Christmas Might Be Just In Time

I noticed a couple of things on my bike during yesterday’s ride. I need some minor upgrades. Not anything big, mind you, but when I get them they’ll improve my biking experience.

The Serfas tail light.
The Serfas tail light.

The first thing is that I need a new tail light. Two years ago, my wife got me a nice Serfas light. It was bright, had several different flash patterns, and she tells me it could be seen at quite some distance. I liked that it was made of a soft rubber, and fastened easily around my left seat stay.

The problem is that the soft rubber was so soft, it tore easily. Gradually, I found myself going to the next loosest setting after the little “ladder”-like connectors ripped off. Even at the loosest setting, the light stayed put, though, because its overall soft rubbery texture kept it stuck in place.

But one day that ended. I got home from a ride and noticed that the light was missing. It had obviously torn for the last time, and fallen off during the ride.

I had a cheap light in my bike box, the kind that clips into a seat bag’s reflective strap, and since the onset of autumn, with its shorter and more overcast days, have been using it regularly. It’s not great, but at least on a gloomy morning, drivers get a little extra warning that I’m in the area. Trouble is, I don’t want them getting a “little” warning — I want them to get smacked in the face by my presence.

Blackburn Mars tail light.
Blackburn Mars tail light.

So, I put a bug in Mrs. Noob’s — I mean Santa Claus’ — ear, and suggested she look for something along these lines. I know they’re so bright on strobe mode that they’re uncomfortable for other riders to follow, but if I’m on a club ride I’ll just set it to steady. When I’m out by myself though, which is most of the time, I want the added protection of a bright flash.

I also noticed some small gaps appearing in my bar tape. It had been on for some time, and in fact, I had rewrapped it probably three times since I got it. I made a mental note to get some replacement tape, because this stuff is at the end of its life. But when I pulled the bike into the garage after yesterday’s ride, the bar end plug was dangling from the bar, held in place by the tape, which was starting to unravel.

I made a temporary repair by shoving the plug back into the bar end, and wrapping the bottom quarter of the bar with electrical tape. So now Santa has a second item on the list — some new bar tape. Let’s see, I’ve been using blue for awhile now, and it’s the cheap Performance house brand stuff. That’s not a knock, by the way — I like this tape. It’s got a spongy feel to it that keeps my hands from getting pounded too much on the chip seal we ride on around here. But just for a change of pace, maybe there’s something else worth trying. Instead of house brand tape, something from Cinelli or Fizik. ┬áMaybe it’s time to spiff it up with some blue & black marble pattern tape, if I can find any (That’s sooo 2005!).

The nice thing about getting bike stuff for Christmas is that around here, I can put it on the bike and take a ride with it on Christmas Day. It’s something to look forward to.



  1. gparr says

    I need a new tail light, too. Will check out that Blackburn light. My headlights are Blackburns and have served me well for several years. For tape, I am really liking the Bontrager gel tape that came with my bike. On my previous bike I always used Cinelli cork tape. But the Bontrager tape is quite comfortable.

  2. says

    That’s one thing I don’t miss, bar tape. I could never do it right and always came out crappy! Thank goodness for a flat bar :)

    As for tail light I use the Portland Designs Works Radbot 1000. I’ve had it for two years and still going strong.

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