Category Archives: bicycle light

LED knockoffs?

Maybe it’s a sign that LED lights are finally coming into their own?  Project 3 in my Digital Arts class is to do a 3-D model in Maya that uses light, so I sent Google searching for bike light images. was the result — and they seem to have a small variety of almost-but-not-quite-like knockoffs of NiteIze and Frog (knog) products.

I’m afraid I yielded to the temptation, and went to NiteIze and sprang for their newest model of itty bitty spoke lights, plus two clip-to-your-belt bags that will hold phone/camera/tools.   I have yearned for a gadget holster forever…

Flash Flag — I’m psyched :)

Terry Smith of “flashback” retroreflective doodads is sending me samples to show off to my cohorts in the cycling community. is where they are… and hopefully soon to be available at a bike coop near you.   I ordered retroreflective stuff so I can make my lips even tastier.

I completely overslept today … fortunately by an hour so I could keep the same pace in the mental fog I was in and the clock kinda looked the same. Traffic wasn’t much different an hour later. The racer was a lot slower, though… I was just foggy. I forced myself to up the pace — I even had the Garmin, since I’ve figured out a quick rubber band combo that I can leave on it, wrapped around the previous speedometer’s mount. Then I had a brilliant idea — I could go to the Sprint store! Oops, the phone is out at school.   Oh, “Snap.”   I am holding back from the urge to put hot sauce in it… but it does have a little wear and tear.

It was snowing this a.m. but I just fuzzily decided that didn’t matter. (It was also 31 at the airport by the time I left, which did translate into damp roads, not icy, and I could have just tossed the bike onto the bus if I felt like it.)   I do like my CUMTD.

Was it good for you?

This morning a significant part of me did not want to get on the bike.  Sure, the ride in was going to be nice; it was 25 degrees.  Forecast, though, for “flurries.”  Same forecast as for Saturday when we got five inches. Low tonight: 6.

I steeled myself.  My option when confronted with challenge is to respect the voice that says “you can’t” or “you shouldn’t,” and thus create an option, so that it can’t win when it really shouldn’t. I decided I’d ride the Gazelle in… and if it got ugly, I’d take the folding bike home on the bus so that there wouldn’t be two bikes out at school. Then I could bus in in that frigid morning and take the bike home whne I was good and ready.

We did get a few flurries, but honest “flurries,” nothing sticking, not even a dusting.  The roads are really clear, at least my southern route home (some of campus was rock solid ice sheets – rumply as an unmade bed, but solid ice –  this morning and I walked ’em, foolish as that is with the studs giving better traction than shoes, but as I said, I respect my avoidances ’cause hten they’d want me not to ride at all… in fact, it wasn’t that slippery to walk on.  THerefore, it wasn’t too slippery to stud on… but it’s my commute and I’ll whine if I want to — *and* I left early so I got to work on time anyway.)

So I had enough layers on to make singing tough (“your voices sound constricted!”  – um, oy, yea, there’s an awful lot of elastic around my middle…)  but it was 19 at the start and 20 at the end at leaving time, so I donned my lights and took the long way around, because the tailwind was strong enough to chill me if I didn’t warm up riding reasonably briskly first, and with only one gear that’s hard. (It’s gear 3 — pretty easy — of the 7.)

As I left, the Green bus approached.   I thought about racing it and sprinted parts of JOhn,  but realized that I’d have to go a different route to see if it passed me, and I”m not inclined to travel Vine, so I cruised after that.

Another reason for my reluctance to ride was that I’ve been getting by with just a red blinky on the back of my backpack, and yes, it’s different. I found a string of baby white LEDs and just clumped them back there, and added two of those finger lights.  Yes, cars gave me more time and space. Made me envision a poster:   “Legal’ vs. “good.’

Then I turned onto State STreet and grasped what the bus driver was referring to as a citizen was walkijng on the bike lane towards me.  It was mostly plowed, but the parking spaces werent, so it was actually a reasonably good sidewalk, with a few feet between the cars and the regular traffic lane.

I envisioned a second set of posters that I”m going to suggest, though it may be a solution in search of a problem.  Two pictuers on it:  one wiht a bike out in the car lane, and a driver pissed… the second zooming in on a legitimate reason for the bike to be there.  Specifically, makin’ a left turn, glass or potholes, or whatever.  Caption:   “If I’m not in the bike lane, there’s a reason.”  Then it occurred to me that the same could be done for bike paths, with a fast rider and then zooming in on the cute little children playing on the path, or that family with the kids with training wheels.

And yes, I was comfortably warm, head to toe.  It felt really good. TOmorrow’s six degrees? I’m up for it.

can’t plow a forecast, honey

Or:  When in doubt, stud, though no bad consequences.

This a.m. the forecast was a “winter advisory” until 11 a.m.; that some freezing rain and snow would move through  The radar showed blue right over head – but almost gone, and there were but scant flurries.  Therefore, there should be less than scant flurries when it was gone.  Possible snow showers tomorrow.

