Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bicycle Light Pusher: The First One is Free

Two flashy lights have new owners

Once dusk falls and all the cars have their lights on, it seems to me that bicycles should have their lights on, too, for visibility and safety. At a minimum, to be seen, even if you can still see. So when I came across two people* riding together at that time with no lights, it was on: "Hey, do you want some lights? I have some, for free," I told them. As we all stopped, I also confirmed that they had none mounted. I handed over the packages, they tore them open, mounted them on handlebars, and were being seen in no time. As I rode off, I looked back and saw their twin points of bright flashing in the darkness. 

I'm not sure what happened with them from there, or what will happen, but I succeeded in my one and only purpose: to make two riders aware that lights help you to be seen at night. That's it. You plant ideas and hope they grow. Some day, maybe one of them becomes an expert in hub generators and invents the ultimate light system. Or visits Candlepower bicycle light forum obsessively. Or at a minimum, eventually develops the habit of riding in darkness with SABS lights fully installed and operational.

I saw them right after I saw a guy going the other way who looked like he could use illumination, too. As I was contemplating a u-turn across traffic to hand over the goods, I spotted these other two, and went after them instead. It proved to be much easier to catch up to them traveling in the same direction than to flip around and catch the other guy. Also, he was kind of emitting "don't mess with me" waves. Have you come across riders like that? The kind that might not react well to being chased down and offered free lights? But perhaps I misjudged him. Perhaps a free light or two would have brightened up his night just a bit. Perhaps he was just frustrated that no one could see him. There's only one way to find out.

Have a safe and happy holiday. Going to go have some family time. See you on the other side, my magnificent two wheeled ones, I offer some Vonnegut to see you through: 

"Live by the foma that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy." 
--The First Book of Bokonon, verse 5

*I've opted for a non-discriminatory light giveaway selection policy, such that age, gender, race, immigration status**, or type of cyclist will not affect my search. I won't mention those factors in these posts, either, to emphasize the thought that all cyclists are created equal when it comes to needing to be seen at night. I seek out humans riding in darkness. These are the altruistic ethics of the family of the velocipede. I reserve the right to ride on past bad-crazies though. Happy crazy or quiet crazy is OK by me, but the ones waving their arms and screaming angry gibberish at me or the world in general, I'll ride on by them.

**Is that a problem, in terms of current local laws? Not for me. They can have a bottle of water if they're thirsty, too.  



  1. Success!
    Have a good and safe one!

  2. I do think it wise to ride past the ones shouting angry gibberish.

  3. Good deed! Pedal on and have safe holiday.

  4. A wonderful gift you are giving.

  5. woo-hoo! thanks for doing the good work =) =) =) I think of it as a catch and release program for darkness challenged bicyclists..

  6. My politics aside, some time ago I was sitting outside my favorite coffee shop and a fellow went by, walking his bike. I noticed his front tire was almost riding on the rim. He didn't speak English, but with my awful Spanish I found out his front tire wasn't punctured, just needed air. So I let him use my pump and he was off and riding in just a few minutes.

    Sometimes, your political views just have to take a back seat to compassion. I wish most Republicans would realize that.


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