Saturday, July 07, 2007

Night Rider

No, not the cheesy television show from the 80's, but rather cycling at night. You see, I need to have the potential to ride at night for the Gut Check coming up in a month so I thought I would give it a test run with a light I borrowed from the LBS. The light worked "decent" and it was a pitch dark night so it was a good night to test it. The darker it became, the more spooked I became over little things.

I went out to the Missouri River bridge and was eating bugs like mad on the way out. It was like a slow motion car headlight...here comes the bug and there is nothing I can do to get out of the way. Then there was the large buck that went across the road, close enough that I could hear his hoofs hit the pavement in front of me. Then when I turned my head, and hence my light, he spooked further and mistimed his jump over the fence and did a less than graceful flip on his way over. I turned around at the base of the bridge and shortly thereafter I spotted a few turkeys in the ditch. I gave them a hearty "gobble gobble" and they ducked deeper into the ditch. It wasn't a mile more up the road and four raccoons scurried across the road in front of me. It was becoming a Wild Kingdom ride and I was on a bicycle safari! There was one more doe off in the trees that I "froze" with my headlamp. Other than that, the rest of the ride out to Clay County Park was pretty mellow.

My mind did start playing tricks on me a little though. I started thinking that if a dog came out, I would never see them in time. What if another wild animal decided that the "chase" was on? Suddenly this night riding thing wasn't as peaceful as it had started. Overall it was fine and a good experience, but there is a good chance that when it's REALLY dark on the Gut Check and I need to ride, that Laura will be behind me with the Ford Deathstar (oops...Windstar), following along slowly.

2 comments:

thE_kErnEl said...

kevin,

my first real night ride was this year on the 300k brevet. my suggestion - either buy the best lighting system you can, or have a car follow behind you. we rode about 30 miles in the dark on a US highway and it was, at times, frightening.

you may want to check out the randonneuring sites on the web, www.rusa.org

Phil said...

You are a brave man. It's always hard for me to cycle in the off season because I would have to ride in the dark. I have enough trouble seeing all the stuff in the road when it's light out.

I wouldn't mind the wild animals, though. That sounds kind of fun.

Phil