Got lights?

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Got lights?

Postby MattyCiii » Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:07 pm

Lots-O-lights have an impact. Two things have made a big difference for me riding on the mean streets of suburbia, where soccer moms will literally kill to get their daughters to dance class on time.
1) Bright, non-blinky red rear lights. Looks like a car brakes. Especially if there are two, separated horizontally.
2) My patented (no not really) side light. Sticke out 3' to the left, is red and blinky. People frankly don't know what to make of it, but they know they don't want scratches on their beemer, so they go around it. It buys me 3' like clockwork - except for city busses who like to hit it.

Here's some crappy video, taken from the helmet cam
http://youtu.be/OoHDwGfwIY8

I'll get better vid and post it here soon
1st build: Dahon Jetstream folding bike. Quick, reliable, capable of 32mph. Light enough to lift, folds for easy transport by car/bus/train.
2nd build: RC powered 2009 Norco A-Line. Top speed 39mph. Built like a tank, it's resistant to Boston potholes, can stop on a dime, easily goes up/down curbs when necessary.
3rd build (just started): Scratch build ultimate utility bike. Based on a common power module using a NuVinci left side freewheel.
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Re: Got lights?

Postby gestalt » Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:46 pm

Hell yeah, and those lipo powered helmet lights seriously kick ass! From the super simple epoxied on cree rear lights to the 3D printed front lights.

You need every edge you can get out here in new england, I'm going to have to be a big ol copycat and glue some on my helmet too. Though I'm going to need some sort of switch to shut off the rear lights when I'm working so I don't blind my customers.
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Re: Got lights?

Postby MattyCiii » Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:56 pm

Drop me a line we'll get together for a "light clinic"!

Funny, right when you left after the Boston Bike Update a woman came by commenting on the folding bike... after chatting a bit, me setting up my "lite" array of lights (left some at the office because I knew I'd be leaving the bike outside) she said "you remind me of a guy who had this light that stuck out to the left..." That guy was of course me.

That's when it hit me - I met her over a year ago at a Critical Mass ride. I'm glad I'm planting a little seed of inspiration, and that hopefully other people will find ways to get cars to notice/avoid cyclists.

To keep the retina burning reds out of the customers eyes, I suppose you could fix the super bright LEDs to the back of the pedicab...
1st build: Dahon Jetstream folding bike. Quick, reliable, capable of 32mph. Light enough to lift, folds for easy transport by car/bus/train.
2nd build: RC powered 2009 Norco A-Line. Top speed 39mph. Built like a tank, it's resistant to Boston potholes, can stop on a dime, easily goes up/down curbs when necessary.
3rd build (just started): Scratch build ultimate utility bike. Based on a common power module using a NuVinci left side freewheel.
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Re: Got lights?

Postby lazarus2405 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:50 pm

MattyCiii wrote:2) My patented (no not really) side light. Sticke out 3' to the left, is red and blinky. People frankly don't know what to make of it, but they know they don't want scratches on their beemer, so they go around it. It buys me 3' like clockwork - except for city busses who like to hit it.


That's spectacular! It looks nice and flexible so it could survive brushes with busses. :mrgreen: I love it! Where can I get one, or at least bits to build my own?
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Re: Got lights?

Postby gestalt » Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:55 pm

I "made" a similar setup as your side light from a couple of those flashing led lightsabers you see dudes selling downtown on the street. I was looking for a way to spruce up my cab when working late nights and one of the guys was at Quincy market. Since I was also working the streets he gave me a deal and sold me two for $8, half price. I taped them to the forks of my cab but when I was done I didn't want to leave them on the cab as some other pedicab mongrel would abuse or lose them so I would take them off every night and take them home with me. I stuck them in my front basket with them sticking out on both sides, it really made a difference with how much room I was given by the cagers.

I figure those guys buy them from china in bulk for less than a dollar a piece. They could easily be adapted to mount to either the chain stays or the handlebars as a super cheap safety solution and would make great schwag at bike events.

And I think I'll take you up on that light clinic offer. My helm of horns is in dire need of some photonics hellfire.
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Re: Got lights?

