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  1. #1
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    Finally Got Out On A Real Night Ride and I'm Hooked!!!

    Wow! I'm hooked! What a rush blazing down a trail after dark running lights! Gotta do this more often!

    Well after being such a poser for the past year plus I finally got out for a quick night ride. Wife and the kids were out for a mother-daughter banquet, so I took advantage of the opportunity. I actually started with some rails-to-trails riding as a test ride after all the work I've done on the bike (shifting, braking, adjustment of the new bars, etc. . .). This was actually only the 2nd ride I've taken on this new MTB. My first ride was last Fall before the weather turned bad (we get 6 months of winter here in west central PA).

    So after riding about 4 miles of rail-trail round trip I head up a jeep trail up into a site that I am very familiar with from work. At this point it was just starting to get dark, so I stopped and mounted my lights up. I had brought the Yinding which is stock and came with the "wrong" tint (which I actually prefer), my Pannova case with (2) 3/4 charged cells, and my newly built Convoy M1 flashlight-helmet light running an XP-G2 @ 2.2A (about as bright as a 2nd Convoy M1 I built up with an XM-L2 @ 3A but slightly less spill). The tint is very close to my Yinding's tint. I attached the M1 to my helmet (slightly off center due to not having a center "notch" like I thought it did before I bought it) with a "silicone band" like these. The silicone band wasn't quite tight enough but it worked. I'm going to have to find another better option. I put the Pannova case into this bike frame bag (note: my bag's top cell phone compartment is nothing like this pic and so small it's almost unusable). I wasn't totally prepared to night ride and so I had to grab stuff and go. I do intend to use GoPro style mounts for my bar lights. I also almost grabbed the NiteFighter BT40s, but decided the Yinding would work better on only 2 cells.

    So I started climbing up and got exhausted with my thighs burning LOL! I'm out of shape! I'll admit that I got off and walked the bike up the steeper section. (I've never walked a bike on a road ride and always pushed myself so as to not get off and walk.) So by the time I got as high as I wanted to go (road got blocked with downed limbs) it was getting quite dark. I took a break (letting it get a little darker) and then fired up the lights testing modes, outputs, and combinations of the two lights. The M1 has a programmable driver (this driver with "guppydrv" firmware), but the two mode I have it set to only gives me a 15% low which is WAY TOO LOW for biking. I finally fired both lights up on high and let her rip downhill!

    This road is an old (2 years old) mostly unused exploratory drilling road. It's just dirt with ruts, downed limbs, rocks, water flowing across low spots, etc. . . so I got a good feel for aiming my helmet light to see obstacles and find paths around them (granted, I had just rode and walked up past these too). Too bad the downhill run only lasted 5 minutes! It was such a rush! This is a perfect combination of my fascination with LED lights and love of cycling! I wish I could have ridden more in the dark, but I needed to get home. During the drive home though I was cranking up the most appropriate song I had for the moment - Thousand Foot Krutch's (TFK) "Light Up the Sky".

    I'm actually gearing up to ride the entire C&O Canal trail (184 miles, Cumberland, MD to D.C.) in less than 24 hours. I'm thinking my buddy and I should do most of it during the night just to throw in the awesomeness of night riding too! (Plus there would be less people on the trail in our way.)

    Oh, by the way, the Yinding worked fine. It was scorching hot after those couple minutes, but never dimmed down. Jury is still out on the beam pattern, but it seemed good for the most part. My 2.2A XP-G2 helmet light was washing out the Yinding's beam, but blended in nicely due to the similar tint.

    Hooked on night riding, and no longer a poser,
    -Garry

  2. #2
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    Couple Pics of my helmet mounted Convoy M1:







    Beam on High:


    Here is my M1 with 3A XM-L2 on high for comparison:


    -Garry

  3. #3
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    Awesome, sounds a cool ride! I usually use the XT40 on my helmet, which has some throw, so the beams don't overlap too much. Maybe a better mount for the M1 would help. What was your impression of the tint? Was it bright enough or did you run on high the whole time?

