A tenner for bright lights that will fit in your wallet

This article was published in 2009, in Newsletter 87.

Following the recent ‘Have you seen the light?’ campaign by the police, Martin Lucas-Smith gives a personal recommendation of the Raleigh LED light set.

I don’t normally get enthused about anything even vaguely related to cycle hardware – I’m strictly a ‘this bike gets me from A to B’ person – but I’ve been very impressed with the Raleigh LED light set. In fact, I think they should be strongly promoted to city cyclists who tend to make short trips, but who don’t have lights or tend to ‘forget’ to bring them. They avoid many of the problems that I’ve certainly experienced over the years with other lights.

For about £10, you get a pair of small lights, one red and one white, that are sufficiently small to fit in a wallet, so are ‘going-out-friendly’ – none of the bulkiness of other types. However, they are fantastically bright, particularly the white front light. In fact, I’ve found it so distractingly bright in either of the two flashing modes on a dark night that putting it into non-flashing mode is sometimes necessary!

Bike lights

Raleigh LED light set.Key benefits – showing why they are especially suitable for students and about-town cyclists:

  • Small enough to fit in a wallet
  • No fitting required – and very quick to mount
  • Cheap: only £10 for the pair
  • Bright (almost distractingly so!)
  • Durable and reliable
  • Batteries seem to last for ages

The other key benefit, apart from their size, is the ingenious built-in elastic strap, which means no need to add any fittings to the bike itself. Mounting them on the bike takes literally a few seconds – put the white light on the handlebar, stretch the strap all the way round the handlebar, then loop it over the notch towards the front of the light. Thus, it simply hooks into place. To take it off, hold the light and unhook from the notch, then put in your wallet or pocket. What’s more, the elastic strap shows no sign of breaking after six months.

The packet they come in describes them as a ‘great source of additional visibility’, but for the more casual, in-town cyclist they should be perfectly usable as a main light, with both always-on and flashing (with at least one bulb always on) modes.

Each contains two button batteries (included), which have lasted me for six months of usage. That is mainly going to work and back and going into town – so not the kind of thing that would work for someone cycling further afield. But for students and others who make perhaps ten-minute trips twice a day (or rather, night) they are ideal.

They are available from some local bike shops but probably not as cheaply as from Amazon (www.amazon.co.uk/Raleigh-Led-Micro-Light-Set/dp/B001HW2PPI) where you can pick up this set up for a tenner. Maplins also have something similar for under £10.

Martin Lucas-Smith