RACING MAKES YOU A BETTER RIDER, ALWAYS.  Let me show you just one simple way.  Tonight I picked up my spanking new frame – more on that later… it’s so purty.  The shop put my parts back on, but I still needed to mount a few things:  the Garmin, the RaceRepair Bag, and the lights.  Once pedaling, I realized my rookie mistake.

My headlight was pointed down at too sharp of an angle.

I see this mistake all the time this time of year.  Guys are riding with the beam of the light pointed about 5′ in front of the front wheel.  It looks great in the garage, it’s terrible when you’re up to speed.  How terrible?… Well, check it out what Kyle calculates:

At 20 miles an hour you travel 29.33 feet per second.

20mph is nothing on a road bike.  Most days I come back with a max speed approaching 50 miles an hour.  If your beam is pointing straight down you have no time to react to any road garbage you’re likely to find.

But, there’s another huge advantage to pointing your beam down the road.

A beam that is pointed down will not show you any shadows.  Shadows are what give you depth perception when it’s dark.  So, if you point that beam farther ahead you’ll get a much better feel of the terrain.  On a road bike you’re good with one solid light.

I learned all this racing mountain bikes through the night.

On a mountain bike, you much better off with two lights.

My preference is a very powerful wide beam, mounted as low as possible on the bike.  This will light up the terrain and cast all kinds of shadows.  The second beam is a helmet light.  I want this light to be more of a spot light, with a weaker beam than the light on the bike.  This spot light allows me to see around corners on single track sooner by turning my head quicker than the handle bars which typically lag.  Keeping the beam power down and concentrated on the helmet light allows me to keep seeing all those shadows which so I can quickly adjust to fast changing terrain.

You’ve been enlightened… now go ride your bike Grasshopper.