07 November 2013

Who's the Brightest of them All?

I know, this title makes it sound like I'm going to talk about being (or not being) the brightest bulb in the box. Which I can do - tangent story here. Lately I keep finding chocolate underneath my chin and I could not, for the life of me, figure out how I was getting chocolate there. It happened again last night and Mr. Sweetie noticed it and he hits the nail on the head - you've been licking your ice cream bowl again, haven't you? I don't know if I'm more embarrassed that I lick my ice cream bowl when the spoon is no longer useful, or that it took me so long to figure out why I kept finding chocolate under my chin.

Moving on. What I'm ACTUALLY talking about is my first winter evening bike commute. I finally have proper lights this year and I was quite excited to take them out for an inaugural spin this evening on my ride home from the office. My sheer laziness in the morning is a pretty big hinderance to getting into the office at an early hour and given how early it gets dark, I think I'll be riding my bike post-sunset quite a bit. In the sunlight the roads are filled with foolish drivers who will think nothing of running over a pedestrian in a crosswalk, and I'd imagine the dark makes this problem even worse - I want to be as visible as possible. Think: Griswold Family Christmas House on a Bike. Last week I popped over to Tri360 to check out their selection of bike lights. They had some great stuff!

I ended up with the Light & Motion Urban Commuter 400 Lumen light for the front (it easily detaches from your bike so you can charge it in your office so it doesn't run out of battery power on your ride home) and the Planet Bike Superflash Turbo red light for the rear (this one attaches to your backpack or your bike). You can also attach the front light to your helmet but it kind of freaks me out when I see, emerging from the darkness on the bike path, a person with a light on both their helmet and their bike, makes me think of a cyclops monster and it just creeps me out. So I'll be keeping just one forward-facing light on my bike. I'm happy to report that the lights made a big difference. I still hate biking through the city at rush hour surrounded by cars (part of me wishes that we could go back to that part of the government shutdown where they closed the Mall to vehicular traffic), but my light was bright enough (and adjustable in that I could lower the brightness and save battery power OR make it blink to annoy the other riders around me) that I had no problem seeing what was ahead of me. Unfortunately, the light lost power when I was about two miles from home - it died a slow, blinky death. This was due to the fact that my brain short-circuited this morning when packing my bag for work - my light charges with a USB cord... my iPhone charges with a USB cord... SAME THING. Haha, not really. So I'll be charging my light tonight.

Tonight's bike commute home was chilly, windy, and VERY quiet, it was lovely. While I will miss biking straight from the pool to/from work in a swimsuit and tri shorts and not having to layer my clothes, having the bike trail almost to myself will more than make up for it. I saw a pretty, pretty sunset on my way home, was in zero rush, and it was a great way to end the day. I'm looking forward to many more cold weather, dark commutes!


Kathy said...

I am the cyclops. I use my mtn bike light on the helmet and a blinky light on the handlebars, but I make sure the helmet light is tilted to hit the trail, not anyone's eyes. Wonder if you wouldn't go that way too if your commute included the dark dark stretch between Columbia Pike and the intersection with the Custis, where the street lights start up...

Tami said...

Hahahhahahah!!!! I love that you had ice cream on your chin from licking the bowl! That's awesome!!!!!

B.o.B. said...

OMG the chocolate on your chin! I'm DYING. LOL!!!!

I bike in the dark all the time and it's funny b/c I do it so that I don't have to ride with any cars. I acutally first started riding in the dark so I've always had lights. I had to get used to riding in the light. ;)

Stay safe!!!

Angela and David said...

LOVE the story about the chocolate on the chin. Classic.

Meredith said...

I work close enough to home to bike commute, but have only done it once, in the summer. I'm just not sure I could get past the cold cold cold of winter!

Caroline said...

@Kathy - I'm slowing becoming a cyclops too - I found a light for the top of my helmet and I'm wearing that - it only took riding with cars in the dark once for me to decide I needed more lights.
@Tami - I still can't believe it took me that long to figure out how the ice cream was getting there.
@Beth - I'm liking this whole biking in the dark thing more than I thought I would - so much less crowded and more peaceful!
@Angela - CONGRATS on your awesome marathon! And I've always gotten a kick out of your blog address - cream cheese frosting is one of life's greatest inventions.
@Meredith - I know it's way colder in Ohio than Virginia, so we're spoiled that way. But I've found I'm pretty happy with biking in the cold after I've invested in good gloves, socks and a good jacket.