COnsidered taking the Trek in so I could do the inside ride.  Decided that since I had frittered last night instead of making Progress On The HOuse (putting stuff back in the newly painted kitchen and living room), I should go straight home and do that tonight, and take the Xtracycle instead.

Checked weather before leaving at 5:15.  30 degrees – balmy enough to toss the Smart-Tex in the backpack.  Clear radar. I’m hoping to get in some good laps before going home, which I’d tried to do at lunch time but there was this meeting that I’d forgotten about…

Not so clear skies… and what’s this stuff falling from the sky?  It’s barely heavier than fog… but, I thought, p’raps the 30 was airport and the guys had put salt *everywhere* and here might be heat island enough so I could just do llllapsss… that was my foot skating on the parking lot just a teensy bit, enough to make me laugh at the timing and say, “Yes, weather, I hear you.  You promised *better,* not good.”

Happily, everywhere I put my foot down things were basically damp, not icy.  HOwever, I was grateful for having had enough assorted musical experiences so that, indeed, I could hear the subtle difference between the swish of tires on damp pavement and the rice-krispies-treat crunch that meant the mist had frozen there.  Oh, yea, and my bike had just the thinnest crust..  However, when I shrugged, my jacket didn’t crackle, so it wasn’t but *so* bad.

I was also grateful for having enough cycling experience to know it was even more important to claim my part of the lane – that this would make motorists, perhaps thinking foul thoughts of my inconsideration in being out in this weather, be sensible and give the extra room merited… instead of hugging the line and having drivers focusing on the conditions not see me at all.  I noticed the same tendency for drivers *not* to want to go into the left lane when passing (on the one-way two-laner at State). And I was glad I had the SPokelit on the wheel… I think I might have had at least one Airzound Moment otherwise, and I’ve been off the Xtra for weeks so I’m not in the habit of hov’ring near it when approaching a perpendicular driver.

And!  I found the business end of the Turn Signal, so as soon as I find the strap again, which wasn’t lost anyway, I can re-unite them and give it a try on the left arm.

Tomorrow, it’s the Gazelle.  I’ll even have to apologize to her 😀  Maybe we’ll ride a little extra to make up… I could and *would* have done laps with the studs tonight on this teensy bit of slipper.

Merry Christmas!

Merry… what a nifty word. New Year’s Resolution – describe more things as merry when applicable.

Things froze up hard, indeed, including part of fthe path I fonged out of the driveway.  Parts of it really were every bit as slippery as that night on I-395 near the Pentagon, when traffic was stationary simply because there was absolutely no friction to be had, as in none, as in I’d forgotten what next-to-*no* friction felt like until trying to navigate one stretch of sidewalk.  The rest of the world was only extremely slippery 🙂 Parking lots, mostly untreated ’cause of the season, really are “sheets of ice” like unto the icing on a cake.  Lots of people came in the back door at church – less walking.

I ducked into St. Pat’s for their “Midnight Mass” (at 10:30 – I got home at midnight 😉 ) on my way home (which wasn’t *really* on my way home since I went via roads, not the icepacks)  and shared the songbook with a fellow whose birthday is the 24th.  I wondered if it was a conscious or unconscious thing that, at least on Christmas, you’re more “with” other people, not in your private-in-a-crowd personal worship space.  (Of course, I probably could have found that if I’d sat in the back …)  It occurred to me that   entirely too many Christmas songs – at least the ones done at the services I was at – are just way up there in soprano land.   I’m gonna find the songs that are down in Untrained Voice Land, where you can sing out (or go and hit the “transpose down a step” on every instrument… they’re all electronic now, right?) .

There were comments on being on a bike on the way out (not by my singing companion, though)… but not as if it were odd; oh, yea, the folks had European accents.  The priest loved my outfit 😀  Perchance the blinking lights on the backpack?  The Gazelle just has candy canes and a red and green spokelit… but I shall leave the regalia on the Xtra ’til the 6th of January.

Seen from blocks behind
What’s That Attention Grabber ?!?
Blinking helmet light.

Got another testiimonial last night from MS. Landreth, who descrbed seeing something bright and blinking “*blocks* ahead of us!” and then getting closer and seeing it was me. I’d say “everybody go get one,” but:

Will this be just more
glaring visual assault
if novelty ends?

Lumotech Light

I’ve got the “oval” one – according to Sheldon Brown’s site, it’s got “German approval” (which the round ones don’t?)

I”m about to hop on the Xtra and head that last half mile to the home port. Yesterday I had my generator hub & light installed at CHampaign Cycle and it’s very delicious. Also very bright 🙂 The fact that a certain Big Fat Honking light – Planet Bike Insight 15 watter – has decided to show up is of course laughable, but that one requires thinking and planning.
Only one issue with it right now: the off switch doesn’t work. Stay tuned …
I may have authority fantasies, though… I’ve already got red and blue Tru-Value $3 Special Garrity GLo-lites on the back… and the nice bright Lumotech… and of course I’ll wear my black and yellow Gore-Tex suit… all I need is that 15-watter spotlight and “I’m in charge, here…” SNork!