At this time of year it would be great to arrive at work so early that I could leave by 4:30 and ride in daylight. The odds of that happening regularly are very slim. I am not one of those cheery morning people. That plus a long multimodal commute and 4 long workdays equals an after-dark ride during the EST part of the year. I’m not complaining about the long workday part. One day is telecommuting and when all goes well, I have Fridays to myself, which is great.
The best part of the 3-day per week commute is the bike part of course. Summer time means wearing shorts and T shirt on the train and carrying my work clothes. Luckily our building has a locker room and shower. In early fall, with some thought I can do the whole commute in work clothes. The change to EST requires some further adapting and the colder weather will bring more changes still.
For now, the big thing is visibility. I see lots of cyclists without lights and that’s not a good thing. An unlit bike sort of fades into the twilit or dark background, upping changes of collisions with pedestrians, motor vehicles and other bikes. Tales from the Sharrows speaks to this point. I take the visibility thing seriously. So seriously in fact that last year a motorcyclist pulled up beside me and deadpanned, “You don’t have enough lights on your bike.” For just a second I thought he meant it!
Here are my current visibility strategies: blinking rear light on fender; blinking red light hanging from pannier; reflective crossing guard type belt (I know I am entering dork territory here, but its uninjured and alive dork territory); handle-mounted “be-seen” light and helmet mounted front “see” light. Thus armed, I did this year’s first post EST in the dark 3-mile bike trip without incident.