Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Scariest experience ever

I didn't ride to work yesterday because my body was completely wiped from the rides on Sunday and Monday and I was too much of a wuss to work through it. I did, however, miss my being on my bike so much that I rode it up to Safeway for some post-work grocery shopping. I wore my work clothes (yay, cycle chic; or at least as chic as I ever get) and my little Bell W/O blinky lights. Unfortunately, I didn't consider the fact that the day's light was pretty dim when I set out and would be completely dark by the time I escaped the check-out line. Oops.

In fact, Scott called as I loaded up my basket (and I do mean loaded. good thing I have a bungee net to keep the overflowing groceries from spilling into the street) and asked if he needed to rescue me. I am a self-rescuing princess most of the time and decline his offer, sure that my little blinky lights would keep me safe. I did set the front light on non-blinky mode so that I could actually see the road and not give myself a seizure.

Problem the first: I was wearing my work clothes. My non-reflective, dark work clothes. Dummy.
Problem the second: Front LED light is decent for twilight visibility but not so good for illuminating the road ahead of me.
Problem the third: The neighborhood I ride through to avoid the traffic on Sterling Blvd has no street lights.
Problem the fourth: I just bought a super bright LED headlight and taillight and left those suckers on the dining room table.

That ride home was the scariest damn thing I have ever done. Every time a car came up behind me, I started praying "please see me, please see me". Every time a car came towards me, I prayed the exact same thing. The intersection with the boulevard where I would turn left in my truck but go straight on the bike NEVER has anyone turning left from the other side. NEVER. And of course, last night there was a car turning left. My guardian angel kept me safe and the driver saw me. I rode slowly through the neighborhood (see: dim headlight) and kept as close to the curb as I could. I usually take the lane so I'm not weaving in and out of parked cars, but I didn't trust the occasional neighborhood traffic to see me.

I made it home safe and mostly sound although I was pretty shakey, and I promised myself that I wouldn't leave the good lights at home. Yes, I know I did some very stupid things last night; there's no need to berate me in comments. I can and do learn from my mistakes.


  1. We've all done this at one point or another. Bob and I left a restaurant late last summer only for me to discover the light on my bike had burned out. I live in a Dark Skies community so it's very dark here. I am product testing lights by NiteRider at the moment and am very impressed with how much illlumination they provide. Not only can I be seen but I can see what is ahead of me. Skunks are a big issue here (as I recall they are in VA from my earlier childhood in Blacksburg). It's pretty important to be able to see well ahead of you at night so you can avoid skunk encounters.

  2. I've added two Bontrager Ion 1 headlights to my front fork in case I get caught after dark again and lots of reflective decals so I can be seen from the sides as well. I read about so many people who love riding at night and I want to be one of those people, too. :)

    Yikes about the skunks. We have a lot in our neighborhood since there's a wooded area directly across the street. My biggest critter threats are suicidal squirrels, ground hogs, and the occasional doe who can't decide if she's going to jump across the trail or run along it.

  3. Ah, yes, the doe in the headlights! They are so fetching. Saw an elk early one morning, coming off the urban trail. They are quite large and not nearly so pretty as deer. BTW, I love your screen name! I should have borrowed it yesterday as it fit my mood exactly after a work mtg that was a complete waste of time.