11

I work as a delivery man on a bicycle, so I often ride my bike after dark with a black pizza box attached. My rear light attaches to my seatpost, and is completely useless when the pizza box is there.

Are there any lights designed to attach to the pizza box, which has not many obvious features except for a clasp, or is there some good way of mounting a standard light to the box itself?

  • 4
    How is the pizza box "attached"? Is it on a rack? There are many lights that attach to racks. There are also lights for mudguards. For a useful answer, it would help if you can describe in more detail how you carry the pizza box on your bike. – Stephan Matthiesen Sep 23 '15 at 14:30
  • 4
    A picture of the pizza box on your bike might also help in answering your question. – Glenn Stevens Sep 23 '15 at 14:41
  • 4
    Pizza questions are best questions. – Batman Sep 23 '15 at 15:19
  • 1
    I've modified a cheap rear light to screw onto the rack of one of my bikes. (basically snapped some of the clip off and drilled a pilot hole in what was left. Other cheap lights will fit a rack even more easily. Nearly all the lights in my LBS, certainly all the moderately-priced ones, are seat post only (with a strap or O-ring). Ebay or pound shops and then it doesn't matter too much if you stuff up the modification. – Chris H Sep 23 '15 at 15:33
  • 3
    Not sure if it covers legal responsibilities everywhere, but a clip-on light on your backpack or jacket can be highly visible to drivers. – goldilocks Sep 23 '15 at 18:40
17

One possibility is to mount the tail light on your bike's seat stays. As an example here are a couple pictures of my preferred tail light (the cygolite hotshot) mounted to the seat stay of a cross bike:

Rear shot of seat post mounted cygolite hotshot

side shot of seat post mounted cyrgolite hotshot

There are a bunch of options out there for this sort of mounting, from lights specifically designed to be mounted on a seat stay to ones that come with seat stay mounts in addition to the normal seat post mount.

A few things you want to keep in mind when choosing/using a seat post mounted tail light:

  1. Make sure the light's mount has enough adjustability so you'll be able to correctly aim it.
  2. Make sure the light's mount will fit properly on your bike's seat stay. For instance, the seat stay mount for the cygolite hotshot I use won't fit on the extra skinny seat stays on either of my road bikes but fits fine on my hybrid and CX bikes.
  3. When mounting the light, make sure it is extra secure, you don't want to risk the light getting knocked into the bike's wheel because it was installed too loose.

Another possibility is a rack mounted light. Again like the seat stay mounted tail lights, there are lights specifically designed for rack mounting as well as mounts for that allow other tail lights to be used with racks. In the example of the cygolite tail light I use, there is an optional rack mount available, although I was actually able to adapt an old rear reflector mount to serve in this capacity.

  • I would advise against mounting rear lights on seat stays: from certain angles, the light is obscured by the tyre. If you do mount the light on a seat stay, make sure it's on the side away from the kerb so it's always visible to motorists who are behind you on a straight road. – David Richerby Sep 23 '15 at 19:30
  • 5
    Or put one on both sides of the bike which is what I see some people do. – Glenn Stevens Sep 23 '15 at 21:35
  • There's also a risk of it rotating into the wheel's spokes. Hopefully it rotates right around and doesn't catch a spoke. – Criggie Oct 2 '16 at 5:27
9

As Stephan Matthiesen notes in the comments, if your pizza box is mounted on a standard bicycle rack, there are rear lights that attach to the rack and should be visible even with the box on the rack. Or you could do as Glenn Stevens suggests in his answer, and get a light that attaches to the seat stays of your bike.

If you really want to attach a light to the pizza box itself (and don't just want to glue or bolt it in place — I assume the pizza place might complain about that), you might want to consider a red clip-on light, or perhaps a little magnetic light like these.* These are meant to attach to clothing or to saddle bags, but there's a good chance that either or both of those might also attach to the clasp on the pizza box, if it's metallic and/or has some kind of a handle you could clip the light to.

Or, if you like the idea of a magnetic light, but the ones sold for joggers feel too small, you could probably make one yourself by supergluing a couple of neodymium magnets to a basic cheap tail light (possibly after hacksawing any extra bits out of the way).

Those products also suggest yet another alternative solution: instead of attaching the light to either the box or the bike, attach it to yourself. Besides the clothing-mounted options mentioned above, there are also rear lights that attach to your helmet.* I assume your pizza box isn't so big that it would obscure that.

Also, remember that for safety, reflectors are just as important as lights, if not more so. You should be able to find some reflective safety tape or stickers that you can attach to either your bike or (if the pizza shop permits it) to the pizza box. Also consider wearing high-visibility clothing, or a reflective vest over your normal clothes. Wheel and/or pedal reflectors are also highly advisable for urban night riding — they might look "dorky" to some, but their distinctive motion instantly screams "bicycle!" to any driver whose headlights you may find yourself in.

*) The linked products are random search results from Amazon for illustrative purposes. You local bike store, or even a well stocked supermarket, will likely have something similar.

  • 1
    I would advise against mounting any kind of a light on a helmet. If your lights are on your helmet, they become invisible every time your turn your head, which will be very often if you're actually paying attention to your surroundings. Lights on clothing also work badly because they end up pointing in random directions, either dazzling people or throwing most of their light onto the ground, into the air, at the sidewalk, ... – David Richerby Sep 23 '15 at 19:33
  • 2
    @DavidRicherby: I'd hope any good helmet-mounted taillight should be reasonably omnidirectional (i.e. also visible to the sides). How often do you turn your head by more than 90° while riding? (I know I rarely if ever do, especially since I have a mirror on my bike to let me see what's behind me.) – Ilmari Karonen Sep 23 '15 at 19:41
  • 2
    A light high on the helmet is a great spot. – paparazzo Sep 23 '15 at 19:42
  • You shouldn't need expensive solutions. Personally I've simply fastened my lights to my helmet with duct tape. It has worked great for many years. – Gruber Sep 24 '15 at 7:35
  • 1
    Here's another helmet mounted option. (I'm not affiliated in any way with that site). – SQB Sep 24 '15 at 7:59
2

Reflective tape is the way to go if you have a big surface area. I'm not going to link to a product because it is easy enough to find.

  • 2
    Reflective tape does work very well but carrying a light is likely to be a legal requirement. – David Richerby Sep 23 '15 at 20:01
  • 3
    Having both a light and a reflector is a legal requirement in the uk when cycling after dark – Matt Wilko Sep 24 '15 at 8:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.