The 12 Days of Randonneurmas, 2011 Edition!

My, how quickly another year has come and gone. MG and I hope that all of you, dear readers, have enjoyed a fantastic 2011 on and off your bikes. We’re grateful for our adventures with friends near and far and for our good health and families, all of which make this a happy season for us.

We’re glad to be launching our annual 12 Days of Randonneurmas. In case this is your first holiday season with TDR, Randonneurmas is our little way of highlighting our favorite gift ideas for that lucky randonneur in your life. If that’s you, don’t worry — we won’t tell!

Tonight we begin with a subject near and dear to every randonneur — headlights. One can ride shorter brevets solely in daylight, but sooner or later all of us who venture past the 200K mark have to put on that reflective vest and fire up the headlights and tailights.

Small and powerful. Finally, affordable LED lights are getting seriously bright.

Many randonneurs have adopted high-output generator lights, but we still like self-contained units that can be easily moved from bike to bike. The best is still the Busch & Muller Ixon IQ, but we’ve taken to a less expensive rechargeable, the new Light and Motion 180.

MG won one of these this fall from L&M in an essay contest (see her entry here) and she’s found it to be very bright and very light. It might not be perfect as a primary light on a brevet, but it makes a great backup and a terrific option for commuting and short rides.

The L&M 180 has bright side lights in addition to a blazing beam.

The street price is less than $100, which is still a fair chunk of change, but the output is frankly amazing, with run times of more than eight hours on low, four hours on medium and more than two hours on high. (L&M also includes the dreaded strobe mode. Please people, that’s for daylight use, not at night on the trail. My eyes!)

USB cable charging is convenient, too. It mounts in seconds with an integrated rubber strap.

Here's an idea of what drivers will see. Pretty good.

Finally, high light output at an easy price. There’s no reason to worry about the night with one of these along for the ride.

Tomorrow: we turn to the solution for those awkward social moments in randonneuring.

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