I was really excited that the cycling season would start in March this year. It could have begun in February, but my schedule and the weather never quite matched. In the end, I managed only a single ride in March. It was a nice “breaking the ice” ride. Unfortunately, the weather has been a rollercoaster since then. Since I do not ride below 50 degrees or in the rain or windy conditions, I spent a fair bit of time inside looking out at the world. The weather and my schedule just wouldn’t cooperate.
April is off to another slow start, although the forecast just got much better. Let’s hope it stays that way.
So the count for 2018(to date) is 6.62 miles, 38:29 riding time.
Both bike and rider are in need of some repair and polish. At some point two weeks ago, I did something that resulted in back spasms. KO-ed me for the entire week of spring break. My trusty steed, known affectionately as “Barney”, really needs a serious maintenance, but that’s not in the cards at the moment. Gave him the quick once-over before the March ride and he looks fine. A new phone clamp has been added and will be a HUGE improvement over last year.
I’ve been doing more evening driving recently. Richmond is a great cycling city. If I weren’t such a wimp, I could be on the bike almost all year. But I don’t do cold or wet. And only crazy people bicycle in the snow.
What I have noticed has to do with after dark riding. I see a lot of bikers in the evening. Two things jump out at me. First, it is even more important to observe the traffic laws at night. Blowing through stop signs and lights, changing lanes without signaling, and other all too common habits are bad enough in the daylight. I see people doing it at night which is just insane. Bad riding practices make all of us look bad and put us at risk. We need to be smarter.
Which brings me to my second point. Why are our lights so small? Look around at any other vehicle on the road. Well lit with large, obvious lights. Now, look at your average bicycle. If they have lights, they’re usually the size of a single Christmas light. It’s better if they flash, but as a driver (and one attentive to cyclists) they are still easy to overlook.
I’m not sure why we are willing to settle for this. Is it a leftover from racing? Most of us don’t race. Is it just not cool? Cyclists can be prone to this kind of thinking. It’s all silly. There are new technologies like lit helmets and other LED devices that can offer larger, brighter lighting without a significant weight penalty. I’ll take visible and safe over cool and injured any day.
My plan doesn’t include much, if any, after dark riding. But there’s plenty of after dark driving coming. I want to make sure that we all get to where we want to go safely.
I’m hoping for a long season of riding in 2018!