Wednesday, April 30, 2008

No More...Bike Light?

I've got a problem.

I haven't mentioned this before, but I'm a big fan of biking and make it a point to bike 10 miles round-trip each day to work for most of the year. Apart from all of the mean drivers and smog, it's great fun, and I really enjoy getting some exercise instead of driving a polar-bear-killing car or using the somewhat unpredictable Chicago trains.

In case you're wondering, I always wear a helmet and use bike lights because riding around on my bicicleta in Chicago tends to make me, and probably most bikers, feel like my life is precariously balancing just on the edge of some horrible and violent death. Obviously, taking every measure of caution possible is a good idea.

Here's where my problem comes in. The other day, I was trying to open up one of my oh-so-necessary bike lights to check out what was going on with my batteries, and I broke the plastic mechanism for clasping the light onto my vehicle of choice. Crapola!!

And on top of that, the batteries turned out to be dead. Eh! Double crapola!!

So now I might need to buy a new bike light, which will surely be made of plastic and come packaged in plastic, or figure out how to somehow attach my light to me or my bike some other way. And I also need to buy batteries, which will definitely come wrapped in the shiny stuff. This stinks.


ashley said... could duct tape it on but that involves plastic (plus it doesn't look too chic) You could also buy rechargeable batteries. My hubby once tried the light that is supposed to charge as you pedal. It was a big disappointment. They make such great LED wind up or shake flashlights nowadays someone needs to build a good eco-friendly bike light!

Fix said...

Lash it on with some string/wire? It's already pretty busted...if the experiment fails, you're not much further behind than you were before. For the batteries, my best guess would be to buy a bunch and put the rest in the fridge/freezer for next year. That way your packaging per battery won't be so great.

Be careful, though. Plastic can be good for some safety, for example. And some hospital stuff.

LifeLessPlastic said...

Thanks for the comments Ashley and Senorita Fix! I'm going to try my best to figure out a way to just attach my bike light to the bag I use everyday. That would be a nice way to get around things. Maybe I can even tape a diaper pin onto it so that I can remove it when I need to. Anyways, it's true that safety is worth the plastic. There ain't no way I'm biking around Chicago without a light all the time, and of course, biking is so good for the environment that it's worth purchasing some batteries, I would say.

Joe said...

I was going to suggest using some velcro, but that probably falls under the plastic envelope.
But if you're usually wearing the same bag or coat, you might be able to pin or stitch the light to that.

Duncan Drennan said...

How about trying to use a cable tie? It is unfortunately plastic though...

In terms of batteries, I've been using rechargeable ones for a while now, and it really is much cheaper (and better). The rechargeable alkaline ones are probably cheaper and will do the trick.

Anonymous said...

you could try finding a "new" one on craiglist or freecycle.
Or you could make a new case out of wood? pretty crazy, but it might work

Jen said...

I think you could rig something up to lash the light onto the bike.

What about some rechargeable batteries to offset the plastic consumption some? I think that would reduce future plastic consumption too.

The Minimalist said...

How about a solar bike lamp? I don't know how it is packaged but I found one here:

Riding your bike should count for off setting a bit of plastic. :)

P.S. Vote for new packaging of Emergen-C on my site.

Wild Orchids for Trotsky said...

I'm not sure if this is the same as what Ashley (earlier commenter) found to be a disappointing light, but I use and like a dynamo which runs off the rotation of your bike wheels. It does add a little extra effort pedaling, but not much, and my guess is Chicago is fairly flat, so maybe it would work well there, as it does here in Amsterdam. I'd recommend a dynamo which transmits the electrical current through actual wires, though, because my first dynamo used the frame of the bike itself for one direction of the current, and it was quite unreliable. The one I have now works very well, though - almost everyone in the Netherlands uses this kind.

badhuman said...

Apparently in the UK you can purchase good wind up bike lights but I have never seen them here. I use a light with a rechargeable battery. It's a bit more bulky but it works well and I don't need to buy new batteries for a very very long time.

Another option is a zip tie. It would involve less plastic then duct tape and you wouldn't block to much light to attach it.

Going Crunchy said...

Ooh, great ideas! I was going to suggest used, but seems like everybody is on track with that.

I have figured out that I can bike to the local grocery store, but will be using sidewalks. Biking in suburbia in Chicagoland just truly creeps me out. The drivers are heinous as it is much less on a bike.

Kudos to your brave soul!!! I think we should DEMAND bike paths everywhere. That has alot to do with why more people don't bike 'round these parts. Shannon