What is the deal with bike lights? They're super necessary and, almost across the board, a total pain in the arse. Can a rechargeable pair that's permanently mounted to your ride alleviate some of the bummers, like being a total theft target and perennially burnt out batteries? As it turns out—yes! Yes they can.
Sparse is a San Francisco-based company with a super cool Fixed Light System. These slim blinkers slide onto the headset and seat-post, so once they're on there—they're really on there.
This is great news for dopes like me who never learn and continue to buy crummy rubber pairs that get swiped immediately when I, inevitably, forget to take them off at my destination—or lose energy for good when I do remember but am S.O.L. when I realise they've subsequently turned on and their juice has drained like crazy while inside of my bag. Plus, at 200 and 100 lumens (respectively) they're strong enough to light your way, but their shape is discrete enough that they're not screaming out to would-be thieves.
So, you don't have to remember to take them off your ride—that's good! But you do have to charge them—that's… less convenient, but not bad. The process is pretty dang straightforward; they come with two six-foot-long USB cables that plug straight into a wall socket. That's it! There's even a UK charger option on the company's store. They run for about four to eight hours (depending on whether they're blinking or not), which seems like a pretty standard week's worth of commuting.
I've had the chance to try a set out for a few weeks, and since I live (and work) in a super small flat and park my bike in the hall, it's totally not a problem for me to power up. At $140 (£83.30) for the duo (in white or black), consider it a solid investment. Don't forget to add on $7.50 (£4.50) for international shipping to the UK. And c'mon—who hasn't spent that much on countless sub-par versions over the years? [Sparse]