By Kevin Mitchell
The Vis 360 can save your life. I have witnessed this on several occasions while on my daily commute to work, when distracted drivers are rushing to get to their own jobs on time, coffee in one hand and cell phone in the other. It’s a scary driving world out there and being on a bike requires every possible defense. This includes being uber-aware of your surroundings and the distracted drivers zooming around. It also includes making yourself uniquely visible within the environment you are riding.
Lights can help a rider be seen in traffic when bright enough. Some of these are cheap blinky lights that help a rider to comply with traffic laws, but do little to help the rider stand out in a busy street scene and are generally of low quality and short life span. Other lights can be bright enough to be seen but may have other limitations to consider (for example, alkaline battery systems have unregulated power and dim over time, making them less effective). Good rechargeable lights can help you stand out in traffic AND see where you are going, further protecting you from being in the line of traffic. However, the ultimate commuting light can be found in the Vis 360, which is a rechargeable, regulated, high-quality, bright light with distinct features that are very applicable to urban riding.
The Vis 360 is a one of a kind, patented commuter light that offers high profile visibility to help a rider stand out in traffic. As a unique helmet mounted system, the system provides 360 degrees of lighting outputs, which gives commuters a complete solution for being seen from all sides. The design of the Vis 360 creates a light weight and low profile light that simply blends into the rider’s helmet. Most importantly, this light occupies a spatial zone that enables it stand out from other lights in the urban environment, whereas other lights can tend to blend into the environment or be obscured from vision.
Let me explain: when I am zooming down the hill on my way to work, there are many side streets that cars pull out from. Sometimes, the drivers do quick stop and go’s rather than a complete and safe stop to look in both directions before proceeding. Usually, they will see me coming and slam their brakes before proceeding too far. However, the story changes a bit when they are pulling out from behind another object (like another parked car). If I were to ride only with a handle bar mounted light, they often will not see it. However, having the Vis 360 high up on my helmet makes it more visible AND gives me the option to look towards them with my light shining directly at them. This gives them the advance warning they need to not slam into you. There are many other examples of this, when cars might not see a handle bar mounted light because something is blocking that field of vision, and yet the helmet mounted light stands out.
The difference is do you want a light that truly stands out in a busy commuting environment? How important is your safety? Will the Vis 360 save your life too?
Kevin Mitchell is the North American Bike Sales Manager for Light & Motion. He shares his passion for the VIS 360 because he has felt the difference a helmet light with all around visibility can make. Kevin is an avid commuter and he can be found on the local single track trails out at Laguna Seca every weekend!
There was a buzz in the factory this last week and it wasn’t just the machines… we had a visit from the production crew from the popular Discovery Channel program “How It’s Made”! The crew was on location to film how we make our Bluefin G-30 underwater camera housing, the Seca 2000 bike light and the Sola 1200 dive light!
“How It’s Made” takes viewers behind the scenes in factories around the world to show how the raw materials are transformed into finished products. The show airs in 130 countries and is broadcast in more than 30 different languages around the world.
We were contacted to participate in the show after “How It’s Made” saw a Seca bike light and learned that the powerful LED light was a product developed by us here in our Marina, California factory. “We are honored to be recognized for the manufacturing we do in house – our teams are very proud of the products they build and now they can show the world how we do flow manufacturing” quoted Light & Motion CEO Daniel Emerson.
Stay tuned to see these segments air on “How It’s Made” later this year!
The Arrowhead 135 is a race event for people who are passionate about pushing limits. Jay Petervary is one of those guys. This year the Arrowhead 135 did not disappoint the hearty competitors who showed up at this northern start line in the dark with mercury rising to a high of -23 degrees. This race is a contest of stamina, endurance, courage, and equipment – all are tested and then some. Jay Petervary powered through the ice, snow pack, and freezing temperatures to cross the finish line in 20 hours – the first to finish by bike!
By Eric Simon
Product testing starts with our deeply held belief that our integrity as a company will be reflected in the products we create and our customers’ experiences with them. In other words, making great products isn’t mainly about engineering features and specifications, but about a relentless passion for excellence in everything we do as a whole company. And since we do everything under one roof, that passion drives the entire process from developing initial concepts all the way to assembling the finished product that ships out the door.
In the early stages of product development, our testing focuses on trying out the crazy new ideas we’re considering (and we always have tons of those), such as a new beam pattern, more powerful electronics, or a completely new way to use a light. Close integration between engineering, marketing, and sales are critical here to make sure we go down the right path.
