great suggestions on what to get for night time cruising. We ended up going with these $9 Safety Lights, partly based on price, and partly on recommendation of the LBS owner. He said he's used them, and they seemed bullet proof. Since we were buying three, I really liked the price tag.
The plastic lens color is different on all three, but the flashing light is red on all. There is a button on the back to turn them on or off, and allows you to cycle through a variety of different steady or flashing patterns. You can go from a steady, consistent glow, all the way to "Night on Disco Mountain". Of course we chose the Disco pattern for last night's cruise.
Lat night, my friend Mike let me try out his old Schwinn that had a 2 speed rear hub. I'd never heard of such a thing. To shift you back pedaled slightly. You could alternate rapidly between the two gears this way. Back pedaling all the way activated the coaster brake. Seemed like a pretty cool design to me. I wonder why it disappeared? I'm guessing the faster 10 speed road bike killed it.