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Into the darkness I go...

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Into the darkness I go...

Old 11-07-11, 07:42 PM
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tjspiel
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Into the darkness I go...

Into Winter's long, dark, tunnel.

I won't emerge again until February. Will the worst of winter be over by then? Who can say?

All I know is that the first of the 3 winter challenges has arrived, - a consistently dark commute. I have at most a month left on my beloved road bike and skinny tires. That's if I'm lucky. The curse-ed yet necessary studded tires still hang from the garage ceiling, but they know their time is coming. The tiny carbide tips glare at me like little eyeballs as I prepare the black Bianchi beast for its first icy ride.

There's a chance of snow in the forecast for tomorrow. It won't stay, but it's just a matter of time. Day by day, chance will become inevitability. The second of Winter's challenges will present it itself. So I go on preparing. -waxing, oiling, and adjusting.

And Christmas lights. I can't forget the Christmas lights...

Last edited by tjspiel; 11-07-11 at 07:55 PM.
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Old 11-07-11, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
...........And Christmas lights. I can't forget the Christmas lights...
On the bike, on the house, or both?
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Old 11-07-11, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by 1nterceptor View Post
On the bike, on the house, or both?
The bike of course.

The house is a secondary priority. You can't ride a house.
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Old 11-07-11, 10:24 PM
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right there with you dude. sans the Christmas lights...

I'm always excited by the challenge that winter cycling presents at the entrance to the dark tunnel. You know the excitement that comes with the possibility of death being a consequence of improper clothing selection combined with a breakdown. It's like the chance to have your own little private Donner party on a daily basis.

Yet I do it. Why? becuase I love to ride, and I hate winter, and I need to kick winters ass as often as possible in order to maintain my sanity. Riding helps me feel like I'm doing that.
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Old 11-08-11, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
Into Winter's long, dark, tunnel.

I won't emerge again until February. Will the worst of winter be over by then? Who can say?
February? Do you move to Florida then? The sun rises in Minneapolis at 656 and sets at 1801 on February 28. Then stupid daylight savings time kicks in so it's back under lights until the end of March.

I've already been under lights since early October. You aren't one of those fancy pantcy 9 to 5'ers are ya?
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Old 11-08-11, 09:16 AM
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Pics of bike with xmas lights please.
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Old 11-08-11, 10:13 AM
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I just ordered some replacement studs from bikeman to replace the couple I lost last year.

Actually last week was the last of the AM pitch dark commuting for me, then DST ended and I switch to moderate gray in the AM and black in the PM. I wind up taking a lot of Dec when it's otherwise dark at both ends of the day (actually it's only light for like 8 hrs a day tops, cloud thin-ness permitting) off 'cause of the kids' school break.
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Old 11-08-11, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
February? Do you move to Florida then? The sun rises in Minneapolis at 656 and sets at 1801 on February 28. Then stupid daylight savings time kicks in so it's back under lights until the end of March.

I've already been under lights since early October. You aren't one of those fancy pantcy 9 to 5'ers are ya?
Since becoming a dad many years ago, I generally get home by 5:45 four days of the week. I often work late one night of the week but that might be combined with some social event like a group ride or getting together with a buddy. Basically I have one weeknight that's "mine" to do with what I please. If I'm trying to meet a deadline I might work late on other nights but a lot of what I need to do, I can do at home.

So for me daylight savings time means a sunlit ride home most evenings. Now that we're on standard time I ride home in the dark though I do see some sun in the morning before I get to work. That'll change.
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Old 11-08-11, 10:48 AM
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Oh man, you have definitely described the way I've been feeling the last week - except our winters are pretty mild in comparison to Minnesota. So far this week there isn't snow in the forecast so I've got another 4 days of stud-free riding!
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Old 11-08-11, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by idc View Post
Pics of bike with xmas lights please.
I've been doing it for at least 4 years but my photographic skills are limited. I don't have a picture where both the lights and the bike show up well at all.

These are the lights though:

I got a few sets from Walgreen's at the end of the season one year. I just wrap them around the tubing, fasten with a few zip ties and shove the battery packs in my seat bag. They're not expensive and also not very durable. It doesn't take much to sever the wires and I had to do some soldering to get one set through the season a couple years back.

They have both a blinking and a steady mode. It's too bad the Holiday season ends on the 1st of January because I honestly believe that drivers are both more likely to notice me and more likely to be courteous when I have the lights on.

Last edited by tjspiel; 11-08-11 at 12:28 PM.
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Old 11-08-11, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
Into Winter's long, dark, tunnel...

And Christmas lights. I can't forget the Christmas lights...
For me, even though winter is indeed a long dark tunnel, I don't really feel the darkness until after the first week in January, because the Christmas lights add at least a psychological illumination, along with the general Holiday cheer. It seems to me like a trans-oceanic voyage in which you are not really at sea until you can no longer sight land. In my mind, I guess March 1 is the first "sighting of land" on the winter cycling voyage.
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Old 11-08-11, 07:58 PM
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OMG you have totally inspired me. Christmas lights!!! What a great idea! Maybe that will help me get through December ....
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Old 11-08-11, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
For me, even though winter is indeed a long dark tunnel, I don't really feel the darkness until after the first week in January, because the Christmas lights add at least a psychological illumination, along with the general Holiday cheer. It seems to me like a trans-oceanic voyage in which you are not really at sea until you can no longer sight land. In my mind, I guess March 1 is the first "sighting of land" on the winter cycling voyage.
March 1st is sort of the beginning of the end for me too. Though we can get bad snow storms well into April, the effects are usually short lived and the really bitter cold weather is pretty much over with.

Contrary from the flavor of my original post, I actually like winter but it does make commuting more of a challenge. November is one of the gloomiest months of the year in these parts. Short days and fewer sunny ones.

One of the paradoxes of winter comes with combination of snow and the short days. Once there's snow on the ground, there's always some sort of "glow" at night from the reflection off the snow. And while January can be bitterly cold, along with that comes cloudless days where it's blindingly bright. So even though I described winter as being dark, it often isn't at all.

Last edited by tjspiel; 11-08-11 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 11-08-11, 11:00 PM
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My first winter in Alaska (but definitely not my first northern winter riding), I've been in the dark since early September. Of course this summer I had almost no Darkness. The bears show up much better in the light. I've never wished for more cars in my life. Not that I think the bears will chase me, but I'd hate to sneak up and scare one becoming road paste or breakfast.
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