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Biking in the dark. In the winter.
Just asking for trouble . . .

Reprint of an article first published January 1, 2007

Running with scissors. Playing with matches. Cutting matches with scissors, while running. Well, I don't remember my mother being that specific in her "don't do that!" list, but it just makes sense that doing two stupid things at once can't be right. But winter biking at night can be a lot of fun, and not so stupid if you do it right.Biking on frozen Gibson Lake, Feb 2004

Winter biking is an adventure, to be sure. You need specific clothes to keep certain appendages from freezing off. And unless those clothes include full body armour, you should use studded tires. A bike without studded tires on any ice is a bike on the ice, and a rider off the bike. And onto the cold, hard, frozen ground. Emphasis on the hard.

And night riding adds an element of risk. With most bike lights, the ability to judge holes and ruts is limited. Typical handlebar-mounted lights turn the oncoming terrain into a two-dimensional peep-show. Even with high-end light systems, your range of vision is limited, and picking a line becomes even more intense.

But it sure is fun. Some rides are more fun than others. And the fun can evaporate pretty fast when something goes wrong Once you start getting cold toes or fingers, it's time to take stock of where you are. Always keep in mind getting back to safety in a worst-case situation. If you have a break-down, should you try to fix it, with the obligatory finger-numbing fumbling, or just start walking to safety? You might be cozy and warm riding, but you'll be a popsicle (popcycle?) if you stop for any length of time.

Is it the novelty of it that makes it fun? Like any risky venture, it's probably the danger that gives you the rush of satisfaction, and a risky winter ride in the dark can be fun. Just don't ride with scissors -- now that would be stupid.

Contributed by
Rick MacMillan
2007-01-01

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It's not been a good winter for riding. Too cold. Too much slush. Too busy. Too many excuses.

Biking in the dark. In the winter. Just asking for trouble . . .
January 1, 2007
Running with scissors. Playing with matches. Cutting matches with scissors, while running.

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