February 12, 2011
Even when you're out on tour, you may find yourself riding around town in the dark. Maybe you're heading to the store to stock up on food, or checking out the nightlife away from camp. In such cases, it's a good idea to make sure you are visible to traffic. While headlights and tail lights are great for this, you also want to be seen from the side, especially at intersections. Spoke reflectors are certainly helpful, but they aren't a lot of fun. If you really want to make your presence known, the Bike Glow is worth taking a look at.
Bike Glow is a 10-foot electroluminescent tube that can be wrapped around your bike frame, and is powered by a small battery pack containing two AA batteries (not included). The battery pack can either be stuffed into a saddle bag or fixed to your frame with the included Velcro strap.
When wrapping the illuminating rope around your frame, you want to be sure that you don't wrap it over your cables and housing; you'll also want to keep it nice and tidy and away from around any moving parts, such as crankset and wheels. When you're finished wrapping it around your bike, you can tie it off with some included zip ties.
The full setup only weighs around 100 grams, and it is unobtrusive enough that you won't be bothered by it when riding around during the day. There's a great variety of color options (red, green, blue, aqua, pink, purple, yellow, and white), all of which feature three light modes of steady, slow blinking, and fast blinking. When the Bike Glow is turned off you can still see a tint of color in the tubing; so, if you want it to blend in during the day, try to choose a color that comes close to matching your bike's paint.
At $25, these are a fun and inexpensive addition to your bike. They will definitely garner some attention and help keep you safe at night.
Photo by Josh Tack.
TOURING GEAR AND TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead.