Thursday, February 16, 2017

Come On Baby Light My Blinkie

Blinky lights have come a long way since the "hipster cysts" of yore:


For those of you too young to remember these things were groundbreaking at the time.  (Also, for those of you too young to remember, what the hell are you doing here?  You should not be reading content authored by old fusspots.)  "Hipster cysts" clung to oddly-shaped bicycle tubes, they were virtually impervious to the elements, and they were available in an assortment of colors.  For the first time, city cyclists actually wanted to put lights on their bikes.

At the same time, they had their drawbacks.  Firstly, they provided about as much light as the "ready" light on a Mr. Coffee.  Secondly, they used little watch batteries, and whether it's a bike light, or a thermometer, or even an actual watch, no human in the history of the world has ever replaced one of those little watch batteries.  Instead, the accessory in question winds up in a junk drawer somewhere until you get around to buying new batteries for it, which is precisely never.  This explains why you will never see a "hipster cyst" still in operation today.  It also explains why Swatch is still in business.  Instead of replacing the batteries, you just buy a new Swatch.


(Trust me, I know from Swatches.)

Fortunately, bike lights evolved.  They kept their mount-anywhere versatility (that sounds dirty), but they also got brighter, and best of all they became easily rechargeable thanks to the ubiquity of USB ports:


Now you could just stick them in your computer all day while you pretended to work and they'd be ready to fire for the ride home.

The blinky light had reached its apotheosis.

But like everything else bikey, it wasn't long before things started going too far.  Blinkies evolved into giant light cannons:


And finally came the tragic fate that befalls all bike components sooner or later, which is pointless integration with your smart phone:



Nevertheless, in a world of promotional videos, this one does stand out.  First of all, it features a cheesy soundtrack and comes via a company called "Bang Good:"


Who seem to have borrowed Amazon's phallic underscore:

I was ready to dismiss the suggestive nature of the name "Bang Good" as merely something that comes across differently in translation, but then I saw the picture on the box:


Oh come on.

If Mario Cipollini were to debut a bike light this would be it.

Anyway, a quick examination of the box reveals that the device contained therein is good for a staggering 10 hours of use, which frankly sounds a bit much:


But then again I'm no Cipo:


("Ten hours?  Is a quickie only.")

Next the disembodied hands open the box, at which point you brace yourself for whatever's going to come next:


Dear lord, it's some kind of strap-on!


And it's going on the bike!!!


HOLY CRAP HE'S GOING TO HAVE SEX WITH THE BIKE!!!

As he switched on the device and it started whirring I was certain I was about to watch a flagrant and shocking violation of the YouTube terms of service:


But instead it turned out this was just an overwrought bike light that makes pictures:


Because everybody knows there are times when it's crucially important to convey the image of a strawberry to the driver behind you:


Best of all, it's backwards-compatible with your pennyfarthing:


So there you go.

Lastly, the only thing going up faster than the stock market in this country is the automobile death rate:

Over the last decade, new cars have gotten electronic stability control systems to prevent skids, rearview cameras to prevent fender benders and more airbags to protect occupants in collisions. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on campaigns to remind the public of the dangers of drunken driving, failing to buckle up and texting while on the go.

Despite all that, more Americans are dying on roads and highways than in years, and the sudden and sharp increase has alarmed safety advocates.

Reading this you'd almost be forgiven for concluding that a nation of smartphone-addled opioid addicts should probably be working to reduce its dependency on private automobile travel.

Fortunately, when confronted with the specter of over 40,000 people dying every year, the current administration is working to stop the carnage by banning immigration from a small handful of countries.

Of course tech companies could always make their products safer for drivers, but why short-change themselves when they can just dangle the idea of self-driving cars in front of us for the next 50 years instead?  As for using technology to augment law enforcement, that's a clear violation of the privacy we already completely surrender while using the apps that distract us while we drive in the first place.

Alas, if only there were some sort of transit mode that not only required no active involvement on the part of the passenger but also used on electricity and was capable of transporting large numbers of people at once on a dedicated right of way:



Yeah, keep dreaming.


