By Evelyn Dong
It’s about 6 pm by the time I walk through my front door, chuck my work bag on the ground, and think about chammy-ing up for a ride. It’s also early December, so that means the sun is long gone and the temps are less than ideal in my weenie opinion. I’ve got a few things going for me though – my light puffy coat, my toasty, vent-less ski helmet, and a some tasty Bulleit Rye to warm me up when I get back. Oh, and my Stella 500, which I remembered to charge!
My riding outfit falls somewhere between a gaper alpine skier and a confused nordy, with a chamois thrown underneath all the layers for good measure! I haven’t figured out a way to attach my Stella 500 onto my ski helmet yet*, so I’m running it on the bar tonight. Putting the battery in a wool sock before I strap it to my mountain bike’s top tube will keep it warm enough. The cool/pro factor in my whole get-up is pretty high by now….
A spin up the road and I hop on Salt Lake’s finest double track, the Shoreline Trail. It’s been hiked enough so the few inches of Wasatch cold smoke have been packed down. Yup, it’s all worth it now – the snow is dry and grippy, and I’m outside, not on a trainer in a dingy garage. The Stella casts a perfect beam in the snow, which is really the best condition for night riding. Reflective snow crystals amplify the Stella’s already dazzling light, and the trail is EMPTY, for once.
A little climbing, flat riding and some descending where I pretend to be a downhiller, “drifting” the snowy turns with my inside foot unclipped, is enough to give me a few belly laughs and clear my mind. The Stella shines like a beacon on the way home, so cars give me ample space as I cut through downtown SLC.
The Stella is really an office monkey’s dream. 500 lumens of pure, focused light is more than enough for the casual night ride, and the small battery pack isn’t a back breaker, like those of its higher-powered brethren. Even in the cold, I’ve never run out of battery, running the Stella on its highest setting for two hour rides.
The Stella 500 is my ticket to freedom in the winter – listening the crunch of my tires on snow sure beats out the grating hum of trainers.
Evelyn Dong is a pro rider and when she isn’t on the bike she loves tinkering on her beloved Ford Ranger, Nordie coaching, attempting to ski Wasatch powder, and whiskey.
* Light & Motion has an Adventure Headstrap for this use.
By Cody Kaiser
Cyclocross season is my favorite times of year. Fall is here, the trees start to change and the temps start to drop. With that come shorter days and an even bigger need to ride with lights.
Throughout the summer time I put in long rides with big miles in order to lay down a nice base leading into the short, intense season of Cross. Once the racing begins training changes to become more specific in time and effort in order to mimic the aggressive nature of the races. I try to use all of my bikes in order to hone each specific skill needed, and with that I need a light to match my riding. I do quite a bit of riding off road to keep the technical skills sharp and whether it be riding my mountain bike on single track, or my CX bike on fire roads I need a light to illuminate the way and the bright output of the Seca lights definitely gets the job done!
Cody grew up playing soccer and stumbled upon cycling around age 11. Since that day the wheels have never stopped turning. He started out in the mountain bike world and was quickly turned on to cyclocross. Cody is living the life riding for Cal Giant and Specialized.
As seen on Visual.ly
An infographic comparison of Light & Motion’s Urban 700 vs a competing bike light (Niterider Lumina 700). Test data acquired using the FL-1 Standard protocol set up by NEMA and NIST. Brightness and run time tested with a certified Integrating Sphere to ensure accuracy. Additional beam comparison and full testing data available on product pages via Beam Test & Lumen Test links.
By Sarah Kaufmann
As a pro mountain biker with the Stan’s NoTubes Women’s Elite Team, I train all year. Since I have (non-cycling) gainful employment, when the days get shorter through the winter, that often means riding in the dark. I have come to rely on Light & Motion’s Urban lights to get me through these rides safely.
This tiny light with a self-contained battery, casts a wider and brighter beam than other lights with claimed higher lumens. The high/mid/low beams are great options for light off-road duty or streets with limited lighting and the flash setting is perfect to warn cars to slow down and give me plenty of space. The glowing orange side-lights provide an additional alert to cars approaching from the side at intersections. All in all, safety was not overlooked with this fantastic light.
On top of it all, it holds a battery charge for so long, on those nights when I am scrambling to get out the door on my bike and I have forgotten to charge it, I can usually get away with it!
By Aoife Glass
If you want a light set that will not only get you seen from a full 360 degrees, but will also light up a dark road or path, then the Commuter Combo set from Light & Motion is just the ticket.
It consists of the URBAN 200 front light and the Vis 180 Micro taillight, and it’s clearly been designed with the commuter in mind. Easy to use settings, simple and quick attachment fixtures, and it’s USB rechargeable too.
The URBAN 200 front light has four settings; I don’t know the official terms so lets call them very bright, less bright and economy steady modes, and an economy flashing mode. It also has an orange LED light on each side, giving you loads of added visibility.
The Vis 180 Micro rear light is designed to be seen from 180 degrees, and it certainly does that! A bright red light at the top shines backwards as you’d expect. This light also has orange sidelights, and they’re even brighter than the ones in the front light.
There are several settings on the taillight too; one very bright setting where the red and orange lights pulse – but never go out, one slightly less bright pulse setting, a high setting with a steady red beam and pulsing orange, and finally one where just the orange lights are on and pulsing.
As I commute through urban areas, where I’m often crossing junctions and roundabouts, having illumination that can be seen from 360 degrees around me made me feel a lot safer on my bike, and a whole lot more visible.
Both lights are also surprisingly lightweight, given how bright they are, and are clearly well thought out. That these are aimed at commuters is clear, and I love the details such as how easy they are to attach, and the bright side-visible lights. They’re weatherproof too. Although these aren’t cheap, if you regularly commute in the dark then this set is really worth thinking about as I reckon it represents pretty good value.
