Cygolite Bike Lights

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A few years ago, any bicycle light that bright enough to let you see where you were going at night was expensive. You could have spent many times what a Cygolite Streak 450 currently costs, and still gotten something heavier, dimmer and less reliable.

Lights that are meant to help OTHERS see YOU cost less than lights for you to see by. (A brighter headlight is required to really light your path). But advances in battery and LED technology means that really good lights cost less than ever.

We recommend rechargeable lights, and nobody does them better than Cygolite. Cygolite has an excellent reputation in the bike world, and their products feature excellent function, consistent quality and competitive pricing.

For general commuting and night riding, a combo like this is currently a great choice... http://www.cygolite.com/product/streak-450-hotshot-sl-50-usb-combo. Get it for 15% off when you mention this post!

Your Bike Needs a Bell

Bells aren’t just for kids. EVERY bike needs a bell. And this is especially true for commuters and road cyclists.

In Charleston, even if you are lucky enough to have access to a bike lane, traffic poses a threat. Distracted drivers, roadside parking, pedestrians and other cyclists are within arm’s reach, and all are potentially dangerous. When a second or an inch could make all the difference, your voice isn’t enough. A shout may not cut through the sounds of traffic and other voices, but a bike bell will.

Incredibell Omnibell at Charleston Bicycle Co.

Any bell is better than no bell, but if you’re in the market for something that looks sharp, works well and lasts, consider the Mirrycle Incredibell Omnibell. Both the band clamp and bell dinger are adjustable, which means it can be mounted anywhere regardless of handlebar diameter.  

The Incredibell Omnibell Bike Bell is currently in stock at Charleston Bicycle Co. Give us a call (843-571-1211), or stop by the store for details.

Back-to-School Bicycle Safety

With the start of a new school year, we all need to put safety first in school zones. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), biking to and from school is safer when children and adults alike:

  • Wear and buckle a properly fit helmet every ride
  • Wear bright colors and/or use lights or reflective wear to be more visible to motorists
  • Have a good grasp of traffic safety rules including riding in the same direction as traffic and stopping at all stop signs and signals
  • Choose safe routes to ride, including streets with lower traffic volume and speeds
  • Ride focused and alert—never using electronics or both ear buds while riding

The NHTSA has stated that helmets are the single most important piece of safety equipment for riders. While they can't prevent a crash from happening, they can prevent a crash from resulting in a serious injury. Giro's Rascal helmet is a perfect choice for your little rider. 

The Rascal's OneStep™ fit system provides a simple and intuitive method to quickly send your child on his/her way. Simply close the pinch-free buckle and they're ready to go. For added visibility, mom or dad can click on the integrated rear LED tail-light.

Stop by the shop and purchase a Rascal helmet to protect your little one this school year. It retails for $40.00, and we have a nice selection of Giro helmets for adults as well.

Riding in Wet Conditions

1. Prepare for the post.  

Always check the forecast.  While it is fun to occasionally get caught in the rain with no choice but to ride, it is much more fun getting caught knowing that you have a dry towel and clothes, a bite to eat, and some wet-weather gear waiting for you back at your starting point. 

2. Light it up.  

We live in a region that is prone to storms that can significantly darken the sky.  Rain is a great reason to always ride with lights and/or to adorn your helmet, frame, saddlebag, or other part or accessory with a few small bits of reflective tape or fabric. 

3. Pare the pace.  

Even if the rain is only a quick shower on a day that dries it up within minutes, any rain should mean a reduction in pace.  Indeed, it is usually within the first few minutes of rain that the road is likely to be slickest.  The surface has not yet been rinsed of the residual oil, gasoline, antifreeze, brake fluid, and other fouling agents that drip from all the vehicles on our roads (including our bicycles, by the way).  The ride can always resume a faster pace if things improve.  This is especially relevant on the many metal surfaces that cap our many drawbridges in the area.  If it is raining, we STRONGLY DISCOURAGE riding across these bridges.  Even if you have to dismount and walk across the bridge, it is worth the extra one or two minutes. 

4. Drop the draft.  

Riding directly behind a “rooster-tail” of water flying off a rear wheel is a sure way to reduce already-compromised visibility, so increase the distance to the rider in front of you.  Another option is to slightly stagger the group, since it is legal to ride two abreast in South Carolina.  Do not let this result in gaps, however, that grow so big that slower riders fall off.  Stick together and stay safe.  Even if the group splits into two or more smaller groups, that is preferable to stranding a rider off the back.

The four preceding points are a good start to riding safely in the rain.  This is not intended as a guide for commuting on a daily basis in wet conditions.  There are many other resources with extensive lists regarding handling, gear, and other items for consideration if that is the goal.  Please let us know if you would like more information about such items, and we would be happy to assist.

See you next Tuesday or Thursday…rain or shine!