i don't get out much, at least, not after dark. in a village of just under 1,000 people on an island where public transport ceases at 6pm each evening, metropolitan is not an adjective that gains much airtime around here. which is an obscure way of saying that there isn't a lot to do in the evenings, other than sit in the leather armchair composing quality journalism and finding it easy to ignore the soap operas on television. this is the rural idyll, where the night sky is clearly seen assuming a lack of cloud cover, unhindered by the light pollution that affects the real metropolises of the kingdom.
while that may be an astronomer's dream, it does have its disadvantages for the nocturnal velocipedinist in that it is very, very dark of an evening and the roads are inhabited by more than just the local boy racers. it's an observable fact that the first sign of sheep on the road is pinpoint reflections in their eyes. and sad to say, on a bicycle, you're going to be very close to some woolly jumpers by the time you notice. combine all these factors, and unless there's a very, very good reason to be out after teatime, that leather armchair starts to look like a very attractive proposition.
however, even the housebound of an evening can be forced to take the chill evening air on occasion, at which point, some sort of illumination is desirable if not legally mandatory. situated but half a kilometre outside the village is a refurbished, modern building that was at one time, the island's fever hospital. after serving sentence as the council's storage centre, it was converted into the awkwardly named ionad chaluim chille ile, gaelic words that signified the island's gaelic college. for reasons best known to the management, they are now keen to bury the gaelic college nomenclature and have it referred to as either the columba centre or more simply, if enigmatically, icci.
part of the building's dilution as a college for the furtherance of the gaelic language has been of benefit to the wide and varied local music scene, minimal though it may be. the acoustics and comfort of the main hallway have made it the ideal location for classical, folk and jazz music, even though the siting of the toilets at the foot of a spiral staircase on the lower floor is a tad inconvenient to say the least. it is on the occasion of attending the occasional event at this venue that i have need of at the very least, a rear light, defining my existence clearly in red over the 500 metres between the end of the street lighting and the lights in icci's car park.
quite how we have survived without a flashing rear light offering a choice between dance/breathe, 10% and solid is quite beyond my reckoning. though the last of the three is self-explanatory, the other two may need a tad more explanation. ten percent is a more regular flash mode as you, i and a following police car would recognise it, but the best of the three, and the one i have firmly settled on, is the dance/breathe option. this flashes quickly then slowly on a repeating cycle making one's presence arguably more obvious to any soporific motorists in the immediate vicinity. pressing and holding a button on the bottom of the aether demon for a second or two enters this dance/breathe mode; pressing once more offers up the 10% and pressing once more keeps the red led solidly lit.
holding the button in for a few more seconds switches the unit off.
immediately adjacent to the on/off button is a rubber plug revealing a micro usb socket; the light comes with a connecting usb cable to allow charging from a computer or a usb socket equipped plug. also in the magnificent little box beside the light are three brackets allowing mounting of the unit on a seatpost or seatstay on bicycles that still possess appropriately sized tubing. there are a couple of rubber gaskets to accommodate variance in size. spare brackets can be purchased separately to allow the light to be shifted between more than one bicycle.
one charge seems to last some considerable time. though you would be correct to doubt the truth of my statement on the basis of a couple of one and a half kilometre rides to the columba centre, the aether demon also finds favour in daylight. on grey days, improving personal visibility is not something to be sneezed at. last saturday's ride covered 92km, along with lunch at debbie's after which i discovered i'd forgotten to switch it off during the munch period (a senior moment). it also appears to be quite waterproof; most rides currently feature more precipitation than truly finds favour, but it's not all fun and frolics in the hebrides.
though hardly germaine to the function of the light, the packaging in which it arrives is worthy of mention. there's a neat little sticker of an aether demon included (one for which i have yet to determine the most appropriate placement), a cleverly thought out top flap to aid point of sale display, and an oregon state shaped bar code on the back.
the guys at pdw have a deserved reputation for eccentricity, but while such has little bearing on the excellent reputation of their products, the more the better in my opinion. it's a very bright light that you'll hardly ever see because, as will become perfectly obvious in the pantomimes soon to be played out in schools all across the country, it's behind you.
the portland design works aether demon light is distributed in the uk by paligap. it retails at £32
monday 9 december 2013..........................................................................................................................................................................................................