photo block

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Enter the Night

Fall’s arrival has been presenting itself for weeks. It’s the same old slow process, of course, but every year it catches me off guard—It’s getting dark so early, I think. And stepping out in the morning the air is crisper (despite lingering 100 degrees days,) the light sharper—Suddenly it feels like life in the mountains—memories of summers at altitude where the season shift comes earlier, still, than down here in the valley—the coastal plain, really. 

I haven’t been riding at night for quite sometime. Well before the pandemic, even, I mostly stopped the practice entirely—preferring to walk, perhaps using the train to get further afield. It was a phase that centered on staying local and safe, and one that will continue some of the time—I certainly do hope to continue with a good amount of walking—I mean, what more human thing could we possibly do! It’s got to be good to get in a few daily miles… 


But I’d forgotten about what it feels like to experience the night on the bike—these perfect early Fall evenings when all you need to carry is the lightest of extra clothes… And lights! Light up the night!


A week ago was my first night ride back. I wasn’t really expecting to be out so long, but as often is the case on these leisurely weekend afternoons, I was. And, not having ridden at night for years I had no lights on the bike. But I had some reflectors (which are so Cool again now that we’re old) and luckily, a light sweatshirt! Which of course I didn’t put on when I started the ride because I was just going about a mile from my friends house and figured, It was a hot afternoon, I’ve been sitting comfortably outside in t-shirt and shorts all afternoon… But then! it hit me—that first, coldest ride of the year, again! It used to happen to me at about this time every year. You think it’s warm, you think it’s Summer… But it’s already Fall, my boy. And the cool evening bicycle-windchill reduces you to shivering. 


So, in my age-old wisdom I stopped the bike. Put on that light long-sleeve shirt and all was well. Although, without lights—so, little streets, slow speed, ride like an invisible butterfly… a moth, rather. 


The forecast for Fall is that it will continue! The forecast for biking: Same! So I dug around in the shed to find and dust off the lights. Amazingly, both front and rear still held a charge! But I recharged them anyway—age-old wisdom… 


The following week, after another lingering afternoon of a similar nature, when I was a little further from home and another friend arrived to extend us into the evening, I didn’t need to worry about a thing—Be Prepared, they say! A prepared, cozy, happy, calm cyclist waltzes through the night… enjoying the breeze… the crickets!!! and the quiet… the evening blossoms… and the Moon! Hello Moon… O! to ride a bicycle through the night again… 


1 comment:

JAM said...

I love the way the earth cools down so quickly after sunset in autumn. (Especially at this altitude.)