Archive for the ‘lights’ Category

Monday Mojo

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Since my bikepacking trip I’ve been looking for some mojo. Lots of rain here in VT, lots of damage and flooding from the hurricane, and lots of cold, wet, weather settling in. I always go through some downtime as the seasons change… and being in the cold and rain for the VT Fall Classic last week seemed to reinforce that the body needs time to acclimate each year. Come spring I’ll be shedding layers in this morning’s temps…

Have to find some time for some bike maintenance. The Fargo’s rear derailleur was tweaked somewhere along the Fall Classic. Shifting suffered over the final 12 miles. My chain wouldn’t drop out of the largest cog without some persuasion on the pedals, and it never dropped down into the smallest. Looks like the replaceable hanger is bent – but no adjusting with cable tension nor limit screws seems to help. I’m likely to swap to flat bars and 1×9 for the winter – so it seems this fix will just speed up that process.

The Pugsley is going to get my Titec H-bars. I have cable ready and waiting – just need the time to focus. The bars on the Pugs will go to the Fargo for the winter. Also need to re-pack the rear wheel, and check all the bearings, etc. Want to be ready to roll when the snow flies.

The IF needs a cleaning. And I’ll mount up my spare wheelset with my trainer tires for indoor roller duty. This bike has been ridden maybe only a handful of times since the Fargo arrived. Sad, maybe. But I’m just digging the fat tires now, for pretty much everything…

Flèche Wrap

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Some things I learned on my longest ride to date this year:

  • I’m in better long distance shape than I’ve been giving myself credit for. Yes, I’m still 20 pounds over my ideal event weight, and I had a tough winter with adjusting to fatherhood and medical issues – but I’ve dropped 22 pounds since the holidays and I’ve been consistent on the bike for the last 3 months. Cruising speed needs to come up – but overall ‘get it done’ at all costs stubborn endurance is there.
  • I (will always) need to improve my climbing speed. I’ve been holding off on adding too much intensity to my workouts for fear my ‘base’ wasn’t large enough. I think I’m there. Time to put the hurt on 2 days a week with tempo and hill work, saving my weekends for the long stuff. Irish Hill, Bolton, and short bursts up Depot St. – here I come.
Camel's Hump on Rt. 117, our first taste of the wind. (thanks to Patrick for the pic)

Camel's Hump on Rt. 117, our first taste of the wind. (thanks to Patrick for the pic)

  • Nothing really hurt. There was no time on the ride when I needed to stop and solve fit or contact point issues. I had some minor saddle irritation that was helped with a change into fresh shorts, my hands were good with minor numbness if I hung out in any one position for too long, and my feet were comfortable (if wet) for the entire ride.
At the Red Hen Bakery for second breakfast.

At the Red Hen Bakery for second breakfast.

  • Clif Shot Bloks – sometimes they work, sometimes they upset the tummy. This ride I think they were part of my distress climbing to Killington. They gassed me up on the 200k as well – a ginger ale solved that issue. These will move from ‘go to’ to ‘emergency only’. I downed 2 packs of these within 30 miles of the end – knowing we didn’t have time to stop for real food and they do work…
  • Clif Mojo Bar – Peanut Butter Pretzel – I discovered this on my solo 300k through the Adirondacks last year. Winner for overall best bike food – tastes good and stays down. Four of these propelled me over the 24 hours – I could have used another two.
  • Lantiseptic Skin Protectant – it is a rear ends best friend. Of all the potions, creams, and goop that I’ve tried – this stuff works. Yes – I’m trying to get away from padded shorts on long rides – but if its wet, and if I’m uncertain about comfort, setup, conditions – the Lantiseptic goes on. Add a bit of Assos to the pad – and I think I have a winning combo.
The dirt along the Winooski (thanks to Jim for the pic)

River Road in Killington (thanks to Jim for the pic)

