Friday, January 30, 2009

In Which I Relate an Unusual Happenstance

(Not the updating of the blog, although that's unusual enough, given that I've not touched this since June last year).

It's been a fairly grim start to the year, at least in terms of cycling. The cold winter, and a large number of icy days (I don't ride in ice) have kept me off the bike, and on the days I have ridden, I've found Manchester's motorists in a worse humour than is usual. I've also read of a couple of nasty incidents recently, particularly this on Carlton Reid's "" blog.

I was on my way home up Wilmslow Road (a quick road, nominally a 30 limit, but it is not unusual for the traffic to treat it as a 40 or 50).

I'm at the lights in a lane that can be used as a left turn onto Turves Road, or straight on along Wilmslow Road. It'd taken me a while to turn out onto Wilmslow Road, and waiting in the queue at the lights I usually stay in the centre of the left hand lane to discourage left hooking. (A left hook is when a vehicle makes a left turn across your path). A chap pulled alongside me and rolled his passenger window down - I have to admit that I was expecting a tirade about moving over to the left (has happened before along here, and as I said earlier, drivers have seemed unusually grumpy after the new year in Manchester).

So, I marshal my retorts, and get ready to reply, when the chap says...

"Hey mate! Your lights are excellent - absolutely first class - I can see you proper!"

There's a bit more in which he thanks me for considering the other folk on the road by making myself easy to see, during which I, being completely confused, mumble some sort of thanks, and then the traffic lights change.

It was nice to have something good shouted at me though.

(If you're wondering what a first class lighting setup looks like, it consists of a Torch 9x light with integrated reflector on the third flash pattern, a Blackburn Mars4.0 on steady (both on the seat post) and a Smart Superflash on flash mounted to the seat stay). Up front there's a Knog Frog on flash and a high power, Cree emitter torch.


Karl McCracken (twitter: @karlonsea) said...

Most people are pretty decent, but it's unusual for someone to go as far as this. Sounds like a proper Christmas tree on that bike - do you have a photo?

BTW - I use a Blackburn Quadrant on the front, and a Cateye Au100 on the back - both flashing. The only comment I've had is that the front light is too bight . . .

John the Monkey said...

Flashing lights are a good idea. A steady light allows the driver to "habituate" to its presence (much as you stop noticing a strong smell if you stay around it). Flashing lights are harder to habituate to, so there's less chance of the driver "losing" you. Their only downside is that some people find it harder to judge speed and distance from them - a steady light in addition will help them do that.

I had the Quadrant on my old bike - nice light, although mine would sometimes switch itself off after too hard a jolt.

Kim said...

I agree, have a decent set of really bright lights (my preference is for DiNotte) with a steady non flashing beam is far better that have some half decent lights on flashing. If you are worried about "losing" you, when back them up with some thing flashing.