I don't get depressed easily but there is one thing that is sure to cause me to despair - a trip down the holiday isle in a store. I try to avoid them, but some stores have turned to the gift store methodology and it is impossible to check out without passing through this isle of horrors. You know the one, the isle filled with plastic doodads, sugar treats, yard ornaments, and freaky looking holiday "mascots."
It's depressing to me because holidays have been co-opted and branded by corporations. A hundred years from now I think it's a safe bet that every day of the year will be holiday of some sort, and corporations will try to sell us cheap doodads to celebrate. When I first saw this cartoon years ago it immediately became one of my favorites.
Reader Assen momentarily quelled my cynicism with a great submission of a holiday isle product bike hack. Safety on the roads is important and Assen took a Halloween isle product and modified it for bike use. All text and pictures below are credited to Assen.
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I found a set of 12 flashing lights at the local Big Lots store and thought it would be a good way to make me more visible, what with daylight savings time soon coming to a close. $15 a set is the current price. Hopefully that'll drop after Halloween so that I can get a few more to play with.
My crate came from the local market $5 (which is what they have to pay the supplier). I easily removed the individual LEDs from the reflectors, drilled holes in the crate, inserted the lights and tested the effect.
Originally I had 6 in the back and 3 each on the left and right sides. I modified that to 2 per side, to include the front. I cleaned up the wire mess inside the crate by clipping and re-soldering each wire run to the next light in order to minimize floppy wires. Had I soldered a tail to each bulb and then connect to a main run, it would have gone easier than carefully combining two wires per contact for all but the end lights. After scuffing the inside of the crate with a palm sander, I then tacked down/insulated/waterproofed it all with my favorite all-around tool - Goop.
The controller (which has Off/Sensor/On switch settings) I mounted inside the crate, closest to my right hand. I sliced a stick off of a plastic pipe, screwed one end to the switch, made a groove for a guide screw, and put it all into a sleeve made from a motorcycle inner tube.
I usually leave it in the Sensor mode, which is vibration sensitive. That way, if I forget to turn it on, it usually is already flashing by the time I think of it.
I forgot to mention that the first thing I did was to rip into the controller and stop the spooky laughter soundtrack by disconnecting the speaker.
Works like a charm, garnering many positive comments - meaning I have achieved my goal of being more visible.