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Round the World on a Bicycle, 1884

On April 22 1884 a young reporter from England named Thomas Stevens left San Francisco and headed east on a Pope “Columbia” ordinary bicycle.  This was a high wheel type bike, and had a 50 inch front wheel.

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A few weeks into his trip he shot a moutain lion, and 103 days and 3700 miles of wagon roads after starting, he was in Boston.  After wintering in New York, he took a steam ship to Liverpool, and rode through England.  He took a ferry to Paris, and rode through Germany, Austria, Hungary and was in Bulgaria by June 24 1885.  A month later he was in Istanbul, and spent 6 months in Persia.  He was arrested in Afganistan and returned to Persia.  By August 1886 he was in India, and two months later he was in Canton China.  He cycled in Japan and headed for San Francisco by steamer and arrived December 24, 1886.  Steven’s wrote a series of letters during his journey which were published in Harper’s magazine.  The letters were collected into a book, Around the World on a Bicycle and is available in reprint and in digital form in the Gutenburg Project.


Terracycle Accessory Mount

I was wondering how to move my tactical flashlight so it would be in front of, under, or on top of my fairing.  The light is usually mounted on the front deraileur post, but with the fairing on for the winter the light really lights up the inside of the fairing, and that blocks a lot of light from hitting the road ahead.

A helpful email from Pat Franz of Terracycle suggested the Terracycle Accessory Mount would probably do just what I wanted.  The unit arrived in only about two days after the internet order!  I put it on, and it does get the flashlight above the fairing nicely.  I’m going to ride it a few days like that, and I think I will try it mounted lower on the fairing frame, maybe even poking through a hole in the fairing.  Here is what is looks like mounted over the top of the fairing. It is a bit distracting having that in my line of sight, but I might get used to it.

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Update on Use of Tactical Flashlight for Winter Bike Light

I have been using this light for two years now, through two winters commuting every day in the dark, rain, and snow.  I thought I would post an update on the light setup and where to get the components.

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The flashlight is a Surefire 6P tactical flashlight.  It is very solid aluminum, water proof, and a bit pricy at around $50.  Mine is a Surefire 6P, and other Surfire models would work such as the SureFire 6Z, C2, M2 and G2 or Cabela’s 6 v flashlight made by Surefire ($32).  These models are available from Surefire, Amazon, ebay or Cabela’s.

The flashlight comes with an 80 lumen incandescent bulb, which is very fragile, and for my system you take out the factory bulb and replace it with a Malkoff M60 insert.  This is an LED bulb with a plastic lens, which boosts the output to 240 lumens, and is apparently an indestructible bulb.  My flashlight has hit the pavement at 20+ mph many times, and the bulb is fine.  I have a flashlight like this pointing rearward with a red lens, and one pointing forward with a clear lens, and people tell me I’m very visible.

The Malkoff M60 insert is available from the inventor, Gene Malkoff, on his website.   Many police use a Surefire flashlight with the Malkoff insert.  They say “It will easily illuminate objects at 350+ feet and will blind opponents within a 100 foot radius.”  It is very visible in the daylight or dark.  I take the flashlight camping, and it will light up a mountainside 50 yards away.  The insert is $49.95 alone, but this thing is indestructible, and is truly a lifetime flashlight.

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I have been using the same 17670 AW Protected Battery, one for each flashlight, everyday for a year.  They seem to wear out after a year, and I’m on my 2nd set.  They are  available from Lighthound for $11.  I get about 2.5 hours from each charge, and I turn them on day or night, summer and winter, and I charge them twice a week.

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This is the Malkoff insert, which goes inside the flashlight.

I use either a Fenix 360 Bike Mount light holder, $15, this is high quality in fit and finish, but rattles. A small rubber band between the top half and bottom half stops the rattle. A no-name brand is also pretty decent, on ebay for about $10, search Ebay for “New Bike/Bicycle LED Flash Light Mount Clamp Holder.” These are a little loose on the Surefire, so I put a section of inner tube around the flashlight body, for a tighter fit.

Charger: Ultrafire WF-139 Charger for 3.7 volt Lithium Battery Charger, from Lighthound.com, $18.00 (charges two of the 17670 batteries).

I had a friend get this setup, and on a long bike ride through an old railroad tunnel in northern Idaho,  his light was the monster of all the lights in the blackness of the tunnel.