Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for November, 2010

Response from GeoManGear

Friday, November 12th, 2010

I received a response to my e-mail to GeoManGear, where my MagicShine light came from (see my first post about the topic). Here is what they said.

Hi Michael,

We have recently received an increase in warranty claims related to the battery packs included with Magicshine lightsets. We have determined that the Magicshine battery packs do not meet GeoManGear’s high expectations regarding product performance and quality. We are working with the manufacturer to quickly resolve these issues and will begin providing replacement battery packs after we have obtained a high-quality battery pack for our customers.

We want nothing less than the best for our customers and we will make sure you have that. We hope to have the replacements in the next few weeks.

If you notice the lifespan of your battery decreasing, please discontinue use, and dispose of the battery.

We will take good care of you and these issues!

Thanks!
Geoman

I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. I have read good things about them; they seem like a good company. I’ll continue to post updates here.

New light! And, a couple of test rides.

Friday, November 12th, 2010

The Light

As I have alluded to previously, I got a new light for riding. Actually, my wife ordered it for me after realizing that I’ve been gimping along with subpar lights. I’m a lucky guy, having a great wife AND a very bright light!

This new light blows everything I’ve ever tried out of the water. The new light is a Magicshine 900, rated at an incredible 900 lumens!

Now, something weird is going on. Last night, I went to the site where Sarah ordered the light, and I saw this:

GeoManGear has temporarily discontinued sales of Magicshine lightsets due to our concerns regarding the quality of Magicshine’s lithium-ion battery packs. We are working with the manufacturer to quickly resolve these issues and will begin selling Magicshine products again after we have obtained a high-quality battery pack for our customers. If you wish to be notified when we have new Magicshine or comparable lightsets available, pleaseĀ click here to place your name on our waiting list.

I have sent them an e-mail asking for more information. And I really hope that my batteries are not affected, or that there is a solution, because this light is amazing, and promises to expand my night riding capabilities. Interestingly enough, I have read quite a few reviews of this light, and most of them have been very positive, not mentioning any battery problem. So I wonder what’s going on.

In my living room, I did a couple of unscientific tests comparing this light to the two other brightest lights I have, a Planet Bike Blaze 2W, and a Cygolite Hi-Flux 100. On low, the Magicshine is about equal in brightness to the other two lights. On medium, it ‘s about twice as bright. On high, it’s so bright that I had to check to see if the other lights were even on.

The beam pattern is also quite useful on this light. It has a bright spot in the center, but it’s not as tight as the Blaze (a good thing — I think the beam on the Blaze is too tight). The Magicshine also projects light out to the sides, and above and below the main beam. In practice, I have found that I can focus the brightest part of the beam about a block away, and have the road directly in front of me illuminated quite well also. It’s incredible. The beam pattern will be immensely useful for mountain biking, though I haven’t tried that yet.

So, you can see why I hope there will be a good solution to whatever battery problem there may be.

Test Rides

The day the light came, I did a brief test ride through a couple of neighborhoods and parks. I was amazed at how well I could see. I was able to ride a lot faster than I could with my old lights. Plus, it was a beautiful, clear, starry night and I loved riding along under the stars.

Last night, I did a longer test of about 16 miles, west of town. It was dark before I even left the house. I found traffic getting out of town a bit sketchy, but once out in the country the roads were incredibly quiet and beautiful. I saw a cat, a skunk, and some cows … and I think an owl overhead, though it was out of the corner of my eye. It was a hilly route, and I even hit about 34 mph — in the dark — without ever feeling out of control. Wow. There were some choice moments rolling under the stars, with a crescent moon and Jupiter also visible.

I was a little nervous about this ride with the hills in the dark in a sort of wild area, thinking maybe I should have done something shorter, but I loved being out there; it was over too soon. Traffic was much less of a problem on the way back, so maybe it would help to start my night rides a little later, after traffic has died down more.

Right now, I cognitive dissonance is getting to me. My experiences with this light have been amazing so far, but obviously I am concerned about the battery packs. I’ll post updates as I figure out what’s going on.

An enjoyable fall hike

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

On Saturday, we hiked Trail 2 at Brown County State Park. We had hiked this trail once before. It’s a moderate 2-mile loop. I enjoyed the sign at the trailhead with lots of data about the trail.

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The trail features numerous rock bridges, stairs, and other structures.

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We walked past some of the cabins, which are available for rental. We noticed they had a whole lot of windows. They looked like a fun place to spend a weekend. If we didn’t live so close, we would consider staying in a cabin like these.

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This bridge seems funny now, with the creek completely dry from the drought. Even when it is running, I’m sure it’s a small stream.

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As you can see, Rob was enjoying himself thoroughly!

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As were the bipeds.

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The trail winds through a ravine for a while.

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And eventually you reach the North Observation Tower. We didn’t go up in the tower, although we have been in it before.

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It was an incredibly beautiful day, and we especially enjoyed looking up at the beautiful blue sky through the remaining foliage.

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At one point, Rob insisted that I take his photo. He is a photogenic dog, I have to admit.

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These stone steps led back up to the Abe Martin Lodge area, where we had started.

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It was a perfect day to be out hiking, and we all enjoyed going for a walk through the woods together. Not every outing has to be epic.

The traffic at Brown County has already died off significantly. Once the leaves are past their peak, you’ll find a lot fewer people in the park. That just leaves more room for the rest of us.

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