08 April 2010

This little light of mine

I think of cute determination on the rare occasions when I see a Brompton. With Harris Cyclery and Broadway Bicycles now selling them it's become a lot easier to welcome a Brompton into one's tiny Boston apartment.

So while today is (so far) merely a two Brompton day, on Monday I saw a record-shattering four Bromptons around town, meaning three that weren't my husbands!!! (for the record, I didn't see Sexy Brompton or Elton from Harris, so that means there are at least 6 Bromptons in Boston!)

Last spring I saw a wonderful Brompton tail light modification. We have now implemented a version of this ourselves. Here you can see the new Planet Bike blinkie mounted to his rear rack:

blinkie tail light BromptonThose two brass pieces are corner braces from the hardware store. I think a pack of four of them cost $2.50 but I could be off by as much as 50%. I just don't remember. They hold a Planet Bike Taillight Rack Bracket - you will need a set of screws and bolts (we conveniently had some, if you don't have some plan to buy these too).

The bracket is compatible with Blinky 3,5,7 and Superflash - had I known this I would have bought the Superflash, which is by far the best tail light ever.

Yes, the light is off-center. The holes were drilled into the rack slightly off-center. Don't know why.

side view tail light Brompton bike blinkie
Here you can see how the corner brackets and the rack bracket still keep the profile of the light within the Brompton's carrier wheels. This means that the light does not strike anything when the bike is folding and unfolding.

rear view of a BromptonHere the light is safely folded under. You can also see another light dangling from the seat. I cannot find this light anywhere on the web, but I know it's out there. We bought it at Harris but they don't list it. It's great for a Brompton because it is so flexible and not impeding the seat post.

three tail lights on a Brompton
In one weekend we went from one tail light to three. Three tail lights are probably overkill, but given the dangers of cycling Boston it makes me feel better to know that he's visible. The helmet-mounted light moves with his movements (including checking traffic where it can't be seen anymore), the seat-mounted light swings wildly with all movements, and the rack-mounted light is low, but constant, and that's good.

Finally, apropos these darling Bromptons, you must remember:
Ce n'est pas un petit vélo, c'est un vélo qui sait se faire petit.


Anonymous said...

From what I see in the picture, that dangling tail light looks like the cateye one that has the elastick-y cord and the magnetic on/off switch... I've seen people use it on the back of their helmets (strapped through the helmet vents).


Ben said...

Hi there

I always enjoy reading your blog from sleepy Shrewsbury UK but I especially enjoy any mention of my beloved Brompton. Keep posting.

I wonder if the dangly lights could be either of these, made by Cat-Eye



cycler said...

I've begun to covet a Brompton. I think it was admiring Elton's ride- the clear coat finish showing the brazes really works with the smaller bike (to me)
I also had the fun experience of watching Brompton Rep demonstrate the folding procedure to a couple buying a set of them, only to watch another rep go through the same schpiel a week later in Spanish in a bike shop in Barcelona....

This is a clever way to add a light- are there any limitations to light size to keep it from interfering with the fold?

Charlotte said...

Anonymous - you're completely right. It's a great light for this application!

Ben, yep - a CatEye. What do you use on your Brompton?

Cycler - Isn't Elton's wonderful? Did he show you his new cranks? I was so impressed. That wheel he built... well, someday. Next time I get to borrow the Brompton I will measure the space between the rack and the edge of the roller wheels.

Ben said...


I'm really disorganised with lights, I have 3 bikes so I try to make them interchangeable. I use an ordinary clip-on LED rear light which I clip to the rear saddle bag (in which the travel cover for the bike is usually stuffed).

I'd supply a picture but my Brompton is in the shop waiting for a service.

Sexy Brompton said...

You're right, Charlotte, three lights may be overkill, but at least two is an absolute must. On several occasions, I've had a taillight battery die mid-ride without knowing it until I reached my destination. It's good to have a backup.

Another great taillight is the Princeton Tec Swerve: http://www.princetontec.com/?q=node/124

It's VERY bright, has solid and blinking options, and easily attaches to my Brompton's seatpost.

I've been thinking about a helmet light. What light does your husband use for his helmet?

Anonymous said...

1st saw a Brompton in NYC just above Houston. Saw the little suitcase-like rollie wheels and had to ask. The elastomer shock intergrated into rear triangle is cool——my 5-yr-old niece has a push-bike (no pedals or cranks) with a similar feature.

p.s. Stumbled on to your blog via BNB page——glad you're a fan. :D