Re: [Classicrendezvous] mudguards and lights with Gilbert Rambling (Long)


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From: CYCLESTORE@aol.com
Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2000 23:41:57 EDT
Subject: Re: [Classicrendezvous] mudguards and lights with Gilbert Rambling (Long)
To: jcole@memphis.edu, classicrendezvous@bikelist.org


Mssr. Cole and All, In a message dated 10/24/00 8:59:07 PM, jcole@memphis.edu writes:

<< (WARNING...slightly off topic)

Well, since Audax riding has been discussed a bit lately I have a question concerning mudguards and lights. Many of the pictures of participants (mudguards often required) seem to have what appears to be a rear flashing light on the back mudguard. I've seen adverts for lights to fit rear mudguards, but these were not battery operated flashers, but lights for a generator set up. Is there a rear battery operated flasher that is made to specifically mount to a rear mudguard?

I stock a German flashing fender lamp but most generator lamps are brighter. It is a good supplement and backup to another system.

Actually in the official rules, (which could change) steady burning lamps are required for official Randonnuer events (and you must offer to show spare bulbs at inspection). It has been common practice to allow flashing lamps as supplemental illumination, however.

Why, who knows for sure but as usual I will supply speculation for fact when facts are unavailable. 1) When the rules were written LED bicycle lights had not been invented, thus not considered. Early LED lights were somewhat inefficient and not very bright- many newer ones today are not as good as the first ones introduced. The also did not burn steady (only blinkers) and did not meet requirements. 2) While my personal experience mirrors many folks in that I have found night riding to be safer under many if not most circumstances (being well illuminated of course) than riding during the day in that cars tend to give you a much wider birth in the country and drivers seem to be more cautious (urban night riding is a different animal) accident statistics do not follow event experience. In our country the USA and in my state North Carolina it is statistically more dangerous for children in daytime and everyone at night. At one time 98% of all cycling fatalities in North Carolina occurred at night! And Gilbert claims it is safer! Conditions matter, while detailed statistics are unavailable it is my feelings that most of the fatalities occurred in urban areas by cyclists without adequate lighting. Each time we hear of a local cyclist being injured or killed at night we have yet to find a victim through Police inquiry that had a working light front and back. Also while it may seem intuitive to have a rear reflector and a front lamp to some almost as many cyclists are hit from the front as the rear. Most frontal accidents are from people being turned into during vehicle left hand turns, being hit on driveways and sidewalks (where they thought they we safe but unexpected) or simply colliding into a cyclist illegally traveling on the wrong side of the road. The most serious accidents are head-on as one would expect but closely followed by the dreaded flattening of cyclist from the rear syndrome we all fear. Because cyclists riding at night seem to universally never have lights or consciences when run over the driver is never charged with a crime and is counseled for accidentally being involved in an unavoidable tragedy. Almost all victims of night accidents have been on bicycles sold after the CPSC required full front rear side and pedal reflectors. It is my conclusion that while reflectors may have a benefit that are clearly no substitute for lights because they are simply to passive and car light beams must be very close to make them effective. On a dark night a steady burning lamp can be seen for up to half a mile or more. 3) Flashing lights while inexpensive, reliable, long lasting, widely available have some unexpected short comings that are not obvious. I have found at long distances riding with companions that the same brand of dual function rear light is not as visible blinking as burning steady! I feel it may have something to do with the frequency of the blinking. In urban area's under the right conditions blinking lights can become almost invisible under street lights. Many modern street lamps pulse much like a florescent tube- on -off-on-off and it tricks our eyes and brain to seeing steady floodlight, but the frequency can match our old friend the LED's and poof, the taillamp output can diminish or disappear. (we should commission a study). It seems like a blinking light would be better to attract attention and it does but not when you can't see it. It is also easier I believe to judge distance with a steady light as well and this could prevent accidents too. 4) The Paris Brest Paris organizers are very concerned with safety as they have had a number of accident related deaths during the event. Most I was lead to believe were lighting related and the unfortunate riders were not following the rules. Bulbs burning out and failing lamps are no excuse, penalty or disqualification or perhaps the death penalty, read on. A woman that survived a horrific crash in the 1975 PBP told me her riding companion got the (from the home of the guillotine) punishment of beheading by a truck that rammed into the unlighted rear of her paceline. Poor fellow indeed. She later was able to slip out of the hospital where she was taken by an Irish nurse with moped that sped back to the route where she picked up here cycle and carried on to finish in under the time limit. Anyone who can name this gutsy rider by the end of Daylight Savings Time can have a Gilles Berthoud Handlebar bag with my complements! (I am Sorry Sheldon and Harriet must be disqualified in advance but I plan to make it up to you somehow; so please keep a secret, those bags are expensive! 5) Whether it is study or tradition that a steady lamp is required I feel it is a good requirement for night riding in the rear and it also conforms to all French and most US laws.

I use 2 Dual mode lamps on long rides with one steady (for visibility) and one blinking (To extend battery life) in the rear. The French ancient's usually ride with two redundant systems, A generator and battery backup. No battery lasts as long as a good generator.

Gilbert "I like da nights" Anderson

In a message dated 10/24/00 8:59:07 PM, jcole@memphis.edu writes:

<< (WARNING...slightly off topic)

Well, since Audax riding has been discussed a bit lately I have a question concerning mudguards and lights. Many of the pictures of participants (mudguards often required) seem to have what appears to be a rear flashing light on the back mudguard. I've seen adverts for lights to fit rear mudguards, but these were not battery operated flashers, but lights for a generator set up. Is there a rear battery operated flasher that is made to specifically mount to a rear mudguard?

Also, I picked up a box of mudguards from a guy and there were a couple of sets of ESGE's in there. They look totally different than my new set purchased from the fine folks at Harris Cyclery. These have a different stripe down the middle and use a single strut on either side of the front mudguard and not two on each side like current models. How long have ESGE's been in production? I realize the name has changed, but same product. THANKS!!!

Jim Cole
Memphis, TN >>