The latest bike light

Maybe you are starting to think that I am obsessed with bicycle lights. Well, I am interested in the subject, but not to the point of obsession, it’s just that as I add to the stable of bikes I own, I keep needing to outfit them with lights for my safety and I keep looking for new, better models.

The technology keeps getting better and manufacturers keep coming up with different models that suit different needs. I’ve found lights for one bike that I wouldn’t use on another bike. Others are good all-round.

Read my other posts about bike lights.

It’s really tough to measure brightness, but lights are getting brighter in general, but the race to the top for brightest is dying down. A couple of companies now make lights that are in the overkill range and there is no longer any reason to keep on getting brighter. DiNotte even sells one model with a disclaimer you must accept saying that you won’t use it at night. But many consumer level lights in the $30-50 range are now bright enough to be considered “daytime-bright.” In other words, bright enough to be of use as a warning to motorists even during the daytime.

Serfas ThunderboltMy latest purchase in a bike tail light is the Serfas Thunderbolt. I’ve been watching this light for over a year now and finally decided to buy one after reading some good comments about it’s brightness. I liked the way it attaches to the bike and decided it would be one of the few possibilities to fit the bar on the back of the seat on my Tour Easy.

It’s another USB rechargeable Li-Ion powered light. It is encased in some kind of silicone plastic and is supposed to be waterproof. It attaches to any tube or bar on a bike that you can wrap the two silicone bands around, making it very versatile. It’s one of the few I’ve seen that is equally at home on a recumbent and a diamond-frame bike.

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Recumbent Trike Hall of Shame

I really don’t get some people. They can’t leave enough alone. They get an elegant, functional piece of equipment and have to turn it into …ummm… schmutz. I really don’t have a word for it.

Why do people buy a low-end Terra Trike and then have to add every bit of bling and gadgetry that they can imagine? Why do they feel the need to turn their trike into a clown-car? Why do they heap $1000 worth of accessories on an $800 trike?

Is it a need for attention? Do they need to compensate for their poor riding/driving skills to make other drivers notice them on the road? I don’t know. Most of them wouldn’t be caught dead off the multi-use path anyway. Who needs flags and lights when the only people that will see the are joggers and dog walkers?

Anyway, here are some photos of examples I have seen recently that need to be singled out for ridicule.

Just wrong on so many levels!

I don’t know if this is something for sale, or someone’s creation, but what the heck? A rollbar? No, just no.

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A new trike

On the eve of the arrival of my newest bike, fourth recumbent and second trike, I can tell you a lot about it already.

Catrike Expedition

Catrike Expedition

No, not the specs, although there is a lot to tell there. I ordered it with a lot of extras and customizations that the stock Expedition doesn’t have.

I can tell some things about it, though, that you might not think of unless you hang out with some of the recumbent nuts out there.

First, it will not have a name. I don’t name my bikes. They are things, inanimate objects, not a person or even an animal. I will not anthropomorphize it. Many people do feel compelled to attribute their bikes with some kind of personality and give them a name. I’m not going to name something I might take a wrench to and disassemble.

Trike with a clown-car canopy
Trike with a clown-car canopy

Also, I will not doll it up. I won’t turn it into a parade float or clown car. It’s bad enough that I might load it up with camping gear and take off on it. I won’t load it down with flags and too many mirrors and lights, and above all, it won’t have a canopy. I’ll have lights. Enough to insure my safety and enough to have redundancy, but I won’t look like a little cop car. I’ll have a daylight-bright rear light and a couple choices of nighttime rear, red lights. Enough to cover any situation, but not overdone. And no lazers putting lines on the road. I’ll have two headlights. One to see by and one to be seen.

I’m not a big proponent of flags, either. I may use one judiciously, but basically, their use is overrated.

Too many flags and lights!

Too many flags and lights!

Some people say that because recumbents, especially trikes are low, auto drivers can’t see them. I don’t believe that. We don’t ride along under some fog layer that obscures us and the road. If car drivers can’t see something low, why are there lines painted on the road? It’s more about making yourself visible – and relevant – to auto drivers by riding in the right place. I won’t get into a discussion of proper positioning on the road here, but if you are off on the shoulder, you become irrelevant and therefore invisible to drivers, no matter how many whirlygigs you have trailing behind you.

And I will never have a canopy. I will not make this trike look like a little golf cart or a clown car, no matter how hot the sun gets. I will wear a hat and slather on the sunscreen, but I won’t cross that line!

Just wrong on so many levels!

Just wrong on so many levels!

It’s bad enough some uninformed people think that trikes are for old, infirm people. People who can’t ride regular bikes. I’m neither. I can ride a regular bike, I just choose not to. I can and do ride a two-wheeled recumbent, but trikes are a lot of fun too. But I’m not going to reinforce the misconception by making my trike look like something out of a Florida retirement village.

If you’d like to see more photos of the trike, and some clues as to what I’ve changed from the stock bike, click on the photo above. It will take you to the page at Utah Trikes where they posted my trike once it was done being built.

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