Today I got my Planet Bike Superflash blinky light. I put it in the middle of the three lights I wear on my bum bag, retiring the loyal but less flashy unit that had served there for several years.
I'd been impressed by the Superflash when I saw the one on my brother's Trice this summer. In full daylight I could see the flash from as far away as I could see the trike at all.
Turbulent clouds created dramatic light effects as the sun went down tonight. Bright sun would break through to illuminate colorful leaves or white buildings, highlighting the contrast with the slate-gray clouds. As the sun dropped below the western hills, twilight advanced.
Drivers rushed past me on this Friday of a holiday weekend. Finally I got tired of it. I hit the button on the Superflash.
The result was immediate and gratifying. I could tell by the sound of tires on chip seal, and grumbling engines, that drivers were slowing down five or ten miles an hour. Almost without exception, they swung wide as well. They passed politely and sedately before resuming speed.
A few minutes later I had activated the whole system: generator light, Beamers, and the flanking blinkies.
The whir of the dynamo gets higher as my speed increases. The light becomes incrementally brighter as well, urging me to ride even harder. The beam is strong and white. It seems to intrigue drivers. The sharp power of the Superflash and the steady, relentless illumination of the generator light indicate a power disproportionate to a cyclist's size.
In a more populated area where life is plentiful and cheap, the mass of drivers would probably shove on past with their usual disregard. Around here, though, a transportation cyclist is a strange bird, worthy of a second look, especially when equipped with something better than the typical toy light. When the novelty wears off I may get less respect from drivers here, too. Right now, though, the difference is night and day.