Lighting the Way with Busch + Müller and Peter White Cycles

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhining and Complaining – We all know how hard it is to see some people on bicycles from the rear at night or in gloomy weather unless they have adequate lighting. In fact, if one were to choose between a front light over a proper rear taillight, safety would suggest the latter.

Why then do not all non-racing/fast road/mountain bicycles have built-in lighting?

In the USA, most bicycles – regardless of style or brand – require searching out both a tail and headlight or switching these from other bicycles. These lights depend on a variety of mounting techniques, not all of which are good or are not good in certain applications. In the case of headlights, each mounting or re-mounting then requires adjustment to ensure that it is aimed for best effect in terms of both visibility to oncoming traffic and in lighting the roadway.

Since dynamos are typically also not found on bicycles sold in the USA (at least since the UK dropped its line of upright bicycles with “Dynohubs”), we are all stuck in large part with replacing or recharging all those batteries on a regular basis. Even with a retrofitted/add-on generator, the difficulty or impossibility of having internal wiring and an integrated off/on switch means that the install will also be less that aesthetically pleasing.

The Issue – If one wants to fit her bicycle with lights that (1) are always there and (2) won’t disappear while having that croissant and coffee, the only recourse seems to be to modify an existing, off-the-shelf light(s). Here is a Planet Bike light fitted with a semi-theft proof bolt to mount on a Tubus Logo Evo rear rack.

One Solution – After a little Googling around for a more professional option for the Tubus Logo Evo rack, up pops Peter White Cycles. This small New Hampshire firm specializes in dynamo lighting but also offers battery powered lights for those who do not want to have a wheel rebuilt with a dynamo hub. “Bicycle Quarterly” has featured Peter White Cycles but with an emphasis on their hub generators.

Success – Sure enough, Peter White offers two Busch + Müller bolt-on, battery-powered rear lights with 50 mm spacing to exactly fit the Tubus Logo Evo’s pre-drilled holes – the Toplight Line. B&M Tail LIght for Tubus 10-30-17 (4)These lights conform to Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland) bicycle regulations. Founded in 1925, Busch + Müller is in Meinerzhagen (population of 20,000 and about 71 km west-northwest of Cologne).

 

This light comes in two formats as follows:

  • Toplight Line Permanent – spreads light from two LEDs across the width of the taillight and uses a single AA battery. It has a simple “On/Off” switch ($ 40.00).
  • Toplight Line Senso – which is the same as the “Permanent” but with a three position “On/Off/Senso” switch. “Senso” activates light and motion sensors. When the bike is moving and it is dark, the light is automatically switched “On.” When you stop, the light stays on for a few minutes. As long as you do not move again, it switches off and stays “off” ($ 46.00).

Features – For the extra $6+ shipping, let us see what the Senso offers.Frist, Peter White Cycles makes buying a pleasure. They do not accept internet orders – it is all by telephone with a knowledgeable and pleasant human. (One can use email and checks, but why not enjoy the human interaction?)

The B+M light comes with (almost – see below) everything you need: the light, a single AA battery, mounting nuts and lock washers, a locking machine screw for the battery compartment, and a T-2 wrench* for this screw. Oh – and there are instructions of sorts. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The key difference with the Senso (over the “Permanent”) is the special mode that (1) comes on when the light detects motion, (2) stays on if he light detects darkness, or (3) goes “off” after 4 minutes if there is (a) no motion or (b) no darkness. Presumably, one could leave this light in the Senso mode all the time, thereby ensuring that the light will always be on when the bicycle is moving and it is dark. (ED: Not tested yet.)

The Battery Lock – The instruction state that the aforementioned machine screw can be used for “Theft protected locking of the battery compartment.” Since it’s difficult to imagine thieves prowling about stealing batteries from bicycle lights, the better use for this feature is to install the screw (with the provided T-20 wrench) to keep the battery compartment securely closed. Since this compartment is on the bottom of the light and if one were not to secure properly the clip-in compartment cover, it is feasible that the cover would be lost – followed soon enough by the battery. The minor downside is the need to carry a T-20 wrench – which is also needed for the Tubus Logo Evo mounting screws so it is already in the tool kit.

