Seeing the light
I've been regularly night riding in the winter for the last two years. Each year it gets a little easier, a little more fun and the lights better. I've always used two lights - head and bars. With the exception of a few light malfunctions during races, it's always been two. I'll dim or turn off for climbs to save battery life, but for rocky sections and descents I'm rocking both. Those few times in our 24 hour races where I've had issues (well before we started using Exposure lights) only having one light really affected me. I was much slower and hesitant on any technical stretch. Well, all the night rides - in addition to working on skill - has helped a lot and I'm able to ride well with just one light.
As usual, I grabbed a Diablo and my Reflex for this ride. I didn't bother checking the charge on the Diablo since I always plug them in right away. I was using one I hadn't used in a while but still didn't think about it. Nick and I are at Palmer Park, waiting to see if anyone else shows up for the ride and he goes "your Diablo is on orange already." Oops! That means I've only got 50% or less battery life left! I thought it was fully charged! My mistake. I only got about 30 minutes of life from my Diablo on medium before it started flashing. Yep - it was dead. Time to ride without my head light and see what I could do! I was wishing I'd had the light cannon 6 pack when I first started, but got settled quickly. Managing the light worked well since I know Palmer Park - medium (which was still pretty bright) for road or climbs and high for everything else. I was able to ride everything without any issues. I did have to slow down on some of the twisty trails, but not by much. The biggest issue I noticed was the fixed light made it hard to look where I was going. I'd approach a switchback and not be able to spot the exit. So I had to slow down to let my light catch up around the corners and through some of the rocks. But it was a good experience. And a good reminder to check my equipment and not just assume things. While I can ride with just the one light, I wouldn't want to race with only one!