Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Utilitaire 12.5: A grocery store, in darkness

Grocery transport machine

I mentioned my new lights, and posted a photo of them, just about the time that the days have grown long enough that I don't need them on my commute, at least not every day. So when I noticed that one of the rules of the Utilitaire 12 is that two of the rides have to occur after dark, and you have to describe lighting method used, I knew I was in.

Tonight's U12.5 grocery ride, after dark, took advantage of the Radbot 1000 for taillight duties, and the Expilion 350 for light up front. A good combo, easy to put on, easy to remove, small enough to pocket, bright enough to show up against bright street lights and swerving SUVs, and the 350 is USB rechargeable. These lights make me miss the long dark mid-winter nights when I needed them more, since it's apparent that with these lights, drivers see me a an illuminated moving object (IMO), which appears to trigger something in their driving brain that causes them to hesitate to pull out right in front of me, or turn left straight at me, for the most part. The provide a certain level of photonic confidence, and I like it. That's my observation for u12.5. (reinforcing the concept that cyclists deserve illumination parity with motor vehicles, and cyclists need not feel timid about employing any light which is at least in the same lumens ballpark as a car or truck headlight or taillight. If you think bike lights should be pale and dim next to car lights, I'm interested to hear your reasoning. If cyclists' eyes can hack a given brightness level, though, drivers' can too, I assume. At least one smart and admired bicycle sage thinks that 30 lumens is probably enough for a bike light, and that a 170 lumen bike light is at risk of bothering drivers. Have you checked out the lumens put out by current automobile headlights, though? I know that lumens numbers are not directly comparable, don't scale linearly, and so on, but the pair of 65 watt 1800 lumen headlights shining in my eyes are, I am confident, brighter than the 170 lumen light which might annoy drivers).

An illuminated moving object (IMO)

The green tea supply has been replenished, the dark chocolate stash refilled, the Valentine's Day tokens wrapped up, all thanks to my dark U12.5 run. Oh, and just to stay official, here's the photo from the Friday work u12.1a (since odds are there will have to be a u12.1b to get 12 utilitaires in under the deadline), and the observation: man, those are big horns. I did not look around back of the truck. I couldn't bear it.


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