Last night I ventured out onto the roads for a short ride. I wanted to get some exercise, but my hands were a little sore, so that ruled out the rowing machine. I also wanted to guage what to wear based on temperature, and the thermometer on my Planet Bike computer accomodated that. Plus I’m still researching lights and I wanted to take a really hard look at what I’m getting with the Cygolite.
As for clothing, I overdid it. I had a layer of Polartec under a pair of wind pants and a pullover windbreaker. At 40 degrees, the pants were definitely too warm and I had a light sweat running down my back. That get-up might be suitable for below freezing. I also had a light balaclava and cotton work gloves (they were laying on the work bench), both of which worked well. I think for 40 degrees I can get away with an Underarmor shirt and a pair of lighter weight tights under the wind suit. Perhaps I’ll try that tomorrow. I know that I should probably invest in some silk and Smartwool, but I have a closet full of sports clothing as it is. At the most, I might get a decent pair of gl0ves for riding.
A few observations on lighting: My night vision isn’t that great. It’s particularly bad with an oncoming car that just seems to wash out the road in front of me with glare. I now know what they are talking about with having a dispersed beam to help with turns. It was a cloudy and very dark night, and I had some trouble seeing things outside of the Cygolite beam. There was one turn in particular where I realized that I couldn’t see, and another time where I came right up on a guy walking his dog before I realized they were there. I could clearly tell that something like an E6, with its focused beam, would be a problem; and I now understand the logic behind helmet mounted lights.
The Cygolite is not bright enough. I can see the road in front of me, but can’t really make out potholes and obstructions. I felt confident riding at around 13 mph, but I probably should have slowed down to 10 to be safe. At one point, I had to jet up to 24 to get through a bermless section with traffic, but that section also has a slight turn as well as rough road – not good. The light is rated at 12 watts, but that doesn’t translate to lumens or lux. It also has only a 90 minute run time (new).
So it comes down to brightness, run time, and price; which presents some options. I could go with a generator hub, which would most likely be a Shimano and a B&M Fly IQ. I could go with a pre-built wheel, which I could swap out with the one I have now as a spare or for strictly daylight riding. Or I could order the hub and have my current wheel rebuilt, which might cost as much as the pre-built. The Fly IQ seems to be the best generator light available, with a standlight/capacitor and 40 lux of light. Plus its LED, which appears to be much more robust. Peter White will have them in for around $100.
There also appear to be home built LED lights that put out alot more and cost a bit less, but I don’t think I have it in me to successfully build one. Here is one that I found that folks seem pretty excited about: http://joegross.net/2007/08/14/schmidt-hub-dual-cree-xr-e-led-light/
The other option is to go with a battery light. For that, most seem to be pretty excited about the Dinotte: either the 200 0r 600. The downside is the need to charge the batteries, but the upside is that they put out a lot of light, are very compact, and appear to hold up well. If you can catch them on sale, a complete setup would run anywhere from $150 to $300. I already have a smart charger for our camera so I could save a few bucks there. Apparently you can get 6-8 hours run time with them.
I probably won’t be making a purchase too soon, but I’m just doing the research at this point.
Distance: 6.8 miles, 2007: 1019.6
Followed by some heavy weight work: arms and shoulders.