A few months ago I had a test drive on a recumbent bicycle and was instantly hooked. Suffice it to say that a few months later I am the proud owner of one myself. Being the cautious cyclist I am, my top priority especially on a recumbent is visibility. The bike is quite low, my head is around 1m of height, for me coming from an upright that’s low. Therefore visibility means adding a bikeflag. The one I went for is quite big and reflective. Nevertheless I’d still prefer some active visibility. The shop I ordered the flag from also has flaglights but basically it’s three LEDs for 70€. Knowing the material cost must be in the one-digit euros I found it hard to go for it. Especially since it is designed for bike dynamo operation requiring extra weight and extra money to be put into the bike as well. I planned on using battery operated lights already in my possesion so I don’t need dynamo equipement or cabling.
Long story short: I over-engineered the whole thing and now I want to show it off. My choice of LEDs are 4cm long chip on board bar-shaped LEDs. I got one white and one red so I would be visible both from front and back. Both are 300mA versions so I can connect them in series. Because the voltage regulator promised PWM brightness regulation so I added a controls to the handlebar to remote control brightness and allow for blinking. The LEDs are glued to a hand-milled aluminum carrier and covered by transparent heat-shrink tubing against the weather. The control electronics are also covered by heat-shrink tubing. The switch should be weatherproof given that it’s one meant for motorcycle use. Power is supplied by a weatherproof box with four 18650 lithium batteries. Remember that the pictures below are taken in daylight — When it is dark the light is pretty bright and the movement of the flags makes it even more visible.
Nevertheless I tend to drive way more defensive on the recumbent than on the upright. I wonder whether it’s more safe than the upright due to my defensive driving or still more dangerous because it’s so low.