See.Sense ACE bike lights

I have a thing for bicycle lights. I’ve got multiple sets, many of which were acquired through various Kickstarter campaigns. The See.Sense ACE lights are one such set.

I joined the See.Sense ACE Kickstarter campaign as soon as it launched back in October 2017, and managed to secure the Super Early Bird price of £40 for the set. If you want to buy them now, they cost £79.99 on the See.Sense website, so I got a good deal. However I did have to wait a year for them to arrive!

These are the second set of See.Sense lights that I’ve bought. I also have the ICON lights (another Kickstarter purchase) so you could say I’m a fan of the brand.

I like the fact that See.Sense push the boundaries of what a bike light can be. Sure you can turn them on and off with a push-button like other bike lights, but they are also bluetooth-connected to an app on your phone for more granular control, and to enable advanced features like crash and theft notifications.

The lights react automatically to changing road conditions, and flash brighter and faster in situations when you need to be more visible.

Personally I like to pair the ACE lights along with another set of bike lights. The first set of lights are set to constant beam, and help me see the road ahead (potholes and other debris), and the ACE lights do their flashing thing to help me be seen by other road users.

I don’t mind having two sets of lights on the go. They’re all USB rechargeable, so it doesn’t cost me anything to use them (especially if I recharge them at work). And I would rather light up my bike like a Christmas tree than dress like a clown in high-vis gear!

See.Sense ACE bike light

I’m still experimenting with the ideal positioning location for the ACE lights. At the moment I have the rear one mounted just about the reflector on my rack.

I’m not sure whether the lights are meant to be vertically or horizontally mounted. The See.Sense website says that they provide 200 degrees of side visibility, but I’m not sure if that’s from all angles. In their promo video they have people using them both ways, so maybe you can use them equally both ways. At the moment the vertical mount seems to work best for me.

The only slight downside is that the flashing of the front light is visible in my peripheral vision, and can be distracting at night. The ICON lights were provided with a black rubber band that you could use to eliminate this distraction – albeit narrowing your visibility to others in the process. There’s no similar band provided with the ACE lights, so I may need to improvise something with a bit of black electrical tape.

I’m also using the lights for day and night cycling. I like the idea that I have highly visible at all times, regardless of the time of day – and these light are certainly bright enough to catch people’s attention even in the middle of the day.

Here’s a short video of the flashing in the bike park at work, to give you an idea of the brightness and speed of flashing.

See.Sense ACE bike light flashing

If there was one improvement I’d like to see, it would be to have a more solid and permanent mounting system. My other bike lights are permanently mounted on the bike and have special proprietary anti-theft bolts to make sure they can’t be stolen. The ACE lights, in comparison are mounted using a rubber band – and I have to remember to remove them from the bike every time to make sure they aren’t stolen!

The problem with Grand Canal cycle path traffic lights

The segregated cycle path along Grand Canal is an example of the kind of cycling infrastructure that we should have all over the city.

It’s clearly a very popular resource, especially during the rush hours, with thousands of bikes passing every hour – mostly with people heading to and from the Grand Canal Dock area. It gets so busy that as many as 50 bikes bunch up to wait at each phase of the traffic lights crossing the arterial roads such as Charlemont Street and Baggot Street.

Unfortunately the traffic light sequences just aren’t long enough for the sheer volume of cyclists. The bike-specific green light only lasts for a few seconds – enough time for maybe 10 bikes to get through. And so cyclists are routinely setting off to cross the roads as soon as the pedestrian lights go green (ahead of the bicycle green light), which obviously leads to some contention with pedestrians trying to cross at the same time.

Most of the cyclists are respectful of the pedestrians, and wait for them to cross first, but there are a small minority of cyclists that act in a way that can appear selfish or dangerous to pedestrians.

On top of this there are also vehicles, waiting at the traffic lights, that sometimes block the junctions where people are trying to cross – leading to more contention between pedestrians and cyclists being squeezed into a small space between cars.

The answer to this would seem to be to adjust the bicycle-specific traffic lights along this route to allow a lot more time for bikes to get through – even if that's just for weekday rush hours. And also, to keep junctions free of vehicles, I would suggest that yellow boxes should be extended to include the crossing areas.

By doing this, we can make this route a safer and more pleasant environment for both pedestrians and cyclists, who vastly outnumber those in cars, and enhance this popular commuting route.

Flood Cycles

Have you noticed, with all the coverage on TV and online about the flooding in the UK and Ireland, that there’s loads of pictures of people out on bicycles? It’s almost as if the media considers them the best form of transport for when a flood strikes…

Floods in UK: Travel disrupted as storms head north

Floods in UK: Travel disrupted as storms head north

Houses are 'expected to flood'

Houses are ‘expected to flood’

UK flooding - in pictures

UK flooding – in pictures

First ride of 2012

This morning I had my first cycle ride of the new year, and I feel fantastic. I had forgotten how invigorating it is to ride to work, and how much more alert and energetic I feel afterwards.

I live so near to work now that I’ve slipped into the habit of leaving the bike at home most days. When you add in all the time it takes to walk to the bike shed and unlock, and then re-lock at the other end, a bike ride only really saves me a couple of minutes. And the bonus when I walk is that I can listen to music – which is much too dangerous a practice when cycling on the Dublin roads!

However, I really must make the effort to use the bike more. I used to ride it every day, come rain or shine, but that’s fallen to about two days a week now.

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