Fatty,Riding in the dark is special and you have done your typically fine and insightful job of describing the subtleties of it all. I’m a roadie, and the "in the moment" thing is right on. The hills aren’t as hilly when you are piloting by light and your thoughts are louder and easier to understand. Excellent plus on this one.Jim
My favorite night ride was Slickrock without lights under a full moon, mostly sober.Speaking of riding at night, what lighting setup do you recommend for a 13-mile commute in Seattle? I think my old Vista lights are dead now.
i dont bike as much as i run… but my favorite thing to do is go running in the winter up here in vermont along the lake where you can hear the ice moving and see your breath as you run… the best part is that you never see another soul.
Fatty,You never told us what happened with your bike after you killed the thing. What are you riding now? May I just add how saddened I was when I read up on the Paragon? That’s a sweet piece of machinery you assasinated. Sorry I don’t live close enough for you to beat me on a climb, but if you’re ever in Idaho or Wyoming, we could do Teton Pass for fun, eh?
I am about 50/50 for riding to work this month and all of it us been done using my NightRider front lamp and two red blinkers on the rear. Funny thing, though, I use my full suspension mountain bike to commute on. I like having the option of the dirt sidewalk and popping on and off the curbs when necessary.
i can’t comment on night commuting, never done it. well, i could comment, but it would be without basis. but from where i sit, nightriding is about pleasure. it is riding the wickedest trails that scare you during the day, but in full video game mode under a full moon, new moon, or no moon. nightriding is about getting out after you help put the kids to bed, spouse safely tucked in with a good book, and meeting the gang at the trailhead at 9:30 on a weeknight, knowing you won’t be home till after 1, and you’ll be so amped up you won’t be able to sleep for couple hours after that, so you’ll eat a bowl of reese’s puffs and watch infomercials for a while after you shower. you may be bleary the next day, but you’ll sure as hell be at the trailhead next week, same bat time, same bat channel.
Dark is fun…Back when I was young and stupid and racing every week, there was a particular race that I wouldn’t be able to get to due to work commitments and therefore didn’t enter. Things changed and I could but it was after entry cut-off. So I booked a seat in a friends car for the return trip and set off to the venue on my roadbike. I didn’t want to miss any action so I had to be at the venue by 10am. 120 miles away. Solo. On winding single lane paved roads. In high winter. In 1987. Ni-Cad was barely and I couldn’t afford it anyway. So off I went at 2.30am. Sunrise was only 5 hours away. It was 3 degrees (40F). It was glorious. The air was never cleaner. It’s incredible how easy it is to ride when you have to do it by instinct, unable to read the computer a foot from your nose. But every rabbit or possum in the grass is a potential viscious beast.The only disappointing part of the ride was a very technical 8 mile, 50mph descent. At 4am with no moon and marginal lights it took longer to descend than to climb.Glorious. Fantastic. Unbelievable.For anyone who hasn’t… get it done. There is no greater feeling than a familiar ride that is new again.cheersBIG Mike (skinny on the inside)
dug – yeah, the cold + treacherous trail + dark somehow multiplies the adventure of any trail by 2. maybe more. you get home, and the fight-or-flight thing is still going strong. you pinned the feeling beautifully. c’mon over here and give me a hug; i miss you, man.bob – for a commute, set yourself up with a flashing red LED light on your bike, another on your backpack, and then a couple of the strong LED headlights you can get at REI now for cheap. those things are plenty strong enough for commuting, and they don’t go through batteries very fast. i still use my mountain bike light setup for commuting, though, and recharge it each day. i ziptie it into place good and tight at the beginning of the winter and just leave it there ’til spring. a niterider HID system, for what it’s worth. way overkill for commuting.big mike – so how’d the race go after such a big ride just to get there?wayward – mtb as a commuter bike is a great idea especially as the weather gets icy and you want more traction. just ride low-pressure.
