Daytime Running Lights On Bikes: "The Volvo Effect!"

Running lights are becoming more common on cars; first it was Volvo, but now they are everywhere. Is there a benefit to adopting daylight running lights for bikes though? The short answer for me, is YES, definitely!

With the invention of high-quality, compact, USB chargeable lights, there is very little hassle or cost of running lights every time you ride your bike. Very little cost, and a significant list of benefits...
  • Don't leave your visibility to chance: It is dawn and fairly low light conditions, but there is probably enough light to see where you are going. So, you risk it, you ride without lights. Because it will get lighter, right? Yes, but in that 30 minutes when there are still significant shadows around, your visibility is dramatically reduced. Getting into the habit of using running lights all the time will ensure this is never a risk that you might take.
  • Out of the shadows: Even in the middle of summer there are shadows around; wooded descents, shady junctions, dark underpasses. You might be lulled into a false sense of security, thinking that you're highly visible in bright sunshine, but if you aren't seen in the shadows you are placing yourself at risk.
  • Getting into the habit: There are always an unnerving number of cycle related accidents when the clocks change in Autumn, and it suddenly becomes a lot darker in the evenings. If you're new to riding and haven't got in the habit of using lights, then the sudden darkness can take you by surprise. Be prepared.
So, the benefits are significant; with the overarching message being safety. High visibility clothing is one thing, but without good lights you still put yourself at risk. The birth of USB chargeable, high-powered, long-life, compact lights has made day time running lights far more feasible and more cost effective. So, what is my product of choice to keep on my bike for ride after ride after ride?...

Review: The Lezyne Macro/Micro Drive Set

The Lezyne Macro Drive Front and Micro Drive Rear Set is a do-it-all set of lights, which you really could keep on your bike all year round.

So what makes these lights so suitable for using time and time again?

First, there is the way that the lights mount to the bike. The brackets fit to the handlebars and seatpost with robust rubber bands, making them suitable for almost any size of seatpost or handlebar. The brackets themselves are easily removable without tools, but most of the time you don't even need to remove them; you just click the lights into place on the brackets. This mounting solution is great for an "every ride" friendly light - you can click them in and out, time and time again, without damaging the lights or mounts.

Second, there is the charging solution. The Macro/Micro Drive lights charge via USB, either plugged into a computer or mains adapter. The set will charge in just a little over 3 hours, and once you're in the habit, they can just be charged up with your computer at the same time as you charge/upload your GPS ride data.

Third, there is the build quality. Lezyne are renowned for their superb machining, attention to detail and frankly stunning looks. The Macro/Micro Drive set is spot on-trend; a beautiful compact light set that is built to last. The tough CNC barrel, the waterproof seals, and the strong composite mount all show that Lezyne have made this as an investment that will be used for many seasons.

Fourth, there is the lighting. Some might be tempted to say "running lights - I'll use some tiny cheap ones"; but for me, running lights should have the ability to be used as riding lights as well, if they are to truly be "all purpose". The Macro drive front light pumps out an impressive 350 lumens on Overdrive; easily enough to light up the trail or road when the darkness takes you by surprise. The Micro rear drive will give a serious 70 lumens on "daytime" mode, ensuring that even in bright sunshine it is still a significant visibility aid. Both front and rear are also designed so that they have 180 degree visibility; helping to increase your presence to traffic coming at you front the sides. All bases covered.

Fifth and finally, there is the size. The Macro Drive front light is slightly larger than you might think a "running light" should be; but as highlighted above it is worth the larger size because this packs a serious punch! In fact, the Macro Drive sits very neatly on your handlebars; slot it in close to the stem and the slim design has a barely noticeable presence. The Micro Drive Rear is almost non-existent in presence; it's slim looks and compact length mean it will sit on your seatpost without marring the looks or performance of your bike one bit. These great looking lights add a touch of compact class then, rather than being a hindrance.

To wrap up, the Lezyne Macro Drive front light and the Micro Drive rear light are two essentials that I no longer leave home without. Just as my Garmin 510 has become as much a piece of my bike's componentry as an "optional accessory", so too has this set of lights. Keep your visibility high, your riding safe, and look the part with a bit of Californian design on every ride.


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