Friday, October 3, 2008

Winter's coming...

Well, the time that I can leave work without lights on has officially passed.  Before leaving, I always set my Planet Bike Superflash and home built LED headlamp to flash--the headlamp must be dimmed from max brightness before setting it to flash, otherwise it could blind oncoming cars.  It's is really bright.

I turn off the headlight when I get to the rail trail now, but I turn it back on before I get home--it just gets too dark for me to feel good about biking without it.  It's doubtful I would see a fallen branch that would end my fun pretty quickly.

Night rides are definitely exciting every now and then, but I have a feeling that lonely rides down a deserted trail will begin to wear on me before too long.  Maybe I should look into alternate routes that are slightly more urban--though between 7:00 and 8:00 when I'm on the road, it's likely they would be travelled a little too well for my tastes.

Temperatures have been as low as 50 when I've left for work in the morning, and I've been fine with baggy MTB shorts, light long sleeve jersey, a wind shell, and some thin long-fingered MTB gloves.  Another 5 degrees and I'll have to add some lower body covering though.  I'm thinking of carrying a pair of rain pants in my trunk bag all the time in case I get chilled on a ride--they are made to fit over regular clothing so I wouldn't have any problems there.  Until it dips below 40 I'm not too worried about being chilled though.  We'll see what my coworkers think when I come in wearing tights.

I was tryingto figure out what to do about foot warmth this year, and decided I'd just swap out my Eggbeater Candy SLs with some cheap MKS rat trap pedals from Rivendell.  Then I'll just wear my hiking boots with some wool socks (I bet they'll look awesome with tights).

I've been pretty successful at biking recently, I have over a hundred miles more logged on the bike than in the truck for last month--I'll have to figure up the exact total later.  But at the current rate of gas consumption, I would only have to fill up 6 times a year.  Not quite car free, but definitely moving in that direction.

One thing I experienced for the first time on Monday:  Commuting home in a nighttime thunderstorm.  It started to rain right as I got to an underpass on the bike trail, so I stopped and dug out my rain jacket/wind shell.  It works pretty well, and it was still in the 60s so I didn't regret my lack of rainproof pants.  It wasn't too windy, but the rain did come down for a while--enough to make it exciting, with some flashes of lighting in the distance.

Interestingly, when the rain ended I discovered that I could see the paved surface of the trail exactly as well with my headlight on as with it off.  The headlight did illuminate the sides of the trail, but that wasnt' really necessary.  It should be noted though that nighttime rides in rain while wearing glasses aren't great if tehre's traffic about--I need to wear some sort of goggles in that case so I can wipe the water off.

I suppose that's all I have for now, more to come next week.


jodycb said...

It's not quite dark yet on my way home but it's pitch black most mornings on my way in. I think I've got one more week before I really need to start changing my strategies to deal with the cold in the morning. It's been 40 a couple of times--and that was really cold especially on descents.

Lazy Bike Commuter said...

I don't I'll have to worry about it being dark on my morning commute since I don't leave until after 9, but it will be a few months before I don't need the lights on the way home.

I'm tempted to buy more blinkies.