Sunday, 9 July 2017

Dim


Cher has just put up a load of interesting pictures to do with the German occupation of Guernsey and it reminded me of the WW2 ARP bicycle lamp I bought yesterday, above.

Bicycle lamps were feeble enough in those days, but this one has been even more enfeebled by having a hood built right over the tiny little bulb so it cannot be spotted by aircraft.

I remember cycling home from school in the Winter, trying not to go faster than my brain could process any potential hazards which might come into view by being caught in the dim pool of yellow light which spread about four feet ahead of the front wheel. Even with new batteries the light was dim, but after about an hour it became yellower and yellower until it was almost pointless.

These days, cyclists have LED lights so bright that they actually blind you for a couple of seconds if you look straight at them, and many of them point them straight at oncoming car-drivers, as if they actually want to be run over.

My nostalgia for the old days is not to do with any notion that they were good old days - how could the constant threat of arial bombardment, rationing until the 1950s or even occupation be 'good'? - it is just that I miss the gentleness summed up by old fashioned bicycle travel, before militant cyclists declared war on motorists and pedestrians to blind them with 1500 lumen lamps, routinely shoot through red lights, go the wrong way and ride at 25 MPH on the pavement.

Why does everything have to be competitive these days?

8 comments:

  1. Those dynamo things that pressed against the back wheel were useless. I could never get mine to work; therefore no light.

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    1. The basic principle was sound: the faster you went, the brighter they got (in theory).

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  2. Such heavy thoughts today. Thank god the channel islands, at least, were "liberated" without incident.
    Bicycles were about the first instrument appropriated and "improved" by the industrial complex. Streamlined, lightened, looking like rockets, or at least bananas, to be marketed to children.
    Our bicycle lights were subject to black outs, too, during the Korean war (the one I remember). We simply disconnected the generator wire. I don't recall hooding them. I do remember the family despair when my mother lost the ration book.

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    1. There were a few incidents, but not on the scale of the rest of GB.

      You might have to black out again because of a Korean war, but I think those ICBMs have infra red these days, so I wouldn't bother. You might as well be able to actually see your last meal, assuming you don't lose the ration book again.

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  3. I fear for my life walking into town -- if the cyclists don't come up stealthily behind you it's people in mobility scooters going hell for leather to the shops...

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    1. The old people in mobility scooters are almost as bad as the men in Lycra, but weigh more.

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  4. Here, electric bikes are getting popular and they are a menace if you are walking.

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