Posts Tagged ‘cycling at night’

Jamieson Front Lake along Route 316 near Cole Harbour

My first day of spring was great. I managed to spend a good chunk of it outdoors. I went for a ride on the motorcycle, walked and later in the evening went cycling.

Jamieson Front Lake along Route 316 near Cole Harbour

Jamieson Front Lake along Route 316 near Cole Harbour

When I left home I intended to go for a short ride to Guysborough for milk and gas but on the way home I decided to keep going on Route 16. The kilometers quickly accumulated and before long I found myself in Half Island Cove. From there I figured it would be just as well to circle around through Port Felix and on home. Only a little further along I could feel the air growing cooler. Fog. I could see a fog bank in the distance above the trees. Lower Whitehead was completely engulfed. By this time I was cold. Usually I like fog but I hadn’t dressed well enough and decided it would be better to keep on heading home.

I made only one stop. I couldn’t resist the rotting ice you see in the little lake above. Normally I don’t ride around on my motorcycle for the sake of riding around but I made an exception on this very fine first day of spring.

Later, Carol and I walked and a little later, once it was dark, I took the bicycle out. The thermometer indicated fourteen degrees at 9 pm. The air felt warm. The clear sky was perfect for star gazing when I stopped where there were no home or street lights.

I played tennis a little while ago – the earliest ever for us. I wore shorts and a T-shirt and worked up a sweat. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to cycle again later tonight. There may only be a few of these nice days and I do not intend to take them for granted. I hope you are finding lots of ways to take advantage too.

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Every now and again things come together very nicely without anything to detract from the experience. So it was last night. I had to do a little eenie meenie minee mo to chose between skiing and cycling but ultimately decided on cycling because snow conditions weren’t quite as good as road conditions.

A light flurry of snow crisscrossed my headlight beam. I began the ride feeling a little apprehensive about the pavement. The temperature showed minus one which meant there could be ice. After a few kilometers without encountering any sinister glimmer on the road I relaxed and increased my pace. I ended up with some tire spray soaking through on my shins but I only noticed it when I undressed after the ride. (more…)

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One evening last week I was eager to go cycling. The temperature hovered around zero and I assumed the roads would remain wet until the temperature dropped a few more degrees. I changed into my cycling stuff and attached the light to the bike then walked out to the pavement, the shiny, ice-encrusted pavement. Hmmm, that looks slippery, I thought to myself, and when I walked on it my boots slid all over the place. A sensible person would go back to the house, change their clothes, and do something sensible. I, on the other hand, decided to go against every grain of common sense and launched off on the bike.

I fully expected to go SPLAT!!! within a very short distance. You would think skinny tires with no tread would have no traction on an icy surface but it turns out they work pretty well. At first I was totally unsure. The entire surface of the road glistened with ice. I pedaled gingerly at a very slow pace but gradually sped up as my confidence grew. I actually covered fifteen kilometers before wiping out.¬† (more…)

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I’ve talked a few times about winter cycling. In addition to being properly dressed my lights permit me to ride at night. Usually, at night, there is less wind. I love gliding along in the hush of dark winter stillness.

Light mounted on handlebar

Battery and light mounted on bicycle

You can see in the photo above how small and discreet the battery is. I find half power provides more than adequate light. At that setting the battery has enough charge to last more than ten hours.

Is winter cycling at night the next big fad? Probably not, but I thought one or two readers might like to see what the lights look like on my bike. The front light is amazingly bright for its size. The rear light is a legal requirement though I don’t think enforcement is especially strict.

Rear light

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Cycling and cold weather are an incongruous mix in the minds of most. Cycling at night is, similarly, like oil and water. And cycling, for most adults in my area of rural Nova Scotia, is not an option and would not be an option even if all hurdles of safety, stigma and fitness were removed from the equation. This is the way things are. I cannot dispute the evidence nor do much to change the facts. That’s fine.

What I can do is cycle at night in the winter months. Yes, I can. And yes, I do. I realize I am a statistical¬†anomaly, a freak if you wish to label me in everyday language. Last night, with the temperature at zero degrees I was out for more than an hour. My question is: why weren’t you? (more…)

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