for this year


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