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Riding at night. The clocks have gone back in the Northern Hemisphere and the evening commute is made in the dark, after-work training rides under twilight.
Lights at night appeal to the senses (emotional and visual). Perhaps a basic human instinct, dating back to the first people to stare up at the stars or gaze into a fire. Whilst the LEDs and illuminations we use keep us visible to motorised predators after dark, it’s exciting riding through the city amongst a reef of neon shapes, a spectrum of luminescence emitting from buildings and the blaze of traffic.
Being a nocturnal cyclist beyond the metropolis is also a thrill, but for different reasons. You ride against the natural realm. It’s pitch dark out in the lanes and trails (unless the moon is shining), so you should really stay indoors where it’s safe and warm. But with a decent spotlight on your bars you can light up the gloom and explore the world without interruption, aside from the odd owl hoot. You flick the switch and, like a remarkable idea that’s been lying dormant all day, a new world opens up. Nightfall is left to you and the bats, foxes and badgers.
Time triallists in the last century would have to test at night to avoid the police (and still do), Paris-Brest-Paris, 24 hour rides and various other voyages take place under darkness. It requires fortitude, and a degree of insanity. Rolling after nightfall in the wintertime is, for some, the only option if you want to clock miles. But for others, it’s where the real fun lies. Just make sure you have lights.
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