Re: [CR] Flashlights for Bike Lighting

(Example: Framebuilders)

Date: Tue, 13 Jan 2009 19:52:38 -0800
From: Jerome & Elizabeth Moos <>
To: <>, <>
In-Reply-To: <>
Subject: Re: [CR] Flashlights for Bike Lighting

Well, I sometimes go into work at 7 AM, which by mid fall was in the dark because of Daylight Saving Time, and by the time that ended it was dark even on standard time. Looks like it will be another month at least before sunrise here is before 7 AM. And sometimes I may come home as late as 7 PM. In December it was getting dark by about 5:30, though the days are getting longer now. Farther north, of course, winter days are even shorter. So unless one actually can count on working 9 to 5, or at least 8 to 5, you have to be prepared to ride in the dark.

If I'm going to use a flashlight as a primary headlight, I'd probably try to get a modern LED flashlight, but with a classic appearance. But an actual classic flashlight can be useful as a backup for a dynamo light, even though both my bikes currently equiped with dynamo lights, plus one under construction with Doug Fattic, all have Standlight. I have a couple of sets of small bike flashlights with brackets that Baron Corpus (or may Cecile) threw in as little freebies on some past orders back when they were in Holland. I may try mounting these on the bikes with dynamo headlights as a backup/supplement. I alreadly have a Spanninga battery mudguard mounted rear light on the Caygill I've been riding as a backup for the B&M DToplight, despite the Standlight.

If your point is that one needs to have adequate lights, and that modern technology is superior in this area, you'll get no argument from me. That's why I use the modern B&M dynamos and lights and pay the little extra for the Standlight feature. But the B&M stuff IMHO qualifies as KOF in that it is in the tradition of classic dynamo lights and has an appearance such that it doesn't look out of place on a classic frame. And thanks to some responses from the list this morning, I think I've found at least a couple of powerful modern LED flashlights with a classic appearance. On thing I haven't done yet is to go to a B&M 12 volt system. These may be the next step in performance, but it is still very expensive, and realtively inflexible in that all the parts, dynamo, lights, bulbs and all have to be made specificaly for 12V. And it seems maybe you must run both the headlight and taillight. And it appears B&M may be the only firm making the 12V stuff. Five years from now maybe all the classic oriented serious commuters will be using this stuff, but it could also wind up a dead end, so I'll stick with the 6V stuff for now.

Now I've so far been dealing with bikes that didn't come with lights and the ones where I have or plan dynamo lightling, the Caygill, new Bates, Fattic and Assemmacher are early 80's or newer, so the modern B&M stuff seems just fine. It would be more of a dilemma for a bike like one of those in "The Golden Age of Handmade Bicycles". I can't imagine one would change the original lighting on a highly original bike like those, probably not even if the original lighting didn't work at all, in which case one simply shouldn't ride them in the dark. Maybe the greater dilemma would be if such original lights did work. In that case, one could ride at night as safely as the original owner did many decades ago, when those lights were the best available, but this would be risky when measured against modern lighting. I would be interesting to know if any of the CR members who ride long randonneur events up to and including PBP have used highly original very old constructeur bikes in these events, and if so what they did about lighting. It would seem the bset solution might be to use some modern battery powered lights attached in such a way they could be easily removed again with no lasting alteration to the bike.


Jerry Moos
Big Spring, Texas, USA

--- On Tue, 1/13/09, Harvey Sachs wrote:

> From: Harvey Sachs <>

\r?\n> Subject: re: Flashlights for Bike Lighting

\r?\n> To:,

\r?\n> Date: Tuesday, January 13, 2009, 7:46 PM

\r?\n> I don't know Big Spring, TX, so I can't be sure what

\r?\n> one uses bike

\r?\n> lights for out there. But based on my experience, Jerry,

\r?\n> I'll make you a

\r?\n> deal: I'll look for a vintage light for you at the

\r?\n> upcoming Westminster

\r?\n> swap meet in Feb, if you promise not to ride with it at

\r?\n> night.


\r?\n> I commute by bike, and it's dark coming home now. Part

\r?\n> of my commute is

\r?\n> on city streets, where it is critical to throw enough light

\r?\n> to be seen,

\r?\n> particularly at intersections. Part is on a dark bike path,

\r?\n> where I need

\r?\n> enough light to see potholes and rutting deer. Reliability

\r?\n> matters,

\r?\n> too. I gave away or sold some of the old leg lights and

\r?\n> boxy things

\r?\n> years ago, because I didn't need them for display, and

\r?\n> wouldn't dare

\r?\n> ride in the dark with them. Again, your use may be

\r?\n> different, but I

\r?\n> don't want to risk it in my environment. Yup, I use

\r?\n> vintage water

\r?\n> bottles and old Silca pumps, and I glue on my sewups, but

\r?\n> there are some

\r?\n> things even I won't do. I won't (classic content

\r?\n> coming here) ride

\r?\n> Cinelli M71 WidowMaker pedals on the road any more, and I

\r?\n> won't trust my

\r?\n> safety to any of the dim, unreliable old flashlights and

\r?\n> their ilk.


\r?\n> I don't know if this is controversial, but you rang my

\r?\n> bell (I have a

\r?\n> bell on a couple of bikes).


\r?\n> harvey sachs

\r?\n> who even has an Alenax, which is really off the wall.

\r?\n> mcLean va usa.



\r?\n> Jerry Moos wrote:


\r?\n> To raise a non-contraversial, if there is such a thing

\r?\n> here, issue in

\r?\n> connection with touring/randonneur bikes. Anyone know of

\r?\n> currently

\r?\n> available flashlights appropriate for use on such bikes?


\r?\n> I asked Chris at Velo Orange when he would again have the

\r?\n> flashlights he

\r?\n> was selling a while back. His answer was that he does not

\r?\n> currently

\r?\n> expect to have them again. Evidently, the ones he was

\r?\n> selling were made

\r?\n> by small Japanese firms, and he tells me the deamnd is so

\r?\n> strong in

\r?\n> Japan, the the manufacturers have no interest in exporting

\r?\n> to the US, as

\r?\n> they can sell everything they make at home.


\r?\n> Of course, in terms of producing light, most any flashlight

\r?\n> will work,

\r?\n> but one prefers something the will look elegant. I suppose

\r?\n> many of us

\r?\n> would define elegant in this instance as reminescent of the

\r?\n> lights on

\r?\n> French constructeur bikes before or shortly after WWII,

\r?\n> although I must

\r?\n> note that in the book (in French) Jan Heine is selling

\r?\n> documenting the

\r?\n> history of PBP, the photos from recent years show some

\r?\n> competitors using

\r?\n> flashlights that would strike most of us as distinctly

\r?\n> un-classic.


\r?\n> Surely there must be flashlights currently made in America,

\r?\n> Europe or UK

\r?\n> or in larger quanitity in Asia that would look suitable on

\r?\n> a touring

\r?\n> bike? Anyone have any suggestions?


\r?\n> On a related issue, most flashlights, at least those

\r?\n> available in USA,

\r?\n> use C or D size batteries. I've come to prefer

\r?\n> rechargeable batteries

\r?\n> as a way to minimize the need to dispose of potentially

\r?\n> hazardous

\r?\n> materials, although even rechargeable batteries will

\r?\n> eventually be

\r?\n> discarded. Anyone know where to get the best prices on

\r?\n> rechargeable C

\r?\n> and D batteries and on chargers that will handle these

\r?\n> sizes? I know

\r?\n> such do exit, but they are not nearly as common as the AA

\r?\n> and AAA size

\r?\n> rechargeables that can now be purchased at most any

\r?\n> drugstore or

\r?\n> discount store.