For more information: http://www.lightandmotion.com/bike/urban200combo.html
Total Women’s Cycling is published in the UK
The fourth edition of the Brazil Ride mountain bike stage race wrapped up a week ago Saturday with stage 7. In the men’s race, the lead had changed three times during the week, but on the final day, Henrique Avancini and Sherman de Paiva (Caloi Racing Team) claimed the overall title. Rebecca Rusch and Selene Yeager (Specialized Racing) won the women’s overall.
By Jason Miles from the Singletrack Issue #85
I spend a lot of time riding in the dark and I like this light a lot. Aesthetics will appeal to Star Trek fans, with chrome heat sinks and futuristic ‘set phasers to stun’ styling. The clamp is nice and secure, and a full range of side to side adjustment is possible. Slender windows on each side provide side visibility if you’re sharing your personal space with cars and buses. The on/off button on the top is incredibly easy to use.
The six-cell battery (a three-cell version is also available) is secured with sturdy velcro, connects to the lamp unit with the most weatherproof connector I’ve ever seen, and keeps the light going for over two hours on full (five on medium).
As the name suggests, full power equals 2,000 lumens. Lower settings are available – medium, low and pulse. The Seca2000 can also be set to ‘race’, where the available outputs are reduced to only high and low. This simplifies available options and increasing burn times by slightly reducing output, which is very handy for endurance racing.
Light penetration is superb and lower settings are more than adequate to ride pretty much anywhere. Switch to full power and it’s suddenly a bright sunny day. As well as the deep penetrating central beam, a wide peripheral halo of light meant that I didn’t really need my helmet light. Overall: There are a handful of truly amazing high-end lighting systems available nowadays that allow you to ride at daylight speeds for hours on end and this is definitely one of them.
By Melissa Liebling
Each time I visit a new city, I wonder about the local cycling community and commuting opportunities. What types of bike paths are accessible? How easy is it to get around on a bicycle and where can you go? So far, I’ve been impressed with the ability to travel by bicycle through large cities such as Washington D.C., Denver, and Tucson. It’s amazing how easy it is to get around and feel safe doing so! All you need is a great headlight which you can wear on your helmet or mount to your handlebars, and a tail light that watches your back…and your sides! Light & Motion offers so many excellent options to provide you with peace of mind when pedaling the town! Once you have the proper set-up, you can go anywhere and feel confident that you will be able to see what’s ahead and be seen by motorists and other commuters along the way.
With my Stella 500 and Vis 180 Micro, I have no problem commuting through Tucson to work each day and various activities in the evening. Every time I pedal somewhere, I find a reason to smile about it. There is a certain camaraderie that exists among commuters where a friendly hello to one another can make your day. Or passing by a group of children who cheer for you and wave because someday, they would like to ride a bike to school or work. My favorite experience is being stopped by a traffic light and looking around to see 10-15 other commuters. I take pride in pedaling from here to there knowing that I am doing my part to help the environment, staying active, and inspiring others to do the same.
Get out there and breath the fresh air, enjoy your surroundings, and live life in the bike lane!
I went on a Mouse (that’s Team Roaring Mouse from SF) night ride up Mt. Sutro. The guys said it was CX friendly so I decided to check it out. Turns out I was the only one on a CX bike with skinny tires (everyone else was on a MTB). Eeeee! It’s pretty damn sketchy at night and even sketchier when it started to rain! My hands went numb from clinging on to my brakes during the wet descent. But I managed to keep up with everyone and had a blast. I’m so lucky to have teammates who are patient and who are willing to give me great advice on bike handling.
If you want to go, don’t forget your Taz! http://www.lightandmotion.com/bike/taz1200c.html
By Cary Smith
There’s no hiding from it now. Autumn is here. The days are shorter, the nights are cooler and you have amazing fitness from a full summer of activities. Now is the time to get out and enjoy yourself.
With the late sunrise and early sunset, it is harder to get out of bed and easier to blow off a post-work ride. Well, I’m here to tell you that that is the wrong attitude. There is nothing more invigorating than exercise when you feel like you’re the only one doing it. You don’t need to be ripping sweet singletrack to live in that moment, either. Even a short commute to work will fill your senses when it’s dark and quiet. I must admit, however, that singletrack will fill them more fully. And this experience is one that should be shared.
a list of all your riding partners. Keep urging them to come join in the fun. It’s amazing how many excuses people have when it’s dark. The only one that holds water is that they don’t have a light. And that is easily remedied. Beg or borrow (don’t steal) so that they too will “see the light” about riding at night. Think back to your first night ride. It is such a mind-blowing experience, especially with the Light and Motion lights that are being produced right now. Your ride can be almost the same speed and duration as during daylight. And every trail feels new and exciting. The first time I take some friends out, they are lost the entire ride, even though they ride these trails almost daily. You will notice new lines, broken reflectors and scary shadows around every bend, heightening your awareness and improving your riding skills. What’s the number one tip to riding smoother, safer and faster? That’s right, looking ahead. What better way to practice than to put a light on your head and be forced to look further down the trail or around the corner.
If, by some unfortunate circumstance, you can’t shred singletrack on a daily, or nightly, basis, use these dark hours to alter your commute. Don’t stop it, just change it up. Leave at a slightly different time, take an alternate route, go explore. You’ll be amazed at the different things you see when you light them up with a thousand lumens.
So, choose whatever cliché or advertising slogan works to get you out of the house, call your buddies, make sure your lights are charged and go for it. Just do it. Quit burning day(moon?)light. And remember, it’s not just a ride, it’s an adventure.
Cary Smith, an endurance MTB racer for Team CF, is not afraid of the dark.