More light entertainment

So good ol’ Arnold the Aaardvark gave me a link to a website selling head torches costing more than most of my unicycles did (thanks, Alan) and I’m skint because I’ve squandered all my money on 5 new unicycles this year. Time to experiment with economical illumination techniques…

I set off armed with Coker, rear light, Petzl zoom head torch (elastic long deceased) and secret weapon: Mini Maglite ™. Rode to the Marquis of Granby, Hoveringham - famous as the only village named after flying pigs - then on to the Earl of Chesterfield at Shelford - famous for nothing.

And, as planned, this forced me to ride back to the car along country lanes, cycle paths and pavements (US = sidewalks) relying on the Petzl zoom and the Mini Maglite ™ for illumination in near total darkness. The ultimate test!

Ho ho. How I surprised the bloke walking his dog along the lane. :oD

The Petzl zoom gave me a pleasant yellowish circle to look at. It didn’t illuminate anything, but it did make a yellow circle. Nice. Useless but nice.

The Mini Maglite ™ made a similar circle, a bit whiter, but still pretty useless. Combined, they made a brighter circle. I was able to pick out major obstacles, but I couldn’t see any real surface detail. As I try to look ahead when riding, and I occasionally practise riding with my eyes shut, I had no problem keeping the Coker the right way up (it’s a personal thing, but I prefer the seat at the top) and I relied on the torches to warn me of major obstacles.

Imagine how I laughed when the bulb of the Mini Maglite ™ blew!

And then picture my merriment when, seconds later, I decided to do a rear dismount for a junction, and the seat slipped out of my hand (I blame the pint of Bass at the Earl of Chesterfield) and the Coker set off on a jaunt of its own across the road, scattering pieces of rear light as it did so.

Fortunately, I was able to gather and reassemble the rear light and it was still fully functional.

I missed the turning for the quiet bridle path back to the car, and had to follow the pavement (US = sidewalk) along the main road, dazzled by the headlights of oncoming cars. The pavement became narrow (12 - 18 inches) between grass and the Petzl zoom was just enough to light my way. One high point was successfully negotiating my first traffic island on the Coker. It’s a question of timing…

As I entered the village of Burton Joyce, I had one of those annoying unforeseen unplanned and inexplicable UPDs where I suddenly found myself hovering in mid air pedalling like a good 'un as the Coker crashed into the ground behind me. The rear light was OK this time, but the Petzl zoom parted company from the helmet.

Back to the car along the darkest unlit section of lane yet, and so to home. Reflecting that I had ridden about 15 miles of mixed terrain with only one UPD and no missed mounts, I leaped onto the Coker to ride the last 50 yards from the car to my house and missed the mount. I succeeded at the second attempt and rode home to the forlorn sound of crunching snails.

You don’t have this much fun watching TV.

Re: More light entertainment

S-Uni-Go

Re: More light entertainment

“Mikefule” <Mikefule.9pfem@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote in message
news:Mikefule.9pfem@timelimit.unicyclist.com
>
> So good ol’ Arnold the Aaardvark gave me a link to a website selling
> head torches costing more than most of my unicycles did (thanks, Alan)
> and I’m skint because I’ve squandered all my money on 5 new unicycles
> this year. Time to experiment with economical illumination
> techniques…
[etc]

You’ve got a great positive attitude. And it’s funny to think that my light
is one of those that cost more than a stock Coker - I certainly never
thought of it that way before. Thanks for a great writeup.

With a “real” light, it is still very challenging and comical to ride a
Coker at night, especially fast. It’s amazing how deceptive bumps can look
sometimes.

—Nathan

I’ve been thinking of purchasing a set of “driving lights” from Walmart (15, 20 or 35 watt halogen) that are to be added to any front bumper (complete with plastic enclosures and mounts). They come with enough stuff to secure (one of the pair) to a helmet. Then 2) 6v batteries from radio shack and wiring a harness to “parallel” the batteries and a switch and it should be plenty of light. -And way under the price of a coker. It’ll mean carrying twice the weight in battery (2 6 volt), but I can’t get myself to pay a fortune for lighting that will not be used that often. The weight would probably double the weight of a full camel-back, but the light would be nice…
Any thoughts. Am I overlooking something here?

