Into the darkness

This month saw the passing of a nice little landmark – 10,000 kilometres cycled this year. In the same period I’ve covered just under 5,000 kilometres in the car. At this rate I would catch up the deficit in the next six months. However, the changing of the seasons and the shortening hours of daylight are most definitely upon us meaning that I may need the car a lot more.

Bike v Car after 70 weeks

I can just about handle riding through cold, wind and rain, but my commute is mostly along narrow country lanes which can get very unpleasant in total darkness. Potholes and road-kill appear out of nowhere, and the uncertainty about my visibility to car drivers can make things unpleasant. Fortunately I have a certain degree of flexibility with my work so have been arriving progressively later over the last few weeks to eek out the last of the early morning daylight. This weekend the clocks go back which should give me a few more weeks of riding in murky morning light, but after that it will a real test of nerve to keep going.

If I were to take a photo of my start to the day it would look like this

My bike is covered in lights, I wear a high visibility reflective top and I’ve investigated lots of alternative routes. I plan to keep on going until the full darkness of winter has arrived, but may have to rack up a few more miles by car to make sure I arrive at the start of next year’s cycling season in one piece. Damn this darkness.

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5 thoughts on “Into the darkness

  1. Dr James Stratford says:

    One of my definitions of a good week is when the bike racks up more kms than the car. Kudos on passing 10k. This is my goal for next year, just passed 5k for the year – my best yet. Winter riding has it’s own heroic satisfaction as long as you’re prepared for it!

  2. tuckamoredew says:

    Congrats on the bike’s ascendancy over the car. That is an impressive distance.

    It’s not too hard to make yourself visible to cars but I think to carry on under those conditions you would definitely need to plunk down a fair amount of cash for high power lights that actually illuminate your path. I’m thinking something in the 500-1000 lumen range. I’d also double up on the lights in case one set failed. Although I ride through the winter it is in a well lit urban setting.

    Even if you decide to take the winter off from cycling for safety reasons you have already done an awesome job in the bike vs car cpompetition.

  3. AndrewGills says:

    The benefit of having 4 seasons is that you have a period of rest.

    I can highly recommend Ayup lights if you are looking for something to help you keep riding at least on some of those dark days / nights. They are an Australian company but ship internationally. I got a set recently and they are wonderful. In fact, they work so well that I left work at 7:45pm last night in total darkness and felt like the light was brighter than the one on my motorbike.

    The lights are 1,000 lumen on full and the ‘epic’ battery lasts 6 hours on full and 12 hours on low power. I used the low power to get home last night and it was impressive. I didn’t even need full power.

    Check out http://www.ayup-lights.com/

    I have no personal relationship or affiliation with the company. I just happen to have a set of their headlights. While they aren’t cheap – I think they are worth it.

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