Secondly, let's talk lumens:
That's the Knog Blinder Arc 1.7--on the low setting!
Note also that I've mounted it just below my stem on the steer tube, thereby canting the beam slightly upward for maximum obnoxiousness:
(I've also got a smaller auxiliary light on there to finish the job, just in case you can still see after encountering me.)
They say you could see my distress symbol glowing in the night sky as far north as Onondaga County:
There was also a notable uptick in upstate UFO sightings, which you generally only see when the local chemist cooks up a fresh batch of methamphetamine. [Reminder: draft treatment for fixie drama TV series called "Braking? Bad!"]
Then, the next morning, I received the following email with the subject line "You Suck:""
Dear Mr. Rock Machine,
On March 17th I announced to the world that, using the BICEP2 radio telescope in Antarctica, my team and I had finally found what we believed to be primordial gravitational waves, or the so-called "afterglow" of the Big Bang. The implications were profound and enormous, and I cleared space on my mantel for my Nobel Prize.
Then, after extensive peer review, it turned out what we'd actually seen were not primordial gravitational waves, but in fact merely ripples in the fabric of space caused by your obnoxiously bright bike light.
So fuck you.
ANYWAY, it's important that we address the fraught subject of frontal illumination etiquette, inasmuch as it has become nearly as controversial as the helment "debate" (I put "debate" in "quotes" because there is no "debate," helments are stupid and ugly and give you bad hair), but first here's a brief history of bicycle lighting:
A Brief History of Bicycle Lighting
Sponsored by [Your Bicycle Lighting Company Name Here, contact webmaster for sponsorship opportunities]
The very first bicycle lights were live monkeys, trained to hold lanterns while perched upon the handlebars of pennyfarthings. However, these monkeys often turned violent, ripping at the faces and eyes of riders, and so in 1887 the first bicycle "safety light" featuring a 100% synthetic, non-living monkey was sold:
Between the "safety bicycle" and the "safety light," cycling enjoyed an explosion in popularity through the 1890s. However, racers eschewed the system's excessive weight, so some "drilled out" the monkey, leading to premature monkey failure:
While others skipped the fixture altogether and instead simply set their handlebars on fire--both with predictable results:
But soon the world of bicycle lighting would change forever, thanks to this man, for whom no introduction is necessary:
(It's Thomas Edison, you bonehead.)
Edison, of course, was the world's first fixed-gear freestyler:
But he was also a tinkerer and inventor in his spare time, and one invention in particular would completely revolutionize bicycle lights.
I'm talking, of course, about the phonograph:
(You thought I was going to say "lightbulb," didn't you?)
Which cyclists would strap to their handlebars at night and use to play Sousa marches in order to alert people to their presence.
Sadly, this proved ineffectual, so eventually cyclists just set the phonographs on fire for maximum visibility--with predictable results:
Given the safety bicycle's tendency to burst into flames, it's no surprise that by the early 20th century people began to abandon this mode of transportation for something else:
("Fuck it, I'm leasing a Model T.")
Not only did the automobile have headlights, but it also came with an attractive philosophy and lifestyle:
And thus the humble bicycle all but vanished from use until the early 21st century, when "fixies" came into fashion, and Knog invented the "hipster cyst:"
Thus setting off a lumens-based arms race culminating in the abundance of lighting systems available today.
I think that about covers it.
So yeah, the average bike dork now has a wealth of lighting options at his or her disposal, nearly all of which are bright enough to stage an amateur production of "Our Town." Some people don't like this. They think that being able to walk into a bike shop and buy a military-grade laser with a handlebar attachment is tantamount to being able to walk into a Walmart and emerge with the firepower of a small sovereign nation. They also think it's rude to ride around with a bright light, because it annoys other cyclists, or something.
I'm not so sure. The other day on the Manhattan Bridge I passed some riders with some pretty bright lights. You know what I did? I averted my eyes slightly. Isn't that just common sense? It seems to me that if we can spend every day of our lives beneath the burning rays of the sun without scorching our eyes out we can deal with the occasional bike light. It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness, and it's also better to look away from the fucking light instead of cursing the brightness.
That's not to say you shouldn't be considerate. For example, I wouldn't use my light cannon where there's heavy bike traffic or lots of streetlights. However, if it's dark and the roads are windy and you're pretty much the only cyclist out there I don't see the problem. Also, a bright light up front is good because it's the only way the average dolt parallel-parking his car at night is going to see you, because they sure as hell aren't looking for cyclists at night when they slam on the brakes and lurch clumsily into that coveted spot.
Meanwhile in other news, bikes have gotten so stupidly expensive that even James Huang thinks it's out of hand:
Wow. James Huang saying bikes are too expensive is like Stevie Wonder saying bike lights are too bright, or like Stephen Hawking asking you to explain a physical theory in "layman's terms."
If it's come to this, things have gone too far.