  4. #4
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    I left both on high during the riding. Hard to say on the tint without trying other lights with other tints. I'd like to try a 3C and a 4C. My "5x" tint did make surroundings look realistic, but it does look a little dim.

    -Garry

  5. #5
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    Wow high the whole way, no wonder the Yinding was so hot. Jokaankit rides with the 5C Yinding and it does seem slightly dimmer than my 3C. I think 3C is a nice balance of color vs perceived brightness.

  6. #6
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    Nice! Just got out for my first real night ride tonight as well. Now I can't wait to go again. Was one of those nights where the conditions were perfect...once you have that you get the motivation to do it again as soon as possible

  7. #7
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    I was actually going to sneek out, went and checked out new trails that are really close to home (7 mins drive, 20 min cruising by bike) and IT STARTED RAINING. Those trails kicked my ass anyway today. Laid on the ground in front of my car at trailhead for like 10 mins. Body wasnt in it today either but FFS. I need to take camera out next time, got some beautiful views from up on top of the bluffs overlooking the river.

    But thatll be my night riding spot, tomorrow if we dont get too much rain im going to go scout the section on the other half (club hasnt connected the 2 halves yet, and I cant help yet) wince its where Ill be for night riding.

    GOD IM JEALOUS RIGHT NOW,lol.
    Trek Marlin 29er

    Like It, Love It, Want Some More Of It!

  8. #8
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    Glad to hear it and good on you!
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

  9. #9
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    Great story. I'm glad you got out for a ride.

    Now the only hard part is explaining to people why you want to ride at night. Most people think we are crazy!

  10. #10
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    It will give you a much better perspective on the lights when you review them.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    It will give you a much better perspective on the lights when you review them.
    Yeah, I was thinking of your comment "put down the soldering iron". Well I did just that. I could have easily spent my free time modding some lights, but it was such gorgeous weather I couldn't pass it up!

    I also see what all the fuss is about on the stock Yinding mount. There's not much "meat" there for the rubber band to grab! The rubber band did suffice though - light didn't move unless I forced it (though I wasn't changing modes while moving).

    -Garry

  12. #12
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    Garry, that convoy has a really nice tint. What emitter does it use?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by manbeer View Post
    Garry, that convoy has a really nice tint. What emitter does it use?
    The XP-G2 is a 5A2 (R4 bin) and the XM-L2 is a 4C (T6 bin). More info on the builds here: Helmet mounted single cell wide throwing light suggestions? | BudgetLightForum.com

    Im working on learning to program/flash my own drivers (ATtiny13a MCU's only: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/36216 ). This way I can setup the modes I want at the levels I like. I have my programmer and clip wired, just need to connect and setup the PC side of things. I'm probably going to use Dr. Jones "lucidrv" firmware. Here is a post I did over at BLF back in 2013 (I still haven't used that custom driver): What is a good Driver (or Custom Program) for Cycling Use for a Standard Flashlight | BudgetLightForum.com

    EDIT- Dr Jones driver new link: http://drjones.nerdcamp.net/#lucid

    -Garry

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by garrybunk View Post
    Yeah, I was thinking of your comment "put down the soldering iron". Well I did just that. I could have easily spent my free time modding some lights, but it was such gorgeous weather I couldn't pass it up!

    I also see what all the fuss is about on the stock Yinding mount. There's not much "meat" there for the rubber band to grab! The rubber band did suffice though - light didn't move unless I forced it (though I wasn't changing modes while moving).

    -Garry
    I love night riding and really got hooked on it circa 1995 when in college and working at a shop. Late at night was the only time I had time to ride. Vista Lites back then (1 10w on the helmet and a 10 and 15 on the bar)...they were v. powerful for the time but had super big/heavy NiCad batteries that took FOREVER to charge. The lights today are crazy small/light to me and so much brighter. But you know what? The fun factor hasn't changed a bit!

