I have had a hub dynamo lighting system on my day-to-day bike for several years now, and I would never go back.  The lights are always there on the bike – I don’t have to fiddle around with brackets and batteries. I don’t have to take them off when I park up; well I can’t anyway, but it seems other people can’t either – or they can’t be bothered.   I just get on my bike and ride, simples!

I’m thinking of putting a similar system on my touring bike, possibly using slightly smarter lighter kit. I have discovered that the friction produced by the hub dynamo is so small that I don’t even notice it.  Another thing I like about my lights is that they are very bright – I can ride along a totally dark road and see it lit up in front of me quite clearly; not a dim pool of light a few feet in front of the bike, but fifty feet of road clear and sharp; and I don’t even have the brightest clearest front light.  When I’m riding in town in traffic, I know the lamp is very visible, as I have seen my wife’s one coming from quite a distance.

People ask me how much they cost, and yes, they are not cheap – nothing good is.  But by the time one has lost, had stolen or broken three sets of battery lights, the outlay doesn’t seem so extravagant.

So I have decided to set up in business retro-fitting dynamo lighting systems to Manchester peoples’ bikes. (And of course, further afield)

As far as expertise goes, I have been repairing bikes for 30 years or more. I worked at Bicycle Doctor in Rusholme for nearly 30 years.  During that time I built a lot of wheels. I’ve done a rough calculation and it comes out at over a thousand, so I have confidence in my abilities.  I have Cytech level 2 certification in Bicycle Mechanics.  I haven’t lost touch with my skills since leaving BD six years ago – I have continued to do bike repairs and have a fairly fully equipped workshop.

I have access to SP dynamo hubs, which are light strong and powerful. I can also get hubs from Shimano and Sturmey-Archer.  I build with Ryde rims, (formerly Rigida) and Sapim spokes.  The lamps I prefer are Busch & Muller, which have the Standlight facility, by which a capacitor stores enough charge to keep the lights on for up to a minute for when the bike is stationary. I’m also quite taken with Supernova lamps which are reassuringly dear.

When I get better at doing the blog thing, (any help gratefully received ), I’ll put up pictures and weblinks, but in the meantime, if you are interested in having a hub dynamo lighting system built and fitted to your bike, please get in touch via my email, raikes@gmail.com

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