Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Giving Away Lights to Cyclists Blundering Around in the Darkness

My portable, flexible, flashy collection of give-away lights

We've all seen them: cyclists blundering down a pitch black street with no lights or reflectors on their bikes (note to self: throw a couple of reflectors into the giveaway bag, you've got too many of those laying around, too). So in this season of giving, I've put together a bag of lights to giveaway to them, in an effort to make their passage, and mine, and yours, safer. These are all new, never used, and should work as decent Be-Seen flashers. I'm enthusiastic about passing them along. There's just one question: how would I go about this exactly?

A lot of times, the Cyclists of Darkness (COD) will whoosh by in a crunchy grinding of poorly lubricated chain and maladjusted derailleurs heading the other direction (should I throw in chain lube? A link to 8th edition of Barnett's Manual, although I notice they no longer let you download the derailleur chapter 32 for free?) Relevant to this post (I do digress sometimes, don't I?), should I spin around, and chase them down? "Excuse me! Excuse me! Would you like some lights? Free? It will only take a second..."

What if the COD is at the bike rack? A much easier approach, I think. "Oh, riding off with no lights I see! Would you like a couple? I have extras. Here, have some! This Niterider is particularly awesome, let's put it one your seatpost here..." That one will work, I think.

What if the COD is reluctant, though? "No thanks, I enjoy being a COD, I like cruising down a dark street on ninja bike invisible to cars and everyone else." Perhaps I could sneak a Knog onto their seatpost when they're not looking. Watch where they park, slink out there, and BAM! They have a flashy light out back.

The COD are everywhere, I've noticed. I'll report back on my COD flashing expeditions in this space, as I continue my quest to light up the night.



  1. I love the idea of guerrilla style light gifting!
    Although they have to turn them on, for them to work, which could be a problem.

    I rode home in the rain last night, which always makes me a bit nervous. So I had a superflash on my helmet, a steady generator light on my tail light, a "to see" headlight (IQ Cyco) and a set of mini blinking christmas lights on the wreath on the front of my bike. Literally lit up like a christmas tree. So when I saw a couple of bikers without any lights or reflectors, I wanted to ask them- why? Too cheap? forgot them? Too lazy to remember to turn them on? Why? So many questions.

  2. This post is truly an inspiration.

  3. you're a good man!!! i love the passage of a nightrider - the squeaking, clunk clunk clunking is often the only indicator of their presence and yet somehow . . . they live!!! i have a few lights and reflective tape and feel invisible. what strange law of the universe reverses the logic?!!! i need to know . . . jra whaddya know!!! steven

  4. cycler it's funny you mention that, the magenta knogs have a stealty on-off button (top middle). I was thinking of writing a dot on it to indicate where to press. And my take on the reasons for CODs is that they just don't know the actuality of what they are doing, that it's really kind of crazy to ride around a dark street with no SABS lighting in place.

    Steve A and limom, I just want it to go smoothly, you know? The ride, the handover of lights, the shared usage of the roads.

    steven, perhaps they ride by enhancing their senses other than sight--they ride by smell, sound, touch, or taste? And the crunchy chain is a used for a form of echolocation.


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