Illuminated entomology

This evening, I did my first uni ride requiring lights, some of it on the public highway, some on bridlepaths, and here are a few tips, in return for which I hope to receive a few from you lot. :0)

First: rear light. Sigma Sport (Germany) CE Approved. 2 X AA batteries, 4 LEDs. 6.79 quid. The clever thing about this light is that the bracket is attached to the light, and clicks into place on the frame. It has a ratchet mechanism which means it can fit most common tube sizes. Not needing a separate bracket, it is easy to transfer it from one uni to another without tools. It is easy to switch on, seems well made, and does the business. (As preparation, I have ridden some 20 daylight miles on varied terrain, some quite rough, and UPDd a couple of times (on a Coker), and the light hasn’t fallen off.) Highly recommended.

Second: front light. Difficult, this. All I had was an old PETZL zoom head torch. 2 X AA batteries, and not a halogen bulb. It fitted over my helmet with some persuasion, and was easy to position and adjust. It was bright enough to warn traffic of my approach, but not bright enough to illuminate the ground ahead. Alan the Aardvark once showed me his head torch which is brighter than a thousand suns, and is clearly nearer to what I need. I’ve seen some impressive looking ones in the local shop, so I’ll experiment when funds arise.

I’m not dead happy with relying on a head torch on a public road. On a Coker, the torch must be some 7 feet off the ground, which might make it difficult for motorists to estimate speed and distance. Also, if you turn your head, the beam turns with you. Great for illumination, but bad for being seen. I wonder about wearing a conventional LED cycle light on my belt or as a pendant (as well as using the head torch). Any ideas?

Thirdly: IMPORTANT. wear eye protection. It’s amazing how many bugs there are out there, and they all seem to be attracted to the head torch. It really was nasty. On the positive side, having to squint to keep the bugs out took my mind off the pain in my posterior arising from too many rough miles on a Viscount saddle.

There was some discussion of head lamps before, and everyone mentioned that the angle washed-out terrain details (bumps and potholes, etc.). The bottom of the seat tube on a Coker’s barely 3 feet above the ground, how about mounting your forward lamp there? That’s similar to the height of a handlebar-mounted lamp on a mountain bike, and a good height for on-coming traffic. Since I don’t have a Coker (yet), this is just an idea.

I have one of these lights.
It uses 3 white LEDs, and it’s REALLY bright. Blinding, even. http://www.cateye.com/detail_mod02.php?products_id=31 You can probably find them in England at bike shops…

The body of the lamp is just shy of 10cmL x 5cmW. It’s detachable from the mounting bracket without tools.

Re: Illuminated entomology

> Alan the Aardvark once showed me his
> head torch which is brighter than a thousand suns, and is clearly nearer
> to what I need.

This is them: http://www.lumicycle.co.uk. No complaints whatsoever.

> I’m not dead happy with relying on a head torch on a public road. […]

I understand it is also not legally acceptable, though no copper has
ever
said anything - too busy reprising that tune by Fucik. :slight_smile:

Never noticed the insects, but it is true that the surface details are
all washed out.

Arnold the Aardvark

Hi, I use a NiteRider Headtrip. I’ve used it for almost two years, for my commute home five nights a week. I am totally happy with this light. It cost $140, but it’s worth it for the amount of time I spend riding at night. It’s ten watts, and has a Nickle Metal Hydride rechargable battery. Run time is over two hours.

I was alomst a hit last week, by a car turning from a side street. I seen him look towards me, but I don’t think he seen me because I was pretty close to him, and my light is pretty high up. I shined my light past is eyes to get his attention. By that time I was almost to him, and he had this “deer in the headlights” look. He then gunned it so I didn’t have Coker over his poor little car.
Since then, I’ve put lots of reflective tape on the Coker. I put long strips on the back of the frame, strips on the front and backs of the cranks, and inch long strips around both sides of the wheel. Joe in Iowa

coker_handle 008.jpg

Anything with zipties is cool in my book.

The bottom of the Coker seat tube is more than ‘barely 3 feet’ above the ground, because the wheel itself is exactly 3 feet in diameter. However, the bigger problem with mounting a light on the uni itself is that it would be partly masked by the rider’s legs.

A rear light is not masked by the rider’s legs because the legs are generally forward of the centre line - unless the rider is double jointed.

Other problems are that most front lights are made with a bracket for mounting on something horizontal (a handlebar), and anything attached to the front of the uni is right in the line of fire when you UPD.

This seems to make head-mounted or belt-monted lights favourite.

(Alan: thanks for the link.)

Mike

Re: Illuminated entomology

> There was some discussion of head lamps before, and everyone mentioned
> that the angle washed-out terrain details (bumps and potholes, etc.).
> The bottom of the seat tube on a Coker’s barely 3 feet above the ground,
> how about mounting your forward lamp there? That’s similar to the
> height of a handlebar-mounted lamp on a mountain bike, and a good height
> for on-coming traffic. Since I don’t have a Coker (yet), this is just
> an idea.
>
> I have one of these lights. [image:
> http://www.cateye.com/images/EL100.jpg]
> It uses 3 white LEDs, and it’s REALLY bright. Blinding, even.
> http://www.cateye.com/detail_mod02.php?products_id=31 You can probably
> find them in England at bike shops…

The whole head lamp vs bar lamp thing from bikes is one of those things that
supposedly makes a huge difference but in practice doesn’t. Whatever light
you have, it’s going to look more washed out than in the daytime when the
light is coming from overhead.

Decent head lamps are great because you can point them where you’re looking
rather than where the unicycle is heading. They also don’t shine in your
eyes when you mount as seatpost mounted lights do. If you have a very bright
one then oncoming cars can almost always see them because they can see the
beam if you’re looking sideways. Otherwise, you have to look at cars to make
sure they see you, this is very useful for cars coming onto the road from
the side because you can look at them and they will always stop instead of
driving into your side.

I like my lumicycles, they’re one of those things like maglights or
camelbaks or whatever, expensive, but just really work well with no hassles.
They also last for ages (I can ride for almost 5 hours on the 10W, 3.5 hours
on the 12 W or just under 2 hours I think on 22W (10W + 12W).

Joe