Project Saturday

I thought about heading up to the Draper Cyclocross race today, but it didn't happen. Too bad, sounds like it would have been a good one for me and my heavy old full-suspension mountain bike. With all the rain the 'cross fans had plenty of slop to play in.

It was project day for me.

I operated on my bike rack in the garage and added one more slot making it a five-banger. I also added put some screw eyes into the wall and attached a couple of cables so I can lock up the bikes. I had a bike stolen out of my garage on a sunny Summer Wednesday afternoon a few years back, and plenty of others have had the same problem. Tall Steve recommended locking up bikes in the garage - a good idea that I'm finally getting around to implementing.

Our rickety backyard gate has annoyed me for years and today was the day I finally did something about it. The previous owner who built the gate did an OK job, but he made a few mistakes that doomed the gate to always sag. I tried to shore it up a few years back, but it only lasted a year or so. Today I did a major overhaul. I striped all of the 2x4s off the back and bolted on new, beefy hinges. The old hinge system was a pipe set in a pipe in the ground with tabs that bolted to the gate. It was sturdy, but it would freeze up in the winter. The new hinges shouldn't have that problem - they bolt onto the cinder-block post. It took some work, but I think the gate will work well for years now.

I received the final shipment of my night riding supplies Friday and today I tinkered with the new parts.

The new flashlight looks like the others, but it is two-mode: High and Low. I like the simple two-mode operation and I believe it will work well on the trail.

I tried out some 5 degree optics and it looks to be the perfect beam angle for riding so I jury-rigged the optics into the flashlight. I removed the dimpled reflector and installed the optics (after a minor tweak). But the LED itself didn't seem able to support the optics, especially with the vibration of trail riding. So I cut a washer out of an old window blind slat, added some foam spacers and it's all snug. I'm excited to try this light on my next night ride. If it works well I'll do a full report so other DIYers can buy a cheap mountain bike light system.

I also tweaked some trail maps and played around on the computer. It's rained all day - and while I'd rather have gone for a ride, it was kind of nice to have a down day.

Update: Beam shot comparisons between my 3 lights:

This is the single-mode flashlight that is on my helmet now. It's the one I tweaked to have a wider beam by adding a spacer to move the reflector a few millimeters farther away from the LED.

This is the 5-mode flashlight that is on my bars. It's stock (I haven't made any modifications) but for some reason it came with a pretty wide beam. It's the dimmest of the 3 lights.

This is the new 2-mode flashlight with the 5 degree optics I installed (see above). I like the look of this beam - good size for trails and soft edges. I'll try it on the bars and helmet and see where it works best.


Miles - Lindon, UT said...

I've been looking for an inexpensive lighting system. Looks like this may be the ticket.

KanyonKris said...

I've been very happy with these super bright LED flashlights. I have a smaller flashlight on order that uses the same super bright LED and LithiumIon battery. Others have reported that this smaller flashlight works well with no modification. I will evaluate when the shipment arrives (~2 weeks) and post a report. If you need to buy now or have questions, shoot me an e-mail and we can discuss.