Thursday, September 3, 2009

When the light goes out

My headlamp burned out Monday morning just as I was about to leave for work. I have to leave by 6:00 am, since it takes 1 1/2 hours to bike to work, stow the bike and change clothes. Since the sky doesn't begin to get light until after 6:30, I couldn't wait and then leave. So, another driving day to work. My local LBS didn't have a bulb in stock, but I ordered one.

Here's my NiteRider light...

Monday night I discovered that a cheaper 10 watt, 6 volt halogen bulb fits my lamp base really well. Except it wobbled in the base because the reflector isn't as deep as the original.

Original on left, cheapo bulb on right. Notice, the cheapo bulb doesn't have a lens over the bulb.

I used the cheapo bulb until the proper replacement came in on Wednesday. The cheapo was just as bright, but since it wobbled in the base as I rode, the light flickered when I hit bumps in the road. I really got worried when I approached intersections with cars stopped and waiting to cross. I wasn't sure if they fully saw me coming. Desparately I tried to fiddle with the lamp as I approached the intersections, but the light kept flickering anyway.

The replacement bulb works great and I don't have to worry about the flickering issue anymore. I did toss the cheapo bulb in my rack trunk, along with an allen wrench in case the new bulb burns out, I can use that until I get another replacement. Yes, I'm a saver. I had to really cram the spare bulb into the trunk. Some day I'll have to clean that out...

Not tonight.

On the travel front, Alex and I are headed to Door County, Wisconsin, to spend the weekend biking. Looks like it's going to be a great weekend weather-wise.

Happy riding!


Rantwick said...

I'm not sure I would want to ride in Door County.

Steve A said...

Might plumber's putty or some other temperature resistant goop, used as a shim, cure the wiggle of the cheapo bulb?

PS: I don't ride in Door County either.

Oldfool said...

Having a backup is good.
Riding in the dark is bad.
Years ago while riding my motorcycle home at high speed I lost my headlight. It was a dark black night. After leaving the road and traveling some distance through a shallow ditch I came to rest against a fence post. Fortunately I was only traveling at about 3 mph when I hit it otherwise I would have been thrown into a barb wire fence. The problem turned out to be my moonshiners light switch and I was soon on my way. I was 15 years old at the time but since then I have not traveled without two lights. I hate it when it suddenly gets dark especially at speed.

2whls3spds said...

This is one of the primary reasons I prefer a hub generator with a decent quality mounted headlight, as well as a battery light for backup. The newest generation of B&M lights are outstanding and being LED are very long lived. With the choices of hub generators available today I could only see using a battery light as a back up or on a bike that is ridden only occasionally.

BTW don't ride in the Door County either but it looks like it would be a beautiful place to ride in season.


Big Oak said...

Dear Mr. Wick, the forecast for this weekend is for SUNSHINE in Door Co., therefore I am doubly sure you would not want to ride in Door Co! :)

And Steve, the temps will be well below 80, so I imagine you wouldn't like it either! :)

O.F. Having no light on a motorcycle would be ten times worse than on a bike.

2w3s I've been drooling over the generators and lights at Peter White Cycles for some time. I like the light they call the "Big Bang". While it won't light up the universe, it will light up at least a good portion of it! After we figure how much we'll have to sell off to pay for our daughter's college, I'm hoping to have enough left over to get a hub generator and light.

Chandra said...

Looks like you may have picked a nice time to ride in WI :) Have fun!

Mike J said...

a replacement bulb handy is a great idea. I'm quite the pack rat too.