Great blog, as usual! Big Bravo on the weight today! And your quiz is a hoot. You have such a clever mind to think up all these great things all the time. I’m old and I just dredge up some memories or a poem or just something that happened today, so what you do is really impressive to me.
My morning ride wasn’t just dark, it was foggy. There’s a fair bit of car traffic on the route, even at 6am, and the headlight glare totally washed out my vision at some points. At other times, the fog moving through my headlight beam mesmerized me. Certainly it wasn’t the usual Tuesday ride, even though the route is the same.As for lights, I’m using a Nite Hawk Digital Emitter. It’s a single LED that runs off of 4 AAs. The mount is a little funky – it sits high off the handlebar, and it’s not cheap. But the light is good and it’s not a power hog. Apropos of riding in the dark – does everybody (in the USA) know that the Energy Policy Act of 2005 changes the end of DST to the first Sunday in November, from the last Sunday in October? I’m not sure what we’re going to save, but it’s sure not headlight batteries.
That’s a good idea; arranging a group Zoo-ing. I wanna go too… the next time I am in Seattle, I’ll try it. By the way, are many of your readers actually in Seattle? It seems like most are in Austrailia…. PS: thanks– the cake is indeed yummy (though I’m not sure if it came out right.)
a.toad – if the cake tasted good it came out right. it’s not a pretty cake, it’s delicious. the problem with pretty cakes is they taste like styrofoam.mumo – my weight change was nothing special. i always gain weight for monday and drop it by tuesday. i have talked with other office-dwellers and they have observed the same effect. we know the reason why, too, but we don’t talk about it in polite company. or here, either.james – that reminds me of one of the hazards of riding with a helmet-mounted light. if you’re riding in dusty or foggy conditions, you can be totally blinded by the dust/fog that’s illuminated right in front of your eyes. whenever i bike commute in the dark and fog — which is often, during the winter — i constantly hear music from "the shining" playing in my head. and some guy saying, "redrum, redrum." and my cadence goes to the rhythm of the phrase, "all work and no play makes jack a dull boy." amazingly, that phrase works very well with a riding cadence: the sentence is nothing but monosyllabic words.how’s your neighbor?
Ooooooooooo! How timely!! Tonight is my mtn bike team’s 1st regular night of the beginning of the "off-season" to start riding w/lights on the trail. Personally, I love it, cuz of all the things you perfectly described & also the solitude/quiet on the trail (no hikers!). I’ve ridden 2 years now with 2 Nightrider HIDs: one bar-mount + one helmet-mount. Sure, it was expensive and yes I have to eat 10/$1 ramen for a month, but this setup CANNOT be beat – it’s like riding with the freakin SUN shining from your bike, especially compared to even my old 30-watt regular halogens. W/only a helmet-mount, you lose some depth perception, and w/only a bar-mount, you can’t see around corners. But with both, it’s totally confidence-inspiring… even through rock gardens. 4 times the light output and twice the burn-time… I <HIGHLY> recommend it! :)Anyways, great entry! Now you got me excited for tonight’s after-work ride!!!!! Wait, it’s only 10:30am PST… I still have 7-1/2 hours to wait… damn you! :)
you go zuke. night riding isn’t about commuting, and commuting isn’t night riding. just because it’s dark when you ride to or from work, doesn’t make it night riding. it’s more like dark commuting. night riding is about joy, freedom, and nasty crashes. commuting is about getting somewhere in spite of the dark. night riding is about riding in the dark.
Hey, I distinctly remember you writing an entry on how to talk down how you were feeling anytime you were getting ready to do a group ride. This provides you with a convenient excuse any time you were not the first to complete a ride or reinforces your supremeness if you do finish the ride first. Yet, here you are talking up how you will be the first to make it to the top of the zoo. Contradiction or cake as motivation? Not that I will beat you up but I think a friend or two and I will join you for the ride.Chris
chris, that is an excellent observation and i will address it in tomorrow’s post. yes, i really will. unless i think of something i’d rather write about.see you saturday. i’ll be the one wearing a reeses peanut butter cup jersey.