January 13th – I was grumbling uphill in Bradford Street, Walsall, and a piece of fresh graffiti art caught my eye. In light of the recent grumbles I’ve been having about the weather, it seemed like a message from fate.
In the last couple of days I had a message from a good friend and reader of this journal ‘Stop moaning about the rain!’
I shall try, promise. There’s always hope, after all.
November 17th – This new Hope R2i light I’m testing is rather good. This is on a middle setting on the canal in total darkness near Aldridge (obviously, no camera flash was used). Battery life seems good, and the optics give a decent beam. I’d say this is better than the R4 I was using last season, but actually has two less led elements.
A real discovery. It’s no lightweight, but it’s a very good light.
November 12th – I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on a Hope R2i light to test, and I’m very impressed with it.
I’ve been looking for an integrated, one-piece rechargeable front light for a while, as I’m fed up with using external batteries. I have been using a Lezyne thing, but it’s just not up to the job on long commutes.
My favourite light maker, Hope of Barnoldswick have produced an integrated version of their R2. It’s no lightweight, but the body is machined aluminium, and it’s well sealed from the elements. The twin LED elements are bright enough to ride unlit lanes fast, even on the lowest of the five constant settings.
The mount is the same as the hope R4, and is a solid, sturdy bayonet action with all parts made in metal.
Fitted with a handy barograph charge indicator, if this lasts a working week on a charge (and Hope claim 30 hours on low power) I’ll be a happy bunny and buy one.
A nice product with a solid look and feel – but man, it feels heavy next to the Lezyne unit it’s replaced.
December 22nd – With a light heart and the wind behind me, I returned via Walsall in mild drizzle. It was warm, and I had to stop to take off some layers – the weather has been crazy this last few days – windy, but blowing hot and cold.
We’ve just passed the winter solstice and this makes me happy. I’m in the darkness here and now, but from here, the days lengthen in that all too familiar sinusoidal acceleration pattern, and soon, we’ll have light and leaves again. Fact is, I’ve survived the closing in again, and this year, it barely affected me at all. Considering I was dreading it, that’s some relief.
Cresting the Black Cock Bridge, this conifer decorated beautifully with hundreds of lights demands attention. It’s so bright, so sparkly, yet not glaring like a lot of such things. It’s really, really beautiful. And it’s huge.
Such a gorgeous beacon of light in the darkness.
November 13th – Heading home from work late again, I hit the canal for a bit of a mental challenge. It’s been a hard couple of days, and night riding in a darker than usual environment is really good for clearing the head. I wait until I get to a dark spot, then kill the lights for a bit. It’s great fun.
This image is taken without flash, and this is how it looks from the bike.
The front light I’m using at the moment – a Hope Technology Vision R4 – is great, and bright enough to stun a badger. Here, it’s on the lowest of three ‘trail’ settings, and it’s more than adequate for tiding in woodland at night.
As soon as the weather clears, going to try it out on the Chase one evening…
November 17th – Winter, cycling in darkness. I really can’t stress this enough, but lights, folks, lights. Lights are about being seen – creating a moving point of highlight in a dark world. In an urban environment, that’s all you need: to this end cheap LED blinkies and such are perfectly adequate. In rural environments, and for moving at speed off road in the dark, good forward illumination is essential. The better the light, the sooner you see hazards, the faster you can potentially go. I use an LED light by Hope, of Barnoldswick in the UK; it’s their flagship R4 model, and is very bright indeed. This is a non-assisted photo and shows the light spread on a medium setting. I have a very bright rear light from the same company. I love Hope’s stuff. They keep me safe at night.
September 29th – I’ve been passing this odd little feature for years without realising what it was, only learning of it’s true nature a year ago. The ‘park’ – such as it is – lies in the triangle of the junction where Farewell Lane meets Church Road in Burntwood, just by the parish church. Who’d have thought such a small, railing enclosed verge could be classed as a park? It’s a lovely thing, but I wonder which tree is which?