Mark V reviews: Muc-Off Anti-Fog Treatment

I’m standing in my kitchen, looking out at the steady rain pelting the streets and listening to the fleeting car tyres as they make a sound like a sheet of paper tearing. But I’m thinking of another rainy morning at a Tacoma race course over a month ago, in the middle of the cyclocross season. Up till that point the races had been pretty dry, but as my group stood in the starting grid the sky cut loose and hosed down everything. The race ended up being a cold, muddy, and slow grind. Halfway through the race, my sports glasses were fogging so bad I couldn’t see through them at all, so I handed them off to a friend on the sideline. I spent the second half of the race collecting grit on my contact lenses. I can vividly remember my eyelids dragging sand across my eyeballs.

It’s December now and cyclocross season is over for me, but I mainly commute by bicycle. Depending on the errand, there are plenty of opportunities for my eyewear to fog up, and most of the time I’m wearing my prescription glasses rather than contacts. That means that when my glasses fog up, I can’t simply take them off or push them down my nose; I’m too nearsighted. This is where I had hopes that Muc-Off’s Premium Anti-Fog Treatmenrt could make a difference.

The Muc-Off product comes in a dainty 35ml spray bottle. The directions specify that you should clean the lens first, spray on, and then wipe with a clean dry tissue. And that’s where I’m going to say DON’T USE JUST ANY TISSUE. The cellulose fibres in common tissue can scratch polycarbonate lenses; use a tissue designed for eyewear. If not that, then use a soft, lint-free cloth. Muc-Off’s directions specifically say not to use microfibre cloth with their product; I’m guessing because the microfibre cloth might wipe off too much of the treatment. But my prescription Oakleys cost way too much to risk damaging with regular tissue.

I clean my glasses and then apply the Muc-Off Anti-Fog to just the left lens. Over the next three days, I ride to work, errands all over town, and a three-hour road ride. I learned two things. First, it actually works, but it wouldn’t be accurate to say that it eliminates fog on your lenses. More that it retards the formation of fog and somewhat limits its severity. On a race course where there’s a slow section that prevents you from going fast enough for your glasses to vent off moisture, the Muc-Off Anti-Fog may slow the fogging enough for you to complete the section without impairing your vision. But it doesn’t make your glasses entirely fog free. The second thing I learned is that for maximum effect you have to reapply the treatment every ride. I sort of imagined that Muc-Off’s Anti-Fog would be semi-permanent, or at least only needing occasional application. No, for maximum performance you would need to clean your glasses and apply the Anti-Fog right before the event. Which means that in the future I will be performing another layer of ritualized pre-race preparations on autumn Saturday nights, but I have no intention of using this stuff in my day-to-day activities. Life is already too complex for me to worry if I remembered to apply Anti-Fog to my glasses before I left the house.

Muc-Off is a UK brand that is distributed in the US by Hawley. Their Premium Anti-Fog Treament retails for $14.99.



31 Full Circle

Issue 31 Cover

Like wheels on a bicycle everything circles back from technology to riding styles, tastes, and fashion. Issue 31 brings us full circle and drops today on iTunes and the Web for $4.00 an issue or $16 per year.



RX1R II: Landscapes and Street

Now that the RX1R II has arrived, vacation can’t get started soon enough.



Mark V reviews: Light and Motion Urban 850 Trail

Wherever I hear the word “progress”, whether it be a political speech or a product advertisement, I am always a little suspicious. The idea that we are “moving forward” and getting “better” is deeply seductive, and we as a people would do anything to embrace it, even allowing ourselves to be fooled. Politicians and marketing executives know this well, telling people exactly what they need to hear to believe that they are part of a greater cause. Vote for this politician; he’ll make your country better! Upgrade to 11-speed; you’ll ride faster! Use this deodorant; you won’t stink like cheese! But we all need to recognize what is the actual truth behind the lies….the lies people tell us and the lies we tell ourselves. There is no such thing as “progress”; we are merely traveling in circles. There is no “better”, there is just “different”.

Except for headlights. They DO keep getting better. And that’s what should make you really suspicious.

Look at Light & Motion’s Urban 850 Trail headlight. When the L&M Urban series were introduced, I think the brightest models were like 500 lumens (FWIW, Light & Motion quote actual measured output not theoretical values based off of the subcomponents). Now here’s the Urban 850 Trail that burns almost twice as bright for as long or longer, charges faster, and is the same size/weight as the originals. And it only costs $180, which is about the same retail as the originals were like 5 years ago. So if you account for inflation, the Urban 850 Trail costs less than its predecessors. How is that even possible? First, we have to assume that Light & Motion has stepped into a realm of science that dangerously brushes the boundaries that mortal man was never meant to cross. The only rational explanation for this unassailable progress is that Light & Motion has found some manner of extracting energy from a source hereto untapped. Best guess? I’m thinking something like the souls of orphans, but I don’t pretend to be an expert in the laws of California, where Light & Motion Urban headlights are made.

The point is that the Urban 850 Trail is the best yet from Light & Motion. It’s small so it doesn’t take up much room on your handlebar, and it’s low mass means that its stretchy rubber strap can competently keep the Urban 850 from rotating on the bar as you bounce along on singletrack or rough roads. You can also adapt the Urban 850 to other positions (like your helmet) by replacing the handlebar mount with the included GoPro-style mount, or using the strap mount one of L&M’s existing adapters. One small gripe is that the early mounts that came with the 850 swiveled a little too readily, but L&M has already made a running change to the plastic formula to correct this. A change that L&M made last year to the Urban series is the improved waterproof min-USB charge port. The original Urban headlights had a simple rubber flap/plug, but if you liked to sling the light upside-down on your bar to keep the tops clear (like I do), gravity and exposure might work moisture into the casing. All of the newer Urban headlights have a more robust plastic cap with a rubber o-ring that firmly seals the charge port from the elements.

Like previous high-end models in the Urban line, the 850 Trail is a fast charge, taking just 2.5hrs if plugged into a 2A source (6hrs if you’re using one of those crap .5A wall chargers). Unique to the 850 Trail is a smooth rather than faceted mirror that throws a more concentrated beam further ahead, which is important for seeing trail obstacles on an MTB or fast downhills on a road bike. Also, the trademark amber sidelights of the Urban series are a more muted red on the 850 Trail, which is nice yet subtle beacon for riders following you on the trail that isn’t going to affect their night vision.



The Weather and Dogs Wearing Hats

landscape

The first six weeks I lived in Seattle, didn’t know the Olympics were there. Then, like today, the clouds lifted. They’re usually not rolling with so much might, but our climate is changing. Looked like Wizard of Oz clouds. While shooting them, the dog walked by and is our official neighborhood weather indicator:

  • Green Jacket = Misty Morning
  • Green Jacket with Hat = Rain with the possibility of wind
  • Green jacket Hat off = Rain has passed, warming up.

Dog in a Hat

And later today I’ll dress accordingly for the ride. Good thing fabric tech is keeping up with the climate. On a sunny summer day, the dog has just a leash on and this one glorious afternoon he ran around without one!

A dog in a hat isn’t that uncommon for cyclists, Joe Parkin wrote a book about one.

Read more about riding in the Pacific Northwest in our magazine and last weekend we were soaked through and through.



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