Lighting Suggestions

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Dick Combs

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Aug 19, 2022, 3:54:36 PM8/19/22
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Looking for thoughts on lighting. Looking for suggestions on front and rear. as well as wireless vs dynamo powered. Thanks

Noel Howes

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Aug 19, 2022, 4:15:39 PM8/19/22
to Dick Combs, Randonneurs USA
Whatever you decide, I currently use doubles of both front and rear. I wear a battery powered headlamp to ward off nighttime flat repair and a battery powered rear blinky that can be set to constantly on (as opposed to stun). I hate overly bright tail lights and have considered adding surface to surface missiles to deal with them. But usually I just slow down further and never buy that person a beer.

My main lights are powered by generator lights, though considering how out of shape I am, maybe I want those 1KPH back from friction (probably too lazy to do anything though).

I do have a nice headlight that is rechargeable and you can replace the batteries with regular store bought AA in a pinch at most Huit a Huit stores.

Consider time spent with recharging, looking for your batteries, weight of how many sets. I turn on the helmet like only when needed.


Noel Howes
(206)518-2132

   

On Fri, Aug 19, 2022, 12:54 Dick Combs <rlc...@gmail.com> wrote:
Looking for thoughts on lighting. Looking for suggestions on front and rear. as well as wireless vs dynamo powered. Thanks

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Phillip Stern

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Aug 19, 2022, 10:11:12 PM8/19/22
to Noel Howes, Dick Combs, Randonneurs USA
Haha. I know overly bright blinkies.
 
I was nearing the end of a 300k with a friend. His rear blinking light was hurting my eyes so I slowed down to put distance between me and his blinkie. He thought I was tired and slowed down to wait for me. So I slowed down more to keep my distance. So he slowed down…

We might never have finished if I didn’t ride up to him and explain about the bright light. I took the lead and all was good. 

Andrew Adere

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Aug 19, 2022, 11:00:25 PM8/19/22
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Fenix BC26R is my current light, takes 21700 batteries or 18650 ones with an adapter, so you can swap for a fresh one mid-ride if need be. Lasts a long time, though, so I've never needed to swap. I use this because I can mount it upside down under my stem faceplate computer mount on the GoPro mounting point.

Also good is the Fenix BC30v2 which I have - takes 2x 18650 batteries and is great but because the beam is angled down towards the road mounting it upside down isn't feasible... poor lighting for the road and great blinding of oncoming traffic if you do that. Wonderful mounted rightside up, though (and I've got one I'll sell you, too!)

Rear light, Garmin Varia RTL515. I've got an RTL510 I carry as a backup since one won't last a whole 300+ day. Gotta remember to switch it to day flash when the sun comes up since the other modes consume 2x the battery (8hrs max runtime vs 16hrs) but it's, in my opinion, the best light on the market. Pair it to your computer and it'll beep at you when a car is approaching and give you a little extra awareness, plus the flash pattern automatically changes to be more noticeable when it detects a car. A great addition to a helmet or other mirror and absolutely necessary if you don't ride with a mirror. RTL515 preferred because slightly longer battery life but also a Peloton mode which is dimmer, for the people who complain about the brightness of your light but who you can't quick seem to drop. AKA the best mode for night riding when not alone.

Andrew

Eric Nichols

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Aug 20, 2022, 8:03:41 PM8/20/22
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One note about rear lights.  Most taillights have a lens that throws most of the light within a narrow beam.  Ideally, you want that bright beam aimed horizontally straight behind you, or slightly below horizontal. 

A taillight haphazardly clipped to a rear bag, or zip-tied to a rear stay, has about a 99% chance of pointing at an upward angle, right into the eyes of your nighttime riding companions.  This will make them sad. They will be polite about it, as randos are, but they will not want to ride with you. Then you will be sad because riding alone at night is, well... lonely.

Aim those lights!

