I had to be in to work really early today, and temperatures dropped into the mid-30s overnight. That means it's time to start breaking out the real winter commuting gear. I was still dressed pretty lightly, but this is the first time this season I've needed a stocking cap.
The early commute also gave me the perfect opportunity to do a totally dark ride with the Light & Motion Vis 360 (shown left) that I'm testing out for BikeCommuters.com. At an advertized 115 Lumens, I was figuring that this light would end up being most useful as a "to be seen" light, but it actually casts a really good beam that's totally suitable for night-time riding at speeds of 15 MPH or so. The fact that it's helmet-mounted makes it good for Pothole Patrol. The side markers are brilliant and eye-catching, and the rear light is suitably luminous as well. I expect a full review to be done in the next week or so.
To test it, I took it out with a few other headlights I own, and took pictures of beam patterns. Its competition:
- A Bell Orion I found on the roadside back in early 2009, loaded with a pair of fresh CR2032 batteries. This embodies the ubiquitous cheapo front headlight from discount stores. It's usually helmet mounted. I made a handlebar mount for it when I found it (missing the helmet mount)
- Blackburn Flea
- NiteRider Evolution Halogen (15W Bulb)
And the beam shot from the Vis 360. This was the darkest spot I could find at my apartment complex this morning, far from the best place to do this sort of thing, but gives you a good idea of the beam pattern. I can say it's not nearly as bright as my halogen, but it knocks the socks off of my Blackburn Flea. It had better, for the price!
And off topic, we're finally getting settled in at our new apartment. We had a lot of help moving, but the tedious process of organizing and unpacking has seemingly only just begun. Oh, and the Brown Recluse spider infestation that we were dealing with at our old place won't likely be a problem for much longer, even if some of them did move with us. I found this friendly guy on our first day at the new apartment. It's a Wolf Spider (Hogna carolinensis, specifically) sitting atop a 50-cent piece (Diameter: roughly 1.2")
I really like large spiders such as Silk Spiders, Orb Weavers, Wolf Spiders, Tarantulas and Nursery Web Spiders. They are typically very gentle, but eat most smaller spiders and any other bugs nearby. I'm pretty sure the days are numbered for any Recluses that happened to stow away in our belongings.