My SON changed my life

As the nights draw in, cyclists thoughts turn to how to illuminate the road and how to be seen by other road users. If there is a type of lighting system then I have tried it, from those nasty “EverReady” lamps from the '80s to the “Wonder lights”, I wonder how they got away with them, to powerful lights powered by re-chargeable batteries.

Last year my re-chargeable lights decided they had had enough, irritatingly just after I had bought a new battery for them. The stress of 15,000 miles of being rattled to and from work took it's toll and the whole lamp unit stress fractured. Luckily my rule of having two independent lighting systems on front and rear meant I could get home.

The re-chargeable lights had been good, they were bright, twin 10W lamps would light up even unlit roads on which I commute. However they did have drawbacks:

  • The battery would not last my full commute with both beams on in both directions. Not a problem most of the year (but would be on my new improved, upgraded and longer commute).

  • Even when I knew I had recharged them the night before I always had a nagging doubt that they would fail.

So what should I replace them with? More of the same? I kept reading that real cyclists, use a Dynamo. A Dynamo?? We all know that dynamos don't produce enough power for real lights, 3W, come on. Also they produce and enormous drag, at least 50% of your energy goes into them, and then when it rains, IE all the time, they slip and the lights go out. A bit like those who have never used a SunRay and will tell why they are no good for them.

However those real cyclists just kept on writing about how good they were.

So I took the plunge and bought a SON hub generator, see it is not a Dynamo after all, this is a generator. Combined with the 3W Lumatec Oval plus senso switched front lamp, which comes on automatically when it gets dark. All that was required was to build the thing into a wheel and fit it on the bike and ride in the dark.

Well those real cyclists were right, a 3W light is good enough to ride on unlit roads, just. What is more it is always there ready for use when it's sensor decides it is dark, which surprisingly often. There is no noticeable drag. I can honestly say it has changed my view of cycling in the dark.

Plus it just looks fab, so if you don't ride a bike get one just to have around the house.

So my SON has changed my life, but the story does not end here, more later.



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This is the old blog of Chris Gerhard. It has mostly moved to http://chrisgerhard.wordpress.com

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