Tailwinds,
Eric

Gary DelNero

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Aug 20, 2022, 8:34:00 PM8/20/22
to ericni...@gmail.com, Randonneurs USA
I have a battery tail light backup, but my primary battery tail lights kept failing. Water, falling apart.. dead batteries. I transitioned to the generator tail light and never think about it. I can turn it on and off without stopping. Plus, I think fenders look better with lights. 


ed bernasky

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Aug 21, 2022, 4:21:11 PM8/21/22
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Lumintop B01 and Fenix BC26 are the best inexpensive options for battery lights.  I buy and test them a lot of lights.   Both use 21700 replaceable batteries.   This is a big deal.  Replaceable and very high energy density with high quality batteries.  The lumintop has the german cutoff whereas the Fenix does not whereas previous Fenix bike lights had lenses to focus the beam, this baby just spills it into the night.   The Lumintop is my current choice unless there are gravel obstacles and branches to contend with.   In that case, I mount the Fenix.   In the rear, I mount the Varia and also a Turboflash with backup batteries.   Technically, one needs two rear lights mounted but few have two.   The Turboflash on solid requires one or two battery replacements on PBP depending on one's speed, if lithium is used, and the temps.   Anyways, that is my choice currently.   I preferred the old Fenix frschnel lense because it had a very long throw but have not found such an efficient beam on current offerings.

Jeffrey Arita

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Aug 21, 2022, 7:02:10 PM8/21/22
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Ditto on Ed Bernasky's advice regarding battery lighting: my wife and I each use the same exact lights (we just received the Fenix BC26Rs).  The duration with the 21700 rechargeable batteries is impressive.  The ability to remove and replace the battery from each light is exactly what we looked for as well (it should last a long, long time).

Good luck,

Jeff & Lori Arita
Claremont, CA

Wayne Stennett

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Aug 21, 2022, 8:18:43 PM8/21/22
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Being able to use 21700 rechargeables is very nice, d/t the high energy density.  I have a high density battery bank that I use to charge my lights while riding.  

My two cents on lights would be consideration for Bontrager Ion lights.  They have wireless capability, 12-30 hours of battery life (depending on day vs. night flash mode), can be easily moved between different bikes, and are small/light.  The visibility is well over 1km - I've tested this out personally.  

The wireless capability is key for me - I have a small dongle on my handlebars with a few buttons - I press the middle button and it turns all my flashers on.  I ride so much out in the middle of nowhere, I may go a few hours without seeing a soul - I only turn my lights on when I am in more trafficked areas or when I see someone coming.  This saves tons of battery time for multi-day rides.  I will also say that I have the headlamp that works using the same wireless controller  as well - it is crazy bright when needed, has flash mode if needed, and has a low beam that I find useful in the backwoods when there isn't ambient light.  It is pretty focused without a terrible amount of spill either.

The headlight I use: Here
The lights I use: Here 
The remote control I use: Here

Happy (and safe!) riding to you all!

WS

Mark Thomas

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Aug 22, 2022, 12:39:01 AM8/22/22
to ed bernasky, Randonneurs USA
A nice idea for a spare battery if you use one of these 21700-based headlamps is the battery from this ThruNite TS2 light - https://thrunite.com/ts2-self-rescue-light/

It’s a 21700 with a USB-C port that can be used to charge the battery directly, but also will allow use of the battery as a power bank. It even comes with a nifty 3-head cable for micro-USB, USB-C, and lightning. The battery is not, to my knowledge, available separately, but the price of the whole setup is not far off of the price of a quality 21700 battery.

I have tested the battery in the Fenix light and it fits fine. I can’t vouch for fit with the Lumintop light.

Mark


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Mike

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Aug 22, 2022, 9:22:22 AM8/22/22
to Wayne Stennett, Randonneurs USA
I run Exposure lights. Expensive but great battery life. On low it will run 24 hours. I typically run it on low when I’m with a group. On descents I’ll toggle up to high power. I carry a spare light in my saddle bag and have no problems getting through a 1200 with both lights. Exposure sells a back up battery as well

Sent from the dark side of the moon

On Aug 21, 2022, at 5:18 PM, Wayne Stennett <waynes...@gmail.com> wrote:

Being able to use 21700 rechargeables is very nice, d/t the high energy density.  I have a high density battery bank that I use to charge my lights while riding.  
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Barankay, Iwan

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Aug 22, 2022, 1:05:44 PM8/22/22
to Mike, Wayne Stennett, Randonneurs USA
Just my 2¢...