If the batteries aren’t rechargable you’re going to go through a fortune in batteries. If you can get a lead-acid battery and a charger it might be good to hack together a lighting system for yourself.

There are lower cost lighting systems available that don’t cost as much as a stock Coker. Performance and some of the other retailers have their own house brand lighting systems that are less expensive than the name brands like Nite Rider. Here’s one from Performance for $99.99 on sale <http://www.performancebike.com/shop/Profile.html?SKU=14092&gt;

What you don’t get with the cheaper light systems is a fast and smart charger that knows to turn off when the battery is charged, and you don’t get the special circuitry in the light that keeps it from over draining the battery.

Also look for a used lighting system. Some of the bike riders are upgrading to the the super bright HID lighting systems (those $350+ lights) and may be looking to sell their old lights. You could check eBay, local bike shop bulletin boards, local classifieds, etc.

For unicycling a wide beam works better than a narrow spot beam. You only need to illuminate a wide path right in front of you. A narrow spot beam that shoots way ahead of you isn’t much use on a uni.

john_childs

Re: More light entertainment

> Time to experiment with economical illumination techniques…

That’d be econocomical illumination by the sound of it…

I had to forego a pogo stick and a mini-bike to get those lights, so I
understand how you feel. Well… maybe. I don’t regret the purchase, though.
You could always do as Roger often does and eschew lights altogether.
He says it’s more fun that way. He also eats a lot of carrots.

Arnold the Aardvark

Re: More light entertainment

“Mikefule” <Mikefule.9pfem@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote in message
news:Mikefule.9pfem@timelimit.unicyclist.com
>
> So good ol’ Arnold the Aaardvark gave me a link to a website selling
> head torches costing more than most of my unicycles did (thanks, Alan)
> and I’m skint because I’ve squandered all my money on 5 new unicycles
> this year. Time to experiment with economical illumination
> techniques…
>
if you want something cheaper but quite good, you could get Cat Eye HL-RC220
or “Smart” lights both of which cost about £30-£40 quid…

You can build a good “budget” rechargable light from the following igredients.

Specialised 12 Watt light unit including helmet and handlebar mounts (no battery) :

http://www.leisure-lakes.co.uk/product_details.asp?id=1764&type=specialoffers

14.99 on the web or 10ukp from my local shop

5 (or 6 if you want to overrate it) NiMh cells 3.5 to 4 Ah capacity.
approx 4 to 6 ukp each(CPC catalogue in the uk?)

An auto shut-off charger that can charge 2 to 10 cells see (CPC catalogue in the uk?) approx 12 ukp

… and a couple of Tamiya style R/C power connectors.

Several of us used them at the Red Bull 24 h race in one configuration or another…
Leo White, Cheltenham

i completely forgot!

thanks for putting this thread up, or i never would have remembered my awesome ride a couple of nights ago!

i have a park 5 min away from my house that is famous for starwatching(lack of light pollution) and decided to go for a little ride on the uni. i brought out my lantern light(beastly, its like a car headlight) and got on the unicycle. for some reason i took the trail that had the biggest downhill right away(means i had a very tough slippery gravel trail to finish off the ride on the way back). anyway, i just kept the flashlight in my hand, my shoulders got a little more tired than normal, but it was easy enuf. i went on some singletrack, hopped up some roots&fallen trees(that was basically blind, since i couldnt aim the flashlight on the obstacles)–the whole thing was very serene. when i came back up the trail into the parking lot huffing and puffing after the hill, i find that i am not alone at 2am, and that my friends are also out to watch the stars–i guess its kinda wierd to see a single car headlight bob back and forth on a singletrack late at night

a big flashlight is all you really need, none o this headlamp thing

quoting arnold:

eats before the ride, or face-first UPDs in people’s gardens, and eats them inadvertently?

mmm carrots,
John M

Re: More light entertainment

> You could always do as Roger often does and eschew lights altogether.
> He says it’s more fun that way. He also eats a lot of carrots.

I’m with Roger on that one.

Please note that ‘fun’ and ‘safe’ have nothing, really, to do with each
other.

More light entertainment

So, then, logically, you’d consider war to be fun, right?