Lighting the Way

Lights on your bicycle perform two functions.

  1. Making it easier for people to see you
  2. Making it easier for you to see where you are going
Most people seem to use LED lights on flash for being seen. LED lights work well on flash. Some other technologies really shorten the bulb life when you run them on flash. LEDs do not have this problem and actually use less power while in flash mode. To help cars and others notice me on my commute I use a Planet Bike 1 Blaze Watt in flash mode on the front of my bike and a rear facing Planet Bike Superflash on my seat post. But I have read that a flashing light makes it hard to judge how close you are, so I also run a steady red light on the back of my rack, a Trek Flare 7. Along with various reflective clothing and reflective sidewall tires, this makes me stand out pretty well.
My route often requires enough light for me to see where I am going. I am using a MagicShine 900. It is not as bright as a car headlight but it is close. A charge lasts about 3 hours. At this time of year I need it about 2 hours a day, so I charge it every night. When the days are longer I can get by several days or even all week.
Speaking of batteries, I use rechargeable AA or AAA as appropriate in the Planet Bike lights. The Trek light puts out good light with rechargeable  AAAs but the electronics don’t work right. So I am having to use alkalines in it. Still they last for months, so that is not too bad.
So I have two lights on the front and two on the back. That also gives me redundancy, so that if I have a battery issue, I at least have something to finish the ride.
What are your favorite lights and how do you use them?