31 January 2012

Daylight comes

The daylight wins ever so gradually more of the time cycle from night. As I eat breakfast and care for my dog Howard, I watch for the first glimpse of sunrise. It's 6:58 and still dark, though a lightening haze floats over the houses to the east.

Last night, driving through Kettering on an errand to buy another bag of special dog food for  Howard, I found myself thinking It's already too dark to be biking home, and here it is 6:17. As I left work a half hour ago, I thought that it was light enough to still be well-enough lit after a forty-minute commute. But that first hopeful thought was proven wrong.

I had looked up the sunrise and sunset times a week ago and decided that Valentine's Day might be the first day with a workable amount of sunlight to allow a bike commute.Sunrise at 7:31 and sunset at 6:11 will leave10 hours and 40 minutes for eight and a half hours of work and an hour and a half for the commute.

As long as the weather holds.

Ride conditions
Temperature: 45 to 48°F at 07:11
Precipitation: none
Winds: calm to 10 mph from the south
Sunrise today: 07:46
Sunset today: 17:55


Frank said...

I've commuted the route in the dark before. With a bike light and a head light it's not too bad at all. The only hazards are the occasional deer.


Tom G said...

I'm a firm believer in considering two-way visibility. The bike light and head light address the ability to see ahead of your bike, given that your speed doesn't "overtake" the effective throw distance.

But the other visibility to consider is the ability to be seen by drivers. Yes, a red tail light added to the head light and reflectors on the wheels make a cyclist visible to an alert driver. But most drivers fail that adjective "alert," especially at twilight.

So as an admittedly matter of personal preference, I choose to ride during daylight. —Even when most of my commute is over separated bikeways. My experience has shown that the most hazardous commuting occurs on the shared-use streets and at the many intersections between the bikeways and streets. Daylight visibility helps in the safety, when both directions of visibility are less impaired.

Thanks for the comment, Frank.