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Thursday, 4 October 2012

Winter is coming- dig out your lights!

This morning 'twas bright and chilly with mist hanging in the air over the meadows as I rode to work.

It was the first morning I arrived at work with a silver sheen on my gloves and the front of my knee warmers. I finished my ride with my glasses perched on the end of my nose as the lenses had covered in dew, there was dew dripping from the front of my helmet and, when I got undressed for my shower, the front of my thighs were Ferrari red.

Summer has gone.  

This means that the nights are drawing in and, the last weekend of the month sees the clocks going back an hour. Accordingly, when I set my clock for 6:00 a.m. the first morning after, it will effectively be 5:00 a.m. and still dark outside when I hit the road.  The time has come to dig out the 'see' lights and make sure they are charged up and serviceable.  

I categorise lights two ways - 'see' lights and 'be seen' lights.

'See' lights are the hi powered retina frying 'Frikkin Lazers' that turn night into day and allow caution to the wind midnight descents of hills.

'Be seen' lights are the flashing LED units that I have switched on as the light fails, even in built up areas with street lighting.  

A pair of 'be seen' lights stay on my commuter bike all year round (one front, one rear) as I never know when I am going to be late off and need to advertise my position. I also find that, in the summer with the routes I use, even after full dark, I can just about see where I am going to make a slow pootle home feasible.

As winter draws in however, the darkness seems to be deeper so 'see' lights are a must.   Another factor to bear in mind as autumn and winter progress is the impact of cruddy weather on your visibility. As a result, I try to make sure that the single front and rear 'be seen' lights that I use in the summer are backed up by at least another front 'be seen' light.

For me, the second front 'be seen' light is an Exposure JoyStick on a helmet mount. I use the high level mount because, as far as I am concerned, this raises a flashing light out of the background noise of car lights and increases the likelihood of being seen.   I also have a Knog Frog permanently fitted to my helmet as a stand by light in case either of my other front 'be seens' fails.

I love Knog stuff as it is well thought out and quirky in design. I saw recently here that they have upgraded their 'Blinder' lights with some quite powerful units. I would love to get my hands on some of these to give them a try.  

So, don't forget, dig out your lights and make sure they are fit for purpose this winter.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Fuzzy,

    I work for CTC, the national cycling charity, and you're on our list of bloggers. May I please have your contact email address?

    Thanks, Galia