Ultimate lighting solution for ultimate urban bike

Christiania

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Dec 21, 2008
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Hi,

First time poster...... apologies up front.

Anyway, I'm buying one of these

http://www.christianiabikes.com/images/websidebilleder/UDSTYR+ PRODUKTER/light_.jpg

to bring the kids to school in.

So I'm looking for the ultimate lighting solution. I'll need to highlight the width of the 'vehicle' and generally be as safe as possible. The regular school run involves some canal path, so I'll need to see, not just be seen.

The bike's heavy already, so a few more kilos won't make any difference, so be as imaginative as you like.

I'll need some lights for 'inside' the box for when the waterproof hood is on.

Thanks in advance for the advice.

C.

PS. I'm not very technical.
 

nars42

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Nov 11, 2008
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Your link doesn't work for me. So what you are looking to do is add headlights, taillights, taillights for the trailer with your kids in it (I'm assuming this is what you were trying to link to), and some light inside the trailer?

The best small taillight you can buy is the Planet Bike Superflash. It is very bright, has a very noticeable blinking mode (though I use it on constant on mode) and runs off 2 AAA's. There are brighter taillights but they are expensive and more difficult to mount. I figure you should get a few of the Superflashes and mount one on your seat post and maybe 2 or 3 on the back of the trailer. I would also buy some reflective tape and cover a lot of your bike and trailer with it. I get mine here:

http://www.findtape.com/category/safety-tape-glow-colored-hazard-tape-duct-gaffers.aspx

For inside the trailer you could probably just buy a small keychain light like a Fenix E01 and hang it from the top or there are camping lights designed for tents which have a ring of small leds. Actually, having a fairly bright light inside the tent would also help with visibility.

Besides headlights, I would also get a headlamp/helmetlight, not so much to light up the road as for visibility. Pretty much any headlamp will work for this. People here like headlamps made by Petzl, Princeton Tec and there are also some nice cheap ones made by Rayovac and Energizer.

I think the headlight question is the most difficult one to answer, since there are many options for different price levels. The things I mentioned above are all pretty inexpensive (the taillights are about $10-20 each, the headlamp can be had for $10-30...), but for headlights there is quite a price range. I am sure we could help you find a good one if we knew your price range.

On a side note, I like the run all my bike lights and flashlights off AA and AAA batteries for convenience. I have a Sanyo eneloop charger and a few packs of eneloop rechargeable batteries and they work great. A lot of people like to use more exotic lithium rechargeable batteries that pack more power but that aren't as convenient.
 
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Christiania

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Dec 21, 2008
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Nars,

Thanks for the response. Sorry the link doesn't work for you. Just tried it there and it works for me. Try

http://www.christianiabikes.com/english/uk_main.htm

If that still doesn't work, it's a trike, with two wheels upfront and a big box 60cm*90cm between the two front wheels.

For the headlights, I reckon the budget is around 100 euro.

C.
 

PCC

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Oct 28, 2007
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Sitting' on the dock o' The Bay...
None of the links you supplied worked for me. I did a Google search and found this.

You are looking at multiple lights to accomplish what you are after.

There are basically two lighting types that you are looking for: lights to see and lights to be seen.

Lights to be seen:
These are lights that go on the side or back side of the bike to let others see you. The Planet Bike Superflash that Nars42 menioned are great lights at getting driver's attention. They excel because they have a unique blinking pattern with a really bright red LED and two smaller LEDs that tends to draw people's eyes towards them. Unfortunately, blinking lights are difficult for people to judge distance by so you should also have non-blinking lights to augment them. IMHO, non-blinking LEDs should be as big as you can find because it's the surface area of the light that people see. For what you are doing I would place one PB SF on the rear of the bike, probably on the seatpost right under the saddle. I would also place three larger rear bike tail lights, used in a non-blinking mode, on the seatpost, too, as well as one each on each rear corner of the box, pointing more rearward than to the side but not pointing directly back. Reflective tape on the side of the box should work, too, since it is such a large flat area. Maybe a safety triangle pattern?

For the front, to see, I would go with a good cycling headlight, probably with two heads placed wide apart to emphasize the width of the bike. You are looking for a minimum of 100 lumens from each light. Other than that you need to figure out how long you need these lights to be on then add a half hour or one hour buffer in case you have a flat or decide to deviate from your normal route. The best headlights these days are LED based using Li-Ion batteries but you can probably get away with having a small sealed 6V lead-acid battery and wiring lights to it. If you want off-the-shelf items then you cannot go wrong with just about any good cycling headlight out there that uses a battery that is not integral with the lamp housing. Remember that the headlight is going to be expensive because it provides a lot of light for a long time.

For lighting the inside of the box you can probably pick up a small inexpensive LED camping lantern. These are not terribly bright, last a long time, and don't get hot so you should not have to worry about a child burning themself on it.

