Summers in Colorado are hot. So hot that I resorted to road riding at night. Otherwise, sweat pours into my eyes and I grow woozy during hill climbs, especially when headed into the Rockies.
Admittedly, riding at night has its dangers — drunk drivers, and critters crossing the road — but it’s peaceful, and it provides solitude and a chance to be alone with my thoughts. There’s no distractions, no traffic and I can take everything in; the roaring rivers, still lakes, wind blowing against my face, and the scent of pine trees.
Over the past few months, I’ve upgraded from carrying a single LED which barely led the way as I traveled from Fort Collins down to Golden. On the following ride, I attached an Energizer headlamp to my handlebars with electrical tape. Looking back, that light felt like such a great improvement. Finally, I made the big leap up to the NiteRider Pro 1800 LED Race. The NiteRider Pro, though expensive and heavy — $350, and 435 grams – is certainly more affordable than a trip to the hospital from being hit by a car or riding off the road at high speeds.
The dimmest setting provides 25 hours of light and the highest setting lasts for 90 minutes before quitting – by the way, this setting blinds incoming traffic. At 435 grams, most of the weight comes from the large battery, and very little from the light. The light fastens easily to handlebars by locking to a plastic mount (Allen key included) and the battery is Velcroed to the bike frame. Additionally, the light can be strapped to a helmet with the battery stashed in a backpack. The light has an eight-step fuel gauge, which displays from solid yellow, full, to blinking, to blinking red notifying the rider when power is low. The middle to low setting is bright enough for most road rides, unless the road gets very pot-holey. The high setting is especially well suited for mountain biking single tracks.
The Lithium Ion (four batteries linked together in one battery tube) battery charges in 4 hours, 30 minutes. The light uses a borafloat lens.
It pairs well with the Solas 2 Watt USB Tail Light ($40), which can be recharged by way of a computer or smartphone AC adapter. I top off the power in both the 1800 and Tail Lite before each ride because I don’t want to be stranded at 2am and stuck having to feel my way to the destination.
By using these lights my night rides have become longer and safer. These days, I’m been leaving home at sunset and arriving back haggard but happy, soon after sunrise, lights still going strong.
$350 for Pro 1800 LED Race, $40 for USB Tail Lite http://www.niterider.com