Love Autumn. Love everything about it. The weaker sun in its amber beauty. Blizzards of leaves, tumbling. Kids knocking on the door and asking for money or sweets or else (alright, maybe not so keen on Halloween). But one thing that I have no love for whatsoever, is that protracted twilight as day slowly turns to night and cyclists blend all too easily into the background.
So… I decided it was about time I ditched the little flashing, blinkin’, barely-see-me-through-the-streaks-of-mud rear light that I’ve sported for way too long. I pushed the envelope beyond my usual £20 budget and plumped for the Hotrod50, a 50 lumen lighthouse of a backlight from American outfit Cygolite.
What a difference.
I was doing my previous light a little bit of a dis-service, but it wasn’t spectacularly bright. Its dull orb would melt into the background, quite unlike the Hotrod. I daren’t look straight at the bugger when I put it on, lest my eyes be seared by a thick column of burning red light. The 6 modes provide plenty of illumination options – even including one that can be tolerated by other road users – and up to 100 hours of run time after a full charge. When it comes to rear lights, most of the time you strap them on and hope they’re doing their job. The difference here is that there is utterly no question that it can be seen. Last night every car that passed me provided a hugely wide berth (and I do mean every car). It was wonderfully reassuring.
Now I didn’t receive the Cygolite as a review item and there are plenty of bright lights out there. My point here is not to extoll the virtues of one piece of kit (as good as it is), but draw your attention to the benefit and importance of a really good rear light. To know that the car hurtling up behind you at 40 mph can plainly see you is truly confidence building. In the past I’ve actively avoided some country lanes due to my fears about being seen too late. This light has mitigated some of that. If you have concerns about your road visibility or know someone who needs a little encouragement to get them out in the dark or winter commuting, this is a great way to bolster their confidence and reduce their risk.
Cygolite Hotrod 50 is available from Cyclopaedia and other good cycling retailers.