The shortened days of autumn caught me off guard recently when I rode to work before realizing it would be dark before I returned home. Naturally, the many battery-powered lights I've bought, including a few Knogs and Planet Bike models, were all safely at home on other bikes.
I'm caught somewhere between buying enough lights so each bike has a set on it at all times and remembering to switch the ones I have between bikes as a new one is selected each day. This is a distinct disadvantage to not having a dedicated commuter bike or even having just one bike, as most normal people do.
Anyway, I came up with an interesting solution to my lighting program. My office is in the same suite as the offices for some retail shops in the touristy part of town. On any given day, there are dozens of boxes of merchandise intended for sale at some street festival or another.
Luckily, this week's collection of China-made novelties included those little flashing lights that you "wear" by putting a magnetic disk beneath your collar or lapel to hold the flashing button in place. I borrowed a pair of these, attaching one to the rear fender and the other to the heron-emblazoned light fixture on my Raleigh Superbe.
Here's what the rear light looked like at the beginning of my ride:
Of course, they did nothing to illuminate the road or bike path for me, but nearly all the tricky sections of my commute were finished before it was more than twilight.
By the finish, though, they were making me feel a lot better about my chances of being seen by motorists. Here's what the front light looked like by the end of the ride:
Does anybody know just how difficult or expensive it is to rig full-time lighting on a vintage bike? I have no interest in investing in new or dynamo hubs, so I'm thinking it would be bottle generators or just a wider collection of Knogs and the like. Any suggestions are appreciated.