Sunday, July 17, 2011

A spark to light the way.

It's been a long time since I just sat here and waxed lyrical on why riding a bike is so important to me. I know it must be obvious to those people around me as today I had a family friend and my Dad asking me if I'd been riding lately. Life has been a bit up and down for me recently.
Riding gives much more than just fitness and a day out. Riding is "intelligent" in its therapy. You go out some days and just smash yourself, because that's what you need. Other days are a roll around with mates for laughs, conversation and time out. Sometimes the coffee post ride is the thing that sets all the buttons back to normal and washes away the dross of a day or week. How can something inanimate "know" what you need? Because you get out what you put in and you get to choose how much you put in.
I haven't been putting enough in for a little while now. The state of my riding is reflected in my life, or perhaps it's my life reflected in my riding. There are struggles to find motivation, to find the spark to ignite the fire again and burn away my lethargy and sloth.
I need the pain again. I have had my perceptions of what can be endured and what can be achieved irrevocably altered by the people around me, and indeed by my own efforts. When I think of the next challenge it gives me a brief  vision of how I should be in life. Passionate, committed, determined. Now it is more persevering, controlled, listless. Time is drawing me closer to another challenge. I don't know what it will be but it needs to be big. I need to know that whatever I take on is not a certainty. I need to know I could fail, if I don't put my passion, commitment and determination on the line. Toe the damn line. It'll be on a bike though. My muse and my tormentor.
   Determination. Pictures, Images and Photos

Monday, July 4, 2011

Moon light riding.

I received some really exciting news a couple of weeks ago and have been busting to get it out there. The guys from QBC, the distributors for Giant and a number of other brands here in Queensland offered me the chance to ride with their new light brand, MOON Lights. Looking at the spec sheets for the various units had me salivating with the option for a 1500 lumen light with a 3 hour burn time and a 1000 lumen with a 4 hour burn time the top dogs.
Normally I only like to ride with a helmet light so when given the option of which unit  I could get I went with the 1500 lumen X-Power 1500. With 5 power modes including a flash mode you get plenty of different light levels. They also come with both a helmet and bar light as standard as well as an extension lead and a strap to mount the battery wherever you might choose. All in all, a nice little package for a great price. The whole lot retails for $399.
These puppies are bright! After nearly blinding Drew on the first singletrack run I turned the light down to the 1100 lumen level. The quality and spread of the beam meant this was more than enough light to ride most trails. In fact it punched along the trail so well it was difficult for Drew to be in front. At least that was his excuse for lagging behind!
After the impressive results for the X-power 1500 I was also keen to try out the X-power 1000 units as for endurance racing I thought that one of these on the bars and one on the helmet might be a good combination. The 1000 uses 2 Cree XPG emitters and 1 XML emitter to give the lesser lumen output with a slightly better burn time. I really like the mounting brackets for these lights too. The bar mount is simple to use with a rubber strap that loops around and hooks back to the mount that sees only the rubber in contact with the bars. A nice touch particularly if you use carbon bars like me.
I got the opportunity to test the lights against another light in a similar price bracket and output. Again I was joined by Drew and also this time Reg came along for a roll too. Reg was running a 1400 lumen bar light and a 900 lumen helmet light. All three of us agreed that the MOON was a superior beam with a much wider throw and less hot spot than the light Reg was running. Not bad for $270 odd dollars! MOON lists the run times for the 1000 lumen as 3.5 hours.

The wash up of the first couple of rides with the MOON lights is that they produce an astounding amount of light. They might not be the lightest units in terms of weight but from my research they are comparable with lights of a similar output. You can go with the 1500 lumen model and need nothing else or go with 2 of the 1000 lumen units to put a light on the bars and the helmet. I still need to run the lights a few times to really confirm the run times. At this stage they seem pretty accurate though as I have ridden twice with the X-power 1500 with no issues and the X-power 1000 did a 2.5 hour ride with no issues.
I am really excited to get these lights out and race them. They fit right into my ethos of performance at a fantastic price. As I get more time with the MOON lights on the trail I will report back with updates. There are also a number of other products MOON does that the guys from QBC have given me to mess around with like tail lights and a very classy looking 300 lumen commuter light. All in all I could be spending a whole lot more time night riding from now on!