Installation – Since the Toplight Line is made to fit the 50 mm spread of the predrilled holes in the Tubus Logo Evo rack, installation is simple. A little “Threadlocker,” and it is on. HOWEVER and surprisingly, the provided M-5 standard hex nuts are unsightly. A trip to the land of the orange aprons was required to get proper cap nuts ($0.72) – see photo for comparison.

Does It Blink? – Nope. In Germany, the road traffic regulations, Straßenverkehrszulassungsordnung (StVZO), dictate bicycle requirements. Every bicycle on public ways, for both children and grownups, is supposed to follow these rules. Most bicycles have required accessories already in place including proper lights. (You can buy a bicycle without everything, and some people ride bikes that do not conform, but in the event of an accident, the rider is likely at least partly responsible.)

Lighting requirements are a white headlight and a red rear light ready for use at any time. A single switch must control both the headlight and rear light. The lights must be able to be powered by a dynamo backup, though they can use batteries in addition (as a stand light for example). At the most, one may add a single additional battery powered rear light. More battery-powered lamps are not permitted, including blinking ones or ones on the helmet or body.

If you are committed to a rear blinky but want the carefree luxury of a B&M Toplight Line, stick a back-up blinker on there somewhere (but do not ride in Germany).


*Torx, developed in 1967 by Camcar Textron, is the trademark for a screw head with a 6-point star-shaped pattern. Popular generic name for the drive is “star,” as in “star screwdriver” or “star bits.” The official International Organization for Standardization (ISO) name is “10664,” “hexalobular internal.”

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Toward Better Connections in Troy

An enthusiastic audience came to the interesting Tech Valley Center of Gravity facility to learn all about the big plans to build new bicycle routes and to connect up those that already exist.

The City of Troy, the Capital District Transportation Committee, and Parks & Trails NY held a public meeting on 11/8/17 to give an overview of the “Troy Trail Connections Plan.”  Mayor Madden opened the meeting with a statement of commitment by the city to move forward as rapidly as possible to make Troy a bike-able city.  The project director from CDTC wisely provided a brief overview of the nature of her organization and its mission in Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady counties – something that is a mystery to many.   We then got down to business with a presentation by the Executive Director and Project Leader from PTNY.

To comment on the plan, go to – http://troytrailconnections.weebly.com/draft-plan.html

Those who were on this Fall’s Collar City Ramble will recall the “pop up” bicycle facilities planned and installed by PTNY and the city.  (We should also recall he Mayor and Mrs. Madden road the Ramble – a good example for other local officials.)

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Engaged!

 

 

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Presenting the BIG Plan

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Filed under Activisim, Bike Lanes, City Review, Transport Troy

Cranksgiving 11/18/17

Link – https://www.facebook.com/events/128978647873699/

This ride is a lot of fun – don’t miss it!

See mesg from Jay, your leader, and sign up info below.

Cranksgiving 11-18-17

YOU MUST REGISTER deerintheheadlights@rocketmail.com

Tis that time of year again! Racing/riding our bikes to have fun and do something good for our community. Here is the ad copy for Cranksgiving, featured below. Can I have lots of RSVP’s and can you help me spread the word by posting Cranksgiving XI anywhere fellow riders may see it. There will be manifest and maps, take home spoke cards and goodies from J and Stacy to say thanks for playing!! Thank you all for considering to come out and playing. Details are below!

Here is the info on Cranksgiving! Please feel free to forward this to everyone who might be interested. Thank you. This is the official media write up.

About “A charity race for freedom from want”. Saturday November 18th @ 7pm.

Need more incentive? More information? This is the eleventh Albany Cranksgiving (obviously with the XI). So, even more the reason to make it out this weekend! This “event” 100% DIRECTLY benefits the Homeless Action Network of Albany.

