I’ve been thinking about bicycle lighting and touring lately.
A lot of tourers don’t use expensive lights, for a number of reasons. First has to do with the fact that most tourers don’t ride at night, so there is no need for a fancy setup. Having ridden on many a rainy, or even misty day, I don’t buy it. Having some good lights on to be seen and catch drivers’ attention is a well tested strategy in the commuting world, and should be just as sound for a pavement tourer.
Reliability. Meh. Maybe 10 years ago you could be genuinely concerned over a halogen light or a dynohub failing while in the middle of nowhere, but today’s offerings and technology is far more robust and dependable. Several hubs are now field serviceable, and more shops are becoming familiar with better lighting setups as commuting grows. Maybe this argument has some traction with adventure tourists who are traversing the outbacks where there are no shops, and the gravel takes a harder toll on gear.
Weight, space, bother. Come on… I’ve seen guys carrying rather complex solar/battery systems that require far more care and feeding than a basic dynamo system.
So…if money were no object, and I were building up a bike to take me on the road for months at a time, I think the time is right to include some major electronics built right into the bike. Ultimately, there would be lights, and power for a phone/GPS, a small computer, and whatever else might be needed.
Here is my list:
SON 28 Dynohub – robust, high output, field serviceable = $250
Tout Terrain Plug2 – this seems to be the least obtrusive power converter supplying USB-level current. I like the fact that it fits right on the headtube = $221
Cache Battery – This presents a number of advantages, biggest of which is evening out the current available to flow into your devices. They can also be charged off of any USB source. It seems like the bike specific units are way overpriced, but there are a number of very high storage units to be found on the web = $50
Supernova Airstream Battery Light – Very pricey, but super bright, well built, can be charged off of USB, can be taken off the bike quickly when not needed or parked somewhere, and can double as a camp flashlight = $240
Supernova Airstream Taillight – plugs into the headlamp, and can be “permanently” hardwired to the bike for theft deterrance = $61
So there you have it. For a mere $822, you can roam the highways and byways while still being completely connected to the world, and see where you’re going. Add your Ipad, GPS, Blackberry, etc…, and you can enjoy the simpler, less complicated, non-materialistic world of life on the road.