Category: cycling

Dublin Port Tunnel Opening Bicycle Christmas Party

Dublin “Port Tunnel Opening” Bicycle Christmas Party: 6.30pm til later, Monday 11th December, “The Pod”, Harcourt Street Station.

The Dublin Cycling Campaign, the voluntary lobbying organisation “Working to Make Dublin A Bicycle-Friendly City” (, is organising a Christmas Party for Dublin’s cyclists to co-incide with the opening of the Dublin Port Tunnel (in late December).

The tunnel has the potential to transform the city by finally freeing the city centre streets of many of the Heavy Goods Vehicles which have dominated the capital for many years. All cyclists, and anyone interested in transforming Dublin City into a safer and more convivial city, are welcome to the party on Mon 11th December – 6.30pm-11.00pm.

Music will be provided by bicycle messenger DJ Seán Ó Tuathail and other DJ’s. Food will be provided for those who arrive early and a bicycle-related slide show will illuminate the venue.

Only EUR 5.00 on the door.

Looking forward to meeting you at what will be a very sociable and lively night! Details / poster found at Spread the word to all.

The DCC Christmas party will take place in Crawdaddy on Harcourt Street, Monday 11 December. It will be open to all cyclists and friends; admission €5. All Dublin cyclists should head along for the craic.

Storm cycling is fun

As I left work this evening I thought it wasn’t raining, but when I got outside I realised that the warm, calm evening I thought I had seen from my window was far from reality.. “away with the fairies” is how we describe fools like me here in Ireland. It was blowing a storm out!
Waves off Bull Island Rather than badge myself back into the building, I took 5 minutes in the non-shelter of the bike shelter to put on my over-trousers, over-shoes, over-jacket, and felt quite over-done at the end of it – I’m only going 2 miles for Christ’s sake! It’s just long enough distance to get completely soaked if not prepared, but short enough that it takes as much time to put on and take off all the gear as it does travelling. Solution? Lets take the long cut home, again.

This time after 5 minutes on the bike and realising that there wasn’t a single other person insane enough to be out cycling for pleasure within a hundred miles of Dublin, I decided that Howth Summit was a bit optimistic. Ok, so how about the Bull Island monument? Crazy, possibly stupid – sounds great!

Struggling along the coast at 12km/h practically in granny gears was a good workout, and when I got to the slipway at Clontarf Yacht Club I saw a cool sight. There was an angle made by the sea-wall and the slipway that when hit by a decent wave, forced water 25 or 30 feet up into the air. Wow – this was really cool! Even better was my discovery that I could stand on the slipway, a little way out and not get drenched, because when the water went way up in the air like that and started to drop towards me the wind was so strong that it pushed all the water away.

I’m so childish sometimes, I spent 15 minutes standing there with my bike watching the water get thrown above me and then forced away. I finally decided I’d push on for Bull Island. Water was being thrown over the sea-wall all the way along the coast line, and I saw a couple of insane joggers out, poor fools!

On the dodgy old wooden bridge out to the Island I realised that wet, shiny old wood is a very, very slippery surface. It was like cycling on an ice-rink. Thankfully the 4×4 behind me kept well back, probably on the phone to the police reporting me as someone going out to commit suicide. I managed a whopping 10 km/h average along the Bull Road with the wind coming onto my right shoulder at around 40 km/h. The most frightening section was when the wind was momentarily blocked by a bathing shelter on the right, when I passed that the gusts were vicious.

And finally to the monument! I stopped there for 10 minutes and took some really terrible pictures with my phone, as you do. Hey, I had to prove I made it, right?

The trip back was fun – sitting upright and making sure the bike stayed on the path – I didn’t actually have to pedal until I was back on the bridge, and only then because I wanted control.

On the way home I called by the rugby club to show the lads I’m still alive. The mad eejits were out training in that wind and rain, felt sorry for them. I need to head to the doctor to confirm that my back is fully healed up from the pinched disk I had, and then I’ll be back at training shortly – thankfully!

Back to the point, storm cycling is fun, when you’re geared for it. I had wind and rainproof s on, and vitally my new L&M Arc HID light – I’d have been lost without all that gear, couldn’t even consider going out in that weather!

  • Distance: 11.5524 km – route map
  • Time: 1 hour 30-ish
  • Average speed: 12km/h
  • Wind speed: 40km/h
  • Gusts: 70km/h
  • Temp: 13C/~54F

Review: Light and Motion ARC NiMH

Light and Motion ARC NiMH
Light and Motion ARC NiMH
  • Overall Rating: 9/10
  • Value for money: 10/10
  • Brightness: 10/10
  • Battery life: 7/10
  • Cost: 308 euros$404 USD at the time of purchase – Nov 2006

I wanted a decent bike light for a while now, for winter commutes, evening trail riding, and for a couple of long distance day-trips so I can start early and continue late.

After a lot of review reading on and looking at different options, I decided that the best value vs cost vs brightness vs time proposition was HID (High Intensity Discharge), and more specifically a Light and Motion Arc – the original one with the NiMH battery. The price of the NiMH dropped down because L&M have new Lithium-Ion batteries on the market, the Li-Ion and the Li-Ion Ultra, but it’s the same head unit, so the Arc NiMH version is a steal at $379. The batteries are purchasable seperately and are all compatible with the head unit so I can upgrade to the longer lasting Li-Ion Ultra in a few months time, but the NiMH will keep me going for the moment.

