As a cyclist in London, there are real pros and cons to using my bike to get around the city. On the plus side, it’s quicker than the tube, yet on some mornings, it feels like I’m taking my life in my hands cycling alongside buses and traffic on my commute.
Garmin Varia Rearview Cycling Radar and Tail Light: was £169 now £129 @ Amazon
This clever little light currently has £40 off in the Black Friday sales. While it does feel like a lot of money to spend on a bike light (you can pick some up in Evans for a tenner), the peace of mind it offers when it picks up cars behind you is fantastic. There’s also plenty of clever little features, like a Peloton mode, which dims the light slightly if you’re cycling with someone else, or in a pack of cyclists travelling home at 6 p.m. This is a great deal for any cyclist, or if you’re shopping for a cyclist this Christmas.
The Garmin Varia light can be connected to your Garmin bike computer, the Garmin app on your smartphone, or some Garmin watches, and it provides graphics, as well as tone and vibration alerts when cars are behind you.
There are no ifs or buts, even with £40 off, this is still a lot to spend on a bike light, yet the safety features and the reassurance the Garmin Varia offers are second to none. The light is seriously bright, and the flash pattern on the light changes as a car approaches, so you know it is there. The battery life is also pretty impressive — the light will last up to 16 hours in day flash mode, or up to six hours in solid mode.
Another brilliant feature is that the light can be paired with a number of different devices. I’ve tried it with my Garmin bike computer — the Edge 830, the app on my phone, and even my Garmin Fenix 6 Pro watch, although it was a little fiddly trying to look at my watch on the move.
Although I’ve done most of my cycling with the Garmin Varia in the city, the light comes into its own on the country lanes, where the traffic isn’t as heavy, but the cars seem to be moving a lot faster. I often find when I’m not in London, I’ll quickly fall out of the habit of checking over my shoulder, so the light alerting me when cars are up to 140 meters behind me, and coming up fast, was handy. The Varia can alert you to multiple cars and shows the car's proximity and how fast they are approaching.
It’s a brilliant cycling light, with multiple pairing options and a number of stand-out safety features that definitely make me feel safer when cycling. Now is a great time to buy, especially if you’re planning on cycling your commute during the winter months.