81 comments:

Gnarlynickb said...

1st?

wishiwasmerckx said...

Podium, bitches!

Chazu said...

Bronze. The kind #45 wears.

Anonymous said...

Missed the podium cos I read it

Ted K. said...

214. To avoid this, a movement that exalts nature and opposes technology must take a resolutely anti-leftist stance and must avoid all collaboration with leftists. Leftism is in the long run inconsistent with wild nature, with human freedom and with the elimination of modern technology. Leftism is collectivist; it seeks to bind together the entire world (both nature and the human race) into a unified whole. But this implies management of nature and of human life by organized society, and it requires advanced technology. You can’t have a united world without rapid transportation and communication, you can’t make all people love one another without sophisticated psychological techniques, you can’t have a “planned society” without the necessary technological base. Above all, leftism is driven by the need for power, and the leftist seeks power on a collective basis, through identification with a mass movement or an organization. Leftism is unlikely ever to give up technology, because technology is too valuable a source of collective power.

Cat 404 e-Racer said...

Bikesknob,

I like your similes.

It would be cool if you wrote a hard-boiled detective novel.

JLRB said...

Lights - gotta love the advances in technology - cheaper, lighter, rechargeable, brighter. Hate the people who tell you how bright they are (look away if you don't like it lobdamit); and the game of covering your light when approaching another MUP user is all well and good, when its convenient, or I am not spacing out. Apologies in advance if I fail to play along.

boys on the hoods said...

top tenish now back to read the post.

Chazu said...

#whatbrandyousmoking ?

Dooth said...

Bang Good...now there's a company I can get behind.

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

Just outside the lead pack.

Need more soda ...


vsk

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

Tic Tac Toe sign, Pound sign, and hash tag #Whatlumensyourunnin


vsk

N/A said...

BANG GOOD

Fnarf said...

I'm sorry, if your light isn't made in Germany with a shaped beam, which like a car or motorcycle headlight, it cuts off the top part of the beam so you don't blind oncoming drivers, peds, and other cyclists, it's garbage for city riding. That goes for EVERY American-made light, no matter how hipsterish or techie.

American bike products are so caught up in the "more is better" notion and the Fred esthetic that they are useless for normal people. All of the fancy and expensive lights put out in this country are basically just ultra-bright flashlights with some kind of mounting. Ten zillion lumens just makes it worse. And NONE of these entrepreneurs have even the vaguest understanding of a shaped beam.

Get a Busch and Muller Ixon or Lumotec from Harris or Peter White. They are the ONLY bike lights available in the US that don't suck donkey balls.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Fnarf,

At least in NYC a not-crazily-bright light is fine for city riding. Not much to think about really. Quick removal-installation is really the main concern.

--Wildcat Etc.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Sixteeth Scrani!

Anonymous said...

I will never look at the Amazon logo the same. Thanks for that.

Dave said...

For sale: collection of great archaeological interest - dozens of useless bike lights going back almost to the days of kerosene miners' lanterns. Best offer.

Anonymous said...

Who has actually mounted a light on his phallus? Might help see where it's going?

cdinvb said...

Where's my Soubitez? I know I have it around here somewhere.

Anonymous said...

I avoided cameras when I was a young smoker because I was totally in the closet and did not want my parents to find out via a photograph. Then I was caught smoking in the bathroom in high school and they phoned my terribly disappointed mother at home.

Grump said...

I haven't been riding at night since the days when you measured your lighting system's power in watts, not these sissy lumen thingys.

Anonymous said...

I never noticed Amazon's "phallic underscore" until today. How had I missed it? Thank you WRM!

NHcycler said...

Fnarf typed:

"I'm sorry, if your light isn't made in Germany with a shaped beam, which like a car or motorcycle headlight, it cuts off the top part of the beam so you don't blind oncoming drivers, peds, and other cyclists,..."

Let me see if my reading comprehension sucks as much as my bicycling skilz:

"...if your light IS NOT made in Germany...it cuts off the top part of the beam..."

