Seeing the Light

Around 15 years ago, my friend Al helped me build a mountain bike light system from a bunch used light parts and pieces: 

It consisted of:

  • A used set of black lamp shells
  • A set of lamps from online (showing are the 450 lumen lamps, but had previously used a few different sets of incandescent with lower lumens)
  • 1 nickel cadmium battery pack (ordered from online)
  • 1 plastic Vons peanut butter jar (it fit into the bottom water bottle cage)
  • A few used foam bits to pack the battery safely
  • 1 toggle switch and some automotive connectors from Al's parts bin
  • 12" of speaker wire
  • An embarrassing amount of electrical tape, zip ties and Verdugo mud to hold everything in place
  • A charger (not shown)

It was fairly bright and sort of reliable.  One winter night while descending a fast and steep section of La Tuna, the lights simply went dark. Poof.  After safely braking to a stop and fiddling with the wiring, I got it going again.

Surprisingly, I wasn't shopping for a new light system the next morning.  Did I mention that I'm a Taurus?  That may explain things a bit. I have this silly obsession of using things until they're absolutely used up.  I'm reminded of the Scottish saying: "Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do. Or do without."
I kept it working and used it far longer than I should have. Last week it finally died and I'm still alive. For a while there I thought it would be the other way around.

Time for some real lighting:

Enter REI to the rescue.  This light has a lithium ion battery, 750 lumens, easy on/off/adjust button, USB charging and weighs less than half of the old system.  No zip ties, electrical tape or exposed wiring! I have seen the light.

Ok all you mountain riders, what is your light system story?  If you've ever had a zip tie and speaker wire system, I'd love to hear how it all worked for you.  Or didn't. 




Comments (2) -


My Dad always said the same thing about using it up and wearing it out...I thought it was an old Jewish proverb...


Hey Dave, you could be right. But either way I'd say the elders were on the same page. A little frugality never hurt anyone.   I milked that light system to the very end!

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