Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday News And Views

Night time gravel grindin'!
Gravel Adventures In The Dark:

I'm not sure why, but it seems that with the onset of Fall, the night time gavel events kick in. I know of three that are coming up, and I've done one or two in the past. These rides/races are a blast. Riding gravel roads at night is just a wholly different experience. I'd recommend it for sure.

You can check out all the details on the Gravel Grinder News calendar of events here. But here are the three I am aware of now.
You'll need a quality light that has at least 120-150 lumens, and a good tail light. That light should last long enough to get you through a metric century, (63-65 miles), and it should have a good beam pattern. Not too spotty. Look for a helmet light with a spot beam for navigation. An LED torch would do for that job.

This may be THE light, or not....
Speaking of Lights:

I am checking out this Trelock LS 950 Control Ion Bike Light for Twenty Nine Inches and Gravel Grinder News. It claims to be a very bright light with astounding run times. Like up to 45 hours on low, and six hours at the highest level. In between there are three other steps with run times from over 8 hours to 19 hours. 

The light uses an element that is reflected and therefore doesn't really need to use some blazingly hot LED array to be bright and this obviously makes it more efficient. I like the self contained, USB charger design, and it isn't too big or bulky, but don't get me wrong, it isn't as tiny as some of the LED high powered stuff I've seen. 

It's got a cool backlit LED read out that gives you a running countdown on light left in minutes. I don't know if the clock is accurate to actual energy left on tap, or if it isn't just a simple backwards counting clock set to approximates. That I will have to see during testing. If nothing else, it is a good ride timer! The unit looks well made, as you might expect a German made product to be, and has a swiveling mounting system so you can aim this where you want it to, which I find especially nice on swept back handle bars, or for mounting the light off the center line of the bike.  

I've only had it out briefly, once on city streets, and it throws a beam pattern down the road well enough. I'll be talking more about this soon. Stay tuned..... (Note: The light was sent for test and review to TNI and GGN at no charge. I am not being bribed, nor paid for saying anything about this product. I always strive to tell you my honest thoughts and opinions throughout.

Portland Design Works "Aether Demon"
On the tail light front, a coworker of mine showed me a Portland Design Works "Aether Demon" tail light that I was rather impressed with. It also charges up via a USB cord, but I thought it was well made, light in weight, and it has a nice set of modes that may appeal to some. 

Probably as bright as anyone would really need, the Aether Demon has two useful modes and two more that might be of interest. The two I liked were dubbed "Dance" and "Breathe". Dance is your typical blinky on steroids pattern, nicely annoying. The Breathe mode is a great, softly glowing to full brightness and back to dark again mode that I thought was cool. Think "radio tower" light and you may know what I mean.  Both these modes go a claimed 8 hours. The next two modes were things I'd likely never use, but you might like these. A low powered blinky pattern for group rides that lasts 175 hours, (claimed), or a solid red tail light that goes for up to 3.5 hours. 

Not a bad choice at a MSRP of $49.99, I'd say. If the dang thing holds up for my co-worker, (yes- he is the guinea pig!), I may try one out as well.  Note: I have only held the "little devil" and checked it out briefly. It may suck or it may be the greatest tail light ever, but all I know is that it looks well made and seems like a good deal on the surface of it. I'll chime back in if and when I learn more, or if I decide to pop for one of these things. 

Question: "If I mount an Aether Demon to my seat bag, will I ride like the hounds of Hell are chasing me?" Could be a good motivator!

3GR: Although there is a mountain bike race going on in Geo Wyth this weekend, I will be out doing my usual grind on gravel, as I don't XC race. (Retired in '97) Those that go to that XC event should have a great time, but if you aren't so inclined, I'll be at the Gates Swimming Pool lot at 8:30am once again. 

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