Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Night Mission

Nearly a full moon
I ran out quick on Monday night to do some light testing and to try to get some decent images to use. First, I had to get out into the country and find a place to ditch the "Truck With No Name". It just doesn't work very well to politely park on the side of a gravel road at night, that is, unless you want to raise suspicions with anyone that happens to come along.

I found a suitable "dead road". That's the term we use around here when no one lives on a mile or more stretch of gravel. I looked and saw some field openings, but the one I liked best was near a stream crossing and some taller trees. I backed in to a corn field and started to unload and gear up for a quick test session.

I was testing with a Magicshine MJ-880 and the Trelock 950, which are lights that couldn't be more different than two LED based lights could be. One a high powered, heat emitting, external cell pack monster and the other an odd German design, self contained, rather cool running unit. One thing that was similar, they both have five light levels and three that really make any difference at all.

Well, the test was semi-successful. I got great comparison shots for the Trelock, but only one really good one on the Magicshine, which is okay, since there are many good ones on my site done by my friends in SoCal. What I was really happy about was that I learned some new things about my camera. That's always a good thing!

More on the lights soon......


Nathan said...

I'm curious, how do you safely manage overtaking traffic when riding at night on gravel roads?

I'm asking in part because I would like to run a late night (perhpaps during a full moon?) gravel group ride, and I want to keep everyone safe w/o having to resort to a chase car trailing the group.

Guitar Ted said...

@Nathan: There are some things to consider here: Country roads, be they dirt or gravel, typically do not have a lot of night time traffic. However; that isn't always the case, and for obvious reasons, you need to figure out which roads to use, (if you have the luxury of choice, as we do here in Iowa.) Secondly, it is imperative that every rider have a rear blinking light that is visible, and it is highly suggested that every rider wear some reflective items. Finally, riding "Right", meaning that the last riders in the group need to pay attention and call out oncoming traffic. Then the group needs to get out of the way quickly and ride single file on the right side. ALWAYS crest hills on the RIGHT SIDE and front runners in a group must call out oncoming traffic and road anomalies or turns.

If everyone works together, (why else be in a group ride if you do not work together), there should be a high degree of safety and a ton of fun.

Unknown said...

So, which light did you prefer?

Guitar Ted said...

@Unknown: That's a loaded question. "For what purpose?", would need to be defined before I could answer you in a cogent manner. They really were totally different lights for different purposes.

Tom Petrie said...

With regard to enhancing safety at night, I highly recommend a product we sell at Cantitoe Road called "Safety Wing":(http://www.cantitoeroad.com/bike-parts-and-accessories/safety-wing)

This is, essentially, a reflector on a hinged stick that folds against your bike when unneeded and out on the left hand side when you do. It's not so long that it's obnoxious but it does cause drivers to pass with more breathing room because the apparent centerline of the bike is shifted by about 14 inches to the left. I ride with one deployed on my commute bike all the time (daytime too) and even though it's nerdy as hell, I don't care because it works.

P.S., I think blinky tail lights are annoying (especially if you're following somebody who's got one) and I don't believe they are any more effective than a good headlight. Anyone who uses a blinking headlight should be summarily executed.

Tom Petrie said...


"I don't believe they are any more effective than a good headlight."

Should be "tail light"

"I don't believe they {blinking tail lights] are any more effective than a good tail light.

Guitar Ted said...

@Tom Petrie: Whoa! That's kind of a radical thing, (for around here), but in an urbanized area, I can see how that would work well. And in regard to your last statement, could you tell us how you really feel? ;>)

Light review coming soon. I need to do a long night time ride yet.