During the later stages of development, that tight integration is no less important because a lot of our testing and tweaking ultimately determines the customer’s experience with our product. So in addition to using state of the art equipment to conduct FL-1 testing for things such as lumens, runtime, waterproofing, and impact resistance, all departments are involved in testing to ensure the product is easy to use and understand, and that all the little details work as expected.
When we finally assemble product to ship to customers, our work still isn’t done. To make sure that our volume manufacturing processes are robust, we thoroughly test large batches of lights before a single one ships out, and we continue to test our products throughout the year to ensure that we maintain that high quality.
Eric Simon is the Product Launch Manager at Light & Motion in his job he manages the second half of the product development process – starting when the engineering designs are released – including prototyping, sampling, and ramping up production.
We are on our way to a Bigger and Better building to house our vertically integrated manufacturing company!
We leave the old Aeneas Cannery in Monterey this January and move to our new building in Marina, CA (10 miles away from our current location) with 2.5 times the space for added manufacturing, assembly, and shipping!
The move will allow us to grow our business without constraints! With the added space we can build and assemble more lights! The new building will also facilitate faster service and even better customer support!
“We are a team that loves product and our new building give us more room to build it. The idea of someone else building it for us would be like sending someone out to take your place on your Saturday morning ride. Building cool stuff is the point” says Daniel Emerson, CEO of Light & Motion. “Practice is how we get better and learn to design better products. The new building also provides more professional space for our team to work, and Marina is a great community for working folk.”
We will miss hearing the sounds of waves crashing against our building and being a part of historic Cannery Row, but our new site is surrounded by thousands of acres of single track to explore just outside our front door!
Now that adds icing to the cake!
Find out more about our move and how we will invest in our local community: http://www.montereyherald.com/business/ci_24888399/bicycle-light-company-outgrows-its-monterey-digs
By Will Chaffey
I recently had the opportunity to take part in a high altitude study of amphibians in the cloud forests near Wayqecha, Peru, on the edge of the Amazon basin. We were concentrating on tiny frogs less than the size of a dime which burrow deep in the moss of the cloud forests. The Andes are a relatively new mountain range, rising within the last 5 million years, and so the creatures on the upper flanks represent an ideal opportunity to study the evolution of new lineages.
It was painstaking work for which keen eyesight and a powerful light were necessary, even during the daytime. I had brought along my Stella which proved invaluable in the field. After a day crawling through the cloud forest looking for tiny frogs, most people would be happy to go home and have a gin and tonic, but not my companions, who are, after all, biologists. We went spotlighting every night after work. If there is one thing biologists love to compare notes on, it’s headlamps. With the powerful beam of the Stella, my companions admitted to a case of lumen envy. We went spotlighting at 10,800 feet and one magical night the Stella illuminated the eye shine of a rare marsupial, the Andean Slender Mouse Opossum. The powerful beam so transfixed the creature that it stayed still long enough for a photograph.
Will Chaffey is the author of “Swimming with Crocodiles” an adventure across the Australian Outback before the existence of the GPS and Stella light.
By Chris McCaslin, Engineering Director, Light & Motion
Most of our products use mirrored reflectors and optical-quality glass, an optical solution which we have found to be the most efficient, and which creates the most beautiful beam patterns. Most portable lighting manufacturers use off-the-shelf molded reflectors made of clear plastics. Termed T.I.R., for Total Internal Reflection, these reflectors focus light by bending it internally. Our experimentation has shown that most of these solutions project light unevenly—leaving unintended bright spots and dark spots, called artifacts, in the beam. These spots can show up in your photography, and can be distracting bouncing down a mountain trail. TIRs have also proven less efficient, absorbing or scattering light that we want to focus on the subject.
Using both advanced optical software and practical experimentation with varying shapes of prototype reflectors, we work to concentrate light where you need it. In some cases we do use TIR reflectors, for instance when a very tight spot beam is required in a very tight space, something that TIR’s excel at. For our Sola and GoBe Search spot beams, we experimented with many reflectors before settling on a design that provided a sufficiently tight spot.
In most products, in-house design of mirrored reflectors creates the brightest possible lights, and allows us to create special features. These include integrated side lights from a single LED, and shaping the beam of each emitter in a single- or multi-LED head for optimal use on a bicycle. You can see this in Taz and Seca, and in our taillights that provide industry-leading visibility from all around your bike. In some cases we use peening to scatter just the right amount of light to soften hard edges in the beam.
And in a few products, we simply get out of the way, putting the LED as front and center as possible, to provide the widest, most even beam pattern possible.
