Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Early Morning Ride

With the summer season ending, fall fast upon us, the time has come when lights are now pretty much mandatory for any type of morning commuting.

I was up at 5:30 and couldn't believe how black it was outside. Right now, I run a planet bike rechargeable light that is no longer in production and I forget the model. It works well though. With 3 output modes and the brightest being 15w and close to 2hrs run time on the brightest mode, it's perfect for commuting. I can run on low output and get a little more than 10 hours and 8w of light. Pretty decent. The only draw back is that it takes 12hrs to charge. It's also heavy, but who really care about that anyway. I've also got a petzl headlight on my helmet and a planet bike superflash on the back
It had been a while since I'd ridden in the dark, and there something fun about it. Kind of reminds me of when I was a kid and how much fun was had from playing with a flash light while camping. I guess it's pretty much the same thing.

I'm looking into different options for a dynohub right now, and I think that would accompany my upcoming bike quite nicely.
I've also given my winter commuting a second thought. I was pretty sure that my bike commuting was coming to an end for the season because it is getting close to freezing at nights. I've already scraped the car windshield twice this year! But, last night while getting my gear ready, I pulled out some of my winter riding stuff. This morning when I left my house it was 4 C (39.2F) and I was very comfortable the whole ride. In fact I ended up unzipping my outer shell to let some heat escape though the neck. I sort of forgot about all of the great winter gear I've accumulated mostly for winter running over the past several years. I remember when my commute was only 3 miles one way and I would do it every single day. The coldest did that distance was -32C. This year I rode to work when it was -36, but that was only about 1 block so it doesn't count.

I've come to the conclusion that I've still got some pretty good bike commuting ahead of my this year, and as long as the roads aren't icy or snowy, I should be able to ride. I've set up a little goal to commute at least 3 times a month, every single month of the year. It'd be fun to get three 50 mile days on the bike in January and February and all those other nasty cold months when I ride mostly short distances and exploring rides. The right gear makes all the difference and often can be the difference between riding and not riding.

Two other great things I was thinking about with the cooler weather settling in.

1: I've got a sweet S/S snow bike that's just waiting to prove to me what it can do.

2: Hockey. I took up hockey after Christmas last year, and found myself as a back up goalie for both of the teams in Rockyford. I was playing 2 and 3 times a week. I won't commit that much time this year, but I am stoked to have people shooting pucks at me again. The best is when you can make the swear after robbing them of an open net. Great game.


Vik said...

The Shimano dynohubs are a great value and perform very well. They won't last as long as a SON, but with the money you save you can buy several more.

Vik said...

Here is a review of dynohub efficiency:


I'll be running a dynohub on my winter bike this year. I like the Dinotte lights 200L-AAs, but charging batteries is a pain in the winter as you need lights a lot and for so much of the day. I'll run a Solidlights 1203D as my main headlight.

I'm getting a Shimano disc brake dynohub to build into a wheel. The SON is awesome and if you keep it long enough is worth the $$$, but the Shimano is a great value and almost as good at a fraction of the price ~ 33%.

Vik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vik said...

Drag at 30kph lights off:

Shimano = 2.2W
SON = 1.5W

A difference of only 0.7W

Drag lights on a 30kph:

Shimano = 7W
SON = 6W

A difference of 1W.

Smudgemo said...

Look for a new battery pack and charger for your old light and you'll increase run-time and decrease charging time. Check out what I did with mine.


Jerome said...

Thanks for the PDF Vik. I'll be studying that a bit.

Smudge, I saw what you did with your lights a few days ago. Good on ya. The thing is that even as new, it took that long to charge and only lasted that long in use. It's still performing as it did on the specifications. When I do need to replace it though, I'll definatly consider the surgery that you perfomed on your light.


Smudgemo said...

Yeah, but if you replace the batteries with the nickel metal hydride kind (or whatever it is), the charge time is now like an hour or two with a smart charger. I suspect your battery is sealed lead acid since those take longer. I'm no expert on this stuff, so your results may vary.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jerome,

You can call Planet Bike and buy another battery for your Alias light. Or put a Dinotte 200l on your helmet and keep batteries under coat to last longer. :-).

Anonymous said...