comfort, cycling, fixie, lighting, science

Smidsy thoughts

…Sorry, mate, I did not see you! — the catchy acronym I have recently read in The Guardian, while doing some research on cycling safety. Commuting to work on my bike all week, while the weather in Dubai so permits, I was thinking about visibility every night.

My route is relatively safe and lays mostly on the pavement along Sheikh Zayed Road sky-scrapers, and about one third of it actually is shared with automobiles. Swooshing among pedestrians is fun, and maneuvering in the texting traffic of DIFC is not so much. They don’t see me.

Returning — safely — one night, I started looking up on what is there in the lighting world to keep a cycling commuter out of trouble.


Head lights and tail lights. Check. Make sure they blink. This pattern will distract a motorist faster than a non blinking signal. Remember, they look in the rear mirror and see many pairs of headlights much more powerful than yours. Blinking is different.

madison-high-visibility-arm-ankle-bands proviz-rucksack-cover-reflect-360

If you are a stubborn minimalist (like me), and have not yet installed this small LED device, resort to retro-reflective band. Longer ones would make a fine Rambo outfit. Messenger bag or a rucksack could be covered with reflective fabrics.

These all is conventional. How about something more of a Light Intelligence caliber.

Pure Fix Glow

Pure Fix, a bike maker from Burbank, California, has a special series — Glow. Phosphorescent paint suits those fixies well. So do Revolight wheels. This patented system consists of two narrow LED rings on each wheel. A USB-rechargeable lithium-ion battery mounted on the front and rear hub, provides enough power to the LED to make a ride an experience for all the traffic.


Lumilor from US coats almost any material in what that they call electroluminescent paint. We wrote about them on our Facebook page a while ago.

This is how the company describe the science behind: “Electroluminescence (EL) is a characteristic of a material that enables it to emit light in response to an electrical field. At the sub-atomic level, the process behind electroluminescence is radiative recombination, also known as spontaneous emission. In radiative recombination, phosphorescent substances emit photons (light particles) in response to alternating electrical current.”


Lumo, a recently Kickstarter funded start-up, already made available to pre-order almost any clothes item studded with an LED ribbon.

My choice would probably be the last one.

Yet, coming back to the article from The Guardian I have stumbled upon. Shiny does not always mean safe. A lot depends on weather conditions, traffic speed, mobile distractions, and also anticipation and respect.

Drive safe and cycle safe.

Photos courtesy of ‘Buy a bike headlight with at least 100 lumens to see and be seen,’ by Dan Barham, and manufacturers and vendors mentioned in the post.