There was a time when people would have laughed at you for conflating the telephone, camera, watch and calendar into one Swiss army knife of an appliance, but then the iPhone hit and it all made sense. Which is how many of you who ride might feel about the latest, greatest bit of engineering designed to help you reduce your mass and increase your safety: the glow-in-the-dark bike.
Because presently, depending on where you ride and when, you’re stuck with reflectors, red lights from the rear, white lights from the front, halogen beams, reflectorized vests, helmets, ankle bands — all designed to keep you, the rider, visible — and therefore safe —from four-wheeling lunatics in cars.
It’s so highly reflectorized that it picks up and throws back even the most minor of ambient nighttime lights.
And this is not alarmist thinking. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association released a report last year stating that bicycle fatalities were on the rise, reversing a trend that had seen them fall for about two decades. And not only were 48,000 American cyclists injured in collisions, 30 percent of the fatalities associated with cycling happened between 4 and 8 o’clock at night.
Which is to say you need not be a product engineer to guess that visibility is an issue worth tackling.
So in the spirit of glow-in-the-dark tattoos, glow-in-the-dark condoms, glow-in-the-dark contact lenses and more delightfully glowing things to buy, companies like Pure Fix Cycles, AeroFix Cycles and Mission Bicycle Company have set about building bikes that might cause even blind folks to request that the lights be turned down. Though Mission’s Lumen bike is technically not glow-in-the-dark, it’s so highly reflectorized that it picks up and throws back even the most minor of ambient nighttime lights. For anywhere between $766 and $1,849.
Pricey, but what’s the exact market value of your life?
Well, the folks at Pure Fix have successfully convinced us it’s about $399, which is the price of their Zulu, a pure glow-in-the-dark, fixed-gear bike that with about an hour of sun will glow away for your nighttime sojurns hither and yon. And the glow-in-the-dark bikes from AeroFix are about $50 cheaper yet.
And that’s just for the boring safety stuff. For the pure erotic thrill of pulling up to wherever you’re going, glowing in the dark and swinging your legs off of a ghostly night rider? Priceless. At least until everyone else has one.
“I don’t have a driver’s license for a reason,” said New York City resident and bike messenger Gary Baldwin. “Because I can get everywhere without a car here. But being able to get there in one piece is the issue. Glowing like a Christmas tree? Would probably make it more likely that my bike is stolen. But that’s a lot better than dying.”
Why you should care
Because it’s more true than not: You can never get enough of things that glow in the dark.