Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lights, Saddles, Mirrors, Oh My

So many updates, really just from this week.

First, tail lights. After seeing the self-contained laser bike lane, I was inspired to improve my visibility. My favorite thing about a bike lane is it gives the appearance of physical space for the cyclist. A motorist will naturally give more room. So, how can I replicate this at a low cost? Jon and I began discussing how to make me appear wider. The simplest idea was to simply use tail lights, and mount them wider than the traditional seatpost mount.

We went through several iterations, and I finally got motivated to head to the hardware store and start tinkering. Jon will attest that I am in no way an engineer, and as a result things I draw up being very simple.

This is how it ended up:


Sorry about the poor lighting, camera doesn't always like being in the garage. Here's a closer view:


Originally my thought was it would attach to the seatpost, using some Twofish lockblocks. Unfortunately, the rubber used to make the the lockblock is too flexible and it wasn't a solid hold, the bar bounced around all the time. So I rigged an attachment to the head of my rear rack and it is surprisingly solid.

For now I have a Superflash mounted on the left side and a Swerve on the right side. Both have stellar reputations and I haven't used the Swerve much yet. But I like the design and function of both.

A discerning eye may notice the Brooks Professional seated nicely upon my seatpost. Passed down from a few folks who were unimpressed with the saddle's stiffness, I am going to give it a go in breaking it in. Thankfully most rides on the Surly are just about 10 miles, which I figure I can ride on a cinder block if I have to.

Here's a nice shot of both new parts:

Finally, I was kindly gifted a new helmet mirror from Jon's dad (thanks Chuck!). Chuck is a long-time cyclist and Jon and I's go-to when our knowledge runs dry. Last year I had used a different helmet/eyeglass mount mirror and while I like the adjustment, the attachment left me wanting. My new mirror is solid as a rock. I'll put some details about it up later.

Unfortunately we got about 8" of snow last night and I won't get to test out the new saddle until at least Tuesday. But the icebike is rockin and rollin and I actually enjoy riding it with some new modifications. Maybe I'll tell you about those later this week.