Sunday, September 25, 2005

Into the Night

In my rural area I tend to give up the bike commute when I can no longer complete the route in daylight. I've pushed it a few times, but it was easy enough to slip into the car, riding dawn patrols for exercise on the bike before driving to town for work.

With gasoline prices charging upward, and my paycheck still crawling in the weeds, riding in the dark looks a lot more attractive. I have lights, including at least four flashing rear beacons. The Planet Bike Beamer headlight is a remarkably effective small light. The whole array is readily transferrable from Cross Check to fixed gear to road bike as the need arises. It's not like my old generator light, which remained permanently bolted to the bike I used for commuting at the time.

Last Friday morning I got up just after 4 a.m. to get ready to ride 41 miles to get a car back from the mechanic. I've developed the habit of riding from Effingham to Gilford to get the car before work when I need to fetch it, which means I have to leave by 5:30 to complete the route in time.

It's still dark at 5:30 now. I piled on the lights, the bright vest, the reflector leg bands, and headed out into the murk on the fixed gear. The forecast was for showers, so I had a rain jacket, and had clipped the fenders onto their brackets.

The pre-dawn motorist crowd seemed pretty kind and accommodating. It encourages me to try the commute in darkness again. Too soon I'll have to travel 70 miles a day commuting, and that's just not practical for an old dog, day or night. I'll be stuck in the car then.

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