How does it work? You meet other like minded cyclists that want to give back & help the community. You get a manifest (a small shopping list). Every cyclist gets a different manifest. Some will be riding to the same grocery store, but for different items. You lock your bike. Find and purchase the items from the list. Then ride to the next store for other items on your manifest (keep your receipts so we know you didn’t do a one-stop-shop). And even if you do – your UCI license will not get pulled! Continue this until thoroughly cooked! Think of it as speed-grocery-shopping by bike. Some people ride fast, and can’t shop. Or get stuck behind a dozen people buying cases of beer (my excuse for being slow). Point being, there’s no points. There’s only one winner, and that’s the people HAC help. That warm feeling you get as you’re loading a volunteer’s car full of food? That’s second place, which means you still podium-ed! YEAH YOU! Your mom will be proud! And you can tell her you made new friends too! And your non-riding significant other won’t be mad, because you’re helping others, even though you’re out “riding around”. Awesome!

“How can I play?!” Easy, meet at the monument in Washington Park (by Henry Johnson & State) at 6:30pm. Manifests will be handed out. Depart at 7:00 pm. IT’S FREE! But you’ll be purchasing about $20 of groceries. Plus any money for food and drinks afterwards – you did burn some calories! It should last about two hours, so check with your parents on the curfew thing, AND DRESS WARM! Remember what mom says about fingers & toes & your head.

What else? Your bike (obviously). $20 in cash or plastic. A bag/backpack to carry everything. A lock, unless you like walking back with bags of groceries. Lights/blinkies, helmet, and COMMON SENSE are ALWAYS recommended. And a caring attitude and a sense of fun help. No UCI officials. No entry fee.. You can have bar ends. Any tire width is legal. No governing body. We’re gonna ride bikes and feed people, and have fun doing it!

Need more incentive?

  1. Buy more than what’s on your manifest & impress everyone with your hauling abilities….
  2. Show up late, and still beat people with a 15-20 minute lead… seems to happen each year.
  3. Hope that J and Stacy show up with a big bag of goodies, and you ride home with something you didn’t realize you wanted (bonus!). Goodies guaranteed!
  4. Super cool spoke card to give your bike that extra flair!
  5. Finish a good night of riding with some hot pizza & a well deserved beverage.
  6. Do something new! Easy enough.

Pre-registration via email to J at Deerintheheadlights@rocketmail.com is encouraged for planning purposes. Dear god help me make a better guess at how many of these spoke cards I gotta make.

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Bike the Branches Ride in Living Color

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Heading Out from Arbor Hill ~ 9/16/17

 

 

 

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The Big Sweep


 

 

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Waiting for the Riders

At Delaware Branch …

 

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The Full Ride Assembles at Delaware Branch

 

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On the Hackett Blvd. Path

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Lots of Families

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Determination

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Albany’s Finest

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The Finish at Pine Hills

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Trusty Escorts from APD

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A Beautiful Day in Albany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Activisim, BikeShare, Local Bike Rides, Rides

ABC Lights Up the Energy Fair

Renewable Energy & Sustainable Living Fair – Sat, 10/28

10 AM – 4 PM, Doane Stuart School

Energy 2017 - PROGRAMAlbany Bicycle Coalition members Margaret, Theo, Ed, and Rob lit up the Energy Fair with a display of ABC products and accomplishments augmented by information from Parks & Trails New York on the Erie Canalway Trail and on the new Albany-Hudson Electric Trail. The display (see photo) included a live demo of the BikeAlbanyMap. Serval visitors to our booth expressed appreciation for the work of the Coalition – always nice to hear.

By 11:00 AM, the exhibit, activity, and presentation areas were full with an energetic and engaged audience. The Fair featured an electric vehicle show, a tour of Doane Stuart’s green roof, exhibitors and displays for solar, wind and geothermal energy, net-zero building and insulation, solar phone chargers, LED bulbs and other energy efficiency products and services. There was a Radix Ecological Sustainability Center exhibit on composting, and others on community gardens, bicycling initiatives, bees/pesticide use, Earth-friendly and sustainably sourced products, and crafts.

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Links of interest:

 

 

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Filed under Activisim, Earth Day