The Light & Motion Rando lights have a bigger battery inside but the interesting feature for us is that you can charge it while running on low. Not expensive. I have two. They take a long time to charge though (3-4h)

Georgi Stoychev

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Aug 22, 2022, 2:09:23 PM8/22/22
to Barankay, Iwan, Mike, Wayne Stennett, Randonneurs USA
Same here. Been running Fenix lights for the past 5 years. They have the 5000 Mah batteries that last forever and are easily swappable. They have batteries with charging port on the battery itself. They have a charger that doubles as a power bank. You can charge the small headlight while using it, BC 2016 or something like that.  I raced across the US last year and has great success with those lights. With 6 batteries in total, all I needed to worry about is recharge every 4 days or so. Alternatively , you can purchase from a store two CR123 batteries and the lights work fine with those too 

Georgi Stoychev, RUSA#6872

Cheng-Hong Li

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Aug 23, 2022, 11:33:39 PM8/23/22
to Georgi Stoychev, Barankay, Iwan, Mike, Wayne Stennett, Randonneurs USA
I have used a few different lights and will share my experience with them. These include Cateye's older Volt series (the ones take round, swappable and rechargeable cartridge batteries) and more recently Busch + Müller's battery-powered IXON Space. 

1. I have used Cateye Volt 800 as my main front light and Volt 300 as my helmet light. Both take the same cartridge rechargeable batteries. Cateye has a dedicated charging cradle for their cartridge batteries. The cradle can also convert the batteries to power banks.

The other nice thing about Cateye is their lights come with a very good, easy-to-use handle-bar mount and a helmet mount. In addition, you can also buy a GoPro mount accessory.

The downsides of the Cateye is they cannot be turned on while being charged. But carrying multiple cartridge batteries and their dedicated charging cradle mitigates this problem on long brevets. 

2. I also experimented with Cateye's Volt 1700. But I don't plan to use it on long brevets like 1200k or 600k. It is very powerful, has a big, swappable & rechargeable battery. But I failed to find a backup battery other than buying a second light.

3. Busch+Müller's IXON Space has a very nice, wide, StVZO compliant cutoff beam pattern, commonly found on Dynamo lights (Busch+Müller is known for their Dynamo). You can run the light while it is being charged. It allows quite a few lighting level adjustments, and the light will show the remaining battery life based on the output strength. The light's internal battery itself can also serve as a power bank. 

The downside of the IXON Space is it only comes with its own proprietary mount. It works on round handlebars, but not on aero, flat-top handlebars. I ended up using Garmin rubber bands to rig it underneath my outfront computer mount.

Dustin Harding

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Aug 24, 2022, 5:27:39 AM8/24/22
to Cheng-Hong Li, Georgi Stoychev, Barankay, Iwan, Mike, Wayne Stennett, Randonneurs USA
They're quite pricey, but the Exposure lights from the UK are something else. A good Dyno and light is also a great way to go. I have both these set ups on my bikes.
Dustin

Eric Nichols

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Aug 24, 2022, 10:53:35 AM8/24/22
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After years of experimentation, I've settled on dyno lighting front and rear, with backup F/R battery lights. For me, this has been the best performing and most worry-free setup for multi-day brevets.  No range anxiety.  No need to carry extra battery packs or remember to charge anything during sleep stops.  It takes some effort to set up, but it is positively liberating once you've got it dialed in.  

A StVZO main front light will keep you from annoying other road users. If you've ever ridden an out-and-back nighttime event like PBP, you'll understand the benefits of a shaped beam and wish everyone else used them too.  

