I have used a 1 watt Planet Bike headlight for many years now. I almost always use it on flash mode as I almost always ride in the daytime and rarely at nighttime. At only 1 watt it is amazingly bright. This is due to the excellent optics employed. It is not a great light for nighttime use, but for for daytime with the flash mode it is superb. It operates on two AA batteries and they last an amazingly long time … like around 20 hours or more. I usually use rechargeable batteries in it which are super economical to use. I recently had a problem with my light as it would shut itself off almost immediately after turning it on flash mode. I just assumed it’s time had come after giving me many years of faithful service. I ordered another headlight to replace it. Meanwhile I removed this one from my trike and brought it inside the house. I started messing around with it and determined that the problem was a simple one and one I could fix. The battery contacts just needed cleaning. Now it is working great again. Here is a video of it I just took inside the house. It shows it on flash mode. Now I ask ya … would this get your attention?
It has always worked fine for me and many people have commented that they saw my headlight flashing from a long distance. It is also quite visible from the side also which is an added plus as many lights are not very visible from off to the side.
Here is my current headlight and taillight setup on flash mode. This obviously is in daylight which is mostly when I ride.
I like the idea of others seeing me while I am out there and am a firm believer of the importance of good lighting front and back as well as highly visible safety flags.
I have also experimented around with taillights and although I really liked what is shown in this next video I opted not to keep it because white light showing on the back of a vehicle is illegal.
As can be seen in the next video I now have a very bright red taillight which is so bright I would not dare use it at night time as it would be blinding to others. It is so much brighter than my other taillights that it makes them look dim when, in fact, they are also plenty bright, especially at night.
Here is my most recent taillight configuration/ Again, I would not use the 150 lumen taillight in full brightness mode at night time if I were out riding around other people. It is way too bright to use around others.
The concept of being able to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
appeals to me. How about you?
This could be our head as it smashes onto the ground.
I was just reading thru a posting and the comments on Facebook about helmet use while riding a recumbent trike. I have written about helmets before**(see links below) so I reckon this is a revisit of the subject. The last several years of my working career were spent employed in a local hospital where my job was being with patients who needed someone with them constantly. That included a whole lot of head injury patients. Some eventually make full recoveries, but some have some serious issues the remainder of their lives. I saw first hand what they went thru and what they put others thru (including myself). (I could tell you some stories.) It was the exposure to all of this which sold me on how important it is to wear a helmet on a bicycle or motorcycle.
So it was only over the last 13 years or so that I personally have been using a helmet. If I ride a bicycle or motorcycle of any kind I always wear a helmet. Of course, I am of the age where helmets didn’t exist when I grew up. I rode many 10s of 1000s of miles on bicycles without a helmet. I only had a few wrecks in all those miles and fortunately I never received a head injury of any kind. I personally rarely wear a helmet while riding on my tadpole trike. I am not trying to say that it is safe not to wear a helmet while riding a tadpole trike and I certainly am not advocating it. I am well aware that things could go horribly wrong. For me it is a personal choice and I feel relatively safe not wearing one. But if I were to get back on a bicycle I definitely would have my helmet on.
There is one thing missing in this picture. The person is
not drooling. (I have seen a lot of that.)
Many of us make excuses as to why we don’t wear a helmet while riding. Some say it makes them look stupid or uncool. Some say that helmets are uncomfortable. Some say that helmets are hot.
Some say (especially females) that it messes up their hair. Some would say that helmets are not needed on a trike. Some say that any combination of the above excuses apply.
What is my excuse(s) you ask? To be honest I find them uncomfortable and hot. I can’t even stand a hat on my head unless it is bitter cold outside.
Even a visor type hat that is totally open on the top is hot to me, but I wear one when I am riding to shade the sun from my eyes. If I remove it I immediately feel relief as far as the matter of heat. I am really miserable with a helmet on.
Some say that a helmet interferes with their headrest. As to the matter of a helmet interfering with a head rest, first of all they are not headrests … they are neckrests. A neckrest should be positioned low enough that a helmet is above it. Also the type of helmet one wears makes a difference. Many helmets are impractical to wear when a neckrest is involved as they protrude too far back and some even protrude down a little more than others. A helmet which doesn’t protrude back works much better.
I have a large size neckrest which I made (pictured above) and my helmet clears it ok. My helmet (a Bell Citi) is fairly flat where the back of the headband is so even if it rests against my super soft neckrest it doesn’t present any problem. Here are examples of helmets that work well with neckrests … a Giro Air Attack (left) and a Bell Citi (right):
Tadpole trikes can tip over and the rider can get injured in a tipover.
