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(My former set-up. I used to run the smaller light at the left seat-stay, and even jerry-rigged to the back of my rack.)

It’s been said in several places on the byke innernetz that if your LEDs are a few years old, you might want to replace them. Why? LEDs last nearly forever, no? Because the technology is getting cheaper, brighter, more efficient, more durable and easier to mount!

These are Giant lights that I had on my (crashed) Giant bike. The larger one ran me nearly $30, and the small one was about $10 I think in 2006. The big one was bright enough to do the job fairly well, but it ate batteries like I drink coffee — as they said in Lost in Translation, “with much intensity!”  The smaller one died pretty quickly, too.  Both fell off the bike several times.  In fact, that larger one was actually stolen from ElRo (click here to see image of baby in her tummy) since mine fell off in traffic and got destroyed.  When I crashed that bike in April, someone who got to the scene handed me my pump and this smaller damned light.  I can vouch for its durability — it fell off a few times and took quite a big roll a couple of those.

When I got my new bike this summer, I wanted to get new lights, too.  My five LED headlight was Okay for being seen, but it went dim in a few hours and had a very narrow beam.  I wanted some improvement in that area, too.  The light I had was about $25 in 2006 also.  There were some very awesome lights out since then, and I was excited to try some out.

Planet Bike all the way.  Not only are they brighter and easier to mount.  They also were cheaper, and they haven’t fallen off yet.  I should really get around to posting something about my cheap/simple light set-up.  Maybe next week.  Stay tuned!

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My wonderful wife just landed a sweet job at a university that is a few blocks from the one where I work, in the heart of Central Baltimore. We are both enormous fans of the MTA, and the #61 stops yards from our apartment building. But, as she understands and as I’m sure anyone who cycles would, once I get back on my bike after not riding [without crashing] since April 7th, there’s nothing that will stop me from cycling to work. Not that anything but bad ice did after the installation of my awesome fenders in December. Unless ElRo wants to take the bus, this means that I’ll get company for my commutes!

It used to be my “alone time”, but my wife and I happen to get along very well and enjoy each other’s company, enough to elicit gags at times from a few less happy people. But I rarely took the really long way home before because I wanted to get home to my favorite person. Rather than losing alone time that I don’t really care about, I view this more as getting to saunter-on-wheels home rather than mashing my way up Charles Street and University Parkway. The long way, the scenic way — they’re all ours for the taking.

And it’s fun to point out your favorite way to get to work and all the places to get coffee around there. A week or two before my crash, I was still in North Baltimore for a super-early meeting one Thursday. Afterward, Dan and I met up and took my relaxed way to work, parked in my office and enjoyed coffee/chocolate at Sofi’s. I talked his ear off about what’s around my job, etc.   Bob wrote a nice post about this kind of fun last year.

Anyone else get regular company for their commutes?

Anyone ride in?  I have AWESOME fenders, but even they were no match for the snow and slush and gunk flying around this morning.  It was still a fun ride, though.  My bike dripped puddles of NASTY water all over my office when I got to work.  Poor little rug.  My “salmon” Kool Stops are grey as all hell right now.  I don’t know if it’s wise to ride home, after my ice-fall last week.  But it’s so tempting and fun. I doubt I will be able to resist.  Plus, I don’t wanna leave Mr. Bike in the office, especially when it looks like tomorrow might turn out to be a snow day.

My only scary moment was coming down the switchback on the Jones Falls Trail this morning.  I realized that my thin shoes were covered in snow, so I stopped and pulled off to knock the snow away.  I slid a bit in so doing, but I caught myself.  I got off my bike to stomp my shoes against the wall and get the snow off, and there is a skid mark, surrounded by footprints.  I hope no one thinks it was the scene of a crash, LOL.

No other bike tracks on the switchback.  But there were tracks from an MTB on the trail itself, as the road was covered in salt trucks waiting their turn to get filled on Fallsway.  Saw one other cyclist on the JFT, and we exchanged not just a nod but a full one-hand-off-the-bars wave, which is appropriate to anyone brave/stupid enough to ride in Baltimore in the snow.

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