I’ve had this cool device for more than a year, so I guess I’d better write something about how cool it is. Usually when you combine one thing with another you get the worst of both worlds. Like when you combine a car with an airplane, you get a slow, googy car and a heavy and slow airplane. By contrast, the Fly6 is a great rear tail light blinky, and a great video camera.
The light function has various light levels and patterns, including a bright, blinking, big red LED, and other smaller LEDs in moving patterns. When you turn the light on, and video camera is automatically on. It has a 6 hour run time on video memory, then it begins overwriting what is on the card, so you never have to download the video if you don’t want. It is rechargable, and runs for about 5 or 6 hours, more if you put the LEDs at lower light intensities. The video quality is excellent. It sells for $169, and I see that its available at REI. Their website at www.cycliq.com has more information on their products, which now includes the Fly12, a front facing video camera combined with a 400 lumen head light.
Why do you need a video camera when riding your bike? To get no hassle video footage of your ride, in case you want to make a ride video of scenery and friends. Another reason is to have a video record of hostile or homicidal drivers. I’ve had beer cans thrown at me from passing cars, and other cyclists have had worse incidents. Those incidents are usually not resolved, because you don’t have time to get a license number, and its just your word against theirs. A video changes the game. An example was when a cyclist was attacked by a motorist, who then called the police on the cyclist. When the cops saw the video, they arrested the motorist for battery. The Cycliq site has a bunch of videos taken by their customers which are very interesting. I feel naked without the Fly6 watching my back, and I’m going to get the Fly12 also.
I recently had a chance to try out the TinyCharger5, by roadiesolar.com. The TinyCharger5 is a lightweight solar panel that has more surface area than a lot of other solar panels for travelers, and its very lightweight. I used it in conjunction with a soundlogic XT power cell (battery pack), and the solar panel charged the battery pack, and the battery pack kept my cell phone charged for a multiday bike trip plus two weeks at home.
The TinyCharger5 is 8″ by 11.75″, with the solar cells mounted on a card that appears to be weather resistant if not weather proof. The solar cells are covered by a plastic sheet which appears to be heat fused to the plastic card. It is 0.10″ thick, about as thick as a credit card, and weighs 4.2 oz.The solar panels have eyelets at each corner which would be used to secure the TinyCharger5 to a backpack or bike, or to hang it from a nail. I don’t see the TinyCharger5 on their website, but the Featherweight5 looks very similar and is $14.95.
I would get into camp on the bike ride in the early afternoon, set up my tent, and position the solar panel facing the sun. It would get about 4-5 hours of direct sunlight, and put a fair charge on the power cell. The power cell had enough juice to charge my cell phone twice. When I got home, I kept up the charging routine for two weeks, and kept my phone charge for 2 weeks with no connection to wall current. I was totally impressed with it. See www.roadiesolar.com for ordering information on the TinyCharger5. The bike ride provided phone charging services, for $5 per charge! I got two charges per day for free.
The soundlogic XT power cell is also very cool. I got it at Bed Bath and Beyond, and its available on Amazon. It has 2 usb ports, and an input jack that goes to the solar panel with a usb plugin in the back of the solar panel. The power cell has a power level display that is 4 LEDs, which show when you press a button, or when the solar panel is connected. The power cell weighs 5.0 oz, and the connecting cable weighs 0.5 oz, and similar units are on Amazon for around $12. It is 5200 mA, and one usb port is 2100 mA and the other is 1000 mA. This panel is great for cyclists on a road trip, backpackers, boaters, or anyone who has some devices to keep charged. I got a usb battery charger for my camera and flashlight, so I can keep everything charged in the field or when the zombie apocalypse knocks out the power grid.