    The stock Yinding mount (and all of the rubber band "MS-type" mounts) works perfectly fine to me with such small lightweight lights. My only beef with them is on my helmet it tends to move slowly downward as I ride and I have to reach up and adjust it every so often to keep it way out in front of me. Because of this and a new helmet this year (POC), thinking I will try one of the custom GoPro mounts as I already have plenty go GoPro mounting gear.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

  15. #15
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    I'm probably going to have Jay build me up an amoeba for the helmet which will be xp-g2. Gonna try to shoot for the same tint that you have, I'm really liking it

  16. #16
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    I got my XP-G2's from Mountain Electronics. I will warn you though that the tint is a bit "rosy", at least on a white wall. I think I might prefer the 4C, but I'll have to try it out (that's the XM-L2 above). Not sure if the XP-G2 comes in a 4C or something close.

    -Garry

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    5pcs CREE Xlamp XPG2 XP G2 Nature White 4000K 4500K LED Light 1W 5W on 16mm PCB | eBay

    Just ordered these to replace the horribly blue XP-G emitters on my two MJ 816 lamps. 4000-4500K doesn't sound too bad. Will be a while before I recieve them because China, but will report back then.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by garrybunk View Post
    Wow! I'm hooked! What a rush blazing down a trail after dark running lights! Gotta do this more often! Hooked on night riding, and no longer a poser-Garry
    That's a riot, I figured you could be seen from the space station several nights a week, hah!

    Yep, hang up the soldering iron and get a Gloworm XS/X2 Combo, pedals down @ dusk!!!!!!!!

    Welcome aboard.

  19. #19
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    It's funny but I have a hard time justifying sometimes waiting until it's dark to head out, but once you get others to try it they are hooked. A lot of my friends from more populated areas won't give it a chance because they are scared of the woods at night though

  20. #20
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    I will say it was a little spooky being out there by myself and hearing noises in the woods around me. And I know there are bear in those woods too. Do wish I had a partner to ride with.

    -Garry

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    Garry, you get used to it after a while. I guess I always kind of wandered around the beach or woods at night but the only thing different is that I never ventured too deep. Now I just make sure that I am well prepared with tubes, pump, tools, extra chain links etc. I had a bad crash 5 years ago during the day and almost didn't make it out so I try to be extra cautious too. Up until last year i would actually ride with headphones at night, but I stopped doing that cause I decided it was foolish. Sometimes I do listen to music on my phones speaker though

  22. #22
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    Two plus for sure, the mountain lions get the first guy and the coyotes get the hindmost....

    Here in the Folsom Lake SRA I've seen just about everything except a bear. In Auburn I've seen everything plus a bear.

    In Hidden Falls we had a whole family of Wild Boar racing through the woods parallel to us, what a racket, we couldnt' see anything, they crossed the trail just ahead of us, crazy!

    Feel better?


    Quote Originally Posted by garrybunk View Post
    I will say it was a little spooky being out there by myself and hearing noises in the woods around me. And I know there are bear in those woods too. Do wish I had a partner to ride with.

    -Garry

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    We don't have many scary animals here. I did see a raccoon last night but they are fine as long as they aren't rabid. One thing we do have = tons of ticks. They are tiny but can cause serious misery and because of the conditions are hard to spot at night. Only scary night situation I've had was out in the middle of nowhere one night around midnight there was a van in the trail at the bottom of the hill I was bombing down. I remember just passing and hauling ass cause it weirded me out, no idea how he made it back there to this day, and I know the area well.

  24. #24
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    This site I was riding on last night is one where I was walking in the woods 2 weeks ago for work and flicked 23 ticks off my pants in about 4 hours time. Guy with me also had about 20 on him.

    I'd be weirded out too running across a vehicle back in the woods. I've wondered if I'll ever run across atv riders (illegal) back in these woods. I do know the main gate is dummy locked with a stick (lock on the bottom end looks official, but the top end of the assembly only requires removing a stick). Not too far you can get in a regular vehicle.

    -Garry

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    Oh I just realized you're in PA, not too far! The ticks in the northeast are serious. Many people will never know. Had lyme about a year ago and it sucks more than I could ever imagine. Walking a block felt like I just ran a marathon. Luckily we caught it early. Make sure be be careful...

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