Hope this helps.
 

bbgobie

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Oct 14, 2008
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Very cool bike.

I'm not sure the lighting requirements change much when compared to a normal bike. Maybe a bit more flood vs throw since I doubt you'll be going very fast.
You'll probably also want a remote mounted switch on the handlebars.

Are you trying to buy something off the shelf? or build something?
 

Christiania

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Dec 21, 2008
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Thanks for all the feedback.

Sorry about the links not working for some of you. It is the Christiania trike linked to above.

So, based on the feedback, I'm looking for (amongst other things) a fender/ mudguard mountable rear light for both front wheels. And the same for the front. That will help define the width of the bike. I'll have a rear light on the rack (yes, I'm putting a rack on for even more storage) and then some offset lights on the seatpost as suggested here. I'll need to select some headlights that I'll mount on the 'bar'.

So what fender lights can people recommend?

I'll definitely be getting some reflective tape for the box itself and will have lots of reflectors on all three wheels!

Thanks again.

C.
 

nars42

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Nov 11, 2008
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55
For mounting things on the handlebars people here generally use these TwoFish lockblocks:

https://www.4sevens.com/product_info.php?cPath=92&products_id=274

and put a high powered flashlight in them. They work great. I have 2 Fenix L1T lights mounted in mine and they work pretty well for my commuting, though if I was in a really dark place I might want some more light.

Here is a link to the L1T

http://www.fenixlight.com/viewproduct.asp?id=41

but almost any high powered flashlight will work great. I like the L1T because it only has 2 modes and has a very simple interface (press the button the turn it on, loosen the head of the light if you the low mode and tighten the head of the light all the way if you want high mode). I also like the EagleTac lights which can be bought here:

https://www.eagletac-store.com/

I don't know about many lights that mount on the fenders. Almost all the rear lights I have seen are made to mount on either the seat post or the rear triangle of the bike. It might take a little messing around to mount them the way you want. Same thing for front lights -- almost all the ones I see are made to be mounted on the handlebars. Though it shouldn't be too hard to fit some lights into the box. There is so much room there it shouldn't be too hard to fit something almost like a car headlight in there.

This thing might also be interesting.

https://www.candlepowerforums.com/threads/207165

Hope this isn't too confusing. And sorry if some of the products mentioned aren't available where you live. What country do you live in?
 

Christiania

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Dec 21, 2008
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Thanks for that.

I'm in Dublin, Ireland.

It looks like lights or brackets for the fenders/ mudguards are the key here.

So all advice appreciated.

Regards,

C.

PS. Thanks for all the positive feedback on the bike. It's a big departure from my high speed bikes!

C.
 

Eamon

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Nov 12, 2007
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Seattle
I moused about the site a bit, and noticed that there are two dynamo options offered for the Christiania "Light" model. I don't recognize the dynamo, but it looks like it bears against the tire. The choices are with/without standlight. They also offer the child seat option for inside the box.

I would approach it like a transportation form rather than a bicycle. Reflectively Yours: http://reflectivelyyours.com/homepage.html sells all manner of visibility materials that I don't see other places.

The downside of using multiple battery-powered lights is that you have to keep track of the charge level of all of them. You may spend a lot of time and attention changing batteries.

Were you planning on getting the in-box child seat? My inclination would be to tuck a motorcycle battery under that child seat and run your lights off of that. It's a little more effort-intensive up front, but requires much less attention over time. If you're going to be using this as transportation, then why not build something that you plug into the wall rather than worrying about the battery level of multiplt lights? You may not be very technical, but there are lots of people who are and the system I'm envisioning is not complex.

I know of several rearlights designed for a dynamo which would work perfectly well with a battery.
http://www.bumm.de/index-e.html designed for a mudguard mount
http://www.bumm.de/index-e.html could be adapted.

In fact, the outdoor light that someone asked about in another thread
http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.12958 would attach easily to the sides of the box, throw good light, and work well with a battery. That's just an easy example, there are many others.


Eamon
 

Jarl

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Jan 11, 2007
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Southern UK
http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.12060

A decent quality P7. Get 2, mount them either side of the box and set them to med and forget. You may have to put them on low for the road, but that's unlikely. With those at a decent distance apart, people will most likely assume you're a car. They unbeatable for lumen/$, and can be used on the real bike for night rides.

More information here, though they link to the 2 mode, not the 5 mode. The 2 modes on high will be far too bright ;). If you're worried about li-ions exploding, you can use AW's IMR cells he's selling here, though you take a runtime hit.

I'd recommend a PB superflash set to flash in the middle, as well as two of these on steady on the outer edge of the box to give an idea of size, or you could probably get away with 1 of them on non-curbside.
 
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