When I arrive at work, I lock my bike up safely with all the other happy looking bikes in a big storage unit. On multiple occasions, I’ve stopped on my way out to switch off a rear light that somebody has accidentally left on.
It’s very easy to arrive at work after a wet, cold or high intensity commute, and completely forget to switch your rear light off. This is a problem if nobody spots it, because come 6pm, it’s likely there will be no juice left in the battery.
As the seasons start to change, the light is gradually lingering longer. It was still light at almost 5pm on Friday. That means in a month or so, we’ll all soon be able to roll away from work with our bike lights off – but somewhere along the way home, it might dawn on us that we need to light up.
But what if you had a light that just came on when you were moving, and stopped when you did?
Blink/Steady are a Brooklyn based company who create lights which use a motion sensor to turn on and off automatically. They began as a Kickstarter project, and still manufacture in Brooklyn – they say they like to keep it local because this gives them “greater control over production” and insures “incredible attention to detail.” These guys are sincere – it is all about quality.
When the light senses movement, it turns on, when movement stops, it turns off after 30 seconds.
I hear you asking: “But will that plunge me into darkness at traffic lights?” – no – the light senses any movement, and I’d challenge you to stay stone still at the lights – I did try, and I certainly couldn’t. If you were worried about this, you need only give your handlebars a nudge.
The name, Blink/Steady comes from the fact you can control the mode by the orientation of the light – with the “Steady” graphic facing up, you get a solid light, and with “blink” facing the sky, you get a flashing light.
Another selling point of the light is that it is waterproof – and alongside that at only 60grams it’s very light, and very smart looking. This high quality, plush design is CNC’d (cut using a precise computer operated machine) from solid pieces of aluminium, no water is getting into it, and it comes in a beautifully presented box that makes me think of a strange hybrid between Apple and Rapha.
Another plus is that the light is fairly theftproof. The clamp slides over your seatpost, and then the light itself is attached via two tiny screws, you can use either standard screws, or torx screws, for which both a 2mm allen key and torx wrench are supplied. Of course, a thief may carry a 2mm allen key or torx wrench, and they may take out your seat post and slide the clamp off, but it’s a lot harder to do than the standard grab and run which most lights allow.
The light uses two AAA batteries which last apparently 200 hours on blink mode, or 80 on steady. Obviously I’ve not had a chance to test this, but I’m sure it’s the case, and a battery change would be very easy.
So – I’ve talked about all the beauty and convenience this light offers – it’s sleek design and impressive entrepreneurial technology.
What are the drawbacks?
A Blink/Steady will set you back £115. Up until partners Patterrn started stocking them in the UK, you had to order from the US, increasing the cost. This light is the first of its kind, and it will tickle the fancy of anyone who relishes clever design and ingenuity, but it is currently prices a lot higher than your standard blinker.
When spending over £100, I’d usually be looking for a bright light, in fact my 900 lumen “seeing” (eg, lights up the road) light set me back about that much – and it acts as a headlight. On the rear, I usually use an Exposure Flare, which has rechargeable batteries and is operated with a simple twist.
The Blink/Steady uses 5 watt LED lights, and the glare spreads out approximately 120 degrees – meaning though bright in the dark, it’s not incredibly striking, and there isn’t much, or any, side light to give visibility for cars turning our of junctions.
The Blink/Steady is an intelligent design, and it’s one of its kind. I enjoyed using it, and I liked knowing my light was on constantly, in day light, and in the dark, and that I had no need to ever tell it what to do. However, on dark commutes, I did use my Exposure, as well – for extra visibility.
Though stunning, the pricing is very high for a light that I was effectively using as a supplementary safety net. I would love a Blink/Steady to have and to keep, but this attractive piece of technological art would be the sort of item I would only buy if money were not really a consideration.
You can buy a Blink/Steady here. If you like lights that do something a bit different, check out our post “5 Unusual Bike Lights” and if you just want a set to get you home, check out “5 of the best selling bike lights”.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.