As the nights draw in and the warm weather goes south my attention has turned to my winter commutes. I intend to continue the 4 days a week with only really bad weather stopping me if necessary. I’ve bought a few things for my commuter bike recently , here is my breakdown.
Its probably the most obvious thing a commuter needs in the winter months. Good ones at that. My criteria for using a front light is pretty simple.
- Light up an unlit road at least 100m
- Battery to last at least 2hrs on full beam
- A couple of modes (High, Low, Strobe for example)
When I had my cycle shop I had the luxury of getting branded lights at trade. These days I’m on a budget. My current light is a Serfas True 1500 which to be honest was always overkill for what I needed. 1500 lumens is not needed unless you’re offroad for its wide-beam penetration. The battery lasted 2-3hrs on full beam and had about 4 modes too. Great light to be honest, its done me well for 3+ years now but the battery was losing power quickly and its a lump too. A 3 lamp head unit with a heavy battery pack, so I’ve decided to get another as a replacement battery was £60.
I read up on CREE lights, power, batteries, spares etc and found most of the chinese sellers online bullshit about the lumens and battery life so I found a reputable UK seller which had great reviews for the product. The one I opted for was just what I needed and cheap aswell @ £22 delivered with an upto 3hr+ battery, 960 lumens, head mount, helmet mount and charger. So far so good. Build quality looks on point. It seems bright enough when I shone it up the garden. I’ll be reviewing this in another post shortly when I’ve used it properly
I couldn’t really improve on my current rear light. I have a 180 lumen Lezyne Micro drive which is very, very bright. I had a think and found a blue light for £3 delivered on ebay. Comes with about 7 modes and optional red lasers which project 2 lines either side of the bike like a virtual bike lane. I’ve done it for a laugh so it looks a bit like police lights but to be honest I think my Lezyne will drown the blue out at distance.
Anything to make drivers just think for second and back off has to be a bonus right?
Blue lights are illegal on a bicycle. Technically most red rear lights available in the UK are illegal too as none meet BS 6102/3
Another must for winter commutes or spend your life cleaning your bike. Guards are great but mudflaps do the work in wet weather keeping most of your bike clean, you dry and if you ride with anyone, them dry too. In my opinion the bigger the better, particularly the front. Last winter I made my own flaps out of plastic milk bottles out of courtesy for others. This winter I’ve stepped it up. I found a BIG front flap in the drawer at work and fitted that and I’ve just bought a massive rear flap which should keep anyone behind me as dry as a bone. Its reflective too
I bought my rear mud flap from RAW Mudflap. £8 delivered. Design your own on their website at rawmudflap.uk.
My last addition was some black tape you can buy (off ebay again). Your order it in lengths and widths to suit. I liked it because it sits as glossy black tape on my glossy black guards. Its inconspicuous but shine a light on it and it reflects. I popped a bit on the front guard too for a bit of added visibility at night. I like it. I think a 10mm x 1m length was about £2.70 delivered. Shop around on ebay as the price varies
I bought my LED valve cap earlier this year so I’ll get a full winter tis time. Basically is turns on when the wheel moves and makes patterns in the wheel. Quite effective from the side.
So thats it. Cheap gimmicks for a bit of fun when its cold and miserable this winter. Reviews I have coming up shortly are my new helmet cam, my new front light and a new Mistral winter jacket from Galibier.
Thanks for reading