How to Turn Any Flashlight into a Bike Light

Fixed-gear IRO Commuter - 2010

If you’re an avid cyclist, you probably see lights as a necessary nuisance. Clearly, your two-wheeled ride must be outfitted with bright, impossible-to-ignore lights; otherwise you risk a nasty (and potentially deadly) run-in with a car. However, since most affordable bike lights are cheaply made battery hogs, bikers abhor the fact that they must replace their lights and batteries so frequently. Well, no more! There is a different option: strapping an LED flashlight or two to your bike’s handlebars.

With this approach, you can use any LED flashlight as your bike light. Now, that’s convenient—and extremely visible to drivers. Plus, LED flashlights last longer and are more battery-efficient than other types of bike lights. There are a few different ways to mount an LED light for bicycles:

1. Add a zip tie or duct tape to an old bike mount.

If you’re handy, you can alter a reflector mount to hold an LED flashlight instead. This will take a bit of finagling on your part. First, unscrew the mount and remove the reflector. Finally, use duct tape, rubber bands or any other handy adhesive to connect the flashlight to the handlebar mount, and voila! It may not win any beauty contests, but you’ve got yourself a usable LED light for bicycles.

2. Buy a special flashlight mount.

For a more polished, reliable system, pick up a bike flashlight holder. I’ve been biking around with an LED flashlight on my front handlebars for months now, and this is the route I took. My flashlight holder is made by Two Fish, and I have been thrilled with it. I especially like that the Two Fish Unlimited Flashlight Holder can accommodate LED flashlights of nearly any size. And the inclusion of Velcro makes this flashlight bike mount secure and steady. Since each flashlight holder is about $10, this is a low-cost solution (assuming you already have an LED flashlight on hand).

3. Buy a pre-assembled flashlight/mount kit.

The easiest solution of all may be to purchase an LED flashlight that includes a bicycle mount. The difference between this and a typical bicycle light is that with the flashlight, it’s easy to use your light once you step off your bike. One option from the COAST shop: the G15 LED flashlight, which includes a removable clip. With a lightweight aluminum casing, this light will withstand bumpy roads and keep on shining.
Bikers don’t have to spend tons of money to stay safe and illuminated. With an inexpensive mount, you can even add two LED flashlights to your ride and be as clearly seen as any automobile. One concluding tip: If you have the chance, I recommend opting for one LED flashlight that has a strobe mode, such as the HP17TAC from COAST. The dream flashlight setup would be to have one flashing light to catch the attention of drivers and one solid beam light to illuminate your way.


[ Photo by: vicandwilliam, on Flickr, via CC License ]

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