It might be summer in the city right now, which means there's little requirement for bicycle lights. However, you never know when you might get caught out, so it pays to be prepared.
I normally use a rechargeable Cateye EL610RC on the front, one of the most powerful headlights on the market, and a standard run-of-the-mill red tail light at the back. But at this time of year, the headlight goes in storage. It's certainly too heavy and bulky to carry around in my pack rack for emergency use.
But what I have been carrying around is a pair of Grip Lites, which I've been using when I've felt the need to increase my visibility on the road, for instance, when afternoon cloud cover has resulted in poor lighting conditions.
Grip Lites are weather-sealed LED lights that grip onto almost any part of your bike or helmet. Each light is made from silicone (so weighs next to nothing) and is about the size of a man's wristwatch. It uses one 3V lithium CR2032 battery.
- Lightweight, weather-proof and small enough to carry in a pocket for emergency use
- Easy to attach, a bit like putting on a wrist watch
- Flexible enough to use on a handlebar, helmet, clothing or bag
- Two different modes: flashing and constant
- Easy to use: simply press the top of the light, once for "on", twice for "flash-mode" and three times for "off"
- Long battery life (the manufacturers claim you can get 140 hours of use out of them, but I haven't used my lights long enough to see if that's true)
- They glow in the dark, so you can find them easily in your bag
- Very cheap to buy, and each pack comes with a front light (white) and a rear light (red). The batteries are also included.
What I don't like
- They are no substitute for a real light, so I would only use in an emergency situation or if I felt the need to make sure other road users could see me more easily
- The clip system is a bit flimsy and liable to break from over-use
- You're unlikely to find them in your usual bike store
These are handy little lights and useful for emergency situations. They clearly aren't a substitute for a proper European CEN standard safety light, but are excellent as additional lighting and to increase your visibility on the road.
Where can I buy one?
Grip Lites come in packs of two and retail for £9.99 from JML Direct, Asda and Robert Dyas.
My Grip Lites were supplied to me for review purposes by JML Direct