I have tipped over a few times, but never hit my head on anything. Only once did I get any injury and it was just some abrasion on my arm. For those who ride tadpole trikes which have high seats they can tip over even easier so extra caution is needed while riding on such a trike.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Leaning into a turn can help considerably to prevent a tip over (roll over). Of course, this only applies if you are going fast enough for this to be a concern.
Here is something I learned as a young child:
This can be very helpful. Just be sure no one is coming from the other direction.
Paramedics treating downed cyclist.
I guess what bothers me the most about this subject is the stupid comments some people make. I am talking about comments against the use of helmets and the justification some folks make. They are simply ridiculous. I would be the first to agree that a bicycle helmet does not offer the protection that a motorcycle helmet does. Never the less, they do offer considerable protection. No one should ever try to persuade others not to wear a helmet. Yes, it is our head and our choice … unless you happen to be somewhere that has a helmet law requiring the cyclist wear helmets. If you are a rider of a tadpole trike who normally does not wear a helmet and you travel into other states and jurisdictions you might want to check whether or not helmets are legally required. Most of the time organized rides require the use of helmets by all participants.
Nope, far be it from me to try to talk anyone out of wearing a helmet. They could be key to helping us to …
KEEP ON TRIKIN’
** links to previous articles on helmets:
Have you ever wanted to glow in the dark without exposing yourself to high doses of radiation? Well, now you can, but only temporarily. Volvo, the Swedish car manufacturer, has teamed up with UK design company Grey London and startup Albedo100 to create a unique reflective spray paint designed to save cyclists’ lives. They have created a light-reflective spray designed to enhance the visibility of cyclists on city streets after dark. LifePaint is a washable material that can be applied to all manner of things — from helmets and clothes, to dog leads or backpacks — and lasts for around a week after being applied.
Although the paint is invisible to the naked eye, and won’t damage or discolor fabrics, it dramatically glows in the glare of headlights, illuminating cyclists riding at night. Technically it is not paint; it’s a washable material that lasts about 10 days after application. It’s also completely invisible until it’s hit by the glare of a car’s headlights — then it glows. The spray isn’t available everywhere yet. Right now, it’s available in six cycling shops in Kent and London, and if it does well, Volvo may move the product internationally. Hey, if you wanted some of this product you should have been in London recently. Volvo gave away 2000 cans of it … thru local bike shops in the city.
As you can readily see in the image below this paint really does make a significant difference. The bicycle and rider that doesn’t have this paint applied is barely noticeable in comparison.
I remember watching a movie where someone sprayed a liquid mist onto themselves and others and it made them invisible. I could see where that could be very handy if such a product really existed. But, alas, it doesn’t. But, hey, this product does exist and when applied it makes a person visible along with just about anything else it would be sprayed on. So we can go from “Can you hear me now?” to “Can you see me now?”
BTW, I just discovered that there are at least a couple of similar products already available here in the U.S. and no doubt they are a whole lot less money. Also they are more of a regular and permanent paint. Being a regular paint means that they can’t be used on just anything, but spraying a bike/trike frame or wheels shouldn’t be any problem.
Riding in the daytime or at night amid cars, trucks, buses, etc. can indeed be hazardous to your health. Anything which can help us be seen is a good thing and will help us to continue to …
ENJOY THE RIDE!
Recently I had a minor accident while out riding. I knew better but I did a foolish thing. I was riding on one of our local trails and entering a boardwalk making a sharp 180 degree turn onto it. It had rained earlier and the boardwalk was wet. When it is wet it is very slippery. I am very well aware of this.
I usually take this curve fairly fast when it is dry, but knowing the boardwalk would be slippery I slowed up some. I just didn’t slow up enough and upon reaching a certain point I realized I was going too fast. I attempted to brake but only slid as I had absolutely no traction. The tires immediately locked up up sliding across the wet wood. I just went straight forward crashing into the side boards of the boardwalk. I hit it fairly hard. Fortunately I didn’t get injured any whatsoever. I can’t say the same for my trike however. But again, fortunately the damage was quite minor and easily repaired good as new. All that happened is my aluminum guard on my largest sprocket in the front got bent out in one spot.
The image below shows this boardwalk. The red arrow shows the path I took. The green arrow shows the path I was trying to take.
This sort of scenario can have a different result so we need to be aware of it. A few years ago my one friend I ride with did a very similar thing on a dry boardwalk trying to turn 90 degrees while going too fast. He also hit the sideboard. He broke his ankle and was laid up for a few months healing. Another time he experienced a crash when his left front tire climbed up the sideboard and flipped his trike over on its side. It more less threw him out onto the boardwalk. He hurt his back and shoulder that time. So what I am trying to say is we need to be careful riding our trikes as it doesn’t take much for things to get out of hand. Riding a tadpole trike is a lot of fun. Getting injured isn’t!