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Old 09-10-09, 02:15 PM   #1
stapfam
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Early Nights

Just got to the stage where the nights are coming too early for me.

Get home from work- and first job is to check the garden and the Chickens. By this time the wife has dinner and straight after- I used to have time to sort the bike(s) from last weekend or fit any new parts I have bought. OR even get out for a quick 20 miler to see if the legs do work.

Not now. At 8 PM it was dark tonight. But I have this ride in a few weeks with a placard on the back of the bike. So tonight was the designated night to take it out on a rough trail to see if the placard if going to stay on the bike. I think it is OK but I will have to check out the fixings tomorrow night. Even with the lights in the shed- I can't check it out fully.

AND one of the new parts I fitted last night- was a new lamp bracket for Boreas so I can still get some night riding in- providing the wife gets dinner a bit later and The twin 5w led still has enough life in the battery for a ride.
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Old 09-10-09, 02:32 PM   #2
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I am experiencing the same thing - loss of evening ride because of night fall. Last week, on a rare ride with my hub and son, we left after dinner and it started getting dark mid ride. Much of my route is through woods. On returning home, I felt like Ichabod Crane racing to get out of the woods and looking back over my shoulder for the Headless Horseman..
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Old 09-10-09, 03:04 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reminder -- I need to go a buy a new blinky.
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Old 09-10-09, 03:13 PM   #4
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My morning commute is now starting just before sunrise. Won't be long before I'll be riding in the dark.
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Old 09-10-09, 04:30 PM   #5
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I don't like these days getting shorter. I'll still be fine with it for a few more weeks, then I'll get down in the dumps about it.

When the clocks change in early November, sunset immediately moves to before 5PM, to around 4:50 going down to 4:15 by mid-Dec. I hate that. I may have to move some day because I hate it so much. There are many places in the USA where the sunset never gets any earlier than 5:30 or so.
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Old 09-10-09, 06:25 PM   #6
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Us folks in the north have to suffer through this. Sunrise is not until 6:15 AM here now so last Tuesday was our last 6:00 AM ride for this year. My weekday riding will now move to my lunch hour next week. Commutes are still OK because I live so close to work.
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Old 09-10-09, 06:38 PM   #7
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I ride in the late afternoon, so I still have some time left, but I'm dreading the day when I lose my light. Theoretically, I can squeeze a ride in on some mornings at about 8 AM, but not too often and it won't be long before it's cold and icy then....

This new cycling mania really does have me thinking about moving to a place with a better climate and with some more hills. Alas, my job is not at all mobile...
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Old 09-10-09, 06:44 PM   #8
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I feel for you fellas. Here in Southwest Tennessee, those frigid December days in the fifties are a killer, makes evening rides rough lol.
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Old 09-10-09, 06:53 PM   #9
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I have ridden home in the dark a few times recently but I don't mind. I have pretty good lights and it has been cooler.
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Old 09-11-09, 03:37 AM   #10
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I have been thinking about this for sometime now and am not looking forward to it. I ride when I get off work and usually for around two hours. Not going to happen when the clocks change. I think I may need to buy a trainer or rollers or something to keep going, I can not stop and gain all the weight I lost and health benifits and fun.

Oh I have decided I am not going to ride at night either, I do not care what lights can do , they can do nothing for me, I just would not feel safe riding here in the dark with lights. I do not want to put them on my bike anyway. Maybe a different bike, N+1 ????, and I have been known to change my mind......hmmmmmm riding at night....hmmmmmm interresting
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Old 09-11-09, 06:09 AM   #11
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As to riding in the dark w/ lights, it's one thing to have lights good enough so others can see you and quite another to have lights sufficient to light a dark road surface or trail, no? I ride chiefly on trails and I just don't think I'd be safe unless I was carrying some kind of flood light.
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Old 09-11-09, 11:14 AM   #12
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As to riding in the dark w/ lights, it's one thing to have lights good enough so others can see you and quite another to have lights sufficient to light a dark road surface or trail, no? I ride chiefly on trails and I just don't think I'd be safe unless I was carrying some kind of flood light.
I started night riding in 2004. We were in training in the early part of the year for our big offroad ride and used to ride with a couple of candle power on the front of the Tandem. Then one ride and as we were going up a hill- I did not recognise the trail and I know all the trails in the area. The pilot had turned the lights off to save the battery and missed the trail. We found a new one that night and it was lumpy- full of holes and mud. Following week- I went out and bought a twin 10w halogen lamp. We could finally see where we were going but it did increase our speed on the ride as the battery life wasn't long enough for the 30 miles we used to do. Couple of lights later- including the one that works- and we got onto helmet lamps.

These are the best light you can use on a ride. They see round corners instead of where you point the bike and are ideal for reading maps- reading the trail signs or doing repairs on the bike. They also cover as the spare lamp when the main lamp stops working so you can finish the ride in safety. Still wear the helmet lamp on my rides now- but only as the spare. I have got to know that the beasties lurking just out of sight of the main lamp are probably small rodents and won't bother me.
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Old 09-11-09, 11:31 AM   #13
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I think we (society) need to rethink this whole time thing. This one-hour shift twice a year is OK I guess if you are a farmer; the idea initially was to maximize daylight for farmers. I think it would make more sense,now that farming is about 3% of the North American economy, to just stay on DST all year, at least for those north of the tropics.

At the equator, you don't need DST because sunrise and sunset occur at 6h and 18h (6 am and 6 pm) all year round. It's only as you move north that distortions occur due to the earth's tilt. At the Arctic Circle, you get to the point where it's possible for sunrise and sunset to become nonexistent. I think it would make sense to have a north/south time change break at, say, the tropic of Cancer. So basically, the time zones would no longer line up along longitudinal lines, but would run more diagonally, in line with how the earth is tilted.