For times when more light and a round beam are beneficial, I'll turn on my backup headlight.  It's a nice supplement for fast descents.  I'll cup my hand over the beam when I encounter oncoming traffic.

For times when I'm riding solo and want to be more conspicuous from the rear, I'll reach down and turn on my backup taillight, steady or flashing, as conditions warrant.   

All of this can be done without stopping and without worry. Those two things are important to minimize on long brevets!

Eric

Richard Stum ~ eoGEAR

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Aug 24, 2022, 12:20:32 PM8/24/22
to Dick Combs, Randonneurs USA

Over the years, I have tried many battery-style bike lights and most seem to have a broad or wide beam which is useful for mountain biking and commuting, but not as efficient for roadie use, especially randonneuring. We frequently travel away from urban lights and sometimes make quick descents with little or no ambient or city light. As a commercial photographer, whenever I acquire a new lighting system, I take it into my studio, where the conditions are controlled, and make notes on the brightness (aka “throw”) and width of the light, measured by an incident light meter. This measures the light falling upon the road, not a theoretical lumen value that might be diluted by a beam that is super wide.


I have tried the Fenix bike-specific lights but found them to be lacking in intensity, compared to my trusty  Cygolite Turbo 740.  After my 740 was discontinued I started the search for a replacement. I first tested the Fenix bike-specify lights, but found their beam too broad. So I then tested several Fenix hand-held flashlights. At the end of day, in 2018, I settled on the Fenix UC30 flashlight, and mounted it to their quick-release handlebar mount (ALB-10). It is rated to 1000 lumens, but I rarely use it at full intensity. I also took a small piece of frosted stage lighting gel and glued it on the upper part of the light lens, so I would get a little more side light without sacrificing the distance lighting I need while sometimes descending at 25-30 MPH.  


I look for the following:

1-Replaceable 18650 batteries (much cheaper than proprietary batteries found on many models)

2-A single LED source, which usually yields a narrower and brighter beam than 2 or 3 LEDs

3-Reasonably compact & lightweight design


As far as taillights go, I usually carry two at a time, mounted on my seat stays: a rechargeable Cygolite Hotshot Pro 150 or 200 lumen brightness, for daytime use, and then at night, I use something that uses AAA batteries so it  can be swapped out in the middle of a long night if needed, usually a Portland Design Works Radbot 1000.


For a helmet light, I use a Princeton Tec EOS light and strap it on with a special strap (my own design). https://kgear.eogear.com/collections/eogear-odds-and-ends/products/eogear-headlamp-helmet-strap 


Also check out these posts on my blog:

http://www.randorichard.com/bicycle-tail-lights

http://www.randorichard.com/night-riding 


Cheers,

Rando Richard in Utah


Looking for thoughts on lighting. Looking for suggestions on front and rear. as well as wireless vs dynamo powered. Thanks

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Gary DelNero

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Aug 24, 2022, 2:05:49 PM8/24/22
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As much as I dislike electronic navigation, I can grudgingly see where it can be rather useful. I tried voice navigation with the phone in my back pocket, and it was adequate, though I did have to stop occasionally to confirm.

Can anyone recommend a mounting system for a generic phone (Motorola) to the bars? I hit gravel now and then, and the occasional pothole. I don't want to have to find my phone off in the weeds.

Ramsey Hanna

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Aug 24, 2022, 2:13:22 PM8/24/22
to Gary DelNero, Randonneurs USA
I do not reccomend using a phone for navigation especially long distance rides.  Battery life is not long enough for long rides and bumpy terrain will destroy your camera regardless of how well it is mounted. A truly effective phone mount will cost you almost as much as a cheap dedicated gps computer.  I used the lezyne super gps for years for randonneuring.  It’s still going strong and cost me 150$. electronic navigation is a million times better than using a paper cue sheet.
Ramsey

On Wed, Aug 24, 2022 at 2:05 PM Gary DelNero <gary.d...@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
As much as I dislike electronic navigation, I can grudgingly see where it can be rather useful. I tried voice navigation with the phone in my back pocket, and it was adequate, though I did have to stop occasionally to confirm.

