Ultan – a good friend of mine – in common with many Irishmen, tells a good yarn. One of his favourites is the tale of his brother driving home through winding country lanes a short distance from Dublin. It’s late, wild and windy, when the beam of his headlights suddenly illuminate the back of a cyclist. This fella has come from nowhere. Literally. A ghost, no lights, no reflectivity, nothing. Incensed, he jumps out. There’s an altercation.
Fergus ‘What you playing at?’
Ghost cyclist ‘Wha’?’
Fergus ‘What ARE YOU PLAYING AT? Where’s your bloody lights?’
Ghost cyclist ‘Up my f***ing ar*e’.
Fergus ‘Yeah…..looking for your f***ing brain’.
<queue raucous laughter>
I always think of that when I’ve left my rear light behind and wing it in the fading light; a risky strategy and an admission I’m not proud of. But on rare occasions – this Wednesday for instance – it happens. In an effort to ensure that I’m not caught out in the future, I’ve invested in a new backlight that has the choice of two fittings. One is a removeable rubberised ‘O’ ring that will fit any seatpost. The other a standard allen key jobbie that you leave on your bike. Two options reduces the chances of being caught out provided I remember the bits. Sterling stuff. As you can see, I’m trying to design my bad memory out of the system. But this post is not about my aren’t-I-clever-with-my-two-fittings-strategy. Oh no. It’s about the fact that the light that I’ve just bought –a £35 ‘Comet’ model manufactured by Moon – would illuminate the entire Millennium stadium at a pinch. It’s not just bright. At 100 lumens in over drive mode, its super nova bright (and its smaller than a very small thing).I am astounded that light technology continues to speed ahead at such a relentless pace, getting cheaper, brighter and better every time I walk into a bike shop. There is now simply no excuse for being poorly illuminated through the autumn and winter (and that includes having a rubbish memory). Tonight I plan on heeding my own sage advice – Ensure your lights are always handy during the twilight months.
The 35 lumen Comet retails at £35 (approx.) and this one came from Cyclopaedia in Cardiff. Run it on low juice for 6 hours between charges. Running it low also prevents irate motorists from dishing out a rollocking. Image taken 2 minutes ago at my desk.