Postby Sacman » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:29 pm

I got a set of MonkeyLectric mult-colored spoke lights. They're nice and bright and definitely attention catching.
But unfortunately it attracts crazy-stupid people and their crazy-stupid responses. :( :( :(
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Re: Got lights?

Postby MattyCiii » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:37 pm

lazarus2405 wrote:That's spectacular! It looks nice and flexible so it could survive brushes with busses. :mrgreen: I love it! Where can I get one, or at least bits to build my own?


I'll post some good how-to pix in this thread over the next few days. But the rough outline is:
1) I nice hard mount - "version 2" used a 12" section of two by four, bolted to the bike rack just behind the seat.
2) Cabinet hinges (two, one right above the other). The kind that snap closed at a 90 degree angle, and snap open at 180 degrees. Bolt one side of the hinges to the 2x4
3) A trowel. Don't laugh. The handle is perfect. The flat, diamond shaped part is where the other side of the hinges bolt. It also holds some "quick release" mount for the 36" side-light strip. My quick release mount is a spring held in place using copper pipe hangars. Hard to convey without pix, I'll get some posted.
4) Home Depot has 4-5' fiberglass round poles, useful for marking driveway corners in deep snow. I'm using 1mm x about 12mm carbon fiber strip from dragonplate.com. VERY flexy. Bends real good when the busses fly by too close, keeps me from being tossed to the ground. The LEDs are programmable addressable LED strips from adafruit.com, but "version 1" used a short strip of LED's from ebay that were dirt cheap.

I actually drive the LED pattern with a $9.99 "ardweeny" arduino clone, and a 1s hard case lipo battery that goes about a month between charges. But the arduino is overkill, you can easily just go with static lights, or simple circuitry.

Pix to follow. The side-light really is a niche that is not filled by any commercial product I've ever seen...
1st build: Dahon Jetstream folding bike. Quick, reliable, capable of 32mph. Light enough to lift, folds for easy transport by car/bus/train.
2nd build: RC powered 2009 Norco A-Line. Top speed 39mph. Built like a tank, it's resistant to Boston potholes, can stop on a dime, easily goes up/down curbs when necessary.
3rd build (just started): Scratch build ultimate utility bike. Based on a common power module using a NuVinci left side freewheel.
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Re: Got lights?

Postby fizzit » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:38 pm

I have a rear CygoLite 2W red LED. Up front I have one of those Spyder/Aurora (I forget what it's called) P7 LED flashlights. It runs off of a single 18650.

I'm planning out a new headlight, however. A week ago I bought three of these Cree 1k lumen LED's and one of these 3-LED optics. I have a tiny 48v to 5v 20A dc-dc converter from ebay that I'm going to use to give these LED's 3A each, which should bring me up to 3K combined lumens :D
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my first ebike, a freeride mountain bike, using a turnigy 80-85, castle hv160, and turnigy lipo:
viewtopic.php?f=28&t=21953&start=180#p607020
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Re: Got lights?

Postby MattyCiii » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:40 pm

Sacman wrote:I got a set of MonkeyLectric mult-colored spoke lights. They're nice and bright and definitely attention catching.
But unfortunately it attracts crazy-stupid people and their crazy-stupid responses. :( :( :(


I love the MonkeyLectric - I have one on the front wheel. It gives excellent lighting to the threats from the side. I hardly use mine though because my "threat" is overtaking cars.

MonkeyLectric is a trip though especially during social rides like Critical Mass, a real conversation starter and attention getter. As you noted though Sacman, that's not always a good thing

**Edit** kind of like wearing a military uniform in a big city. What my friends and I call "the s#it magnet"!
1st build: Dahon Jetstream folding bike. Quick, reliable, capable of 32mph. Light enough to lift, folds for easy transport by car/bus/train.
2nd build: RC powered 2009 Norco A-Line. Top speed 39mph. Built like a tank, it's resistant to Boston potholes, can stop on a dime, easily goes up/down curbs when necessary.
3rd build (just started): Scratch build ultimate utility bike. Based on a common power module using a NuVinci left side freewheel.
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