Night Rider

In a bit of a scheduling fail, I’ve had two evening events in Bigtown in a row, meaning two trips there and back on the bike in the dark, with no moon. In November…

And yet. And yet. I have discovered something: given a good front light and a mild November night, I like cycling in the dark. There’s something almost meditative about it. The road unfolds in my light, just far enough that I can see where I’m going. The walls and verges are visible, but everything else apart from the lights of houses and the stars is only to be guessed at. The hills are not so much hills as places where the bike goes slow, or then speeds up, as I click through the gears to find my rhythm again. After a while, with the glow of the town left far behind me and the long road unwinding ahead, I lose track entirely of where I am or how far I’ve left to go. There’s just me and the bike, the whirr of my dynamo, the faint noises of the night. Even the cars – the few there are – seem like friendly fellow travellers. Their lights sweep the horizon ahead of me, or fill the road as they come up behind, as if they’re showing me the way. And then they’re gone, their brake lights dwindling, and I’m back speeding through the dark. Perhaps I’m being a little reckless but out there on my own I feel completely fearless.

Last night it was raining a little, but even that failed to damp my spirits (it’s easier when you can’t see it). Tonight, the clouds cleared as I climbed up the last hill towards home and I stopped at the top and looked up, hoping for shooting stars. I’d love to report that I saw one, two, thousands of them, a fitting end to a magical ride, but in reality my glasses fogged up and I couldn’t see anything at all.

It didn’t matter. I’ve been curtailing evening activities a bit this autumn because I dreaded having to get back and forth in the dark and cold and damp. Now that I’ve dragged myself out and actually tried it, I realise what I’ve been missing all along…  I’m still no fan of November, but at least I no longer have to fear the dark.

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2 Responses to Night Rider

  1. zungg says:

    My rides home have been in full darkness since the clocks went back and I’m enjoying them for just the reasons you say. I’ve always liked riding in darkness, especially with a new moon and clear skies (the clear skies are new to me since I moved to Denver this year). 12 of my 20 kms are on paved trails, almost completely abandoned after the crepuscular squirrels and rabbits stop their scurrying, and I find it very restful. What you say about hills losing their substance is quite true. Fingers crossed for some leonids on the commute this evening.

  2. disgruntled says:

    Hope you did better than me.

    It would be very different if I was battling with heavy traffic of course

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