18 February 2012

Precious Angel

I am having something of a gadget binge, which spills over into running - in fact, in some ways it's a substitute for running, given that Achilles won't let  me do as much of that as I want. A few weeks ago, I was determined that the winter wasn't going to stop me running, and in a short interlude of madness I placed on order online for a pair of YakTrax ice grips and was about to order some Knucklelights when I realised a better solution was to get a friend to procure some for me in the States and send them over to England with her daughter so I would save the shipping costs. Great idea: it then took me about six weeks to organise to get them. Meanwhile, I snapped up a cheap head torch which did a pretty good job on my small number of after-dark runs.

As one of my daughters has recently started running, and was training by running home from work, I thought a second pair would be justified. It turned out that they were the last two in the shop - Born To Run in Redmond, Washington (where have I heard that name before?). Mine finally got to see action in the pre-dawn darkness (that's always the darkest hour, isn't it? So Shane used to remind me) in Moscow last weekend, when in fact the YakTrax would have been more use. They have streetlights in Moscow - pretty good ones. Still, it gave me a chance to try them out, and had anyone been watching they would have marvelled even more at the crazy Englishman running in minus 20-something.

Knucklelights do exactly what you'd expect from the name: they are provided with a strap (this is reading like a patent specification, isn't it?), an adjustable one, through which you pass your fingers so the light sites neatly and comfortably on your knuckles. The switch is conveniently disposed for operation with the thumb. I might even say the switch can be moved slideably - but there are limits to how far a patent pastiche can go. So you put one on each hand, switch them on, and start running.

The beam, of course, bobs about a bit. That's inevitable. But that means it covers the area you need to know about: if you were carrying a torch you'd move it about to scan the area of interest to you. Anyway they are deliberately wide-angle, so bobbing about doesn't detract from the job they are doing. They are 45 lumens, with four LEDs, so they give out quite enough light for running - probably about enough for cycling, too, though they would be a nuisance to have on your hands while riding a bike, I reckon, and because of their design not so useful. They take 2 AAA batteries: I haven't tested them to the limit of the batteries' lives yet (my planned 10K in Moscow got truncated for reasons of extreme cold) but I will post here when I have some idea. And maybe I'll get a photo of them in use.

At a shade under $40 they aren't exactly cheap, and if you pay postage and packing on top of that from the US they would get pretty expensive, but then again a good quality head torch will set you back a lot and not do such a great job (IMHO). A great piece of kit which will make running in the dark a lot safer, and probably more enjoyable. Must turn up to a club run one evening soon with them, before the evenings start to get light!

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