Riding in the dark

Again last night, because that’s when there seems to be time for it. A different sensation this time, heavy fog rolling in while I was going South, so peering anxiously for unlighted cyclists—the most dangerous—and pedestrians. By the time I came back, it had cleared and was only dark. My light and rear blinker make me feel safe and visible, although Chicago is exceptionally well-lit anyway.

I’m a vehicular cyclist: I follow traffic laws while riding and going to left turn lanes, etc. The new strobe headlights, while perhaps good for being seen, run against that practice to my way of thinking. I see more and more single speed and fixed bikes, and often those are the ones dark at night, because of the absolute minimalism of the setup. And often set up with a riding position just as extreme, with the bars much lower than the saddle. Those were coming out of the fog, at speed last night on the trail, head lowered, because looking up is hard and you have to strain to do it from that position. My position is much more traditional, bars level with saddle. Makes looking out easy.

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5 Responses to “Riding in the dark”

  1. Megan Says:

    I love riding at night, although I have to confess I’m a more careless rider than you are. Riding at night makes you feel so fast.

  2. idontpay Says:

    That night speed is real enough, and I felt some of it even in the fog. When I was 15 I was riding hard and excitedly after a meeting of some kind and collided hard with a parked car. A similar crash a few years before had left me whimpering in pain, but this time I must have been thrown on the car’s trunk lid. Knocked the wind out of me but I stayed calm.

    I have a clear memory of trying to pull the fork out on my basement floor, still wearing good clothes. Never did get it right; now I’d know exactly how to do it. I sometimes joke that I’ve spent a lifetime honing the skills of a perfect boyhood.

    There’s a lot of dark riding around here, by the really young. Dangerous but exhilarating, I well know.

  3. will Says:

    I love riding in the dark as well. I have a light, but I prefer letting my eyes get used to the dark.

  4. idontpay Says:

    Lights are not much use for illumination; they’re for being seen.

  5. will Says:

    I know. I should have been more specific. Lights when on roads. Offroads, avoid lights.

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