Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bicycle Headlight War Escalates!

How many lumens brah?

Among the many forms of dick measuring cyclists engage, headlight brightness is near the top.

The question doesn't have to be spoken.  Ride into DC at night on the Crescent, when everyone else is riding home to Bethesda, and you'll see what I mean:  a stream of lights coming toward you.  And I'm not just talking gentle candles.  We're talking massive, protruding, bobbing and pulsing, spewing blinding amounts of lumens into the eyes.  One can just sense (because one is, mostly, blind) the orgiastic glee of the dicks waving around their lumen members.

When a dude sticks 2500 lumens in your eye, it is definitely a question to your manhood.  To be vulgar, it's a bit rapey.

The natural male response to aggression of this kind is, of course, to go out and buy even more lumens and stick those in HIS eye.  Yeah!

So we go to our local bike shop or the stadium light supply store and, when asked what kind of light they're looking for, reply:

"What kind of light do I want? I want the kind of light that is just one lumen shy of causing permanent blindness?"

"I want that kind of light used in surgery.  I want to be able to perform brain surgery at 100 yards."

...or simply...

"Pain.  I want it to hurt."

This lumen escalation has gone on for several years now, as the technology and the dick measuring have ballooned.  At this point, the trail is a whitout, with riders falling into the canal or driven into the woods, blinded and lum-asculated alarmingly frequent.   

This war of the headlights is the kind of aggression that leads to what Cold War theorists call MAD: mutually assured destruction.  Sides put all their resources into unimaginably destructive weapons that, eventually, become so potent that neither side can actually use them without obliterating the other.  Our bike lights have nearly reached that point.

The DC bike commuter's goal these days, of course, is to push beyond that point.

It used to be that anything over a 1,000 lumens was sufficient.  With the introduction of relatively cheap LED lights, the war has gone nearly nuclear.

Take the Pro 3600 LED.  It costs $700 and throws out 3600 lumens.  A typically offensive light useful for combat on the Crescent or W&OD. 

Or you can pick up a comparable Cree XM L T6 for $72 on...wait...I'm not telling, because I don't want to be blinded:
So how many lumen, brah?  Well, the biggest commercial LED lights you can fit on your bike are now approaching 5,000 lumen.  That's about four times what car headlights produce, and right up there with what goes on a Boeing 767.

If LEDs were the atom bomb of luminescence penis measuring, then one man has just exploded a hydrogen bomb:  a 100 watt, 7,500 lumen beast of a light, so powerful it broke his camera in the clip below:
For only $10, you can illuminate the entire NW of DC, blind all living things in the sub-troposphere, and win the other dick, er, Watt-measuring contest that matters to cyclists!

As impressive as this device is, it is nothing next to what I'm planning on strapping to my bike: the 1,500 watt, 161,000 lumen stadium light.  The batteries to power this light weigh 65 pounds and will be towed behind my bike.

The extra watts required to simply groan along at 5mph will surely make me faster if I ever ride anywhere without my stadium light and 1,500 watt-producing battery cart.

But the point of riding a bike was never to get anywhere or to experience some kind of joy in nature and efficiency.  No, no.  It was to measure dicks.  My dick is bigger.  And by that, I mean I have more Strava segmentss, more crabon, more aero helmet, more w/kg, and, most important, way more lumens.

How many lumens, brah?
More than you, brah.  More than you.


dj cyclone said...

That's funny. Thing is. Lights and especially big lights for downtown urban use is unnecessary. There is already more then enough natural light in play to see what is going in. Maybe a reflector for safety, but the vision field is fine. I've never had a problem navigating until other bikes with big light started coming at me. All of the sudden the spectrum is blurred and I can't see. A moment before what was totally clear and sharp is now a blur. Similar to in cars when someone is coming at you on the highway with high beams blazing. It becomes a wash.

Bright bike lights for seeing the road or trail or what ever, when no other light is present, make sense. But not when there is already enough light and in competing bike traffic. Then things cancel out and it's dangerous.

Kevin Cross said...

I agree. It's out on the trails that things get scary with the phosphorus 'Nam-type napalm lights.