Can anyone recommend a mounting system for a generic phone (Motorola) to the bars? I hit gravel now and then, and the occasional pothole. I don't want to have to find my phone off in the weeds.

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Pascal Ledru

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Aug 24, 2022, 2:32:59 PM8/24/22
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I have been using the Quad Lock for many years now mounted on my stem (used it on gravel rides too). 

I also use my phone for navigation and yes, I can hear it better than having the phone in the backpocket. 

I also recharge it with a sinewave converter connected to my dynamo. So far, this setup has worked well for me, although one issue I ran into is that if it is extremely rainy, I need to move back the phone to my pocket otherwise once it complained the phone could not charged as the connector was wet.

Pascal

Eric Linser

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Aug 24, 2022, 2:33:27 PM8/24/22
to Ramsey Hanna, Gary DelNero, Randonneurs USA
Gary,
I agree with Ramsey. Every phone mount I've tried has ultimately failed - leading to cracked phone glass (3 times, I believe). Finally gave up a couple of years back and bought a dedicated bike computer. That's the way to go. Wahoo Elemnt Bolt v2 are ~ $300, Garmin will offer something in that price range as well. A bit expensive, but cheaper than replacing your mobile/cell phone. And if you ride quite a bit, you can justify the cost. And the GPS head unit features are geared for cycling so you'll get plenty of cycling specific data that you can geek out on! 
Eric Linser


Martin Cooper

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Aug 24, 2022, 2:35:17 PM8/24/22
to Gary DelNero, Randonneurs USA
Hi Gary

I see you are no longer using route notes and a clock! Quadlock makes a great system for mounting your phone. I believe they have them for all types of phones.

All the best,
Marty

On Wed, Aug 24, 2022 at 2:05 PM Gary DelNero <gary.d...@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
As much as I dislike electronic navigation, I can grudgingly see where it can be rather useful. I tried voice navigation with the phone in my back pocket, and it was adequate, though I did have to stop occasionally to confirm.

Can anyone recommend a mounting system for a generic phone (Motorola) to the bars? I hit gravel now and then, and the occasional pothole. I don't want to have to find my phone off in the weeds.

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Phillip Stern

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Aug 24, 2022, 3:27:32 PM8/24/22
to Martin Cooper, Gary DelNero, Randonneurs USA
I lost my Garmin in 2019. Since then I use my iPhone and QuadLock. 

I charge the phone with a cable running to a battery in my Jersey pocket. 

Rain is a problem. 

I don’t know of any issues with the camera and bumpy terrain. I ride lots of gravel and single track. Haven’t seen issues with my camera. If you know something, please share. 

Andrew Adere

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Aug 24, 2022, 4:42:08 PM8/24/22
to Phillip Stern, Martin Cooper, Gary DelNero, Randonneurs USA
Navigating with a phone is silly for the reasons Ramsey listed.

Regardless of whether you choose to be silly, though, a good solution for rain is to use moldable wax around your charging connections to keep things watertight. Wax earplugs are exactly the right type of wax and work wonderfully, plus they're dirt cheap (and you always have earplugs on hand if you carry extra). My Hammerhead Karoo 2 has been kept on charge in multiple downpours this way and I've had no issues.

I trust it more on a fixed mount where things aren't being jostled than in a pocket but it's probably still better than nothing.

Andrew

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Chris Beauchamp

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Aug 26, 2022, 11:38:22 PM8/26/22
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Does anyone have know if there were charging stations at PBP 2019? If there were charging stations and you used them, I'd like to hear about you experiences. Were you able to get your devices charged or were they in use? I use rechargeable lights and have used them successfully on the Sant Cruz Randonneurs California Central Coast 1000K Randonee. One reason for the success was staying in a hotel room that had electricity and I had a drop bag with chargers.

ed bernasky

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Aug 27, 2022, 8:34:43 AM8/27/22
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I seem to recall charging stations next to the air conditioners although I might have been hallucinating as I plugged my lipstick to my Garmin in Loudeac or was that Villaines?

