Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Illuminated


On the ride in to work the other day, it occurred to me that between Pete and I, we have quite a bit of knowledge of bicycle commuting.  I thought “Wouldn’t it be great to share this knowledge with our friends and customers?” mentally patting myself on the back.  As I proposed the idea to Jan she replied “Oh, yeah, I saw you riding home the other night, and your taillight wasn’t doing anything (woops!)”.  Seems the batteries were on their way out, and the light was quickly dimming after start up.

The three tenants of bicycle commuting are:
·         get from point A to B in a timely fashion
·         obey the law
·         And not get dead! 
Having a dying taillight potentially violates all three of them.

I changed my batteries and decided I needed a better solution.

We just got (more of) the better solution into the shop on Wednesday, the Nite Rider Solas.  A 2 watt, USB rechargeable taillight. 
Ah, that’s 2 freakin’ watts!
 The best replaceable battery taillights are .5 watts. 
The difference is amazing.   Testing it out behind the shop, it illuminated a good 15 to 20 feet behind my bike. Not just visible, but actually lighting up space.  A quick glance behind me on an unlit road revealed a reassuring bright glow cast on the pavement.
Being rechargeable, I no longer have to worry about replacing the batteries before they are a mere fa├žade of safety.  On the standard 1st flash setting it has a 18 hour run time; on the brighter 2nd flash setting 7 hours.  Once a week charging should give me a sufficient buffer zone to not have to worry about it running low.

Paired with the Solas is the Nite Rider Lumina 650 headlight.  Also a USB rechargeable light.  It offers 4 light levels from walking to 650 lumens, as well as a flash setting. 
When I first got it, my ride home would start before it was dark, and I would progressively toggle through the settings as it got darker.  Since the end of DST it goes right to high.  At 650 lumens it is more than adequate for me on even the darkest unlit roads and has a 1.5 hour run time (up to 18 hours on the walk setting), which is more than enough time to get me home safely.  I run it on my handlebar, but it also comes with a helmet mount which Pete uses (I think he just doesn’t want to mess with the aesthetics of his Pinarello).

So now I’m safe, next we’ll talk about staying comfortable in the coming Winter months.


2 comments:

Muffintop said...

One of the major issues I have with lights is that you get what you pay for. I'm alright I reckon, for the most part, as I don't do trails and my cycling is mostly done in well lit streets of the 'deen. So I'm more interested in getting noticed as seeing what's infront of me is all ready taken care of. A couple of sets of £10-20 lights does me fine. But the thought of forking out £30+ for one set of lights does chill me slightly.

Mx

Anonymous said...

Check out this light my commuting crew and I have been using for the last couple of years. It is a little expensive but worth while. We use it day and night-
http://store.dinottelighting.com/300r-red-taillight-with-built-in-battery-p111.aspx

Evan