Mountain Bike Light Update

Back in 2008 I researched and bought some cheap mountain bike lights from DealExtreme. The TrustFire TR-801 lights worked fine, no complaints.

Then a few years later the lights got brighter and a few of my friends got some. For climbing and flat riding the brighter lights didn't make much difference, but for long downhill runs I noticed my lights didn't shine far enough down the trail so I'd slow down.

I finally bought a 1200 lumen (more like 1000 lumens) light for the handlebars. It cost me around $80 and came with a 4 cell battery pack good for 2.5 hours on 100% brightness.

SingFire SF-90 Cree XM-L T6 4-Mode 1000lm White Bicycle Headlamp - Silver + Grey (4 x 18650)
This thing is crazy bright. I can't outrun this light with my moderate DH skill. When I finish my ride, pack my bike in the car and drive home, the car headlights look dim and twice now I've stopped to make sure they were both working. I've had this light for a few years and I haven't had any trouble with it, although I have lost a few of the o-rings that mount it to the handlebars. I recommend tethering the o-ring to the light with string. I bought a pack of o-rings from Harbor Freight for replacements.

Now an equivalent light (with battery pack, charger and accessories) is only $32. Stunningly cheap.
UPDATE: The light is even cheaper on Amazon, only $21. And some riders prefer to use this wide angle lens to change the beam from a round 10 degree spot to a 10 degree tall by 30 degree wide-angle pattern.

The bike light section of DealExtreme is a lot bigger; now there are pages of lights.

This light looks nicer - a real battery pack with rubber straps. $75 is a fair price.
MagicShine MJ-808E HA-III CREE XM-LT60 3-Mode 1000-Lumen LED Bike Light Set (4x18650)
And for those who go warp speed, or for some reason need more light, there's this 2000 lumen beast:
UltraFire D88 3 x Cree XM-L T6 2000lm 5-Mode White Light Bicycle Lamp - Black + Silver (4 x 18650)

Or how about 2700 lumens:
SingFire SF-530 3 x Cree XM-L T6 2730lm 4-Mode White Bicycle Lamp - Silver + Black (4 x 18650)

Yeah, you can go nuts with lights these days. I feel for most riders 800 - 1000 lumens is enough.

So with the brighter light on the bars I've got plenty of light. I still wear the TR-801 on my helmet so I get light where I look, which is helpful for switchbacks and spotting low branches. This setup works OK but the TR-801 looks dim compared to the handlebar light so maybe I'll upgrade the helmet with this 350 lumen light:
FandyFire 2100 CREE XP-GR5 1-Mode 350-Lumen White LED Flashlight with Strap (1 x 18650 / 2 x 16340)

If you want to try night riding, there are a lot of bright lights available now for not much money.

Goaltimate Hoop for Under $30

I built a goaltimate hoop (arch?) out of hardware store parts for under $30 and thought I'd share the details.

Back story: For a little over a year I've been playing frisbee with a group at work at a nearby park. We play Ultimate Frisbee most days but have been adding in some variations like hotbox and Goaltimate (usually because not enough players showed up). I like that frisbee games focus on skills and "spirit of the game" rather than lots of rules that often detract from game play. Lately we've been playing more Goaltimate and I decided to try my hand at building a goal.

I started with these instructions for building a goal (this drawing was also helpful). Works fine but I wasn't able to find a store that would cut down the belled, female-end pipe and only charge me for the 50" length out of a 10 or 20 foot length of pipe. Standing in the hardware store I came up with a way to build a goal from two 20 foot lengths and one 2' length of pipe. Here is the materials list:

2$6.80$13.601" PVC Schedule 40 pipe, 20' long with bell "fitting" on one end
1$2.60$2.601-1/4" PVC Schedule 40 pipe, 2' long
2$5.00$10.003/8" steel rod, 3' (36") long

You may also need PVC pipe primer and cement, if you don't already have some. My primer had dried up so I just used cement and it seemed to work OK so if you really want to save a few bucks you could just get a can of cement, but I recommend the primer as it cleans and preps the surface of the pipe so the cement sticks better.


  • Saw to cut the pipe (you may be able to use shears, just make sure they don't distort the ends of the pipe so they won't go in the female fittings).
  • Mitre box - optional but cheap and healpful for cutting the pipe square
  • Sand paper
  • Tape measure and pencil or other marker


These steps will produce eight 4' lengths of pipe that can be fitted together to make a 32' long goal arch.

