My wife tells the story of shopping for the headlight I wanted for Christmas (she couldn’t miss — I left some pretty obvious clues). She went to the big LBS and told one of the sales guys that she wanted a headlight for me.
“Well, let me ask this,” he said. “Does he want to see or be seen?”
“Oh, I don’t know!” she answered. It was a concept she wasn’t aware of, and we had never discussed.
She called from the car, and asked me.
“I want to be seen,” I replied.
“Oh, that’s good,” she said, “because the ones to be seen are $40-$50, and the ones to see are over $100.” She wanted to avoid the big-ticket item, because we had agreed to go easy on presents this Christmas.
Some impressive light sets can be had for cyclists who really want to light up the night. Committed nighttime riders often mount two headlights. The powerful ones can be run by a dyno hub, so just riding the bike will supply power to the light. Or they’ll have a battery pack that fastens to the bike frame.
But I don’t ride long distances out in the country after dark. My need for lights is because I get caught in dusk before I can get home from a late afternoon ride. I want cars to see me on lighted city streets and less well-lighted residential streets.
When the salesman realized what I needed, he recommended a Planet Bike Blaze. She got me the 1-watt model; a 2-watt model is also available. While she was at it, she added a bright Serfas light that attaches to the bike’s seat stay. It has more flash patterns than the cheap taillight I have now, and its steady beam is more prominent, too.
It was our turn to entertain guests for Christmas this year. They’ve all headed home now. I’m looking forward to trying out the new lights during the upcoming week.