Words: Victoria Purcell
Every year, as the dark nights draw in, I declare that this is the year I’m really going to town on my bike lights. I’m going to light the thing up like a Christmas tree. it’s so hard to get yourself noticed as a cyclist on London’s packed roads. It’s not only the traffic. Other cyclist have a habit of getting all up in your space, and don’t even get me started on pedestrians stepping out into the road without looking…
But then, after consulting my colleague and closest cycling advisor Wes, about which bike lights are best and how many lumens I need, the same thing always happens: I hop onto Wiggle and just can’t bear to fork out £90 a piece for the whizzy super-lumen lights. The there’s the issue of 360° visibility – does that price tag guarantee you’ll be seen from the side? Not necessarily.
I’ve had bar lights that attach to the fork of the bike so you can be seen from the side, but they were pretty weedy and didn’t make me feel that safe. Then I head about the BikeHalo from Hikari Bike. They. Are. So. Cool.
Developed by Islington local Merlin Bruce after a near-fatal miss with a black cab at the junction of Upper Street and Goswell Road. He loves cycling the city, but not the endless traffic and the dangers posed by night cycling. After discussing the issue with other local cyclists, he decided to create a product that would help cyclists to be more visible.
So not only are you being noticed, you ‘notice being noticed’, which is a great confidence booster when it comes to cycling those dark roads
The strips of LED cables fit around the wheel hub – red for the rear, white for the front, of course – which effectively turn your bike into a mobile disco. I am in love. On my first trip out I was waiting for the compliments. I could see other cyclists looking at my wheels at the lights, but nobody said anything. How very London. But just a few turns away from home, where the roads were quite and dark, a passing pedestrian looked up and said, ‘Cool wheels’. My day was made.
So not only are you being noticed, you ‘notice being noticed’, as it says on the BikeHalo website, which is a great confidence booster when it comes to cycling those dark roads.
VeloHalo bike wheel lights use ultra-bright, vinyl-coated LED cables to transform your wheels into virtually-unmissable spinning discs of light. And because they define your wheel shape, you’re more recognisable as a cyclist, which is psychologically significant when it comes to getting a driver to slow down and give you more space. Conventional lights alone get you noticed narrowly from the front and back, and even then it’s not clear that you’re a cyclist. VeloHalo gets you noticed 360°, from up to 1km away at night.
They are little fiddly to fit. The LED cable loops around each spoke along the inner edge of your wheel and are fixed in place with a cable tie – not the most sophisticated of fitting systems (and girls, tightening all those cable ties will trash your nails!).
They are transparent, so they’re not that noticeable during the day, but if you’re pernickety about the look of your bike you’re not going to love them at first (I refuse to put a pannier on my sleek silver Specialized Dolce because I hate the way it looks!). And if you use your race bike for both commuting and sportives, like I do, you’re going to want to remove them for an event. But despite all that, they fulfill their purpose perfectly – they get you noticed.
BikeHalo lights are £29 each. See hikari.bike