Experimental music, photography, and adventures

An autumn night ride

Friday, October 12th, 2007

I probably should have stayed home last night and rested in preparation for the Hilly Hundred, but I simply couldn’t do that. It was a beautiful night, if overcast and a bit chilly, and I had new wheels to test, as well as a Banjo Brothers Handlebar Bag I intend to use this weekend that hadn’t had a test run yet. I decided to do the Water Works ride.

It was chilly, and I had to guess what to wear to stay comfortable. It’s been a while since I even had to worry about that and I guessed that my long-sleeved jersey with my jogging suit jacket would work well, along with biking shorts with a pair of nylon pants over them.

I threw some stuff in the handlebar bag, including the Sigma Sport TriLED light, which can clip onto the handlebars, patch kit, cell phone, etc. I put my camera in the mesh side pocket even though I wasn’t sure if the pocket would hold it securely enough.

As soon as I got moving, I realized that I’d forgotten how much more restrictive warmer clothing can be and that I will have to get used to riding in colder weather again.

I soon forgot about all of that and had a fantastic ride. It was windy, which worked to my advantage for about the first half of the ride. I flew over some rolling hills and then down a curvy road. I was impressed with how well my new wheels were working; I even noticed some unexpected improvements in steering. The handlebar bag also affected handling, though, adding some noticeable drag and raising my center of gravity a bit. It wasn’t too bad, but definitely more noticeable than a saddle bag or even a rack trunk. I also noticed I could hear things rattling around in there occasionally. However, it was great having everything within reach, and putting my camera in the mesh pocket worked especially well. It seemed to hold it pretty securely, yet I could slip the camera in and out with ease when I wanted to use it.

My trip to the Water Works was pretty uneventful. I saw a few deer along the way and really enjoyed the cloudy sky; it was overcast, but a bit patchy and there were spots where the sun would shine through at times. I could smell smoke from fireplaces and it was a great complement to the cool crisp air. One deer even ran alongside me for a while, each of us looking at the other and apparently enjoying each other’s companionship.

Autumn Sky
Autumn Sky

When I turned to ride back the other way, I faced a stiff headwind. One thing that’s weird about Bloomington is that it’s rarely windy, except when it’s cold. I have no idea why that is, but I sure was reminded of that fact last night. It was getting fairly dark at this point and my ride took on an autumn night vibe. It was beautiful and mysterious and a little bit spooky, with many deer along the way and other creatures rustling through the woods. As I rode I thought of the people cozy in their homes and while that can be a great feeling, I was happy to be out riding for the time being.

After I made the descent down Moore’s Creek Road, it almost felt like I was in some kind of fantasy world with dim but golden light trickling into the valley and more deer and other fauna all around me. I felt lucky to be observing these feats of nature, even if I really was riding through a rural neighborhood and not some huge forest. I came around a corner and saw probably half a dozen deer grazing. I came to a stop completely silently and we stared each other down. They were standing and staring at me. I wasn’t sure what to do and started to reach for my camera. Still no movement. Something possessed me to whisper, “Hi” … just barely even making a sound. The deer turned and ran and I continued riding.

I stopped by Lake Monroe to rest for a moment and take a photo of my bicycle near the lake. I also put the front light on my bike at this time.

My bicycle by Lake Monroe
My bicycle by Lake Monroe

The light that I had brought isn’t very bright and there were no cars on this road. Fortunately, I’ve ridden it many times before and I’m pretty familiar with it. It wasn’t completely dark yet, although the big climb is under dense canopy and I had a little trouble seeing during that part. I made the climb and headed back toward home. The light the sky was still providing, combined with lights from headlights and my own light, were enough.

Riding at night
Night Riding

2 Responses to “An autumn night ride”

  1. furiousball Says:

    I love that handlebar bag. Ok, I want one now. Good luck with the Hilly Hundred

  2. i, squub Says:

    Some advice for the second day of the Hilly Hundred: It’s spinning counterclockwise.

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