Coffeeneuring #2 for 2014 coincided with my second road ride since the beginning of September. I tried to plan an early morning ride with another coffeeneur that combined road riding with his desire to ride trails but that coffeeneur's family life leaves him even more time constrained than me. For that route I had planned on riding my Surly, which is well equipped for dirt roads. Instead, I choose a similar route that kept me on paved roads so I could ride my IF, which is well equipped with lights: a Busch and Muller IQ CYO 60 lux headlight and Specula Plus taillight, both powered by a Schmidt Son Deluxe dynamo hub. I have a back up 600 lumen Nite Rider headlight and used a Portland Design Works Radbot tailight in steady mode (in the dark; I switched to flashing mode in daylight). The wheels have reflectors and I have reflective material on my shoes, supplemented by reflective ankle bands and also wear a reflective vest. I was safe as I could be riding at night. I left at 5:30 AM, which meant I had an hour and a half of riding before sunrise. It was clear when I left my house but clouds moved in, making it a dark morning.
I really like riding my Surly, which is a bit of a tank but useful for a lot of the riding that I do (read: mostly commuting) but I enjoyed riding my IF for the coffeeneuring ride. It's a great ride for me - very crisp response and quick handling, as designed. It also weighs almost ten pounds less than the Surly.
I followed well known roads out to Great Brook Farm Park then south to Concord, coming back into town on 2A and then used the Mill Street cutoff. I would have taken Old Bedford Road and Virginia Road but I was somewhat pressed for time and didn't want to be late so I took 2A. On the way out I avoided the bike path since it was leaf covered and wet and I didn't want to slip alone in the dark (or any other time). 4/225 wasn't very crowded so I didn't regret my decision. The full route is here.
Since this is a coffeeneuring post. I have to mention where I stopped: Haute Coffee in Concord, MA. I had been there twice before, once on a partially dirt road ride I did in the early morning last fall in advance of coffeeneuring season. I came by before they opened but they saw my lights and let me in and served me a pour over. The make a great cup of coffee and I later enjoyed another cup after my boys and I explored the Concord heron rookery this spring.
They continue to make great pour overs and have nice treats. I had a granola bar, which was great, especially since I had just a couple of bars for sustenance, because I was out too early to eat breakfast at home. There is a nice place to sit indoors but the weather was fine and they don't have great places to lock bikes (you might see a mini u-lock attached to my seat bag) so I sat outside in what became a communal table. Just as I got my coffee, I small group of riders from the Blue Ginger (yes, that nice restaurant in Wellesley) cycling club arrived and eventually joined me. They were great company and I ended up staying a bit longer than I intended but probably was more in line with the spirit of coffeeneuring. The coffee was served in a small carafe making it all a bit fancy but I got over that.
Riding in the dark
I have to say that I enjoy riding in the dark, although it takes a lot of equipment and care to be nearly as safe as you are riding during the day. My wife doesn't quite get it but it is an interesting experience and not at all thrilling in a death defying way. In fact, I wouldn't be riding in the dark if I thought it was unsafe. I do prefer riding in the early morning when drivers are less likely to have been drinking and there are few people on the roads rather than in the late evenings.
I have come to like the Busch and Mueller lights that I now have one on both of my bikes. It gives me a great light on the road when I am traveling up to 20 miles per hour and has a decent spread of lower intensity light so that I can see to the side, something that I couldn't do with my battery powered headlight. In that case, I feel like I am riding through a cone of light, although the light is better for rougher terrain. I have a Spannigo Pixeo rear light on my commuter (which someone actually told me it was quite visible on a later afternoon commute a couple of weeks ago). I thought the Specula Plus would be better, more than a point source of light, which some people say is not as easy to gauge distance by. The Specula, which is the light mounted just below my seat post on the picture at the beginning of the post, seems to do better. I still like to have a second light whether commuting or riding out of town. I think the prettiest light is just around sunrise and sunset and in the summer and I prefer to not ride in the heat of the day so I occasionally end up riding before sunrise and after sunset. I end up traveling a lot slower at night, but the effect seems similar to riding on trails in the woods - it seems like you are riding a lot faster than you are.
Be careful out there if you do ride at night!
At the Maple Street bridge in Carlisle. Lights on for safety
West Street before it turns into North Street and goes into Great Brook Farm Park.
The foliage show is fading fast but there are still some nice color out there.
Despite all of the rain that we have had in the last couple of weeks, the area is still very dry. This is the inlet of one of Cambridge's reservoirs.
Not quite retro, not quite modern.
A map of my coffeeneuring destinations (this will change as I hope to ride more):
Miles for the ride: 43, miles for the month: 200, miles for the year: 2428.