Ok, enough about why the NiMH battery is good value, lets look at why the HID Light and Motion Arc is such a good headlight. It’s bright – really damn bright. It can light up a spot hundreds of feet ahead no problem. You can bomb along at 20-30mph without outrunning your light. This is invaluable in night riding. On my first trip out with this light I descended 3-5km of hills at 30-35km/h and I wasn’t slowed by poor visibility but by a headwind. I am pretty sure that I could spin out my 110+ gear inches without having to slow because of lighting factors.

What about the light thrown out by the reflector? Well, it’s really bright! You’d never have guessed, eh? One of the things I notice about the non-direct light thrown out by this light is how much it lights up things like hi-vis vests and street signs that are right on the very edge of the enormous beam. Not convinced? How about some photos? This is from over 80 feet away and the beam is not pointed directly at the camera:
Light and Motion Arc NiMH from 25m

I should clarify here – in the picture above the camera was pointed directly at the Arc. The Arc was not pointed directly at the camera, but to the left of the lens position.

Light and Motion Arc NiMH lighting up

This is showing how well the Arc lights up my vest even though it’s pointing way over to the right of the vest (it’s pointed at the right end of the wall in the distance). Note that this was taken without flash, which is why the wall doesn’t appear very bright. I need to learn how to take photos which show true brightness levels!

Light and Motion ARC NiMH - view of Cross Check

Here’s my current setup with the Arc on my Cross Check. The NiMH battery is velcroed to the top-tube. I need to do something about the extra cable length – for the moment I have it temporarily tied up.

Light and Motion Arc NiMH - 360 degree rotation

This one just shows how the head can rotate. It’s only at about 45 degrees in this picture but it can do the entire 360.

What about batteries? Ok, well I went for the cheaper Light & Motion Arc NiMH option. This gets me 3.5 to 4 hours of battery life at full 13W power, and a bit more in the slightly lower 10W mode. It takes 2 hours to charge completely with the Multi-Chemistry Charger which supports all the different battery packs from Light and Motion. For those of use with non-US-like power supplies, e.g. 240v 13a BS1363 – have no fear if you order the US style plug, just borrow a standard industrial power cable from your work-mates monitor, it’ll fit the 110-250v charger without issue.

Specs? The Arc NiMH version weighs in at 845g and 70-80% of that is battery. The Arc HID head unit is less than 200g. Light output is 675 lumens at 13W and 550 lumens at 10W.

Anything else? Well it comes with both bar and helmet mounts so I must try out the helmet mount sometime! I probably will try it off-road as that’s where beam direction becomes vastly more important.

Back to basics…


It’s bright. It’s really bright. It’s so bright, people stop you in the street to compliment you! The very first time I was out with this light a car pulled over and the guy asked me about it – he wanted one. His wife thought it was great too. I asked if it was too bright, a concern of mine. They assured me that no, it’s just perfect.


It’s expensive. If you’re comparing it to commuters LED blinkies, you’re talking over 10 times the price. But this light doesn’t compare to commuters blinkies.


The Light and Motion Arc NiMH is a really superb headlight. Buying here in Ireland just isn’t worthwhile, the €485 price is ridiculous. But online, even including a 25% customs fee, it’s a bargain.

This is not a sponsored review<, and does not contain any affiliate links.

Cycling – bits and bobs

I’ve been quiet this week on cycling , haven’t been out all that much. I did some minor work on the Cross Check … I installed the (wired) VDO C4 computer, we’ll see how that goes. I must admit I got lazy with measurement – I reckon my Randonneur 700x28s are close enough to 2138mm that I didn’t measure. I also covered lots of the rear-rack stays with black reflective tape and the same for the chain-stay. I also de-badged the Mavic Open-Pros and covered the ” Ultegra ” on the shifters and rear derailleur. One of the roadies in work thought I was nuts covering up all the names 🙂

I do have some drafts that I intend to post this week when I get a chance. I have a review of the Light and Motion ARC HID NiMH that I got last week – sweet light! I’ll post a review with some pictures this week. Also I downloaded gigabytes of free MTB videos legally from so I’ll post a review of what I thought about the service and the videos seperately too.

In the meantime, enjoy this insanely talented trials rider, Ryan Leech, as he takes on Prague. This YouTube clip (3mins 41) is an excerpt from ROAM, one of the videos I got from Enjoy:

Taking the Long Cut home

I left work late, around 7.30pm and decided that I wanted to test both my fitness (my back seems greatly improved now) and my new toy – L&M ARC NiMH HID light 🙂 Here are some observations related to my cycle trip home this evening.

  • Dublin is windy. Dublin , along the coast, in late November, at night, going downhill into a headwind, is very feckin’ windy!
  • My Gortex jacket and Cannondale gloves are definitely windproof, thankfully! I think I need to work on my layered system though – football jersey and jacket do not a wicking system make!
  • My new Light and Motion ARC HID is so bright it’s unbelievable. I had a guy stop his car, reverse back to me and ask about it. His wife/gf was leaning across him to tell me she thought it was brilliant too. I asked if it was too bright but they said no, just perfect.
  • Roadies are good. I stopped along the coast on my way back for 2 mins to take a look at my surroundings (quite often I forget to do this!). When I was stopped I saw a blinkie coming toward me on the cyclepath, so I waved to the light. Turned out to be a roadie out on a training run, in full winter skin tights. He checked if I had any mechanicals, said good luck and continued on his way.

If you’re interested, here’s my route. I turned it from a 4.4km commute to a ~25km trip (+/-5km error – no computer on yet). Red is from work to the top of Howth Head, blue is return home. Update: it’s actually 27.5km according to Gmaps Pedometer – thanks for the link Damien.
Map of north Dublin bay coastline up to Howth Head