Brighter, Better

I’ve been clinging to old ways a little bit too tightly as of late. I know I’m using an old fashioned rear light, but I almost feel married to the darn thing. In fact, I have (technically, had) a fleet of Planet Bike Superflash lights in the garage with mounts on many a seatpost and/or seat bag. It’s super easy to grab a bike, slap a light on there and hit the road. And yet I’ve known for a while that this is not the best solution. Initially I tried to blame it on the fact that I’m not good at keeping USB devices charged (all the best lights are USB; the batteries pack a bigger punch), but we turned the desk in the kitchen into a very modern charging station.

Last week I got up early and hit the road before work. The bike I rode doesn’t show a lot of seatpost for a short guy like me, so I clipped my light to the seat bag. Sure enough, I hit a pothole and launched the light. I heard it hit the road, but decided that this would be an event that would change my behavior and rode on.

This post has two parts: demonstrating a better light and demonstrating how to make it happen.

Here’s a video of my bike (the bike I was riding last week) with a Superflash mounted to the loop on the back of the seat bag.

Here’s a video of my bike with a Flare R mounted to the seatpost in daytime mode.

Here’s a video of my bike with a Flare R mounted to the seatpost in friend/night mode.


It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to see that the Flare R is better. But why? There are three good reasons: it puts out more light (lumens, candlepower, foot-candles, whatever) than the Superflash. It has a better reflector than the Superflash; a light that emits a lot of light is great, but if it isn’t focused, then it doesn’t do a whole lot of good. The third reason is that the Flare R is mounted to the seatpost and is pointed where it should be. The Superflash was mounted to my very nice seat bag, and was pointed haphazardly, at best.

“So, Mr. Smarty Pants,” you say, “I see that you have a pretty nice light there, but I need the stuff in my seatbag.” Buddy, I need my stuff too. In fact, here’s my stuff:

This is pretty typical for me: a spare tube, a CO2 device, two cartridges, a tire lever and a tool. Generally speaking, I’d either ditch the 2nd CO2 or I’d have a patch kit. Whatever.

This is the thing Specialized makes called the Spool. There are road and mountain versions. This one is road.

The spool has a tire lever and a CO2 device built into a nifty, er, spool. That’s the CO2 cartridge from my bag clipped into the spool. And what happens next? You spool on the tube, in this case a 700×28/32 presta tube.

So now I’ve got this blob of stuff and a stanky old tool that I can pop in my jersey pocket (and here’s the big deal) leaving my seatpost free to house a really nice light pointed in the right direction. And that’s safer.