  • Acorn Boxy Rando Bag – a great addition on the Mark’s Rack. It was nice having access to food, arm warmers, camera, etc. – all right up front. I did not do enough navigating to need the map case – but it does get wet inside, and as I learned on the 200k – it does not fit an 8.5×11″ cue folded in half. I had to tri fold and clip the edges. Not a deal breaker – but a bit of a pain. I liked the map case on my Ortlieb more – I might have to retrofit some snaps to the Acorn. Not having a decaleur (VO is still out!) didn’t affect things all that much – with a rando load of food and clothes up front the bag was stiff enough using the cord ties to the handlebars. Not ideal – but workable.
  • Acorn Medium Saddle Bag was a great addition to the rear- we carried extra clothing (bulk) – and having the luggage to do it made the ride that much nicer. I kept my tools, spare tubes, mini first aid kit, and night riding gear tucked away. I had more room if needed, and the rear flap can snug over a jacket or base layer. There are also rings for lashing to the outside, and the leather tailight clip is just perfect – couldn’t ask for it to be in a better spot. I think this will be a perfect bag for 200k and century rides – and currently is still on the bike.
Acorn at speed coming down Granville Gulf.

Acorn at speed coming down Granville Gulf.

  • Edeluxe – what a light. Not sure what else to say. Glad I dropped the bills for it. Rain, country roads, high traffic roads, 30 mph descents in the rain at night on country roads – it does it all. I ran it in senso mode with the overcast skies and can say for sure that it is bright bright as I watched one of my teamates roll up at dusk. If the rack comes off, the light will go back on with my Terracycle mount. It is too convenient and bright to keep off.
  • Ixon IQ – I lent my battery powered Ixon to Jim – it was bright enough – but he complained of descending in the rain. Not sure if he ran it full blast or if he needed to fine tune its position (something I did with my Edelux mid ride) – but I’ve found that in a winter of town use and spring mornings on the rando bike it is very serviceable as a do all light. Not quite as bright as the Edelux – but damn near close if you don’t want to run a SON hub.
Thanks to

The reflective gear works quite well - a Cactus Creek vest, ankle bands, and a Cateye taillight with reflector (thanks to Jim for the pic)

  • Reflective gear – It works! I love my Cactus Creek vest with all around visibility and pockets in the back, and I will probably pick up some Riv ankle bands (even though my jogalites probably work fine).
  • Planet Bike SuperFlash – I mounted a ‘stealth’ to my rig this spring – absolutely love it so far – and having dropped behind my teamates on some climbs in the rain – it really does stand out – whether in blinking or steady mode. I’ll be adding a second for the 400 and 600k.
  • Wool, it works – I had a combination of jersey, arm warmers, and shorts. The main (and only) regret on this ride was not carrying an Ibex Woolie base layer. I missed it when the sky was sprinkling and it was cool. The arm warmers I carried were too warm… from now on I’ll be carrying or wearing a thin wool layer.
  • Shower’s Pass Elite 2.0 – was absolutely perfect when the temps dropped below 55 or so. A bit too warm when it was in the 60′s. Perfect for getting rolling in the cold rain – but I found myself shedding it during the night (it stayed in the 60′s). I wore it through the last 25-30 miles as it was raining buckets and the temps dropped 10 degrees.
Finish...

Finish...

Edeluxe + Mark’s Rack

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009
Edeluxe on the Mark's Rack and the Acorn Boxy Rando Bag

Edeluxe on the Mark's Rack and the Acorn Boxy Rando Bag

I’ve been putting off the rigging of my Edeluxe for some time – the Ixon IQ I run for short rides is plenty bright and has good run time – and comes on and off the bike quickly for errands and stops around town. Our Flèche is two weeks away – and I’ll need all night light – so I finally broke down and clipped the wires to the proper length and got the Edeluxe up and running. The light is simply outstanding – test runs in the morning and on the MUP late at night have really impressed me.

