I got this commuter light to test out recently, but the trouble is, the time of year is all wrong for needing a commuter light. Well, there was only one thing I could do- go on a purposeful night ride to check that light out!
I also figured it was an opportunity to use a bicycle I haven't ridden in a long time. An old friend, actually. My custom Pofahl rig was drug out of the shadows of the Lab and the tires were aired up in readiness for this ride. The bike is a single speed, so it is ready to roll at a moments notice with little need to worry about anything being out of tune, or with no need to tweak suspension, etc. I like that! This would also be the maiden voyage with the, (now much coveted), Luxy Bar on the bike.
Another thing about the bike's set up: It has tubed WTB Vulpine tires on it. Man! Could WTB just please start making these tires again? They are so good on multi-surface rides. My Fargo needs these, the Gen 1 version, and maybe an extra for a single speed rear tire. Okay, enough whining! On with the story!
I started the ride at sunset, and I could tell it was a spectacular one as I started down the Sergeant Road bike trail. The trail is almost a tunnel down through many trees as I leave from near where I live, so the view was almost totally obscured. Not until I had gone about four miles South did I get some sweet, unobstructed views of the Western sky. It was as if the horizon was on fire!
The show was spectacular, but eventually the fire faded and it got dark enough to try out that light. I clicked it on and it was weird. It was as if I was looking through dust at the road. I removed my eyewear and it was nominally better, but I think the deal is that the lens is so diffused that there is not much in terms of definition when that light hits the gravel. I stopped to take a nature break and to take an image of the light beam when I noted my tail light had crapped out. Whatta I have to do to get a reliable tail light blinky? I have the worst luck with those things of late.
With the odd light up front and nothing in back, I decided to cut the loop short and head on back to town. It was really pleasant out too, but having no tail light is a bit dangerous, even on little traveled gravel roads. People don't expect cyclists out on gravel roads at night anyway, so I felt very uncomfortable with the situation.
Still, it was fun to ride my old Pofahl again and I felt its odd quirks and was reminded why I like this bicycle a lot. It is smooth, very quiet, and of course, a one of a kind bike no one else has. Its brakes are uncannily quiet, and its geometry sports a front end that is maybe a bit too twitchy compared to today's rigs. It has an odd womble in the rear at times, but despite all of this, I have to say it is the only custom bike I have ever ridden that came as advertised, was straight, and symmetrical. Not an easy task with such an odd ball design, which was mostly my fault!
I'll be looking forward to riding this more throughout the summer weeks, hopefully on some more night rides.