Buyer beware on those cheap “super bright” bicycle lights

I have always purchased bicycle lights from well-known, recognized brands, and over about the past decade I’ve favored American brands such as Nite Rider (based in San Diego) and Light and Motion (which does manufacturing outside of Monterey, California).

Made-In-America from an established brand with a reputation for quality translates into a premium price, and to be honest, I’ve been disappointed in the operational lifespan of these lights. Every light I’ve bought from Light & Motion and Nite Rider (and I’ve bought a couple of dozen) breaks or fails not long after the warranty period expires. Either the mounting hardware falls apart, or the the light itself just stops working. The only light on my bicycle that hasn’t fallen apart yet is the Bontrager Flare R, which still works great and which I still love.

If I pay $120 or more for a bike light, I would kind of like if it lasted more than a couple of years. I’ve always been suspicious of no-brand Chinese-designed lights, but they’re beginning to look a little more attractive. To see how these cheap lights compare against these lights from American companies, I bought this Super Bright L2 Bike Light USB Rechargeable Waterproof Bicycle Headlight.

L2 light

The Amazon product reviews are universally four and five star so I expect at least a thousand lumens from this light. I charge it up, go for a night ride, and it’s perhaps half the brightness of my Light & Motion Urban 800, which tests at 801 lumens. If I expect 1200 lumens, I’m extremely disappointed when I only see 400 lumens.

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National ad features Santa Cruz niche bike builder

shaq on a dirtysixer 36er bike

David Folch of Santa Cruz, California designs large bikes around thirty-two and thirty-six inch wheels for large riders under the DirtySixer brand. His bike appears in a nationally aired ad for American Express featuring Shaquille O’Neal and Wanda Sykes at Berkeley Cycle Works.

I love that it shows the wonderful fun of cycling.

Shopping mall bike lockers

Christmas shopping apparently began early for many people, with crowds reportedly trapped in the parking garage for up to three hours at one popular shopping mall in Silicon Valley, California before the Thanksgiving Holiday. Some shoppers at Westfield Valley Fair abandoned their cars, walked out to the street and Ubered their way home.

Valley Fair Mall doesn’t advertise this among their travel options, but they provide the best bike parking I’ve seen at an American shopping mall — free, secure bike lockers.

Valley Fair Mall bike facilities

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Your favorite Koch brands: Lycra, Coolmax and Thermolite

I and many of you favor high-tech fabrics for your active wear apparel. If you see trademarks like Lycra, Coolmax, Thermolite and Cordura on your cycling bibs, jerseys, jeans, jackets, backpacks and saddlebags, you’ve done your part to Make America Great Again.

Invista Brands
Koch Industries Logo

These brands are produced by Invista, an important manufacturer of textiles and chemicals that was spun off from DuPont and sold to Koch Industries in 2004. Although headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, most textile manufacturing takes place in Mexico, Brazil and India.

The more you know!

Puck rode a bicycle

Puck, published from 1871 to 1918, was America’s first successful humor magazine. This Victorian forerunner of Mad and Cracked began life as a German language humor weekly published by German immigrants in St Louis.

In 1883, they published a drawing of their eponymous mascot (named for the character in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream) “going to the bicycle tournament … with all the modern improvements.”

Puck Magazine Bicycle: Going to the Bicycle Tournament 1883

The cherubic Puck carries crutches, a large “Medical and Surgical Directory” book, bandages, splints, and a bottle of Arnica as a long line of cyclists follow behind.

Detail of the cover from Puck, volume 13, number 326, published on June 6, 1883 from the Library of Congress online collection.

GIS help: How to make a map of these election results?

Sorry for the wonkiness of this post, but perhaps somebody can help!

Beach traffic

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