Thursday, October 30, 2008

Brevet Lighting -- Schmidt Dynamo Hub

I set up my brevet light for the commutes.  There's the "hub" and my light mounted to the fork.  A wire from the light connects to the hub. It's simple and reliable--and it means brevet season is around the corner!

Early last week I found myself riding home in the dark.  The bike path was set to re-open, I thought--but when I arrived there was a new sign but no dates given or message that it would re-open anytime soon--only signs that stated to stay out and stay away.  

Not going to take the other side of the river path, I double-backed, rode down toward the Desert San, around the construction, and in no time I was moving along on the bike route.   Gee but it was like 5:20 in the evening--where had the time gone?  And the sun was setting quickly.  Its gonna be dark.

The colors of Randonneurs USA.

Last Monday here in Tucson, Gentle Reader, wind came to town and blasted us.   I was still recovering from my 70 tough miles on Sunday--now Monday morning, a strong relentless headwind wore me down and only got stronger as the climb in the foothills got steeper.   

After work, I stiffly shuffled outside, but was happy because I would have a tail wind and I could sail home.  I was beat from work and from the weekend.    But as I said above, I got to the bike path and it was closed, and I had to back-track.

Even with a tailwind, and riding as fast as I could--I ended up riding in the dark with only my small blinking light.  And I had to make that dangerous left turn onto busy Ina Rd.   I made it, but in the dark and with people rushing home, I'm uneasy when cars are speeding by so fast.


Light mounted on the fork at this height seems to work best.

The commuter light that recharges every night worked okay, but now I'm riding 12 miles in the dark before the sun comes up over the mountains.   My lights are dead just as the sun rises over Mt. Lemmon.  

So later that night, I pulled out the Schmidt Dynamo Hub, mes amis.  The hub means serious randonneering, and I swallowed hard because the hub is your constant companion through long and dark nights on a 300, 400, and 600 Km brevet.  Eventually one day as you gain experience with long hours of night riding, you will desire a Schmidt Dynamo Hub.   

Even when setting up the beam to aim it just right, the Lumotec lamp lights up like a  motorcycle light.  It is superior, in my opinion, to battery light technology for bikes.  


Switching on the light just as the sun is going down, and I'm off the bike path and in busy traffic once more...

The rest of the week, the light worked well, especially in the mornings when I'm riding down a narrow road called Thornydale.   The road is not in the best of conditions, but now I can see and this means I can ride faster on the downhill with confidence.

There is the issue of drag with the Dynamo Hub.  Yeah, you can feel it, and for some people, this is a major drawback.   By Friday I was beginning to lose energy--maybe it was the hub or maybe it was just that I was tired.  Over several hundred miles, like on a ride like Paris-Brest-Paris, the drag could affect a rider's time--but for me, its no different from having to carry all your gear along for a long brevet.   You must carry warm clothing for the early morning start, then peel that off for the day, and then have it ready again for the cold night in the saddle to the finish.

I would not want the hub for the climb up Mt. Lemmon--but if I was coming down in the dark, trying to make a controle, Gentle Reader of This Blog, nothing else would do!

Allure Libre! 

1 comment:

Paul said...

I'm working on your led light this afternoon. Sorry it has taken so long, I hope to bring it down to the Brevet next week.