Hmmm.

Why should I buy a German-made light again?

Bryan said...

But with that weird dildo light, you can create your own images. I would def create a penis. Just need those lighted ballsack things to complete the ensemble.

Fnarf said...

NHcycler, my sentence makes perfect sense. If it isn't made in Germany with a shaped beam. German headlights have shaped beams. Shaped beams are what you want. German lights are what you want.

boys on the hoods said...

Wait.....you mean the light at the end of the tunnel.....in a transportational manner.......is ...actually.....a.....TRAIN!!

Or a phallus on your seat tube??

NHcycler said...

Commuting well before sunrise on dry, unlit back roads doesn't require my "zillion lumens" headlight to be shining full bore for me to see what's ahead. But when the road is wet, it's much harder to see. I guess the water reflects more of the light out and away. I do need a brighter light then. A shaped beam wouldn't matter, anyway.

BUT

I'm on that back road. 200 yards/meters/parsecs ahead is a curve, and the high beams of the approaching car give it away before I can see it. I dim my light.

Around the curve the bright headlights shine in all of their unshaped, un-cut-off, unrestricted glory. I duck my head before my retinas can be damaged.

I flick my high beam on and off, to no avail. Again. Only then do I really appreciate the 660-lumens on my non-German, I-forget-where-it's-made, non-cut-off high beam. We both dim our lights, and all is well with the world.

Bromptonaut (UK) said...

Reading BSNYC blog on electric train home from work: check.
Multi-modal folding bicycle by my side: check
Stretchy band-on LED lights charged up while pretending to work: check.
SMUG: check.

Drock said...

Ride by the light of the good words and thou shall be protected forever. Oh Jesus this 70 degree day in feb. making me a little nutty. Whatlumensuberunning&&@$ and all that twitter stuff.

Light Fascist said...

My sentence makes perfect sense to me and you need to follow my commands without question.

Anonymous said...

#WHATBLOODPRESSUREAREURUNNING

HAL9000

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...Snobs, I heard from a resident of Washington DC that in that city they concluded that speed cameras are actually contributing to crashes. Apparently, when drivers become aware that there are speed cameras at traffic lights, they slam on their breaks when the light is about to change so as not to get ticketed... and get rear ended.

...I don't have time to look into it, but since you're only a semi-pro blogger, please look into it.

Hair Furor said...

Does traveling at Fred-Woo-Hoo-Hoo speed interfere with the spinning of the taillamp/dildo machine?

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

Ich habe meine Deutsche Licht und I see nattink !!

The problem is not to see, but to be seen amongst the light pollution. Not that anyone is really going out of their way to see and give fucks behind the wheel. Auto Auto Uber alles!!

The shaped beam makes super sense to see in unlighted areas. You want the light concentrated on zee road vs. being wasted up in the luft. If I could I'd put a $300 Edelux powered by a $300 Schmidt SON dyno on all my commuter rides. But my velcro power Blackburn Super Flea has been awesome for my needs. Just ask all the blinded hipsters on the Williburg bridge as I am strobing away in full disco mode.

But lighting is the least of my cycle related problems right now.

vsk

BeerDrivenCyclist said...

Firty someding? He said phalus AND penis... he he he...

Frickus Rungus said...

Wildcat,
Are you using an undocumented helper monkey and google translate again?
..."but also used on electricity"...

janinedm said...

I swapped in a Busch & Müller Lumotec on my WorkCycle. I say that to say this: I never imagined such light snobbery could every exist and also who could possibly give a shit? Also, on the nerdy front. Iam considering swapping out my Shimano Nexus for the Nuvinci N360 which has an infinite number of ratios. That's right folk. Not 1, 3,5, 7 or even 8 speeds, but you can dial to ANY ratio up to 360%. On one hand, gear shifting and choices are crucial to combatting fatigue on a 60lb bike. On the other, this may be a useless gimmick that sounds cool. So I'm going to think about it for more. If I want it next year I may pull the trigger

wishiwasmerckx said...

