Winter is here and riding in the dark is a whole new adventure. The dark nights have been slowly creeping up on me over the last few weeks. It all started by being a little bit shady around 9pm, then there was a few weeks of cycling through a few hours of dusk into the darkness. But now we have full on darkness. Well there is about half an hour of gloomyness before lighting up time.
I'm equipped with two Moon front lights (an xpower 500 and an xpower 300) and a Moon Sheild rear light. The front lights do a fantastic job of lighting up the road infront of me, and quite impressively I've had cars and busses flashing at me to dim my lights (at least I'm assuming that was why, could have been to tell me to stop being so stupid as to be riding in the dark). Cars coming towards me slow down, and I've had a few stopping and waiting for me to go past. It could be the brightness of the lights, or just the strange wobbling.
And the rear light throws a great big blanket of red out behind. One of the good things about riding at night is that I think cars can actually notice bikes better. They do at least seem to give me more space when the pass. It is a bit more scary as they are approaching because my sense of hearing is heightened and I can hear them thundering along behind me, and I've no idea if they have seen me or not. I keep having to look back to check that my light is still working so I'm getting a funny strain in my neck.
A strange thing happens to the roads at night, which I never noticed before. The roads get longer, and strange bends and turns appear on otherwise straight roads. Loads of bumps and humps and potholes come out at night as well, I don't know where they hide during the day. My bike also seems to react differently to gravity, it feels like there is slightly more grip in the tyres and it's a little bit harder to balance. It's all very strange – it must be something to do with dark matter, I guess it comes out at night. I have also managed to get lost on roads that I've cycled on loads of time in the daylight so I think some corners must get put away at night.
Sometimes it's all a bit scary, being out in the dark, being a bit lost, and cold and alone. Mostly though it is quite calm and peaceful on the quieter roads or cycle paths, there is a lot more wildlife around – foxes, bats and other various animals (including also the crazy moths, which don't taste anwhere near as nice as midges or flys)
The best times however are when the batteries are a bit low on rainy windy nights and it's hilly interval training time on busy roads. Normally sweeping 40mph descents turn into addrenaline fuelled slippy twisty downhills with zero visibilty at slower speeds than the uphill bits.
Still, won't be long till summer, right?