This last year, tragedy struck my family and we lost my little sister to a car accident and my mother very suddenly to a fast growing cancer within three months of each other. While, I have always been one to run when I am under extreme emotional duress, something about running wasn’t quite doing it for me. It was as if I could not get my feet to fly fast enough away from my heart ache.
Nights were the worst. Just when you lay down to go to sleep you are gripped by panic and cannot get comfortable because EVERYTHING is so uncomfortable when people are ripped from your life suddenly.
So, I started riding my bike at night on quiet country roads. I would have to traverse the eerily silent city streets to make my way to the outskirts of town and what I encountered was sweet relief from the agony of the stagnant new truths about my life.
Night riding whisked away my tears and carried them into the wind. There was an overwhelming feeling of cleansing and peace that passed through me as I smelled the randomly sweet scents of blooming lilac and magnolia trees and the silence was somehow comforting. The serenity I would get from the emotionally and physically exhaustive rides put me to sleep with dreams of better days to come.
My friends and family were somewhat concerned about my night riding excursions, so I stopped and began waiting for the more “normal” morning hours. It wasn’t until now that I discovered that night riding is actually a thing.
Here is what one night rider has to say;
“Through a friend I was introduced to night riding. Heavy light packs and many lumens later I get a NiteRider Dual Beam something or another. I believe its somewhere in the neighborhood of 1200-1400 lumens. No longer was I enslaved to the axis and rotation of Earth. In fact, I looked forward to the cover of darkness! Night riding makes old trails new again, shines a light on our fears and introduces us to creatures in the dark.”
I must admit that I was not akin to safety standards at all and upon reflection, here are some preparations that I would take before night riding again.
For optimum safety, you should get both a headlight and a taillight. Taillights are much easier to see for cars and others behind you because it doesn’t merely reflect light (as does a reflector… obviously…) but it produces its own light too. Bright clothing should be worn and you should really find out if it is even legal to ride at night in your state. Here in New York, bikers are basically treated as drivers, aside from all of the dmv stuff, so riding at night is perfectly legal provided that you ride on the right shoulder and are not intoxicated.
Don’t let the dark stop you from riding your bike so long as you take the proper safety measures.