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Home » Cycling » The Garmin Varia Radar Tail Light… Why I Won’t Leave Home Without Mine.

The Garmin Varia Radar Tail Light… Why I Won’t Leave Home Without Mine.

August 2019
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I’m a firm believer in “safety in numbers” when it comes to cycling. First, a double pace-line with 24 cyclists is a little hard to miss. Second, a motorist has to get into the opposite lane to pass – there’s no squeezing by a double pace-line.

Riding solo is a different ballgame altogether.

Rather than use this time to give you yet another review on an excellent product, I thought I would take a minute to pass along how I use mine – it’s a little unorthodox.

If you look at the display, only a corner of the Garmin’s display screen is used up on the radar.  In the upper-right hand corner you’ve got a little symbol to show the radar is connected and working:

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Now, the magic happens when you’re moving and a car gets within 150 yards.  You get a verbal cue that a vehicle has just been picked up and the sides of the screen go black and a dot appears on the right side that represents the car.  That dot on your screen moves closer to the radar symbol at the top of the screen, proportionally, to the car closing in on you…

With me so far?  I know, roughly, when the car will come by me…

So here’s how I use the blip;  I normally ride exactly where a vehicle’s passenger side tire would go, maybe even a little toward the center of the lane.  As that blip approaches I pick a line, before it’s on me I move right about two feet, toward the edge of the road.  The three feet a motorist is required to give me becomes five.  Any jerk who tries to buzz me will find their vehicle at or slightly greater than the three feet they’re required to give me anyway.

Now, is this foolproof?  No.  Sadly, fools have been finding ways to screw things up since the beginning of time, but it’s the best thing I’ve come across so far.  And I haven’t had anyone come close to buzzing me since I started the practice.

This is worth the price of my Varia… if I had paid for mine in the first place.  I was given it by a friend who upgraded to the newer, fancier model.

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6 Comments

  1. That tip about riding further out is the best take-away point from this for sure. I always ride the same as you, around where the passenger wheel would be or further so when an angry motorist does to to buzz, you’ve got that extra room to quickly move towards the curb. Assertive riding saves lives.

    If these also had an integrated video camera I would snap one up in an instant!

  2. […] my Garmin Varia radar/taillight and how much I love it for solo rides – and more important, how I use it to keep from getting […]

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