By National Geographic Adventure Contributing Editor Steve Casimiro, editor of The Adventure Life
Fall is the perfect season for just about anything outdoors—the gremlins are back in school, the air is cool—except for that bedeviling darkness that comes a little bit earlier every day. Bike lights keep the night at bay, and of course they’ve been around seemingly forever, but every year they get smaller and more powerful. A case in point is Light & Motion’s Vis 360, a compact little torch designed for commuting but with other applications as well.
It tipped my scale at just 135 grams/4 ounces, which is feathery enough that you don’t even notice it on your helmet, yet it pumps out up to 110 lumens, which is plenty of splash on the road ahead. Equally important, the Vis 360 has three bright flashing red lights in the back, plus two side amber lights on the front and two on the back. Should you choose to dance while wearing it, you’ll fit right in at a rave or Burning Man. Should you choose simply to wear it on your bike, there’s no way they won’t see you. 360 degrees is the truth.
Compact and bright as it is, the Vis 360 eliminates any excuses you have for not riding at night. Not only does it fit into any bag, it charges via USB, so you can repower it at work. And that light weight means it’s an ideal emergency light for mountain biking. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve ridden home in the dark, caught out on the trail because it was too delightfully perfect to stop, only to find myself lightless and far from the trailhead. The Vis 360 is brighter than most headlamps and designed to go on the helmet—pack it and forget it until you need it. The only improvement would be an option to turn off the rear lights to save battery life, but with a run time of 15 hours on low and two and a half on high, that’s just a quibble ($169, www.bikelights.com).