I don’t hate Dinotte…

2 01 2011

Symetric beam bike lights from Magicshine and Dinotte...

Reading replies to my bike light blog posts and similar stuff I posted on bike forums I wanted to ensure my intentions were not misconstrued:

  • I love everything about Dinottes except the light beam. If/when they fix that I will be a happy customer again. If you give me a choice I’d rather support a North American company rather than one on another continent.  Unfortunately the light beam is most of what I am buying with a bike light so that’s an issue I can’t over look.
  • Planet Bike is a great company.  Their main headlights and taillights don’t perform well, but that’s something they could fix and I’ll happily buy their lights again.
  • I’m not telling you that your light setup is wrong.  Unless you live and ride where I do it’s impossible for me to know what biking in your neck of the woods is like so I can’t pass judgement on your lights.
  • I’m not suggesting you only use reflectors when you ride.
  • I’m not suggesting you take lights off your bike or use different lights.

What I am saying is:

  • symmetric beam bike lights and uber power taillights can be blinding to the point of being dangerous and they are certainly incredibly irritating to other people who encounter them – especially on dark roads and MUPs.
  • rapid blinking powerful bike lights are far worse than steady or slow blinking bike lights.
  • blinking bike lights that go on/off are far worse than a similar light that blinks low/high.
  • more and more powerful symmetric beam lights on your bike don’t make you safer and can actually cause problems for you and others.
  • Germany made symmetric beam bike lights and blinking bike lights illegal for road use for a reason.
  • reflective material can be very useful to make yourself visible and has benefits over using more lights to increase visibility.
  • look at your existing lights from both another cyclist’s and a driver’s point of view…get a friend to help you and bike/drive back and forth past your bike…follow your bike on a bike for 5mins on a MUP or dark street.
  • use your common sense and compassion for others to evaluate your lights and your visibility.
  • where you aim your lights matters a lot so if you have symmetric beam lights and can’t don’t want to replace them try different aiming points.  See what that does for you.

Bottom line I’ll consider my posts successful if a few people out there tried my suggestion of standing in front and behind of their bikes to check out what the lights are like for others.  I had no idea how bad it really was until I was forced to do this experiment by living in a town with loads of cyclists and an unlit MUP that I ride on 95% of my bike missions.

Ultimately the great thing about this topic is that every single one of us can test out our one situation fairly easily by putting ourselves at the opposite end of our bike lights from where we usually are in the saddle.  You don’t have to take my word for anything – just try it out and see what you think.

Do you use-zol a Scruzol?

2 01 2011

The amazing Scruzol...

I got this multi-bit screwdriver sent to me from a friend of the inventor. My first reaction was “…geez now I going to piss off someone I know with a shitty review…”  I have little patience for gimmicks and between my bikes and boards I am a power screwdriver user so I find flaws in these tools easily.

Small tool, but big usefulness...

Happily when I got the Scruzol out of its package and used it I liked it a lot:

  • it’s small so it packs easy
  • fits in my hand well
  • it’s easy to find and put away bits as needed
  • the tool is magnetic so the bits stay in place and the whole tool will stick to a metal object
  • the bright handle is easy to spot in a tool box or pannier
  • there is little to go wrong

In fact the only thing wrong with the Scruzol is it’s name!  Sorry, but it rolls off the tongue like a rock.  I think it should be renamed the Lazy Driver and I’ll do TV infomercials as long as I get a box of ’em free…=-)

My Canadian Tire racheting screw driver...

The screw driver above is what I use currently.  It’s fine, but the cap securing the extra bits unscrews itself when you use the racheting mode of the tool and getting bits out/putting them away is a PITA.  It’s also a lot bigger than the Scruzol so I’m not inclined to carry it with me on my bike.

Good idea - poor design...

So how good is the Scruz-inator?  Well I put my big racheting driver back in my tool box and I’m taking the Scruz-er to Baja with me.  I’ll also take the Scruz-master with me on any future bike tours.  I’m not sure how much they cost, but if they’re under $20 I’ll buy two more so I can leave one in my truck and one in my kiteboarding/surfing parts box.

All kidding about the name aside I’m really impressed with this tool.