On Thursday I did my weekly bike ride, after work. Thanks to evil
clock-people, it's dark by the time I get home from work. (I would happily
drive to work in the dark to get at least some daylight after work.) Sure,
it's not as safe as riding in daylight, but I don't think the risk is all that
high. I started out feeling great, enjoying just a little tailwind. Riding in
the dark has its own special appeal. Your limited vision brings you into a
world consisting of you, your bike, wind, and 30 yards of ever-changing road.
In Summerland I hadn't quite made my mileage goal yet, so I spun my way up
Ortega Hill and turned around there. It still looked like I was going to be
short, so I took a parallel road that's a little bit longer. It was also a lot
darker. So far I'd ridden on a road that's pretty much adjacent to the freeway
and gets a lot of its light. This road had several stretches where there were
no lights at all. Literally all I could see was the pretty small circle of
road illuminated by my headlight. Kind of like riding your bike, but only
being allowed to look through a cardboard tube pointed maybe 20 feet ahead.
That small patch wasn't enough to tell me whether the road is turning, so I
stayed well towards the middle of the road. I turned my light a little bit to
the left so I could see and follow the center line.
About half way through this I discovered that I could see a lot more if I put
my hand on my headlight. It's a Cateye
with 5 LEDs in it, and a semi-translucent case. Quite a bit of light shone
through the case into my eyes, which greatly reduced my eyes' light
sensitivity. Blocking it out really helped. When I got home I used some
electrical tape to make the front more opaque. That stretch of just a couple
of miles on a really dark road was probably the highlight of the ride. I
slowed down a bit, for fear of hitting something, but the feeling of riding
alone through the night is highly recommended.