All those intense lumens and shaped beams from the German lights sure do come in handy when invading France.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Fnarf. It's comical that there are so many poorly designed lights out there. It isn't complicated,
They have been making car headlights with a focused beam for a long time now. That being said, I would worry about theft in NYC.

janinedm said...

I just want to put this out here as a blanket statement. I do know how English works. My comments are filled with typos, because as long am I'm not proofreading and editing it doesn't count as faffing off at the office. (I know this is a procrastinator's fig leaf.)

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous,

I think a well-designed light is worth it for certain bikes and situations, but for most riding around NYC a cheap, easy on/easy off, USB-rechargeable blinky you can keep in your bag and that's visible but not stupidly bright is perfect. Put it on your city bike if you're commuting or going out in the evening, switch it to your road bike if you're going to do some evening laps in the park, etc. Not a big deal, doesn't have to be a perfect piece of engineering, just something that keeps you from disappearing in the shadows.

--Wildcat Etc.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...I gotta say, I'm a light snob too. and I agree that only focused beams should be allowed on bicycles... in the city especially. So often when crossing the city bridges I have to shield my eyes with my hand because someone has 100,000 lumen light blinking in the pitch darkness of the bike path. That's another thing I really don't get, if they are that bright, why make them blinky? why not just have a steady bright beam that shines your path for you instead of just being a strobe?

...I'm a dyno-hub snob too now. who in hell can remember to charge all these devices? It's hard enough remembering to charge a phone. And, no one has stolen my cheap lumotech light because it's got wires attaching it permanently to the frame... I caught one thief half way through detaching the light, but he was dumbfounded by the wires and didn't know what to do with it... he even asked me (the audacity!) how he could better steal one next time.

...I'm not holding my breath for the german revolution to reach us though... we are much happier with hipster cysts because they're disposable and cheap.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Janinedm you only need an infinite number of ratios if you are limited to one and only cadence regardless of whether you are peddling uphill, downhill or on the flats. Otherwise your legs will adjust to the ratios available. But hey, if you want to upgrade, go for it!

wishiwasmerckx said...

Disposable and cheap, just like the sovereignty of Alsace Lorraine.

janinedm said...

@ Lt. Obvs. Yeah sure I may have gotten around for years perfectly happy with my old hub, but on the other hand, infinite.

Anonymous said...

I find the Cateye lights usually have shaped beams, too. Sometimes you can find a Cateye Volt 100 (now 150 lumens) for around $20, and USB charging. That deal is hard to beat. I like the flash patterns on my cygo-lite better, but it is a circular blast pattern.

Anonymous said...

ANon @ 3:33 - WHAT DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND?!? - CATEYE IS NOT MADE IN GERMANY. ONLY GERMAN LIGHTS ARE ACCEPTABLE. EVERYTHING ELSE IS HELPER MONKEY PISS.

Spokey said...


i hate zip tying lights. damn the inventor of zip ties. cut the heathen's balls in half. the planet bike super flash has an easy to remove light and their 2w blaze as well.

don't much like usb charge lights eitehr. it's a lot easier to buy AA or AAA batteries in the middle of nowhere idaho than to find a place to plug a usb wire in to.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Yep, still rocking the old 3 AAA cateye blinkers on my bikecycles. Strobe in town and steady on out in the boonies. I'll upgrade in a decade or two when the LED's finally give out.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Janinedm, just don't forget it is only infinite between a fixed upper and lower ratio!

I was a headlight Fred until I noticed that the unshielded housing of my NiteRider headlight in strobe mode created interference with my wireless Cateye cycling computer receiving data from its sending unit. The light was for visibility to others during the day, I never ride at night. So my data Fred won out over my headlight Fred. I did look into some RF shielding for the NiteRider but thought if I did that I would also need to put aluminum foil over my helment, so the Niteride sits in the basement. I still use the Serfas USB rechargeable tail light though.

dancesonpedals said...

As per fnarf..


