Wednesday, November 23, 2011

go free, little lights!

Yesterday I left work after dark with a fresh set of lights.  I was 100% ready to hog-tie yet another dark-invisible bicyclist, brand him or her with some lighting, and then release him/her to peacefully rejoin the herd. 

I have discovered a few things:

1.  I do not like the idea of stopping a young bicyclist.  I'm afraid they'll call the police.

2.  I am resentful that these Palo Alto parents (who I promise you are awash in money) do not outfit their children's expensive bicycles with lights.

3.  There are not a lot of female bicyclists.

4.  I bicycle against the general flow of 2-wheel traffic, ie when I head towards Mountain View others are heading towards Menlo Park and vice versa.

On Bryant I finally gave up on finding a light-less bicyclist that I could catch up to and instead called to a bicyclist heading in the opposite direction.  I got his attention and then I stopped and got off my own bicycle.  This is bicycle-speak for  "help, help!"

The bicyclist stopped and hesitantly came over.

me (briskly) "you have no lights."
him (German accent) "ummmm."
me (getting out lights) "ok, this one goes on the front" (then I demonstrate how to rubber band it around)
him "ummmm, ok" (puts light on)
me "and this one on the back"
him "I think one is enough?"
me "absolutely not.  you don't know American drivers."
him "but I'm not American"
me (patiently) "I'm an American.  That's how I know you need two lights."
him "well, thank-you.  how much do I owe you?"
me (chummily now that I have what I want) "oh no charge.  It's a gift."

....and then I rode away.

Seriously, if you haven't tried this giving away lights thing, you should.  It's crazy fun. 


  1. I'm going to give it a try. Because it is a fact that I own too many lights, so setting some free to do good work sounds right and fun.

  2. @John Romeo Alpha: It makes me super happy to hear this. I am coming to think of us bicyclists as a very large extended family. In any really large family you have criminals, meth addicts, and people with minimal intellectual capacity but we should still look after each other ;-) As soon as I am over this flu I got a fresh set to give away...