Home > Gear, ultralight bicycle touring > Two Dual-Purpose Lights

Two Dual-Purpose Lights

Here are two great lights I’ve used touring.  I usually have one or the other with me anytime I’m out on my bike.  First, the Petzl Zipka Plus.  My wife and I own three of these compact headlamps, an older three bulb model I’ve had for years, and two of the newer four bulb versions. The Zipka has a retractable cord headband which miraculously disappears within an oval disc about the size of two stacked quarters.  On high mode this little wonder provides 50 lumens of light and also features a strobe mode, great for attracting the attention of on-coming drivers.  Mine fits neatly around a medium sized Topeak handlebar bag or can be wrapped around the handlebar itself.  It can also be used as a headlamp.

I picked up the compact Cat Eye OptiCube headlight from my local bike shop just before my last Blue Ridge Parkway tour.  I wanted a bit more light to help navigate the numerous tunnels on the Parkway.  I have the cheaper one bulb model, but still, it provided adequate light to avoid potholes in the tunnels.  This light mounts to handlebars, forks, helmet, just about anywhere on the bike.  It easily snaps off to become a compact hand-held flashlight.  Three continuous and one flashing mode, same as the Zipka.  Neither of these lights cast a usable night-time beam bright enough to ride after sunset.  Both of these lights are ‘to be seen’ more than ‘to see’ while on the bike, but both make excellent campsite lights bright enough for the darkest of nights and make good dual purpose lights for ultralight touring.  If I had to pick between the two, the Zipka, with its hands free operation wins out.


  1. theeverydaycyclist
    January 17, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Hey Jack, not sure if you saw my recent post on alternative lighting solutions. I’ve been using a Fenix E21 LED torch with bike mount for about a month, with much success – here’s a link to the post in question. http://theeverydaycyclist.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/alternative-bike-lighting/

  2. The Velo Hobo
    January 17, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    I like the bike mount! I also like the idea of using a flashlight, er tourch as a headlight. It’s great when things can pull double duty. I’ll look around a see if there is a similar mount on this side of the pond.

    Great post, jack

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