Today starts the workweek with the clocks rolled back. Most of us will get home in the darkness of the five o’clock hour wondering what do with our lives frustratingly so, since it is still warm outside. Do we go to the gym and box in our world with a pudgy crowd spinning or treadmilling away watching Entertainment Tonight and Jeopardy?
Fret not my little cycling warriors, I am here to rescue you! In the past couple of years, there have been some remarkable advances in the world of bike lights. If you still have one of those wheel generators powering a flashlight bulb, pay close attention my friend. By the end of this column, you will be ready to take to the road glistening in the night looking like a newly minted U.F.O.
The array of available bike lights is dizzying. Many of the Chinese options are very cheap, but their descriptions are unreliable. Don’t screw around in the dark, get the best. The U.K.-based Exposure Diablo MK.5 is expensively priced at $249, but it’s high quality, 1,100 lumens, three Cree L.E.D.’s, 3100 mh internal battery, weighing only an astonishingly 108 grams, and is worth the price. It has both a handlebar attachment and a helmet attachment. Note: stay away from helmet lights, you just look weird or look like a zombie miner with one on. Best of all, it is as bright as any car headlight.
Then, I would buy a couple of Cree XML-T6 UltraFire lights. It is good to have a backup when riding. The Cree light is the cheap Chinese light that will pop 1,600 lumens under twenty five bucks and nicely fits in the same holder as the Exposure light. I discovered the Cree light in the Temple Street night market in Kowloon last spring. It is cheaper there and you get the handheld laser that will coolly light a cigarette if you want to make the trip. Just saying, think about it. The Cree lights are available on Amazon.
The tail light option is an easy one. The Serfas UTL-6 Thunderbolt tail light is USB rechargeable, runs for hours and can be seen easily from a mile away. Cost runs about $40. Lastly, I also run a LED valve stem cap light. They have great side visibility and you can buy a dozen of them on Amazon for less than five bucks. Kids love them.
Now the most important details learned from experience. Best riding nights are Monday-Thursday. Don’t ride Friday or Saturday. One, there are more cars on the road as opposed to non-existent cars Monday-Thursday. Plus, you are telling the world that you have no life, no friends, and you are still single living in Momma’s basement. Another tip is that these lights are very bright. Don’t piss off motorists off. Aim accordingly. Pick a route that is familiar to you and I would not venture much more than five miles from home. You will appreciate that if you have a mechanical failure. Hills in residential areas like Fountaingrove are good options. Your heart jumps quickly and it makes for a great workout. Carry a Vittoria Pit Stop canister as changing tubes in the dark is not easy. Be careful! Deer can be strange during the rut which is going on now.
With all my great tips, you don’t have to be locked inside the miserable indoors. Get out, enjoy life. Just don’t be weird about it.
– Bruce McConnell
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