A few weeks ago I did my annual “dump out my piggy bank to get the bike ready for the season” thing.  I dropped $400 in new tires, new handlebar tape, new gears, and a complete tune-up.  One of the thing I replaced was a very powerful, yet extremely bulky headlight.  I’d bought it nearly 4 years ago, but used the thing only three times.  You had to charge it and I swear you could see the lights dim when you plugged that charger into wall.

Unfortunately, if you were out in the middle of a rainstorm and the battery died on you (one of the fond memories of a 103 mile day on the way to Lake Erie in 2011) you couldn’t just pop in a couple of AAs and be on your way.  You were screwed blue and tattooed.  (This blog will benefit from my collection of colorful Navy metaphors.)

Part of the $400 personal stimulus package (“I’m going to create bicycle-ready jobs!”) went towards a new headlamp that actually would welcome a fresh set of AAs to keep on chugging.  I’ve been dying to try it out.

Tonight was the night.  I scored a loooooooong nap today and wasn’t ready to turn in at 11:00ish.  Did a weather check.  (No, I didn’t check weather.com.  I went out on my porch, thank you very much.)  Cool.  Mid to high 60s I reckoned.  Wind coming out of the north.  Earlier in the day weather.com was calling for rain, but not until 2AM or so.

All right.  All systems go.  Except, where am I going?  I hadn’t eaten since lunch, so, why not Waffle House?  Since I’d already ridden 27 miles this morning, if I could get in another 20 miles or so, I’d be happy with that.

I had to think this through.  Roads that I’d have no problem with in broad daylight I’d hesitate traveling in the dark.  In my head I mapped out a route that’d keep me off the main roads.  I knew them all well enough that I wasn’t worried about bad road conditions.  (Hmmm.  Guess I should tell the story about almost dying on the bicycle last Friday, huh?  Eh, maybe later.)

One thing I learned the other day on my 50 mile ride to South Bloomfield was my wireless computer (fancy name for bike odometer) wouldn’t work when the new headlight came on.  I looked it up and it turns out it’s a rather common problem.  Good thing I do 99% of my riding without turning that headlight on.

The problem, though, is that the Waffle House I picked out was a lot closer than I realized.  It was only 6 miles away.  Well, hell, if I came back on the same route, that’d only be 12 miles.  I wanted to do 20!

I came up with a route that’d take me three miles past my house.  Had the wind with me on the way back and that was nice.  (If you look at the mile-by-mile stats on the map, you can easily see, by average speed, which miles were with the wind at my back.)  Reached the 3 mile beyond the house point, and rode on back home.

Night riding is different.  It’s quiet.  It’s peaceful.  It’s almost like there’s no one else in the whole world but you.  It possesses the same qualities as an early morning ride, right as the sun is coming up:  still air, peaceful sounds, a feeling of having the world just to yourself.  The lack of that great big ball of fire in the sky makes night riding something spectacular.

Finished Cycle: May 22, 2012 1:27:41 AM
Shortened Google Maps URL: http://j.mp/KPcqRY
Ride Time: 1:15:44
Stopped Time: 22:35
Distance: 17.01 miles
Average: 13.53 mph
Fastest Speed: 18.95 mph
Ascent: 140 feet
Descent: 143 feet
Calories: 1241