A Blaze of Light

bike lightWhen I first started commuting to and from work on the Georgetown Branch Trail (or Capital Crescent?), I knew I needed to get a headlight soon. So without thinking I made a cheapy, “spur of the moment” purchase: an Ascent head and tail light combo.

I wasn’t too concerned about the tail light, and I thought my cheap purchase was doing its job, until my morning commutes started getting darker, and I was having some trouble seeing the trail ahead of me. “This light… ugh,” I thought often.

Then BAM. A blinding burst of hot white light.

Not really.

My good friend, Christy J, hooked me with the Light & Motion Urban 400, and my mind was blown (and my eye balls when I first tried to pry the light out of its packaging and accidentally pushed down the ‘ON’ button). It doesn’t compare to the rinky drink Ascent light I bought.


Though, sometimes I worry if I’m blinding oncoming cyclists and walkers/runners, but then I remember this one guy with a super bright headlight. I always want to look away from its fiery whiteness, but can’t because I might fall into a ravine or crash into a tree. Or worse, crash into him. I don’t know. Is there some kind of bright light etiquette? Am I a jerk? It’s not like I’ve got the light pointed directly at anyone’s line of sight.

When I bought my bike, the shop associate was telling me about a bunch of light options, and the one thing I remember was about USB-rechargeable lights. She seemed to like the idea but was very wary of the nature of its design: it’s USB, so if you run out of juice you’re stuck, unless you have a backup, battery-operated light with you.

I haven’t been on any night-time rides to encounter this situation so for the most part, having a USB light is awesome. I generally charge it up the night before and it’s good for the entire day. Or, if I forget to charge it the night before, but there’s still plenty of juice, I’ll use it for the morning commute (if needed) and just charge it from the work computer. Pretty nifty.

It’s also durable, from my one recent encounter after falling in some frozen mud. Though, I don’t think the light itself struck the ground, it did swivel but this could be from my bumping it.

Which brings me to the one thing that is slightly awkward. I’m not sure if this is just a noob thing, but the light swivels. On occasion I have found my light not point straight because I somehow bumped it to the left or right. Which isn’t necessarily a problem when you don’t really need a light, but I’m guessing it looks pretty silly to oncoming cyclists and other trail users who see a light pointed off to the side a bit.

In summary: I dig this light. I love it. I recommend it.

And thanks, Christy J for hooking me up!



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