"Are you lost?"

Stopped right here, I pull my camera out to show you all this road.  It is a new one for me, and part of a new 60+ mile loop northeast of the house.  As the camera comes to life, the slow moving pickup slows to a stop beside me.  I glance up, see the passenger window is down, and wait for the rancher to say something.  When I decide the silence is bordering on awkward, I say, “Good morning!”

He returns the greeting, and adds, “Are you lost?”

Cautiously, I wonder if he is sincerely concerned or a little suspicious.  After all, why would a goofy-dressed bicyclist be out here on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere?

I tell him I have a map, and think I am where I hope to be, but that some of these county roads are not signed.  He confirms that I am on the correct road, and asks another question that could be interpreted as either suspicion or genuine helpfulness.  So I tell him my plan to make a left turn, head west, and take a few other county roads back to North Shore Road.  He pauses and processes that information, and says, “You are nowhere near North Shore Road”.

I think he underestimates the comfortable range of a bicycle.

So I pull out my map, and recite the sequence of roads that leads back to North Shore Road.  Either his suspicions are satisfied, or his understanding of a bicycle’s range is expanded.  Then he asks, “Oh, so you live over there?”

“No, I live in Sanger.”

Another pause to process information.  I think his understanding of the bicycle’s range is significantly expanded.  Then he wishes me well, and drives on at about bicycle pace.  So I decide to go ahead take that photo of the road, and include the back of that pickup before it fades out of sight.

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Golden Gravel

Sometimes one can roll to a stop, point, shoot, and by some lucky coincidence capture an appropriate reminder of what that moment felt like. This morning was one of those times.

Cygolite Metro 300

This little light surprised me. I’m not a bicycle lighting authority, and this wasn’t written to convince anyone that they should scrap their current lighting set-up and use this instead. This post is simply a story about how surprised I am.  It appears technology leap-froged over me again.

I wanted an easy on/easy off light. I’ve been enjoying the simple Quickbeam lately, and wanted to take it out in the dark. But I didn’t want to spend the money for a special dynohub wheel and light combo. I also didn’t want something permanently installed or as heavy as a generator hub. I didn’t want the clutter of wiring. And for the intended use of the Quickbeam, I can live with less than Edelux performance.  

I went first to the Rivendell Bicycle Works website. I knew there had been a lot of technology improvements in the bicycle lighting world, and I knew that Rivendell sold lights. Maybe, I figured, they’d have some kind of basic commuter light that would be acceptable. What I found was the Cygolite Metro 300, and that it has a built-in rechargeable battery that plugs in to a USB port. Cool. I also found that it would easily last long enough (actually much longer) to cover my 1-2 hour typical light/dark fringe ride. The Rivendell folks suggested that it was a good value in a light. So it probably would have enough light for me to be visible to others and find my way down the road without hitting the larger obstacles.

I rode for an hour this morning using the low, steady mode. It was much better lighting than I expected. The beam filled the road with plenty of light for my moderate pace. As I approached home, I switched to high, steady mode. I believe this compares favorably with my Edelux. I didn’t expect this much performance from such a small, light weight, easy on/easy off, conveniently rechargeable light. 

Since I am not an everyday bicycle commuter, or a ride-all-night rando freak, if I were a first time bicycle light shopper, I’d probably skip the dynohub thing and use something like this. Why? It’s less expensive, it can be used on multiple bikes, it weighs less, and performs similarly. For an hour or two in the dark, a couple of times a week, this little light is surprising.

Of course, I think I was the last one on the block to get a smart phone.  So consider the source.