Can those of you in the mid-Atlantic region believe these temperatures? 50F and 60F in the days leading up to Christmas? Holy cow! It certainly makes this "winter cycling" thing so much easier. ;)
Something that wasn't quite as easy as it should have been, though, was last night's commute. Specifically, illuminating last night's commute. The first rule of winter bike commuting is LIGHTS. The second rule is BACK-UP LIGHTS. The MiNewt.600 let me down when I got to my bike and hauled it out of my bag. Despite allegedly charging all afternoon, it wouldn't turn on for love or money. My back-up light was still attached to Scott's handlebar from our last Christmas light tour. I did have my two white blinky lights which I attached to each side of my front fork in steady mode to provide a teensy bit of illumination and, with the combination of my basket lights, allowed me to be seen by oncoming traffic.
Luckily, I left work about twenty minutes earlier than usual and there was a little bit of sunset reflecting on the cloud cover. Plus, the clouds reflected back a fair amount of the light pollution from the shopping center and car dealerships. But the tree-lined, dark parts of the trail were DARK. I took it easy and had no mishaps. Happily, the deer encounter happened in the light-polluted area and the black cat which crossed my path shot across the trail before I got too close.
My headlight is now fully charged and I will be sure to pack the backup before hitting the road tomorrow.
In non light-related news, I had another realization of my increase in strength last night. Not only did I ride up the 28 overpass in a higher gear, I actually gained speed climbing. Dude, that's huge. I also powered up the last hill to my street. That's also huge. And I wasn't a total sweaty mess when I got home. That's not huge, but it was a nice surprise.