Get a Busch and Muller Ixon or Lumotec from Harris or Peter White. They are the ONLY bike lights available in the US that don't suck donkey balls.

My boss stopped behind me as I was reading those words...what she thought, I'll never know.

Aging Fred said...

I have my commuter bike outfitted with a suitable headlight, a red strobe in the rear, and single white strobes flashing on the sides. Rolling slowly through a supermarket parking lot one night, a startled lady pushing a cart exclaimed: “I thought you were the Police!” I lowered my voice and replied: (cue the soundtrack from “The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly”) “I AM the Police”.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Well, you could go with the Cateye Volt, but I suspect that you will be a lot happier with the German-made Ja Volt Herr Kommandant.

MrLobstermash said...

Oh my dear child... Discovering BangGood for the first time... These guys have been around for ages, mostly selling cut priced sex toys. They've diversified over the last 5 years to selling pretty much any mass produced crap that flows out of China. I bought my crazy bright light from there, and it's still going in spite of all the critics saying it'd blow up while I was riding, or charging, or both. Those critics can all Bang me Good.

Anonymous said...

I still have a red, blinking Knog hipster cyst on my seatpost for my blinking taillight. I change the batteries about once a year. The rubber is wearing through and it is tough to turn on and off, but me likey just fine.

Morrison said...

Come on baby, light my bike.

Spokey said...


dop

bought 2 of the B&M lights from Peter White (I think the only place in the US at that time). They were pretty fredly. Switch had off/on/auto. On auto it would detect light & motion and automatically turn on. Unfortunately, the switch sucked balls and after a few months you had to wiggle the switch to make it work. So with the thought that bumping down the road might turn them off, they now sit in the basement. If I weren't lazier than snobbie, I'd find a new switch(es) or rewire them (yep, actually have physical wires) or something.

Gear Boy said...

Janinedm:
The Nuvinci hub uses a "variable cone" type mechanism, as derived from Maestro Leonardo (NOT DICAPRIO!!). It weighs a freakin' ton - 'prolly a full pound heavier than your Shimano IGH.
The Nexus 8speed hubs are supremely durable, easily serviced, etc.
Like most bikey drivetrains, IGH systems tend to be over-geared, ie. biased towards top speed versus pedalabilty. I seen the best solution is to shorten the overall drive ratio by swapping out the rear cog with the largest one available; it's easier on the chain, easier on the legs, etc.

brian brians said...

I can see how Americans voted in Trump, you're all fucken idiots.

Well, that's perhaps a little harsh, but there's a typical American solipsism at play in regards to the lights-shitfight currently underway on this blog.

Firstly, this thing about "German lights", they are mandated by law there to be "shaped" — casting most of their light down onto the road in front of you (where it's needed) rather than straight ahead and out over the horizon where it's "wasted", serving only to blind oncoming cyclists. That's really the only reason German lights are shaped, those designers are merely complying with the law.

The only time you need a super bright broad beam light is on the trail where you need to have low hanging branches, swooping pterodactyls and whatnot illuminated. Only arseholes use "trail lights" in the city.

Although, even in the brightest, sparkliest city there will be portions or segments or just momentary instances where you will need a lot of light and occasions where you'll need it to pick out broken glass or other perils. So having bucket loads of lumens in the city is probably a good thing, but for fuck's sake use shaped beams or dip your lights.

Shape This said...

Yo Bri Bri

wishiwasmerckx said...

Ah, Germans rigorously complying with the law. Why does that have such a familiar ring to it?

Old Timer said...

Huh? What?

Some guy from upstate said...

Yes yes yes. I am so sick of being blinded by oncoming riders. A cutoff beam is not exactly high tech, I don't know how far back you have to time travel to find a car or motorcycle without one. Thank you Fnarf.

Crosspalms said...

WIWM,
That press conference was so weird I probably missed the part where Trump said it's Morgen in Amerika.

Flash said...

Proper illumination is very important on a bicycle, and here you all are making light of things.

Blaue Reiter said...

Aaaargh, Chicago's bike online discussion thing just had this argument like a month ago...

