Frosty night rides with the C and B Seen unit.

Funny old weekend. Still battling with some stupid lingering cold that I've had for two weeks' that seems to come and go. Just annoying but it has hurt my motivation to ride. Even so I did manage to get out for an evening ride on Saturday, and even though it probably wasn't a clever thing to do, it was worth it.

The weather was OK for an evening spin; dry with a light snow falling.The ground was frozen which meant loads of grip in the areas where lots of people had been, but little grip where foot or cycle traffic was light. Here the ground was frozen into a kind of sponge like consistency, like frozen moss. It loooked firm enough from a distance but when ridden over it collapsed in a crunching sound. Whilst not slippery it did give an edge to the ride as one tyre or another would move in random directions as the ground gave way beneath my wheels.

With a light snow falling, lots of cloud cover but no mist I got the chance to actually study what my lights were doing beam wise in the clear air. My night ride set up is an ancient Nuke Proof Reactor on the bars with a wide beam, and a newer £40 bargain bin jobbie from C and B Seen on my helmet. On previous misty rides the two lights have been comparable. The higher output of the C and B Seen being masked by the mist, and the lower output of the Reactor actually being enhanced by the misty conditions. On a clear night the two lights really were chalk and cheese, with the Reactor being shown up as an ancient piece of kit. On a clear night the Reactor is just dead weight and I just relied upon the head unit. You can still ride like that, but it's not as good as having a decent bar mount as well. I don't ride often enough at night to warrant spending out good money on lights, so this set up will do for this year, but I'm going to have to look at it again come next October. By then C and B should have gotten a new beam pattern out? They may well have already, I've not looked yet.

The only real negative with using a head unit with seperate battery is where exactly do you put the battery? I tried attaching it to my helmet, but way too heavy for that. OK in my backpack then. Works weight wise but now there's loads of cable all over the shop.

The riding was, as I said, quite fast where there had been a bit of traffic during the day. It felt as though the ride could go on forever and I was quite comfortable out and about. No idea why, but for me night rides mean only wearing the clothes I've had on during the day. So jeans, trainers, t-shirt and softshell. I did compromise and put on a cotton lumberjack t-shirt. Guess it's just in case of a pub stop mid-ride, where lycra and baggies would look well odd in a social environment.

Now whilst the going was good up on the tops, the drops down to town level were heart stopping. Doable with care, but not for those of weak disposition. Going down involves reasonable steep but short drops off the side of the hill. True there are shallower and longer drops, but, well, what's the point of those? The steep ones had seen no foot traffic and were as nature intended; frozen. I slipped down a few, alternately using front or rear brakes as either end broke grip. The nature of the ground being that you couldn't just let the bike run. One moment there'd be grip, the next a wheel would slip sideways on a patch of icy gravel. It was really good fun, made better by the frosty, dry air and stunning views of towns of the Sussex Weald lit up at night.

The lack of mud meant that I couldn't really test my full Mucky Nutz set up, but first impressions are of a lightweight product that cuts 80% of the crap. That seems pretty good to me.

Not a long ride, and not one that'll challenge my fitness at all, but a fun one and that's all that matters isn't it?