Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Lightweight Helmet With Lights

I use my bikes for transportation and that often involves riding around in the hours of darkness. I find it handy to have lights not just on my bike, but on my helmet as well. A helmet light shines where I'm looking so it can be handy for making eye-contact with drivers, spotting street signs, illuminating maps and generally putting a bit of light just where I need it. I don't need a super-powerful light on my helmet and I like to keep the weight low. Over the years, my system of helmet lights has evolved. The helmet shown here is the lightest configuration I've worked out to date. Other systems can be set-up that are brighter or that use more environmentally friendly batteries, but this set-up works pretty well.

The Lazer Magma Helmet is one I got a great deal on a few weeks ago. It's light weight and has a lot of well-placed vents. I added a few bits of reflective tape and removed the helmet's visor.

The front light is a Petzl E+Lite. The E+Lite only weighs an ounce and has a couple of different brightness and blink settings. The downside is that it uses a couple of non-rechargeable CR2032 batteries. I've been using the light for weeks and pretty much just use the low setting and I have yet to change the batteries. It would easily work as a cue-sheet & sign-spotting light for an entire 1200K brevet and would probably work for an entire year's worth of brevets without a battery change. And CR2032 batteries are lightweight and fairly commonly available.

The Planet Bike Blinky 3H Tail Light runs off a single AAA cell and it is fairly bright, although not as blinding as the 2AA Superflash. The 3H comes with a little helmet pivot mount, but I found a single zip-tie lets me attach the light without the pivot.

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