Posts Tagged ‘cycling at night’

Review: Bike USB Rechargeable Lights

Good morning! Daylight savings time might be right around the corner, but night-time visibility has always been a cyclist’s dilemma. One possible solution? Bike USB Rechargeable Lights, which I received for review from Uncommon Goods.


I have been impressed with these small, sturdy lights They come in sets of two: One front, in white, and one rear, in red. As shown in the photo above, they attach easily to your bike with an attached rubber band, not unlike other small bike lights such as Knog Lights. There is a groove in the top of the light so that the elastic band is held securely. These lights will not fall off your bike, but they’re easy to remove if you live in a city where bike light theft is a concern.



The bonus with these little lights? No new batteries: just plug the lights into your computer with any mini-USB cable to recharge. (Fellow NOOK owners: your charging cable is now multiuse.) According to the website, you can get 5 hours of use before needing to recharge—I’ve used the lights for at least 20 minutes a day for about 20 days and have not needed to recharge them, so they may actually last slightly longer. Attaining a full charge takes about 2 hours.

A red light indicates that the light is still charging.

A red light indicates that the light is still charging.

Like most bike lights, these have a blinking mode as well as a steady mode. Just click the button on the top to toggle between modes and on/off.

nightlightrear And the front light is bright enough to help you see rather than just be seen.  It rivals my CatEye.

nightlightAt $49 for the pair, these are a bit pricier than Knog, but the convenience of not needing to replace batteries just might be priceless. (Also, shhh, Uncommon Goods often has sales or coupon codes available.) The final verdict: Worth checking out if you need a little extra illumination!

{ These lights were provided by Uncommon Goods for review, but the opinions expressed are my own. }


Summer Night Rides


Most of my end-of-the-day rides this summer have been in the late evening or night.   There are so many fun events in Chicago right now, I rarely go straight home after work.  Such was the case last night, when my friend Chika and I biked home at 11 pm after a wonderful outdoor concert by the Grant Park Orchestra.

Pritzker Pavilion in Millenium Park

Frozen Planet with a live orchestra

Chika and her Linus on the Lakefront Trail

Betty Foy sans rear light

Biking later in the evening is wonderfully refreshing.  I avoid evening rush hour: the hottest, most polluted, and busiest time of day.

Unfortunately, my rear light (held on by an old rubber band) fell off while I was going through a big intersection and broke into three pieces. The intersection was too dangerous to attempt retrieval, so now I need to buy a new light and actually attach it properly.  Luckily, my new Po Campo pannier has a huge reflector on the back, but I find a red rear blinkie light to be a necessity, in addition to a reflector.

Does anyone else find themselves biking home later this summer, either to beat the heat or as a result of other activities?  Make sure you have good front and rear lights!

A Benefit of Winter Night Riding

One general downside to winter cycling is that it’s so often in the dark, with the sun rising late and setting early. However, in the weeks before Christmas, that darkness is a delight.

That’s another benefit of riding a bike – rolling by twinkling lights in the calm darkness and taking in the holiday spirit.

Just another work commute chez LGRAB. :)

Safety and Security Concerns

I’ve mentioned before that I live a couple of blocks from Elizabeth, a blogger at BikeCommuters.Com. We met by chance last winter on our way home from work in the dark and freezing cold. I was waiting at a light and when it turned green I told her to go ahead because she would be faster than me. I managed to stay with her about half way home and we chatted a bit before she dropped me and Oma :)

Elizabeth and Me

Elizabeth and Me

We met up last night for a beer (or two) in our neighborhood, and she had just attended a focus group discussion on women’s safety and security issues with bicycling and walking. I wanted to participate, but had a scheduling conflict. Elizabeth gave me her discussion guide print out and I thought I’d post some of the questions here to see what you all think. The focus group was women-specific, but I’m interested in hearing from everyone.

How safe do you feel in your residential neighborhood? Is it a comfort level that allows you to bicycle and walk at any time of day of if you chose to?

What are some of the things that influence your decision to bicycle or not to bicycle?

What do you see as major safety and security concerns?

My thoughts: I feel very safe in my residential neighborhood. Chicago is a big city and I’m sure lots of people don’t cycle for fear of crime, but I’m privileged enough to live in a fairly affluent neighborhood on the north side. Still, I don’t walk alone after dark.  I feel much less vulnerable on my bike, so I will cycle alone after dark, but not later than midnight or so. I hate taking public transit alone at night – I don’t feel that the el trains have enough security. Overall, my major safety concerns deal a lot more with traffic (drunk drivers, dooring) than with crime.

How about you?

Cocktail Party Ride

My fanciest ride was this weekend, to a fundraising gala for a domestic violence organization I volunteer with. Deciding to ride my bike was natural, as I have no car and taking a cab would have been lame when I live only two miles from the location. I was a bit worried about hurting my silk, lace and beaded Badgley Mischka cocktail dress and silk Anne Klein heels – my one and only black tie outfit. Turns out I had no reason to worry: the ride was effortless in every way!



Midnight Riders

Since I posted on Tuesday about riding in the dark, I have seen three cyclists out and about in Nashville riding on the street without a light or any reflective gear. Brave or suicidal? I guess a little bit of both! It does make me feel a little bit safer knowing these people have managed to survive. ;)

In the Dark

Between extremely cold temps and an actual cold that I’ve managed to acquire, I’m not sure I’ll have more new commutes to share this week (though I’ve got my fingers crossed for Thursday and Friday).

But! I do have some photos from my rides home last week, and I thought I’d use those to share some thoughts on cycling at night.

Hillsboro/Acklen at night.

Hillsboro/Acklen at night.