Thursday, September 26, 2013

In Which The Lights Are On and I’m Not Home

Looking east along Blair's Ferry Road at C Avenue Northeast, Cedar Rapids. Sunrise this morning, around 7:10 a.m. Note that most drivers are using their lights. Good for them.

I have been running with the lights most mornings, these days. At shortly after 7, when I hit the road, it’s too dark. No really “dark,” but dark enough I feel I need lights to ensure drivers can see me.

I don’t mind riding with lights, but I am often amazed at how many car drivers don’t use them when they should. Memo to drivers—you don’t only use lights so that you can see. Even if a milky sun has just crested the horizon and the lights no longer illuminate your path—they are as or perhaps more important to make you visible to others. It’s only in the strong light of full day that you don’t need to shine them beams. In clouds or twilight or early morning, be a beacon. Turn on those lights!

Anyway, not only have I been running with lights, but I installed lights on Audrey’s bike, too. She purchases a back light and a front light for herself, plus a spoke light for her back wheel. Tuesday, as I was heading home from bell practice, she texted me that she was over at Katy’s house for supper—and she had biked over there. (Indeed, this was the famous night of pie I already blogged about, now I'm using the same experience in a totally different context. Writing is like that.)

So I turned at the Lindale Trail and headed east to Marion. It turns out that a second daughter and her kids were there too, so it was a pleasant, impromptu family reunion, although by the time I got there, the daylight was already fading.

It was very dark by the time Audrey and I left to cycle home. It was her first ride using her new lights. She followed me about half of the way, and led for the other half.

The ride was fine. There are a few dark stretches on the streets between Katy’s house and ours, but luckily no surprise branches or cracks to bump or grab a wheel. I had spoke light envy when I followed Audrey—that whimsical rainbow light is actually a good idea.

It makes her hard to miss. Or rather, easy to miss, because you can see her, which is the point of lights on a bike.

All in all, I prefer biking in the light, but as a bike commuter, I’m entering a time of year when that’s not always an option. However, as long as I have lights and I’m on familiar roads, it’ll work.

And now Audrey has passed another biking milestone. She, too, can be a light night rider.

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