In any case, I think it's time to dispense with Standard Time in North America.

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Old 09-11-09, 11:43 AM   #14
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The things that impact the type of light you need are road/trail condition, ambient light and speed. The more hazards in the road/trail, the more light you need to define the surface you are riding on. The more ambient light (up to the point where ambient light is adequate to ride by) the more light you need as your eyes will be adjusted to the surrounding light level. And the faster you ride, the more light you need to see farther ahead. When I first started commuting, I was sure I'd only ride when my commute was in daylight. When my morning commute got to be significantly before sunrise, I just got a better light and kept riding.
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Old 09-11-09, 12:43 PM   #15
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Speaking of which, for my first night ride, I rigged a small LED flashlight to my bars. Was OK, but not great, the problem was the distance... it can put a ton of very white and even light 6-8-10 feet away, but that doesn't cut it so much at 20 feet. Saw some very bright lights others had... they were HID. Good golly, those run 450 to 700 bucks... no frakking way.

HOWEVER, there are/can be other thing I might want to see... that aren't 100% directly in front of me and 20-30 feet down the road. I have more than one LED light (they have 9 LEDs, cost 7 bucks, take 3 AAAs and are under 4" long, about an inch thick), so I'm going to strap 2 of them on my helmet. Somehow this seems like it may be fabulous, but I have yet to see any bicyclist doing this... so am curious.
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Old 09-11-09, 12:44 PM   #16
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Last Sunday I spent the necessary time to track down all of the bike lighting and get it in working order. While I enjoy riding anytime, I pretty much think dark sucks.
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Old 09-11-09, 12:59 PM   #17
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I need to check my lights again too. Last double was Mt. Tam with an hour plus in the morning in the dark and maybe 2 hours at night (17:45 total ride time).

Now I have the Knoxville Double coming up Sept. 19, so for sure 1-1/2 hours in the dark at the start (start time 4:30 AM) and maybe some in the night, unless I ride fast (expected finish 15 hrs. to 15-1/2 hours).

Then in Oct. I have the Hemet Double / Bass Lake Double / Autumn Solvang Double on consecutive weekends, and depending on how quickly I can recover (in 6 days . . .) I may be riding a lot of both Bass Lake and Autumn Solvang in the dark.

Last year on Bass Lake it was cold (31 deg.F) at the first checkpoint after a 4:30AM start, so lots of riding in the dark there, plus probably 2 hours at night.

Hemet timing is different. Last year I rode the staff ride on Dec. 13. Prev. year was a March date and I finished in the light. With the move to Fall, I doubt I'll finish Hemet in the light.

Anyway, all kinds of fun for riding in the dark! I have a Princeton Tech Switchback or a NiteRider BlowTorch for the front; various Planet Bike (mostly) and Cat-Eye for the back. Should be good!

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Old 09-11-09, 01:07 PM   #18
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Well, I am sure some of you will be glad to know there is at least something wrong in paradise. It gets dark at 6 pm, year round. Being pretty close to the equator says you have 12 hours of light and 12 of darkness. It is nice and warm though.

I can't get used to it. Two hours after it is dark, I am ready to go to sleep. Then, I wake up about 2 to 3 am. Early morning rides are excellent though!
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Old 09-11-09, 01:51 PM   #19
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^^ Yeah, tropical latitudes are another world entirely. I worked in Colombia briefly in the mid-80s, and seeing the sun scream straight down to the horizon like a dropped safe was a novelty. Followed quickly by darkness.

The early darkness is a mixed bag, I liked the pretty evening light but my ride home is less beset with people clogging the MUP and there's less traffic on the roads, so it's easier.
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Old 09-11-09, 01:54 PM   #20
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I agree, that's why May is my favorite month - even here in South Florida we're already down to 12 1/2 light 11 1/2 dark - oh, well, that's what generator lights were for in the old days (remember those on your favorite bicycle)...
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Old 09-11-09, 01:56 PM   #21
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^^ Yeah, tropical latitudes are another world entirely. I worked in Colombia briefly in the mid-80s, and seeing the sun scream straight down to the horizon like a dropped safe was a novelty. Followed quickly by darkness.

The early darkness is a mixed bag, I liked the pretty evening light but my ride home is less beset with people clogging the MUP and there's less traffic on the roads, so it's easier.
Yeah, it something that you have to get used to. In the North when twilight hits, you got lots of time to get back, here, you better be near your driveway!
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Old 09-11-09, 02:39 PM   #22
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Just got to the stage where the nights are coming too early for me.

Get home from work- and first job is to check the garden and the Chickens. By this time the wife has dinner and straight after- I used to have time to sort the bike(s) from last weekend or fit any new parts I have bought. OR even get out for a quick 20 miler to see if the legs do work.

.
Thanks for reminding me, I forgot to check the chickens!
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Old 09-11-09, 03:45 PM   #23
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Thanks for reminding me, I forgot to check the chickens!
Okay prxmid and stapfam,

I admit I have no clue, but it does sound curious. How does one check chickens? Anything in particular that you check for? Eggs maybe? Just guessing.

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Old 09-11-09, 04:03 PM   #24
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So funny! I was just wondering the same thing! I didn't want to ask because I feared "I have to check the chickens" may have been a 50+ euphemism that I don't need to know about!
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Old 09-11-09, 07:41 PM   #25
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So funny! I was just wondering the same thing! I didn't want to ask because I feared "I have to check the chickens" may have been a 50+ euphemism that I don't need to know about!
Too funny!
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