Bike Friendly Richardson

From The Suggestion Box – Let’s Talk About Lights

Posted in Suggestion Box by dickdavid on December 3, 2011

Sunrise

A couple of years ago, we opened up the BFR Suggestion Box. This is a place where the Richardson bike community can voice their opinions and suggestions for other Richardson cyclists. It’s been a while since our last posting, so I thought we should share another.

Fellow bike enthusiast, Nick F., sent us a great email sharing his innovative lighting solutions on a budget. He also asks what other folks do for lighting solutions during the darker days of winter. We thought it would be great to share it on the site:

Jenny’s cold-weather-clothing post got me thinking about another season-related topic: lighting, especially on these non-daylight-savings rides home in the dark.

Sure, most bike stores will sell you a nice 700 lumen kit for $300 and a blinky for another $30, but I’m thinking more about what’s possible in the $30 range (which is still exorbitant mounted on a $75 bike…)

So right now I’ve got a 4W 360 lumen LED stuck into a sawed off plastic flashlight housing and powered by a pack of 12 rechargeable AAs in the front, and a $2 blinky in the back. It works OK (which is to say I haven’t been hit by a car at night).

My favorite place to shop for cheap bike lights/parts: dealextreme.com. For $3 you get a rear blinky shipped to your door, (earth-hating) alkaline batteries included. Or ~$7 shipped for a 360 lumen LED.

I also like Altex Electronics in Addison because they will order you $1 plastic battery holders and not charge you for shipping them to their store.

As far as mounting equipment goes, sometimes the simplicity of a 100-pack of hose clamps for a couple of bucks from harbor freight gets the job done. Plus, harbor freight is conveniently located off of the duck creek biking trail. [Speaking of which, does anyone need ~90 hose clamps?]

But what I really like is re-using junk from around the house. This is where the real fun (and ghetto-fabulousness) comes in: I’ve found that the perfect source of mounting brackets is drilling/bendiing those little metal PCI slot fillers in the back of your old PC tower. I feel like Michelangelo drilling into those things.

Other re-usable bike light material: old flashlight cases that happen to fit newer LED bulbs, that mount from your old bike light that light fell off of, (and I’m *pretty* sure this is absolutely commonplace for everyone) the underwater pond light casing that the previous owner of your home left you.

So what other cheap suppliers, creative repurposing, or expensive-but-worth-it equipment has the BFR community been using to survive out on the roads in the dark?

Night Riders

Of course, our stance on the topic is that you need to get lights if you are riding after dark. Not only is it safer for you, but it’s the law (551.104b). If you’re not crafty like Nick, this could be a big investment – but well worth it.

We really appreciate comments, emails and suggestions from cyclists to share with other Richardson riders. Thanks, Nick, for providing us with some interesting and innovative solutions on a budget. We’d also like to ask anybody else who has an idea or suggestion, to please send it in to us. We’d love to post it.