Robert Sexton

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Aug 27, 2022, 10:11:00 AM8/27/22
to Chris Beauchamp, Randonneurs USA
A contrary view on PBP and other foreign events: 

Don't expect anything.   Searching for plugs and power is a time suck.   

If you plan around that and it doesn't work out you've got problems to solve mid-ride when you should be on your bike or sleeping. 

In the middle of a 1200k there are pretty decent odds that you're gonna have brain fog, and everything is gonna take 3x as long.   Looking for that plug might take 10 minutes that you should spend getting something to eat.   And then you're going to faff away time at a control while something is charging.      I learned this the hard way.   No more looking for plugs for me. 

A ride plan that requires finding wall power mid-ride is a recipe for failure.   

- Robert




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Bill Gobie

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Aug 27, 2022, 12:52:49 PM8/27/22
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I volunteered at the third overnight on this summer's Cascade 1400. I watched riders strip the electronics off their bikes to cart them to them to the charging station, and later reinstall them and hook them up. GPSs, lights, phones, shifter batteries, power packs. Sometimes several of each. Some riders spent a lot of time at it, when as Robert Sexton said, they should have been sleeping or riding.

Dynohubs indisputably slow you a little bit. You are supplying those 5 watts when you are powering lights or charging stuff. But on the other hand if you burden yourself with the additional task of charging electronics at controls are you actually saving any time? And you are risking making a mistake ... overlooking a device or not plugging something in properly. 

As a corollary, minimize the amount of stuff you need to recharge.

Bill

Dan Driscoll

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Aug 28, 2022, 11:37:10 AM8/28/22
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Agreed….

I prefer a plan that does not require any recharging from someone else's receptacles. 
To many sad tales of Randos returning to a missing or unplugged device (even by a roommate that arrived after they've closed your eyes). 

I use a gen hub light + a handle bar light + a helmet light (Belts and Suspenders), bad eyes and the more light helps me stay awake…... 
I either carry extra batteries, or have them in a drop bag (or both), no recharging lights or batteries, during a 1,200km. 

I use a Garmin with the Garmin back up battery, I’m done with charging cables while riding, as mentioned rain and cable failure have been issues. 

Phone is on Airplane and Battery “Low Power Mode”. 

I’m happy with butyl tubes. 

I’m happy to carry all the clothing I think I might need, rather than wish I had it. I’ve seen it become a show stopper for some.  

I’m not recommending that anyone follow my lead, but after 6 successful PBP’s, I’m not thinking about changing anything for PBP 2023 ;=)

For these Pass/Fail rides…. reducing the need of "To Do’s" to the basics of…..Riding, Eating, and Sleeping is my minimalist approach…. Not saying that I sometimes have trouble with those three basics things, just saying I don’t want to add any more to that list ;=) 

DanD 

 


Garry Knox

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Aug 28, 2022, 12:10:29 PM8/28/22
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  One argument I would make for using batteries is that the technology has improved significantly since the last PBP. In 2019 my Wahoo bike computer might last a full 300K event. This summer I upgraded to the latest Garmin and saw much improved battery life. I did a one week 450 mile event and didn't have to charge it once. I did another event where it lasted 2.5 days and 600 miles. I also noticed my Iphone (mostly running on low power mode as Dan recommended) easily stayed running for 2 days without a charge now.

 Where as in 2019 i had to make plans to recharge things once a day. I think in 2023 I probably only need to charge my devices once during the entire PBP.

 At the recent LEL event there were charging areas. Some of the volunteers would even help you out or at least point you in the right direction.

 Garry

Dan Driscoll

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Aug 28, 2022, 12:15:30 PM8/28/22
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Garry, Agreed……. Quite a few of our local Lone Star Randonneurs have purchased the new Gamin Solar 1040 and are reporting amazing longevity of battery life. 

DanD 

Stone Conroy

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Aug 28, 2022, 3:12:22 PM8/28/22