How many lights are you allowed?
So, you have the previously-mentioned front and rear lights. But some people like to deck themselves out in frame lights, wheel lights, and fork lights – looking like the spirit of Bicycle-Christmas. The advantage – if your headlight fails, other road users will still see your flashing wheels.
Beware that some countries regulate how many lights you’re allowed on your vehicle and for good reasons. German lawmakers quite sensibly point out that a strobe-disco-on-wheels may be a distraction to motorists – but that doesn’t stop you from buying a spare set for your frame. You don’t have to turn them on until you need them – handy for longer-than-expected rides.
I love my Knogs (other great brands available). I bought the classic stretch-and-clip models. They’re still going strong, attached to the handlebar and seat post. But my wife ruined hers taking them off and putting them back on the bike with a little too much enthusiasm – so she went back to her trusty CATEYEs.
I looked up the latest Knogs and they now have magnetic attachments. No more broken elasticated straps. Just attach the base to your frame and slap the magnetic light onto it. Or do what my wife did – buy adhesive magnets and stick one to her seat post and one to her beloved CATSEYE.
There’s no better reason to buy new lights than the fact that they’re getting smarter. Sense Icon’s sensors make them flash faster and brighter at junctions and when cars approach, and will even let you know if your bike is being nicked while you’re enjoying a post-ride pint. But the Garmin Varia is something else.
Although this well-measured review covers the many positives as well as the negatives, for gadget-loving cyclists, the radar system will be a game changer. Especially in countries where winters go well below zero and your ears are covered – it’ll be handy to see traffic approaching that you may struggle to hear.
Brace yourself – sales are coming…
It’s that time of year when bike retailers start looking for an early seasonal business. Start thinking about lights now and maybe think about whether you, or a loved one, would appreciate a fresh set of lights this winter.