The house Le Wife and me live in once had a garage: the house, itself a product of Sears, Roebuck & Co. (yes, they'd build you a house back then) dates from approximately 1928, and they built them pretty damned sturdy: other than the extension we built in back, and details like a French draining system in the basement, wed pretty much left the bones of the house alone. The garage was a different matter: as the automobile was still emerging from its novelty status at the time, the garage was detached from the house, residing in the middle of the back yard. It was also something of a basket case at the time we found the house, enough of a hazard that shortly after closing on the house, we reluctantly paid to have the garage demolished. Paying money to get rid of something you dearly wanted use of is the worst, or at least pretty close.) The drivewayleadng up to the garage was no better in condition, so to sort-of make up for the loss of the garage we went to the trouble and expense to rebuild the driveway with pavers instead of just a quick asphalting, which looks lovely (and is being expanded with the cooperation of our new next-door neighbors, in order to park our vehicles side-by-side). This was great for the cars, but what of my dear ride?

My solution came about while I still had Melody, my 2015 Vespa GTS Super. I got the idea while Mel was still in the shop after her (and my) unfortunate encounter last May with a kid who blew a Stop sign at a shopping-mall ring-road intersection, which left me without a bike from May through mid-October. (Can I say "last year sucked" enough times?) But I had ideas of how that bike could be better-protected at least while parked at home: the first part involved building a retractable awning over her usual perch at the side of the house, well-behind Le Wife's Honda CR-V. The second part would be a motion-sensor-equipped focused-flood light overhead. The light's function would be twofold: it would allow me to walk out to the bike from the house and actually see what I was doing while petting to ride in the evening (or see better as I was entering the driveway, in case someone left a trash bin in the path or an above-average-sized critter was lurking thereabouts); but it would also act as a potential deterrent to any larcenous folk seeing my bike as a potential easy mark: they'll see the light go on if they get too close, but they'll also have no idea whether or not they're also "on-camera" from such a system.*

The awning took a while to find, but I ended up with the perfect-sized (and priced!) system from a company selling only via Amazon, but have sadly since disappeared: I couldn't find something more-fitting if I tried. The lighting setup, unfortunately, tok a lot more effort: I went through two lighting systems before finding a good one, from Heath-Zenith. (If, like me, you're of a certain age, your eyes might've instinctively squinted at the name: a possible compound of the Heathkit of DIY-electronics fame and Zenith of "The Quality Goes In Before the Name Goes On" TV-manufacturing reknown? Probably, but I don't know for certain.)

The outdoor light is called Secur360, and consists of a fairly high-powered LED floodlight coupled to a separate motion sensor, the entire system powered by four D-cell batteries. Yes, I rolled my eyes at the mention of D-cells, but that's how so many of these outdoor lights that aren't hardwired to household current are powered. On the upside, there's one nice addition: the motion sensor is also wi-fi enabled, allowing connection to your home wi-fi, and connected via smartphone app (both Android and Apple iOS), which will relay any motion activity to the app in real time. To me, it seemed the next-best thing to an in-built camera. (There is a version of this light with a camera, but it's hardwired-only.)

The two previous lighting systems I'd used had some serious shortcomings: the first one was solar-powered, and I quickly discovered that, given the bike being parked between two houses, he amount of light available during the day was rather limited (and this was before I'd set up the awning). The second system used a similar replaceable battery system as my current setup, but had so many problems with poor electrical contact that I had to ditch it after some six months.

The Secur360 was installed just after Thelonica's arrival in late Winter, which was a great time to test the light in cold-weather conditions. There were a few reviews that warned of short battery-life, but so far battery-drain has been negligible, given all the tech stuff being supported; I'm getting roughly 3-4 months use per set of four D-cells. More important to me has been overall reliability: the light's been absolutely solid on this point, never once acting flaky. The phone app not only alerts me on any movement near the bike, but also updated me on battery status, and allows on-demand switching on/off.

The system's been in use for close to half a year, and so far operating flawlessly. Recommended.

(*Unfortunately, we've had a spate of incidents where kids are casing parked cars on the street, checking for unlocked doors. The New Yorker in me actively asks "who in their right mind would leave their car doos unlocked at night?", but there have been reports of cars being stolen from people who've driven out to stores and left their cars running with the key in the ignition. And were talking Lexus, BMW and Porsche SUVs here. Go figure.)


Secur360: Yes, bright.


Secur360: Also useful for stuff like taking out the trash/recycling.