A week ago I went out for a ride after dinner and realized that the days are getting shorter and I am finding less time during the week to get out for a ride. I had my Planet Bike 1/2 watt light that I use on my commuter bike. I thought it was pretty bright, and I guess when you are riding streets with street lights, it is. But off road at night? Severely lacking. Coming down singletrack as it was getting dark was pretty sketchy. As I was making my way, very slowly, down the trail, I saw very bright lights headed up toward me. They were so bright I thought it might be a car on the dirt road that parallels the trail. But it was three guys on mountain bikes with very bright lights on their bikes and their helmets.
I bought a bright light a few days later. I went with a 700 lumen Cygolite Expilion light that I can either mount to my handlebar or helmet. A couple nights ago I went up to the same trail (Big Springs up the South Fork of Provo Canyon) to try it out. Huge improvement. I could ride pretty fast with this kind of light. It has four different settings so I can put it pretty low when I am climbing, then switch it to super bright for downhill singletrack. I’m pretty happy with the light, but I also understand now why people like a second light on their helmet as well. A light mounted to your handlebar only shines where your bike is pointed, which isn’t always where you are about to go. That is, on a winding trail it is nice to be able to look ahead to the next turn before your bike is pointed in that direction. Having lights will open up lots more time to ride during the winter.
I also recently brought along a new lightweight canister stove to test out. It is something I will pack this winter when I am out riding, just in case. So I stopped and brewed a mug of peppermint tea. It was chilly and it tasted nice. I’ll do a review of the stove in a later post.