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Chariot bicycle trailer

We have a child trailer (like this--link has better side/rear view but requires flash) and want to be seen by cars when biking at night. The little red blinking bike lights available in our area are terrible: even the expensive ones break very easily, turn off after going over the slightest bump, etc. I am having a very hard time finding a product, by a company that ships to Canada, meeting all of the following requirements:

  1. has amber/yellow/orange-coloured lights (apparently the only legal all-direction light colour with which to decorate your vehicle)
  2. made of LEDs or other low-power lights, preferable in a strip or rope of some kind, minimum 2ft long (must stretch at least across the back of the trailer)
  3. meant for outdoors--lights and at least part of the wire going to the battery pack must be rain-proof
  4. operable down to, if not below, -10 degrees C
  5. powered by rechargeable batteries (e.g., one that uses AA batteries is not a bad choice)
  6. bright (we prefer to be seen from afar for 8 hours over being weakly lit for 80--so most battery-powered Christmas lights don't seem to fit this)

Also, the following would be very nice:

  1. already put-together (I found many sources of LED strip lighting but then we'd have to borrow a soldering iron and get our own battery pack and seal it ourselves)
  2. not cost-prohibitive (there are lots of places that have nice lights but even for a DIY solution, it's either 2 overpriced half-metres or the next level up is buying 5m which is way too much)...$40 plus shipping would be nice. I guess we could spend up to $80 after shipping but really...we're replacing dollar-store lights here.

I came so close to finding something, but the few options that fit all criteria were made by companies that did not ship to Canada (thanks for telling me only once I reached the checkout, and not allowing this as a search criterion even when logged in, Amazon...)

There's also the one product "exclusively licensed to Chariot", StrideLite:

StrideLite system for Chariot

...but apparently it's terrible, which you can pretty much tell just by looking at it. It doesn't light up the back at all, which is often the part you'll need to make more visible.

Any suggestions? This is getting frustrating, and I'm surprised at the lack of solid options I've come across so far.

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Amber lights are comparatively uncommon accessories for cycling. I wrapped my trailer in reflective red-white adhesive tape that I got from a truck stop. Tractor-trailers are regularly festooned with amber "Marker lamps". You might try a store that caters to commercial truckers. –  DC_CARR Jan 26 '11 at 23:48
    
Welcome to Bicycles, Kev. While shopping recommendations are now discouraged on SE sites, this isn't the only question we've gotten where the writer couldn't find parts in the land of the Northern Lights, so this may well be useful to others. I know you'd rather find something already assembled, but I suspect you may well end up adapting other lighting solutions. –  Neil Fein Jan 27 '11 at 4:16
    
    
Very exacting requirements. Peter White Cycles (in US, but ships to Canada) resells a number of powerful German lighting systems, perhaps they have something that's close. Probably nothing in amber, but some big tail lights at least. –  darkcanuck Jan 27 '11 at 5:00
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Holy smokes, Peter White Cycles has some NICE stuff...but really expensive! I guess you have to pay for quality...tempted to make the investment... –  Kev Jan 28 '11 at 19:06
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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I buy all my bike lights from http://www.dealextreme.com - they are in HongKong but have free postage to Canada.

You are just buying the same made in China stuff in the shops direct from the makers in China. Avoid the very cheapest stuff (destined for a Dollar store near you!) and check the reviews.

edit: specifically for your trailer you can't beat this superflash from mec

edit2: Lights switching off is normally a problem with the batteries not the switch. The flashing LED lights are microprocessor controlled and a fraction of second interuption in power resets the CPU. Check the batteries are a good contact, especially rechargeables which are a tiny bit shorter than Alkalines. You might have to bend the battery clips to make a good contact.

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It's true, I was disappointed to see MEC carrying all this stuff made overseas. Almost might as well buy direct if that's the only option. –  Kev Jan 28 '11 at 18:11
    
I went and got some of these emergency LED triangles and a AA NiMH battery charger. We'll see how it goes... –  Kev Jan 28 '11 at 20:45
    
I use 3 of those superflash lights for night riding –  darkcanuck Jan 29 '11 at 5:52
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I don't know about strip lighting, but can help with side lighting: REI ships to Canada, and they sell spoke lights. While they don't satisfy your requirement for rechargeable batteries, they are easy to install, come in Amber, and are waterproof.

These aren't as bright as, say, a Planet Bike Superflash -- which REI also sells -- but the motion of the turning wheels is a dead giveaway for bicycle.

While it wouldn't be an ideal solution, you could also use other LED lighting from REI until you get a more elegant system.

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MEC.ca is the Canadian equivalent of REI - pretty much the same stock. –  mgb Jan 27 '11 at 16:40
    
The planet bike superflash is the best small rear light, mec also sell it. It's much more noticeable than a rope light. –  mgb Jan 27 '11 at 16:46
    
I checked out MEC and REI, but if you read the top review for the Superflash (rei.com/product/756360#ReviewHeader), it's the same reason I'm trying to get away from that form of light. One swipe with the backpack, or bonk with the helmet visor after putting things in the trailer trunk, and the cheap plastic bracket brakes so easily. Also any bump you go over with these things turns them off. Maybe I need something with a solid on-off switch. –  Kev Jan 28 '11 at 18:06
    
Although, the cat-eye loop one might work if we can't find strip lighting. I wonder if the switch will turn off over bumps. –  Kev Jan 28 '11 at 18:10
    
+1 for REI link anyway. –  Kev Jan 28 '11 at 18:11
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