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November 06, 2010

Moving Away From The Light

We are all, I suppose, in tension with the forces around us. The last few weeks I've been in increasing tension with the Hours of Darkness. While that would be very dramatic on the metaphysical plane, in my instance it's fairly mundane: it's been getting dark earlier and that interferes with my bicycle riding.

Sunday's change from Daylight Savings Time into Standard Time will make a pronounced shift into earlier darkness. It is a capricious problem, driven by the consensus alignment of employment with sidereal noon, and I am fortunate to have some flexibility in my schedule. It's just harder to get out there before sunset. I miss the luxury of June's lengthy daylight.

I know that it's only a short-lived phenomenon - the days will get shorter until the winter solstice, only seven weeks away, and then things will start improving - but I resent the intrusion of Nature into my comfortable life. I mean, this is the stuff of Droids Druids, affecting me in modern times.

There are technological applications that help. I've had some very good lights on the bike in previous years - in front I've used a PlanetBike Alias HID (high-intensity-discharge) light, and in back I've used a Cateye TLD-1100. They've been excellent lights but the technology has advanced.

This year I'm augmenting the front with a blinking 2-watt LED light, the PlanetBike Blaze 2W. It isn't a light that helps me to see, as much as it's a visibility marker to help others see me. In the back, the new RadBot 1000 by Portland Design Works produces a remarkably bright blinky. The video compares the new Radbot 1000 with my previous best-in-class favorite, the Cateye TLD1100.

I've been doing most of my riding on the trail system, but when riding in winter I'm inclined to ride more on the roads, which makes lighting more important. The trail is certainly safer from a bike-vs-car perspective, but in the event of a major bike malfunction I'd rather be closer to civilization and heated spaces.

I do believe that one should never wish that time would pass quickly, but I'm eager for the luxury of longer days again.

From today's NY Times, written by Mary Oliver -

Every year we have been
witness to it: how the
world descends

into a rich mash, in order that
it may resume.
And therefore
who would cry out

to the petals on the ground
to stay,
knowing, as we must,
how the vivacity of what was is married

to the vitality of what will be?
I don’t say
it’s easy, but
what else will do

if the love one claims to have for the world
be true?
So let us go on

though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets of the year be doomed.


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