Tonight I added a blinking red light to the water bottle cage on the back of my Coker. Riding at night is great.
The only trouble I have is not seeing some of the bumps and undulations in the pavement. ah, yes, undulations…mmm…oh,…I’m digressing So, my thought as I rode along was to get the light lower to the pavement so it would cast a shadow on these features. A light source close to the line of sight can miss a lot of details no matter how bright it is.
Has anyone mounted a flashlight to the bottom of the bearing retainer? Since the tire would block some of the light, there may need to be a light on each side of the uni.
The lights would need to have narrow bodies, but would be protected during most falls.
One of the disadvantages of a very bright light is that the eyes adjust to that spot and you can’t see very much outside that circle of light. I think the lights should be barely bright enough for your particular situation and no more. By creating good contrast between lit areas and shadows the wattage can be kept low. Low wattage equates to longer battery life.
I often wear a hat so that the brim blocks the lights of oncoming cars so that I’m not temporarily blinded.
Unlike a bicycle, I would think that a light mounted to the frame of a unicycle would vary in angle around the hub axis as the rider maintained balance. To avoid this one would need to mount the lights in swivel fixtures similar to those for drinks in a boat to keep them pointed the (almost) right direction at all times. When the rider dismounted, wheel in front, an anchored light would be pointing skyward or into the eyes of close approaching traffic.
I recommend throwing a continuous stream of firecrackers in front of you to keep the pavement well illuminated. Don’t forget to throw them when they start hissing, Doug.
There’s a light that a lot of my friends use for mountain biking called a ‘VistaLite’. It comes with something to mount it onto the top of your helmet. It doesn’t weigh that much and it’s got a really good beam. Also, the battery is in the shape of a pump so you can put it in a camelback if you need to. Actually, if you’re using this light you need to always wear some sort of a bag to put the battery in. I think it costs about $130 Australian Dollars.
If you’re willing to pay that much money for a light, I think it’s the best option.
I’ve done a lot of riding in the dark on unlit country lanes and fairly easy bridle paths this year, mainly on the Coker. I wear a Petzl head torch with a choice between a halogen bulb and a lower Wattage bulb. As additional illumination for tricky bits, I carry a Mighty Lite torch - the size which runs on 2 AA batteries.
The advantage of a hand torch is it can be used to ‘sweep’ the road ahead for obstacles or hazards, or focussed on the same area as the head torch for really difficult bits. You can hold the torch way out to one side to get a different angle of illumination, which helps with showing up bumps and hollows.
The ideal might be one hand torch strapped to the back of each wrist with Velcro straps, giving you almost as much versatility of direction, but leaving your hands free.
I think attaching a front light to the uni for illumiation (rather than for being seen by other road users) would make you feel slightly seasick as the patch of light would be swaying all over the place in time with the unicycle.
How about a light (lite) with a gyroscope. Set it at the angle you want switch it on and it’ll stay at that angle, poor battery life though, maybe a dynamo to recharge the batteries, I’m thinking out load again better stop.
> I think attaching a front light to the uni for illumiation (rather than
> for being seen by other road users) would make you feel slightly seasick
> as the patch of light would be swaying all over the place in time with
> the unicycle.
Not a problem on a Coker - and it’s a great way to practise riding
smoothly by trying to keep the beam of light directed straight ahead.
The bigger problem was when trying to freemount the Coker in the dark
off-road. I couldn’t see the lay of the land (or pedals for that
matter). But then, what kind of idiot goes around trying to freemount a
Coker in the dark off-road?
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Yes, mounting a coker in complete darkness is difficult. After Erik managed to allow me to knock us down during the 11 mile tunnel ride I had to touch the sooty wall to get up (even though I had a flash light duct-taped to my head and Harper was throwing a steady stream of firecrackers at us). -I digress too.
Trails riding at night has been made possible with my latest purchase from Walmart and RadioShack -a 20 watt halogen “automotive aux light” with 2) 3200mah batteries. Complete with a charger it cost me about $150 (and a little soldering of connectors etc). I can ride difficult trails with significant hills/bumps/log piles etc. and the batteries last about 1.5 hours. -Almost as long as I do, but at least I can get in two laps or about 7 miles after dark. With short days approaching, I’m looking at night rides more often, and find them really fun. I’m impressed at how much light 20watts can produce, and will probably get another set of batteries, but other than that, I’m perfectly normal… Perfectly normal…