Monday, June 9, 2008

Riding at night

A musicians' guild meeting prompted another night bike ride. I left my guitar at home tonight. Carrying one on a bike at night is kind of a drag. I only did it a couple of times in Salt Lake City, clipping the soft case to the pannier rack in the back. This leaves you with a big saddlebag and a pointy end on top you have to take into consideration when moving around trees. Mostly it makes you look like an ass, like you're almost homeless or maybe have a DUI.

On the face of it, riding a bike at night is inherently dangerous. But there are also safety advantages. Cars' headlights give you cues. It can be less crowded.

It can also be more pleasant, especially in the summer. It's almost 10 p.m. now and the temps have only started to fall below 90'F. The breeze is refreshing, the pulse of city nightlife exciting.

When I go night biking, I feel in control. I know where everyone is, as far as moving vehicles. However, I tend to stick to the sidewalks more than usual. Also, I'm lit up like a Xmas tree. I believe in having two sets of lights in case the one fails due to batteries or something. This goes for front and back. Also lots of reflective tape on my cycle, packs, sometimes even my clothes.

Night biking. I'm for it. But don't be out too late---there have been some bad attacks on cyclists after dark. Be careful. Be aware. I feel a bit safer when mounted high on a bicycle than as a mere pedestrian. But I stick to neighborhoods that feel safe to me anyway. There are risks, but they can be managed for a rewarding night ride.

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