I love cycling, and happily cycled all over London, much to my husband’s dismay (he’s a hater, whatcha gonna do?) However, when we moved to the countryside, I started cycling less often because I didn’t feel as safe on the roads here. I know that sounds crazy as lots of people would never get on a bike in London. However, the roads out here are much faster (much of London has a 20MPH limit, and lots of traffic jams!), darker, and have fewer cyclists, so drivers are not necessarily looking out for bikes.
Really wanting to get back to cycling, I upgraded my struggling single speed to a hybrid with a sh*tload of gears, bought a reflective bag and jacket, and sought out roads that I would feel comfortable on. Then a company called Cycl got in touch to discuss their bike indicators (or ‘WingLights’ as they call them). I remembered having seen them on Dragons Den (I’m a BIG fan) a while back. Their product looked really cool, and a totally new concept, but also provided an added layer of safety. They offered to send me a set of their Pop Winglights in return for an honest review, so I jumped at the chance!
I was pretty excited when they arrived. Then – let me be totally honest with you – they sat on my desk for a few months before I installed them. This was primarily because it was summer, and so I simply didn’t end up riding my bike in the dark! However, I also had a few reservations about the product. Let me share them with you now:
- Installation: I love my bike, and I also like buying accessories and tools for it, but I’m not actually very good at doing any work on it. I don’t even repair my own punctures, and I nearly took my bike to the shop today because I couldn’t inflate my tyres! I saw that I needed to install these WingLights inside the handlebars, and thought it sounded like a bit of a faff. I was worried that my handlebars, which have bar ends to lean on, wouldn’t work with these lights as I couldn’t picture where they would fit!
- Ease of use: My husband regularly points out that I’m not actually a very good cyclist… I’ve had several accidents over the years, including one where I rode straight into a parked car, another where I sliced my hand open on a rusty wing mirror when I misjudged the distance between a van and the kerb, and yet another where I rode over a pothole, automatically lunged for the contents of my basket, which had flown into the air, and landed face first on the busy Euston Road. I was worried that the act of clicking these WingLights on and off had the potential to throw me off balance or more generally be a distraction.
- Visibility: Although I don’t have a particularly wide frame, I wondered whether cars behind me would really be able to see the indicators around my body!
Spoiler alert: I was wrong about all of those things.
Here’s what actually happened:
Installation: When I finally got around to installing the WingLights, the ends of my handlebars just popped out easily (I levered them with a flat screwdriver, but a butter knife would have worked just as well). Next, I realised that the WingLights were way too narrow for the holes in my handlebars, and fell straight back out again. I checked the pack instructions, which directed me to a video on the Cycl website, showing me how to twist the lights so they got fatter and fatter until – like magic – they were wide enough for the hole! In they popped, and that was it; job done in under 5 minutes.
It’s also worth noting that you can pop them out again really easily, e.g. if you’re leaving your bike in a public place. I did that today, and it was less faff than taking my other lights off.
Ease of use: You do have to click the lights to turn them on and off (they don’t turn off automatically like car indicators), but you only need to apply light pressure, and it takes no time at all. I certainly didn’t feel like they were taking my attention off the road, or causing me to lose balance on my bike in the slightest. They sit right next to where your hand is anyway, so it’s a tiny movement to click them on and off, a bit like changing gear.
Visibility: I asked my bike-hating husband to stand behind me while I cycled away to check the visibility of the WingLights. He said, and I quote: “They’re really visible. Better than a car!” Praise indeed..! Before trying them out, I had also worried that it would not be clear to cars that the WingLights were indicators rather than flashing front lights. However, now that I’ve seen them in action, it’s really obvious that they are indicators. They are orange for a start (and I’ve never seen an orange front light!), they’re only flashing on one side at a time, and they are very much on the side of the bike, rather than pointing forwards. I think I would always stick my hand out too, just to make doubly sure that other vehicles understand that I’m turning, but I do think the WingLights are fairly clear in this respect.
Finally, one tiny negative point: the lights click on when I lean my bike up against a wall, which I do a lot, as you can tell from my scratched handlebars in the photo below! That’s probably the only thing I didn’t like so much, but it’s hardly the end of the world, and, like I said above, you can take the lights out really easily, so you don’t have to lean them against the wall.
While these are not going to change your cycling behaviour drastically, as you’ll still need to stick your hand out before turning a corner, they add an additional layer of safety and visibility, which is never a bad thing! They’re super easy to install and use, and provide a clear signal to other vehicles. At £19.99, they’re not a big purchase, and would make a lovely gift for a cyclist.
If you would like to buy a set of Cycl WingLights Pop, for the next month you can get 10% off on their website with code BOSSLIKEAMUM10, taking them down to £18. You can also use this code on the WingLights Fixed model, and the magnetic version when it’s back in stock.
Please note that I am not receiving payment for this review, or any subsequent sales of this product. I did receive the bike lights as a gift, but the review is honest, and the views are entirely my own.