But what we didn't have was a bunch of surrender-monkey-lovin' German bashing! Seriously, Merckx, fuck off with that shit: last liberal democracy standing these days and France should be so lucky!

Freudom said...

Hey Snobby,

Saw this new term on Urban Dictionary and I'm guessing it can be find somewhere near the scranus.

SCROTUS
Acronym for So-Called Ruler of the United States, as in POTUS, President of the United States.
Example: SCROTUS today said, "See you in court."

Anonymous said...

dop, looks like your comment was cut short...I'm guessing you were about to write

"My boss stopped behind me as I was reading those words...what she thought, I'll never know...because security just frogmarched me off the premises for discussing Equus asinus fellatio"

JLRB said...

After that Russian golden shower thing is anyone surprised the Donald wants to "punish" so called "leakers"?

dancesonpedals said...

Equus Asinus Fellatio died an unseemly death in season 2 of Rome.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Cutoff beam, shmutoff beam. You think the typical Fred is going to take care in mounting that light on his handlebars so that it is properly aimed? Good luck with that. And the right side which is not cut off will blind you anyway when said Fred is salmoning in your direction.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Blaue Reiter, thank you for for proving my point that Germans are a humorless lot.

janinedm said...

Gear Boy, People riding a 47 lb frame don't care about a pound. I'm a masher, so I've actually gone down in rear cog size so I don't spin out. We've talked me out of it, but I was mostly looking at the Nuvinci for those times when, say 4th gear is too easy and 5th gear was slightly a bit much and I could hit, like 4.7 and never work one iota herder than I felt like. Spokey, I've had similar trouble with my switch in the auto position, but it sits just fine in the on position, so I just leave it on all of the time.

I too prefer shaped lights and when I see overly bright lights in the city, I assume that I'm dealing with a dork who chose numerical gear rankings (in this case lumens) over common sense. In other words, a pretty average cyclist. As in most things when I see fellow riders about, it's something I wouldn't personally do but they're adults and in the grand scheme of traffic they're not remotely the problem. I just snort-laugh and ride on.

Maybe it's because I ride heavy bikes when other people go light, and I have never worn a matching kit in my life, preferring jerseys and shorts based on their being on sale (not to mention my situational rather than constant helmet use), that i find yelling at people for doing it different to be much more annoying than being blinded by some dork's hi beams. My pupils dilate momentarily, but this back and forth over legitimate spoke nipple choices or WTFever is near constant. Other cyclists are annoying,I know, but come on here. That guy who is all "Americans deserve Trump because they make poor bike light choices" is a trip y'all.

Steely Danzig said...

City commuting is different than rural. If one travels 30+ m.p.h. on unlit county roads with deer and other wildlife that my jump out unexpectedly, a brighter, larger beam is necessary. Time and place. Yes 'Mericans are idiots, just like the rest of humanity.
I guess the German does speak from experience when he lectures others about the dangers of giving too much power to a megalomaniac demagogue.

Some guy from upstate said...

Janinedm, what, you doing a time trial on your 47 lb bike? If 4th is too easy and 5th is too hard just leave it in 4th and smell the roses.

Just hanging out waiting for today's post ...

dancesonpedals said...

lumen weenies

Anonymous said...

Germans learned the hard way that fascism sucks. Now they are good citizens. I hope we can learn from their mistake instead of repeating it but so far it isn't looking good.

KellyAnn Congame said...

And in business news --
Busch & Müller changing name to FickenGut.

Anonymous said...

Get your big ass smug on!

JuanOffhue said...

Count me among the German lighting snobs. I too have sent money to Peter White in exchange for battery-powered B&M headlights for one bike and a Schmidt dynohub and generator light for another. Their beams are all flat across the top, as were the Euro-spec Bosch headlights I put on my motorcycle and a car I used to have. I recall reading that U.S.-spec headlamps project light upwards in order to illuminate overhead signs, but European standards don’t have that requirement. U.S.-spec lights are better for hunting raccoons, and I suspect that’s what the real reason is.