A couple weeks ago we shared a story from one of our talks with Victor, a beta tester who has been using his Lumos beta helmet since January as part of our beta test program. All in all the beta test ran with about 60 people primarily in the United States, but we also had beta testers in the UK, Germany, Austria, Finland, and Singapore. The beta testing period officially ended at the end of January, but many beta testers have continued using their beta units on their daily bike commute.
We interviewed a number of them to chat about their experience with their Lumos beta unit. What follows is a condensed version of an interview we had with Robert, one of our beta testers from Santa Rosa, Northern California. We hope you enjoy reading his story!
LH: Hey Robert, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. You have already been sharing great feedback, comments and thoughts in the beta testers group, which we really appreciate. Could you introduce yourself to everyone who doesn’t know you?
Robert: Sure, My name is Robert, and I live in Northern California, in Santa Rosa. Northern California has pretty good weather which allows me to ride all year round. I actually bike to work every day rain or shine since we are a one car family. Originally I’m from Germany where I lived near Stuttgart and also near Cologne. I have been in the States since 2001 now. Both in the States and in Germany I commuted by bicycle apart from just 3 years when I lived far from work and needed a car for the commute.
LH: I am sure everyone is happy to meet you! You actually joined our beta tester group through our social media competition. Why did you decide to apply and how has the experience been for you?
Robert: The beta test has been a very nice experience. I think that you guys tried to lower our expectations for the beta helmet, but from the very start I felt that the helmet had a very decent quality. I especially like the turn signals and the added visibility. From the day I got the helmet, I have worn it every day. I have gotten very good responses also from other people. Naturally there are also some issues in beta units which still needed to be fixed for the final production.
I joined the Kickstarter project basically to get a new cool helmet. I was very tempted to join the beta test because I really wanted the helmet as soon as possible so I could use it during the winter when it is darker early in the morning and late in the afternoon. This was actually the first time that I joined a competition on Facebook and I really enjoyed it and even got my friends to vote for me so that I could be a beta tester.
LH: You mentioned that you bike to work every day at the moment. What is the commute like and how does the Lumos Helmet help you?
Robert: My typical bike ride is 3 miles or around 5 kilometers. The mornings are tough since the ride is all uphill but in the afternoon it is all downhill back home. Typically I leave the house around 6am and from around October to April it is dark during the mornings and bit more rainy. During this time visibility is not so great.
The commute is mainly suburban so I don’t need to ride on big roads. There aren’t always streetlights turned on but the traffic isn’t too bad during the mornings so it is OK. In the afternoon the traffic is bit more heavy.
I feel that before I used the helmet cars would sometimes drive very close to me and squeeze past me even in places where there was very limited space. Now when using the Lumos Helmet I feel that cars sometimes stay behind me a bit longer and tend to pass me while leaving more room between me and the car. Maybe this is out of curiosity as they might want to see what helmet I am wearing, I don’t know, but I feel that I am definitely more visible on the road.
LH: How about the helmet features? What do you like the most?
Robert: The battery life of the helmet is very good as I can make it last for around 9 days when using the flashing mode, so one charge gets me through almost 2 working weeks. I feel that the lights are on a good level not being too bright but giving you good visibility. My favourite part is the turn signals which I use the most. I have mounted the turn signal buttons so that I can use them with my index finger like a trigger. I have noticed that the brake light triggers very easily, so I do sometimes get the brake light turning on even when not braking.
LH: Have people said anything when they see you and the helmet?
Robert: Other cyclists, pedestrians and drivers comment on my outfit often since I am usually lit up like a christmas tree, but I have heard people comment on the helmet too as it is probably the only one they have seen here. A colleague of mine once commented on the helmet lights which he saw when driving behind me. Overall my colleagues have been quite interested in the helmet saying it is a good idea and even a couple of them have ordered their own after seeing the beta helmet and the kickstarter project.
LH: That is so great. Thank you for the referrals! Do you feel any different when you ride with the Lumos Helmet compared to riding previously?
Robert: As a helmet it is quite like a regular helmet and that is good for safety already, but it does increase the visibility which adds to the safety. Also what I like about it is that when I am approaching a turn and while turning after I have given my hand signal I can keep my hands on the brakes and handlebars which makes turning a lot safer. Actually, now after taking part in the beta test group, I have bought 3 helmets for when the shipping starts, so we will have enough helmets for the whole family to share.
LH: That is so awesome. We really appreciate your entire family supporting us! Final question from us: Would you recommend others to get a Lumos Helmet?
Robert: It kind of depends on whether I would be recommending the beta helmet or the final version. The key functionality especially with respect to the lights and turn signals worked great. But if I got this (the beta helmet) as the final production unit I would probably have been disappointed since there were still issues that needed refining for example with the brake light and fit. If the beta helmet would not have been developed further, I think I would have been careful to recommend it since it still had some flaws as mentioned. But as I have learnt from you guys, these issues have now been fixed, so in that case I would be happy to recommend it. I surely can't wait to get mine!
LH: We really appreciate the honesty and we agree. The beta units still had some issues and areas that needed improvement. We took the feedback from all the beta testers really seriously and with that feedback was able to fix the problems and make the final helmet really great. We can't wait to get it to you! Do you have anything further you would like to share to other cyclists and Lumos followers?
Robert: I really recommend commuting by bicycle as it is a great separator between work and home with fresh air to clear out the brain, a workout, and cheaper than other means of transportation to boot.
As with many things there are pros and cons but as appropriate clothing takes care of bad weather, good safety gear including the Lumos alleviate bad visibility and thus reduces associated risks.
LH: Robert, Thanks so much for your time. It has been a pleasure speaking to you and hearing about your experience so far. Ride safe! We look forward to providing the final production units of the Lumos Helmet to you soon!