These small differences all work to blend light seamlessly into your environment. Our goal in optics design is for you to forget the light there, and to remember the experience, not your lighting.
By Dejay Birtch
You know those times when you are sitting there thinking about all of your passions? Wondering about getting other people interested, what it is you can do to make a difference and how to just do it?! Well, sometimes you just end up in the right place, at the right time, sitting next to the right person around a bonfire in the middle of Tennessee after a 12-hour bike race and things just click. This time you didn’t even have to think at all. This “stranger” tells you about how he is starting an organization that is going to promote healthy living and is going to put a book or two in every kid’s hand that needs or wants one. He talks of some facts that there is only one age-appropriate book for every 300 children in the US, and how children can not accomplish at home reading assignments due to lack of books in their community and that there are plenty of books available that can be reused, recycled, but we just need the people to help get the books to the kids and then the guy says “I’m trying to do it via bicycle”. Hearing this, I felt the fire grow, I knew I had to be a part of it!
That was 6 years ago. Since then I have been on many book deliveries. It is hard to put into words the feeling that overwhelms you as you roll into a school yard and you are surrounded by hundreds of elementary kids are screaming, high-fiving and jumping up and down! I have accomplished many things on a bicycle in my life, but this is at the top of the list! The experience that I’m talking about is a “Ride for Reading” delivery. You can experience this many times a year all over the country or better yet put on your own delivery in your community. We host Book Week in May every year, but there is no bad time to host a book delivery for the communities that need books. There is a template on hosting your own delivery at Ride for Reading. If you are interested in donating in any fashion we can field all of your questions there as well. Looking forward to seeing all your smiling faces on the playground soon!
Ride For Reading’s mission is to promote literacy and healthy living through the distribution of books via bicycle to children from low-income neighborhoods. In low-income neighborhoods, the ratio of books per child is 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children. *Reading is an integral part of education, and without books it is hard to build a strong academic base. Our children need materials to read at home and it is our goal to provide the means. http://rideforreading.org/ Dejay Birtch is a single speed pro athlete who, in addition to supporting Ride for Reading, supports youth cycling clubs and leads a colorful life in Tucson.
By Beata Wronska
By the time we were ready to go it was less than an hour to sun down - sound familiar
I really felt like biking that evening no matter what. We grabbed all the lights we had the Secas, Taz, and the Solite 250 EX and strapped them on the bars and helmet – we were set. We jumped on the bikes and started cruising on the beautiful gravel path in the middle of the most northern part of the Florida Everglades.
When I ride in the daylight I see so many unbelievable creatures here, from alligators, bobcats, deer, wild hogs, hawks, ospreys, I could go on. All of it while surrounded by wind, sun, and grassland with never ending views far into the setting sun. I bike here in the scorching heat of the Florida sun or to the summer thunderstorms trying to bike as hard as I can to get out of the angry clouds while covered in sand and drained by rain…
This time we headed into the setting sun and into the dark and oh man, it was so different, peaceful and quiet. Just less than 30 minutes into our ride we were in complete darkness. It crossed our minds to cut the ride short since the whole loop was 20 miles long and takes us far away from the park entry, but everything just felt so good. We had so much amazing light coming out from our bikes that we felt safe and comfortable.
Half way through the ride we had a helicopter right above shooting a beam of light at us, just a little more powerful than the Seca 2000, we waved at it and kept on going.
With the helicopter gone we were back to the sound of the gravel under the tires, humming wind and your own breath. The ride was so amazingly pleasant that we kept on going and ended up doing the whole loop and came back with a stellar time. I’m so happy we got out and rode that night. It was something that would be tough to forget. To be honest I can’t wait to get out and do it all over again…
Beata Wronska is a Cat 1 Mountain Biker and an Xterra Triathlete. She rides for Bike Tech Miami and races all over Florida and the country. Her dream race is going back to the Xterra World Championship in Maui, Hi.
Tecnu adventure racing crossed the finish line in Costa Rica Monday night after racing for 175 hours at one of the toughest and most epic adventure races in history. After battling near the front for half of the race, the captain of Tecnu Kyle Peter suffered as the team entered the high mountains of Chirripo and developed altitude sickness. The team slowly recovered and fought to regain their position. At the end Tecnu came charging back and finished just 3 hours from 2nd place and atop the podium. I am VERY proud of the way the team battled and I am very proud that the team is the first team from the United States to finish in the top 5 in the last 5 years!
For more information see Tecnu Extreme Racing on Facebook.
Congratulations from all of us here at HQ – the team reminds us to get off our seats and get out and adventure!
See you out on the trail tonight!