Mounting the light has been a bit of an adventure. I use a Mark’s Rack for my rando bag up front. The Mark’s Rack doesn’t have any fittings for front / low light mounting (save for the goofy tab on the end of the rack). Previously I ran dual E6 lights from the lowrider bosses – but with only one light (the brightness of the Edeluxe easily surpasses dual E6s running full steam downhill!) – I want to minimize wheel shadow as much as possible. I purchased the fork crown mount with the light but can’t run it with the bag, debated the lowrider mount, thought about mounting it euro style to the skewer, and purchased a Terracycle mount that works on the fork. None of these felt right (the Terracycle mount comes closest – and if I remove the rack this will be the system I use).

Mark's Rack strut bolt, lock washer, M6 coupler nut, serrated washer, Edeluxe, and stainless M6 bolt.

Mark's Rack strut bolt, lock washer, M6 coupler nut, serrated washer, Edeluxe, and stainless M6 bolt.

Rummaging through my parts bin I came up with what should have been obvious – use the spare bolts that come with the struts for rear mounting the Mark’s and get the light just below my bag. To do this I had to track down an M6 coupler nut – an email to a friend brought a link to McMaster-Carr (and plenty of time browsing all the cool hardware they sell). I had hoped for the coupler in stainless – but the black oxide variety is the proper length to keep the light tucked under the bag with enough clearance to the strut. I added lock washers towards the strut and a serrated washer towards the light. After some positioning play all seems well. Plenty of light, minimal wheel shadow, and so far rock solid. The mount will get a good workout this weekend – the usual suspects are planning 75 miles of dirt – 3 long and steep climbs, 3 covered bridges, views to the Green Mountains, ADKs, and the lake.

New Bars

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008


The Surly CrossCheck on the Winooski pedestrian bridge. New On-One Mary bars – still sorting out the stem. Ergon grips – wow! Studs will go on tonight. Ixon IQ is proving to be a great battery light (I’m spoiled with a SON dynohub on the IF). Planet Bike Cascadia fenders could work better – but they are serviceable.

e+Lite

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

I picked up a Petzl e+Lite about a month ago at my local EMS. I really like this little light – I’ve been using it on after dark runs, on my cycling helmet, and even while installing a ceiling fan. I’m using the e+Lite as a helmet mounted compliment to my Schmidt powered lights. The combination of the white and red LEDs in the same package sold me – white light for repairs and as needed for extra road illumination – and red light (which preserves night vision) for reading cues and cockpit illumination.

The light runs on 2 Lithium CR2032 batteries. They fit in the head unit behind the LEDs, are easy to change, and appear to be available in most convenience, hardware, and grocery stores (I’ve been checking locally). Published run times are 35 hours on maximum and 45 hours on economy. I’ve gone through about 20 hours of use and have not noticed a fall off in brightness on either setting. With batteries installed the published weight of the light and strap is 27 grams.

Light is generated by 3 white LEDs and 1 red LED. White has 3 settings – maximum, economy, and flash. White maximum is bright enough to read street signs at some distance on a moonless night while cycling, as well as fully illuminating my handlebars and a patch of ground directly in front of me. White economy puts out ample enough light to run along the unlit lakefront MUP on a moonless night, read my cyclocomputer, make adjustments to my bike, or fuss with the digicam. Red has two settings – maximum and flash. The red light is perfect for cockpit illumination and cue reading when helmet mounted – and would work well mounted to my stem or a cue holder. It has also worked well for off bike rummaging through my seatpack. Flash for both colors works as advertised.

The e+Lite comes with an elastic band for head wearing, as well as an integral clip that will work on hats and helmets with some creatively placed strapping. The body of the light swivels on an integral ball / socket connection to the clamp. Positioning the light exactly where you need it is easy – no tightening mechanisms or special cams to deal with – although the light is small enough that this is a bit clumsy to do wearing lobster gloves for winter cycling.

I’ve had the e+Lite out for several night runs and both short and long night rides. Currently I’m not in need of cue navigating on my local routes so I’ve been using it primarily for cyclocomputer reading and off bike lighting. It works perfectly for this – and I plan on adding this to my long distance cycling kit.