Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Sometimes a person has a thought which ruminates in the background of a certain subject matter. Some idea which doesn't really come to light until a certain moment. And then that person says something like, "You know, I've had this idea for a while now and..."
I've had one of those thoughts work its way to the surface lately. Something I was putting aside since the spring. Maybe longer.
I find myself not wanting to ride at night anymore. Having to keep a keen eye on the shoulders for critters for example. Because they don't get noticed unless you see their eyes. A greyish brown furry thing wanders into the roadway ahead and you have to avoid it one way or another. Yourheadlight beam bores a tunnel into the darkness and even when it's bright and wide, you're still riding down that tunnel. What's to see besides what that headlight illuminates?
I don't know if headlights have gotten so bright that it's an either/or propsition or something else is going on but within your beam, you see things very well. Look outside that beam and the darkness uttterly envelopes everything else. There is no transition. On the old machines I rode, and maybe even some that weren't so old, the old sealed beams were enough to give a rider what the rider needed in order to ride while the sun was down. And yet not so bright that looking outside the artifical illumination leaves you dark-struck, your vision unable to recuperate between the two diametric light conditions.
In the spring I could point out that sand and salt, not yet washed from the roads meant steering corrections weren't guaranteed to unfold as intended. You want all the available natural light to see where that gravel and winter residue was so that you could slow to a safe speed to negotiate through it.
In the summer I rode at night but I promised myself this night riding thing would come to an end one way or another. I just don't feel safe riding at night lately.
Then the autumn. Or late summer, really. I've been riding new roads. Places I meant to go but haven't due to all sorts of reasons. Mostly because I just haven't had the time until recently. But opportunities have come during daylight hours, strangely enough. And because of this I've been able to follow some of the chains of lakes here in central Minnesota. And they aren't just beautiful roads to traverse, the secenery of this region is worth seeing. Something you won't experience by riding at night.
It's alright when the world you live in sometimes influences your decisions. A sailboat needs to tack with the wind. Its crew succeeds best when they work with rather than against weather patterns.