Today's 15 mile commute was probably the last bike ride I'll take before 2013. Tomorrow a snowstorm is supposed to move in with some pretty thick stuff before the end of our work day. Next week and through the week of Christmas, holiday needs are going to keep me in the car. By the time it's over I bet my park-and-ride parking space will be a snowbank. I'll need to come up with other ways to reduce my driving and maintain some semblance of fitness.
The night was crisp and cold, 26 degrees at the start. Jupiter and a scattering of stars reflected from the water and fresh ice of the lakes. A thin crescent moon settled toward the western horizon. My headlight flooded the trail with blue-white light.
People on the path have commented on the power of that light since I started using it. Wednesday night, four teenagers in a cloud of cigarette smoke, standing along the trail in town said, "Hey, that's a bright light! It looks like a car or something!" Farther out a miniature schnauzer ran up to me yapping, followed by a bigger, smooth-coated dog. The people with them also remarked on the brightness of the light.
Last week a police car drove up quickly to the crossing at Whitten Neck Road. It pulled in as I approached the crossing, then turned and drove away. I wonder if someone had called me in, thinking a motorcyclist was poaching the path. I love pushing that big light around. At a walking pace it reaches nearly full intensity, but I get to see it burn brighter and whiter as I speed up.
As winter advances I might figure out how to do some ski commuting from a closer parking place to town, provided it's plowed out. Or I might just drive all the way and take a walk. With free use of the groomed trails, one might think I could do that, but the temperature swings we've had in the past several winters make night skiing unrewarding if not outright hazardous. There's no chance I'll get any of the good stuff during the day. So a morning trudge on whatever is on the rail trail sounds like the best bet. The scenery is pretty and most of the dog doo will be frozen.