Bright, brighter, brightest ideas for bicycling gear
The shinier, more reflective and neon-loaded cyclists are, the better as we grow ever nearer to the dark days and long nights of Northwest winters.
FOR CYCLISTS, there is no such thing as too bright on the road. The shinier, more reflective and more neon you are, the better. Luckily, neon has made a comeback this year. Bright orange, vivid yellow, combustible green? Say yes!
In all seriousness, as the light dims and rain starts to fall, cyclists are at great risk of not being seen. Drivers are adjusting to newly slick roads and may not be keeping an eye out. In the fall, cyclists need to take even more steps to ensure they are seen.
State law says that from a half-hour after sunset to a half-hour before sunrise, cyclists must have a light visible from 500 feet in front and a red reflector visible from 600 feet from behind.
But all things considered, that is still not enough. The Cascade Bicycle Club, a nonprofit cycling advocacy group, suggests figuring out multiple ways to be seen from as many angles as possible. Here are the cycling accessories the club recommends:
• Reflective tape on your helmet
• An orange safety vest
• A jacket in a bright color with reflective piping
• A headlight, battery-powered LCD or halogen; the most powerful one you can afford
• Spoke reflector
• Reflective ankle strap
• Pedal reflector (front and back)
• Rear reflector, at least 3-inches wide.
All that reflective tape may seem like overkill, but you can't be too careful. And with an eye toward fun, you can coordinate your brights just right.
We picked out a few items to make sure you are as well lit as possible while riding on the darkening streets of Seattle.
Layering is key in the Pacific Northwest, and we prefer conversion wear that can go from jacket to vest in a flash. The Gore Bike Wear Phantom SO Lady bike jacket converts into a jersey — a convenient and easy wardrobe change. $170, www.backcountry.com, rei.com and other outlets.
Being seen from the side is just as important as being seen from the front and back. The Bike Glow light is like Christmas lights for your bike. We are a fan. $24.95, bikeglow.com.
Try reflectors for running as well as biking. The flashing LED light keeps you in view. Amphibod Vizlet Flashing LED Reflectors, $20, rei.com.
For added visibility, try this durable backpack from Timbuk2 with a reflective racing strip. It's also water resistant and has a convenient pocket for your laptop. Light Bright Swig Backpack, $119, timbuk2.com.