Friday, January 15, 2016

Pedaling Prudently 2 of 3

Lighting your trike

Lighting is important especially if visibility is impaired such as, dusk, dawn, or night time, street traffic, long tunnels, etc.  Even with all my flags and ribbons I use a flashing red beacon on the back of my trike especially when I'm on a city street.  Flashing lights do get attention and that's good for a low profile vehicle like a trike.

Searching for lights to purchase online sent me into sensory overload!  Ratings were all over the place and I preferred to see something in person to make a selection and I found it accidentally.

For $3.99 at a Harbor Freight store, which I haunt frequently, here in Springdale (AR) I found a triangular emergency light (Item 62157).

It's 3.5 in / 8 cm on a side, uses 3 AAA batteries (2 screws to change), has red LEDs around the edges and white LEDs in the center.  The power button cycles through three clicks: 1- solid red all around, 2 - solid block of white in the center, and 3 - flashing red all around.  It has a sturdy hook on the rear that I attach to my rack with a couple of cable ties. This thing is bright!


The batteries seem to last very well on flash.  And, I can tell when the batteries are getting weak because (click 2) the white group comes on a bit slowly and not as bright as usual.  I actually have two of these units so I can swap them when fresh batteries are needed.

I even keep a spare in my panniers just in case.  I could use it as a separate emergency beacon or a flashlight if necessary.  And, because the power button is exposed I taped a plastic bottle cap over it with electrical tape to keep it from being accidentally turned on.

For head lights I use two Harbor Freight bike headlights (Item 98397) for $9 each mounted side by side on a bracket at the front of the trike.  This device has three very bright LEDs and runs on three AAA batteries (1 screw to change).  It comes with a very good adjustable mount that is both sturdy and flexible.

  

This light can be operated two ways, solid on or flashing.  If I'm on city streets I use one on flash.  If dusk is coming on I will put one on flash and the other on solid to light the way.  If it's very dark and I'm on a trail away from city streets I will turn both on solid to light the way.  And since the mounts are on rubber shims it's easy to tweak the aim a bit if necessary.

Be advised, these things are very bright.  I learned the hard way not to look into them directly!  The batteries seem to last as well.  I stumbled on to these at Harbor Freight and bought the first one as an experiment.

I did some checking on the Internet and discovered that Harbor Freight is a family owned company out of California and, according to the website has been in business for 30 years and there are 600 stores in 47 states and you can shop online also. (I receive no compensation and as far as I know, they don't know I exist.  I essentially stumbled onto these items, I use them, and I like them.  These lights are inexpensive and effective.  Enough said.)

Please feel free to share your experiences with lighting devices in the comment section.  My blog is about experience and information.

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