  1. Measure 50" from belled end of the 20' lengths of pipe and mark and cut both pipes.
  2. For the remaining length of pipe, measure, mark and cut 48" long.
  3. Clean up cut ends of pipe segments, remove burrs so end slides cleanly into the 1-1/4" pipe and bell end.
  4. Take the 1-1/4" pipe and measure, mark and cut 5 pieces 4.75" long. This will make 5 couplers. Clean up the cuts ends.
  5. Take 5 of the 1" pipes (NOT the bell ended ones, in fact they are done so put them aside) and measure and mark 2.25" from end. Lightly sand this end of the pipe so the cement sticks better.
  6. Lightly sand 2.5" inside one end of the five 1-1/4" couplers.
  7. Before gluing, double check that this will produce 5 pipes with couplers, 2 pipes with bell ends, and 1 pipe with no coupler or bell end (just a straight length of pipe).
  8. Apply primer to the sanded ends of the pipes and inside of the couplers. See can for application instructions.
  9. After primer has dried, apply cement to ends of pipes and inside couplers, don't use too much. See can for application instructions.
  10. Allow cement to dry and that's it.

I also cleaned the oil off the steel rods. I left mine bare but Matt primed and painted his. I may paint mine too if they start to rust (probably will).

Follow-up Notes:

I've used my PVC goal 3-4 times now and it's worked well. Here are good instructions for setting up the field. We've played "full court" Goaltimate (two goals) a few times and I think it's more fun that regular "half court" Goaltimate - the fast breaks on turnovers add a new dimension.

I was a little concerned that the 1-1/4" couplers would be too loose and might fall apart if a player ran into the goal, but they've been hit several times and have stayed together. Since the assembled poles are bent into an arch, the flex helps the joints stay together.

The 3/8" steel rod stakes are holding up OK but are getting bent. I can straighten them with a hammer easily. But perhaps 1/2" rod would be better. Some people use rebar and they report it works fine.

I was tempted to try 3/4" PVC pipe but it felt too flimsy in the store. Now that I've built the goal from 1" pipe I can attest that this is the right size. Even 1" sways so 3/4" would have been too floppy.

The poles are a cumbersome to carry so I bought a tent pole bag (60" long, $10) to hold everything. Old golf club or ski bags may also work.


I built a second hoop a few months after I built the first one. I've been using these hoops for over a year now and both have held up. I even used them a few times in winter - I was concerned the plastic would be brittle in the cold but they didn't break.

I did have one problem, a few of the glue joints broke. The fit between the 1" and 1-1/4" is a little sloppy so it puts stress on the glue. I solved this problem by putting a screw into each coupler to fasten it to the 1" pipe.  I used a 1/2" long flat head screw and countersunk it into the coupler to make it flush so no one would get snagged on the screw head. This fix has worked well and I recommend gluing each coupler and screwing it to the pipe.

You can spend less on the stakes by using rebar instead of rod. I bought a 10' length of 3/8" rebar for $3.58 and cut two 3' lengths from it for the second hoop. This puts the total under $25. The rebar stakes have worked as well as the rods.

We play with relaxed rules like Seattle. We mostly play Ultimate but break out Goaltimate once in a while  for variety.

Tres Mesas

This weekend was the Tres Mesas trip. I had to get back for my niece's (Katlyn) farewell today so I missed Gooseberry so only got two mesas.

Most of us drove down Friday morning and rode the Hurricane Rim, Goulds, JEM loop in the afternoon. Such a fantastic desert ride. I made it up the steep section of Hurricane Rim with the rock garden, a first for me. Bombing down JEM is as fun as ever.

We made camp at Guacamole and told stories and jokes well into the night. I haven't done Guacamole for a few years, such a good trail. Here's Tom doing the loop-de-ledge.

And here's Chris hitting it.

I made it on the 4th try.

Here's the group scattered at the Holy Guacamole junction.

There's a new loop farther south that skirts the south rim. I think it's called Salt on the Rim.

It also features several spots of riding narrow rock hallways. It may be my new Guacamole favorite.

After lunch we drove over to Little Creek and rode about 2/3 of the trails. I finally got to ride all of the north rim trail (ran out of daylight once, snowed out another time).

I hung out for while at camp, ate dinner and sang along as Alex played the guitar. I headed home at sunset. I hear everyone enjoyed Gooseberry today.