How It All Began
I am an engineer and an ‘ex-faller asleeper’ on the bus.
When I first moved to Melbourne four years ago, I caught public transport to and from work. I would be feeling so lifeless after barely doing anything all day that I would fall asleep on the bus on the way home. I was so disappointed that my energy levels were so low coming home as it was now my time of the day. I was sick of it and knew there had to be a better way of living.
My friends at work who cycled constantly asked me:
“Why don’t you try riding to work? Just give it a go! You will feel so much better and it is fun”.
Bicycle Network Australia’s national “Ride2Work Day” was coming up and I finally took their advice and set a goal to ride to work. First I needed a bike. I searched around on the internet and ended up buying a Malvern Star aluminium road bike for $220 on Gumtree. I caught the train out to the suburbs and exchanged my cash with the university student for the bike.
After riding to work a couple of times a week, I started to notice that on the days I was riding to work that I felt so much better. I had more energy after doing some exercise in the morning. I really looked forward to riding home, it became the best part of my working day. Riding my bike was fun. Way more fun than waiting for the bus. It made me feel like a kid again. I got to be outside and pedal my own way home. If I wanted to, I could stop off anywhere on the way home and catch-up with friends in the park, at a bar or in the city.
Since I was enjoying it so much, I decided to ride to work every day of the week. I saved the $40 I previously was spending on catching the bus and saved it to upgrade my bike. I even use my bike now to get everywhere on the weekends too! I was also happy that by cycling I was reducing my carbon footprint and living more sustainably. I am stoked that I can live in the city without adding another big metal box that exhales smoke to the tally.
Riding to work meant I got a little win over the corporate world.
I was happy that I had felt like I had got a little win over the corporate world. As ideally, I want to escape and live on my own terms.My passion is about living a healthy, active and a fun lifestyle. Being stuck in the corporate world completely crushes these dreams. I am so addicted to exploring the world. I know that I will live to my full potential.
It wasn’t long until I was hit on my bike.
It was a Thursday afternoon and I was leaving work on my bike as I now did everyday.
I started riding along the cycleway that I had ridden many times before……..and all of the sudden, I was smashed off my bike. Luckily, I had only fractured my little pinky!
I realised that cycling is the most dangerous thing I do every day.
I realised that riding my bike was the most dangerous thing I did everyday and it was not getting any safer. Every time I ride I am putting myself at risk of injury or death. I promised myself to ride as safely as possible.
My bike lights kept getting stolen
My bike lights were stolen meaning I was riding home invisibly in the dark. The car couldn’t see me and accidentally collected me as they were driving.
When I locked up my bike, I left the lights on because I didn’t want to carry them in my pockets as they are bulky and annoying. I convinced myself that I would only be a couple of hours and no one would steal them anyway.
Yes, if you do not ride a bike, it is common that bike lights get stolen. I have not figured out exactly why yet, whether there is a black market for bike lights or people use them on their own bikes. If you are a bike light thief please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I researched all of the bike lights available.
I did not understand why there was not a bike light that had been designed both functionally for the bike and also for where it lived the other half of its life, in my pocket. C’mon! It is 2020 and we carry supercomputers in our pockets everywhere!
I started to research all of the bike lights available on the internet. I checked Wiggle, Chain Reaction, Pushys, Cycling Tips, GCN’s YouTube channel, Kickstarter and IndieGoGo but I couldn’t find something that wouldn’t be stolen and was a high-quality light.
I decided not to buy cheap lights from eBay or Kmart as they only had a crappy little LED and were disposable. Yes, they would fit in my pocket but; 1. They looked shit on my beautiful bike and 2. They were only good at ticking the box so that legally I was using a bike light. I decided that they would only be good on my “train bike” (my shitty bike that I do not care about, that I only ride to the train station when I go to parties) as a backup.
While I was searching, I did find some “extreme” bike lights with additional technology including a camera, radar or bluetooth but found them a little excessive and definitely too bulky.
The best solution available still had issues.
The best solution I found was on Kickstarter, but there was still an issue. They used a special bolt to attach them to the bike (Torx). This was great because it deterred thieves from removing them but it also meant that they were annoying to remove when you had to charge them OR they used a disposable battery which meant it was an inferior level of brightness and was terrible for the environment.
I set out to create the FIRST bike light that was designed to be carried.
I decided to put what I had learnt at university in both my mechanical engineering and business degress to solve my own problem. So I set out to create the first bike light that was designed to be carried in your pocket. The dream was to make a bike light that was; 1. Easy to remove from the bike (for example with a magnet), 2. It would fit in your pocket without being annoying, 3. Have a reflector, 4. Be as bright as possible. The front and rear lights would clip together when removed from the bike and be charged through one USB port with a matching magnetic charging dock.
bunc. The first bike light that is designed to be carried.
I came up with bunc lights. A compact bike light that was easy to take off from the bike, that was compact to fit into your pocket and still have a reflector built in. I started using them myself, ditching my old lights. My friends started asking me what the lights I was using were. I told them about my idea and they asked if they could try them out. I ordered a couple of extra sets and sent them to them for free so that they could test them and provide feedback. They loved them, finding them really useful and told their friends about them too.
The end result is bunc! We have even helped out John and Teagan from JTTouring with their trip riding across the world!
I will never stop riding.
I am now less stressed out about riding home in the dark as I know that I am going to have bike lights on me. I am happy that I never have to buy bike lights again.
I ride my bike even more, to the shops, to see friends and to events even at night. I am fitter, I feel healthier and I am happier everyday. I have more fun with the people I love spending time with.
I am aware of the dangers of cycling but I take precautions as to not hold me back from doing what I want. I make the most of every situation and living my life how I want.
Now when I ride to catch-up with friends after work, I know that I will be able to ride home safely and I am excited to show off my new bunc bike lights!
My life is now more fun. I will never stop riding.