Dynamo Hub and Lighting Update

December 13, 2015   dynamo

I've had my dynamo hub and lights installed for a couple of weeks now, and I've had a number of rides home in the dark. I don't miss my rechargeable lights at all. Being able to hop on and off the bike and not have to think about the lights at all is a small but pleasant improvement in the daily commute.

I'm very happy with how well the setup works. The amount of light is great for the Springwater Trail at night, casting a wide-but-not-tall arc that illuminates everything plenty far out for my 13-15 mph cruising speed. From what I can tell, other bikers aren't adversely affected by the brightness.

I've also noticed that drivers seem to notice the lights more readily because I can see them visibly slow down in a way I haven't noticed with my older lights in similar situations.

I'm not as certain about the tail light because I can't see it.

One thing I've wondered about is how much drag I've introduced to my ride. Other reviewers have said they can tell they're dealing with more resistance. I had too long a break between regular rides to know if I'm feeling resistance or just ramping back up into regular riding shape. Having thought about it some, I don't think I care one way or the other: I ride because I like getting the exercise and because the enforced period of quiet solitude is very helpful to me. If I'm getting a little extra exercise, that's okay.

Despite liking the system, I'm having second thoughts about whether I think one headlight and one tail light are enough.

I notice a lot of riders on the trail who have several lights facing each direction. While I do keep a cheap backup pair of blinkies in my pannier in case my primary system fails, I've thought it might be good to invest in something I could clip to my bag or the back of my helmet to provide some flashing and closer-to-eye-level visibility for drivers. After the rain and dark last week, I'm reminded of just how bad conditions can get before I'm willing to drop my ride for the day. A little extra light surely can't hurt.

Things is © 2015 Mike Hall.