24 July 2013

Like a distant cow-catcher

#278 / #84

Red Leader and I chose to beat the heat today by riding in the evening.

We set out about 1/2 hour before sunset and arrived back at the car about 1/2 hour after sunset. About 10 miles on Folsom's twisty bike paths.

It is remarkably hard to see twilight-colored peds and ninja bikers (no lights at all) and bunny rabbits in the dark. I liked the joggers who had reflective strips on their shoes. Them, I could see. Everyone else? Well, let's just say I didn't actually hit anyone, but some are probably tucked up in bed dreaming about trail-side UFO encounters.

Red Leader charged ahead, unbothered by his increasingly dim headlight (year old batteries, that - when we finally figured out how to open the compartment at home, were somewhat corroded.) He may be part cat.

I scurried along behind, staying far enough back that I was not blinded by his taillight, hoping that my reflex of looking at people when I say hi was not blinding them due to the little CREE LED flashlight on my helmet. I'm more on the bat side of things.

I had my trike-mounted B&M headlight and the flashlight on my helmet, and a B&M 'senso' tailight and a Cherry Bomb taillight (the one you can see for a mile in perfect conditions). All I need now is a bunch of reflective striping and maybe some amber down-lights on the frame. Yeah!

Speaking of reflective: the sidewalls on RL's tires were quite visible anytime he was not dead straight ahead of me. And his taillight has a sort of wrap around on the sides, so it was visible from the side of the trike, although not as bright as from the rear.

My headlight has a thin strip of the lens cover on the sides and top of the light. I can just reach the power/selection button while sitting in the seat (I can even click it while rolling along). The slight wrap-around of the lens cover is great, since I can see if the light is off or on high or low without unclipping. I am not bothered at all by "foot flash" (intermittent but regular reflections of the light off one's shoes or cranks.)

I used the seat-stay clamp provided with the Cherry Bomb taillight. I have it clamped to one of my headrest's stems. It is hard to get the clamp tight enough so the light does not end up illuminating my trunk bag. I have another piece of rubber shim. I'll see if that is enough to stop it wiggling out of position.

The cheap flashlight stuck to my helmet is great. It is not as bright as the headlight, but it is enough to light up the edge of the trail. It lights up what I look at. Wonderful for curves, and warning off cars at intersections.

I eventually stopped and repositioned my headlight. since I finally realized that I wanted to look about 4 feet in front of it, where it was still dark! Positioned correctly, it did a fine job of creating a nice long puddle of light in front, with a little bit left over for the trees on the sides of the trail.

I do not plan on riding on the roads at night, probably even when I get those down-lights. Nevertheless (I love using that word) I will see about adding some reflective stripes to my jersey's sleeves, so my signalling is visible.

I tried too many leg exercises at the gym earlier this week, and my knees are quite sore now. So I'll stay off the bike for a week or maybe two (boo hoo!) See you then!

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