Aug. 21, 2012 at 3:51 PM ET
Los Angeles-based Pure Fix Cycles has produced what they claim is the first glow-in-the-dark bike. That may be a slight exaggeration, but it's probably the first one that you might actually want to buy.
Any urban biker will tell you that visibility is probably the most important safety consideration when riding at night. Bright LED front and rear lights, reflectors on your spokes, and bright clothing are essential for any nocturnal cyclist.
So why not a glowing bike? It turns out some have tried; Puma put out a glowing foldable bike in 2008, but its cramped frame and $1,600 price tag made it impractical for most riders. Others have made attempts using powered lights or by simply buying a jar of glowing or phosphorescent paint. But Pure Fix's Kilo Glow seems to be the first affordable, simple, passively glowing bike to be made available.
The coating is the same stuff that makes watch hands glow, and it fades after an equivalent time — about an hour, says Pure Fix. That doesn't help much if the sun goes down at 7 and you're on the road at 10. But leaving it under a street lamp should at least make it just lambent enough to help warn unwary pedestrians and drivers during a 20-minute ride home.
What sets the Kilo apart from other glow-bikes isn't the coating, which has been around for decades, but that it's affordable and fairly practical. At $399 it's on par with other street bikes and commuters, and it comes with a fun "flip-flop" rear hub that lets you switch between fixed gear and freewheel modes.
You can order one with or without the usual accoutrements at Pure Fix's store.
Devin Coldewey is acontributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website iscoldewey.cc.