I just experienced my own "uber-geek-lighting" jerk moment. And the problem is - I was the jerk.
This story starts several years ago. I was "partnered" with a well-heeled PBP qualifier aspirant on a 600k ride. It was my role to set a pace, call out turns in advance and generally offer my expertise and knowledge of the route and cycling to help get this guy a chance to complete the 600k and go to France for the big show.
The brevet started at 4:00am and a fairly large group of riders started together and stayed pretty much together until day light. It was quite a light show, with many of the riders with high quality light systems for the year, 2007.
Later on everyone would select their own pace and pair off into groups of two or three and others - eventually rode solo.
As evening fell at the 300k mark, I realized that my "partner" was indeed outfitted with a powerful helmet mounted light. From memory, I believe it was some 2nd generation Dinotte product rated at 140 lumen - as least as far as I can remember.
Since this cyclist was following my lead, two potentially unwarranted lighting attributes came to my attention. One aspect being the blinding intensity of the helmet mount light when ever it reflected off my eyeglass mirror. The other being the constant changing of light and dark coverage areas produced in my selected road path as his light responded to his selected points of interest.
Last week, I was riding a paved bicycle trail using a dual-Dinotte setup. One light, with a flood lens was pointed down enough to start it's flood lit are to be three foot in front of my bike. The other light, with a spot lens, was pointed to show it's hot spot about 20 feet out.
Both of these lights appeared "pointed" downward. Yet, when I encountered oncoming cyclists about 5 feet off axis, (opposing bike lane) they all had to shield their eyes. Some of them were obviously pissed off.
This makes me wonder quite a bit about what the future holds for "well-equipped" brevet riders that may or may not be involved in large group rides, and more over - may or may not be faced with an onslaught of ever more high-powered lighting systems wielded by clueless or cyclist traveling in the opposite direction.
It is my contention that most manufactures - even those aiming for the cycling market - are not offering a wide enough margin for convenient dimming of lighting systems and that the cycling community as a whole is headed in the wrong direction toward more and more powerful, but less truly optimal cycling situations.
I can't wait for a couple Magic Shine 1200 riders meet on a cliff section of single-track along the Colorado river and they both go over the edge - blinded by the light!
Don't misunderstand me. I want to aim at least 100 lumen from the top of my helmet into the face of a driver at every urban intersection. And my own experience suggests having 200-400 lumen aimed at a patch about 40 feet out from your bike should give most people some reaction time to debris or turns.
But this idea about meeting up against a multi-lens 900+ lumen cyclist jamming out in a near 180 pattern sounds a lot like "I'll be listening to a teenager on a cell phone stuck in a grocery checkout line." Not a good experience.
Please add negative reactions to my commentary below.