Seeing the Light   2 comments

The spring has been late in arriving in this part of the world. Here it is the third week of April and I have yet to get my bike on the  road. I thought I was so close a month ago but then winter returned. Of course there are increasing numbers of winter-hearty cyclists who never stop riding just because of cold and snow – to them I tip my cycling cap.

I stopped in at the local MEC today and browsing through the cycling department sure got me thinking and exciting. I was looking at some new fenders for my touring bike and dreaming of some new wheels for my old road bike. However what really caught my eye was bike lights.

What I noticed probably wouldn’t be that big a deal for anyone that has been keeping up with the technology developments but I haven’t been in the market for a new bike light for maybe 20 years. The last light I  bought was state of the art (for the time) but what sticks out was the rechargeable  battery which was the size of a water bottle and intended to fit in a water bottle cage. The headlight itself was a massive incandescent thing (it still remains mounted on my mountain bike, although I haven’t used it for years). It was good and bright – but big!

So what I saw today was lovely compact units – thanks to improvements in light and battery technology. All of the units now use very energy efficient LED “bulbs”. This efficiency means that the batteries can be much smaller – yielding complete units that fit in the palm of your hand.

A great feature of a number of these compact lights was the ability to charge the battery via a USB connection. With hours of battery life and the ability to charge them up any time you are sitting at a computer for a few hours, this design seems ideal for a commuter or recreational rider. Other lights used non-rechargeable, but readily available AA batteries.

One thing I noticed in comparing various units was the amount of light given off. Among the LED I saw 5 and 50 Lumen units. I have yet to test and compare these but I am guessing that the  5 Lumen units would probably be most suited when your main goal is to be seen – say when riding on urban routes with street lighting. The 50 Lumen brightness would seem to be what you need when riding dark paths and need not only to be seen but also to see the road ahead of you. Some of the AA battery powered lights offered over a 100 Lumen brightness.

I have no plans to do night riding in the near future but given the compactness and cost of these little units I will probably pick up a headlight and taillight to tuck into  my pack, “just in case”.


Posted April 19, 2014 by Randy Talbot in Cycle Commuting, Cycling

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2 responses to “Seeing the Light

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  1. I love my Light & Motion vis 360 and have been VERY impressed by their performance. Because they are atop my helmet, the light casts so much further out and is easily directed by the nod of my head to areas in need of better sighting.

  2. Cool – thanks for the comment and link.

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