It seems to me that for most of us, riding in the dark is inevitable during the winter. We are nearly at the shortest day of the year, and I’m still only just remembering to factor sunset into my ride times at the weekends. But, who else finds that they need to do their weekday rides in the dark in the evenings, or are you just staying at home on the turbo?
Well, I’m not a turbo lover: I prefer to ride on the road and that often means riding in the dark.
When I was commuting to and from work on my donkey commuting bike, I never gave the darkness a second thought. I’ve been wondering why that was? I used to commute 9 miles each way through proper dark country lanes. At this time of year, the commute would be dark in both directions. I think I was so pleased with myself to be riding my bike and so concerned about arriving on time at either work or the child-minder that I didn’t ever stop to think about how dark it was. I also had the most almighty bright light and I knew every single pot-hole, lump, bump and drainage cover like the back of my hand.
Now, however, I have a choice about whether to ride or not – it’s not like I’m at work on my bike and I’ve got to ride myself home. I think that’s making all the difference: the choice!
What I have found though, is that when I’ve steeled myself to ride in the darkness, I’ve always been rewarded: rewarded with a starlit night, rewarded with a moon-rise, rewarded with a comforting sense of anonymity, rewarded by knowing that cars can see me because they’ve given me so much more space than they normally do during the day. It goes without saying that riding in the dark requires lighting yourself up like a Christmas tree and ensuring that you have plenty of hi-viz something reflecting on you somewhere – one single tiny rear light is not going to cut it. For me though, I prefer to stick to routes I know well. I’ve also found that one of my favourite roads, Paudy Lane, rides towards the rising moon and that’s well worth the ride.
So, what about you? Is the darkness your friend?