Thursday, September 19, 2013

Comfortable In The City, In Daylight

I rode into the city yesterday and chatted with a fellow rider in Arlington along the way.  I asked him about his route, which took him by Fresh Pond then to the river paths into Boston.  I mentioned that I took the Beacon Hampshire (bike) Highway.  He decided to ride in with me rather than on his usual route.  He was good company and I agreed to ride in with him.

He has a much longer commute than me, coming from west of Concord, and I thought he might save miles and maybe time on my route.  I'm not sure that he did.  He was aware of the number of lights we stopped at, which slowed us down.  I have to admit, it was a bad day for making lights and progress was slower than usual but progress is never great if you follow traffic laws, which I do.  I think he also noticed the congestion and tight roadways with a lot of traffic.  At the point where I headed off his route, he mentioned that the ride was intense.  I felt that way at one time but I have become accustomed to the congestion and the proximity of cars and other cyclists and it all seems normal and almost calm to me.  It's not like I have my guard down as I am aware of every parked car that might have an occupant about to open a door and don't assume any driver sees me.  But cycling in the city has become a relaxing way to get to work.

But I could see how this could change - the end of Daylight Savings Time.  A fellow elementary school parent said that his bicycle commuting stops when we turn back the clocks.  And riding in heavy traffic at night seems intense to me.  I certainly have more than adequate lighting and reflectors to see and be seen by cars but driving down the Beacon Hampshire Highway in the dark at commuting hour may be outside of my comfort zone.

So, should I be comfortable riding in the city?  Should I be even more cautious about riding in the city in the dark at rush hour?

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