Tag Archive for night riding

Moods of the Night

I’ve always loved black-and-white photography. Like most photographers of my generation, it’s where my roots are. To this day I hold fond memories of studying photography at the University of New Mexico, in Albuquerque, back in the late 1970s – spending hot nights roving Central Avenue when it was still a living stretch of old…

Lanterns Rouge

Now that October is with us and the hours of daylight are seriously on the wane it pays to be thinking hard about visibility and making certain you’re seen by the motorists whooshing up around and behind you and one great – nay, essential – way of doing that is to fix some sort of…

Ships in The Night

No place amongst the many places that I ride do I feel more assured of finding perfect contemplative solitude than I do when I am pedaling along the lonely old road across the Pevensey marshes at a quarter to five in the morning. It’s a world that’s mine and mine alone. So I could hardly believe my senses this morning when all of a sudden in the midst of a reverie I heard a whirr of another bicycle coming up briskly beside me. I glanced around, startled out of my dolly-daydream, to see a preternaturally early-bird commuter with backpack and helmet sweep by me on a road bike in a kind of stately rush, without so much as a glance or a nod in my direction.

Pluck & Dash and Dealing with Ruffians

I spotted them as I spun along Grand Parade this morning: a knot of hard-eyed loiterers, break-and-enter all over their faces, slouching on a wall beside a bus stop and watching my approach behind furtively cupped cigarettes. I could feel their eyes on me as I swept by. A bronze statue of Queen Victoria frowned…

Windy Nights

One of my favourite poems when I was a child was Windy Nights by Robert Louis Stevenson, who is better known for being the author of Treasure Island. In the poem, a little boy – probably Stevenson himself as a child – is laying snug in his bed, when he is awakened late on a wild and stormy night by the galloping hooves of a mysterious rider who passes beneath his window bound on some urgent mission or other – a spy, a smuggler, a soldier-of-fortune, we don’t know for sure, but we can imagine him: a dark figure on horseback in dripping oilskins and tri-corner hat, his flintlock pistols kept dry and at the ready beneath his cloak. I loved to imagine myself as that mysterious rider, abroad on a wild and windy night, on urgent business of my own.

To A Cyclist

O would some power the gift to give us; to see ourselves as others see us; It would from many a blunder free us… So goes an oft-quoted stanza from a Robert Burns poem – addressed to a louse, in point of fact, one that he saw crawling on a fine lady’s bonnet in church…

Thirty Miles By Lamplight

It’s quarter to five on a dark and frosty December morning, and I’m spinning along the grand old Edwardian seafront at Bexhill, past the flood-lit coronation pavilion, with a waxing gibbous moon floating high over my left shoulder and the lights of Eastbourne twinkling in the distance, all still and solemn and slumbering in the…

Mysteries in the Mist

A cold, clingy, ground mist was shrouding the marshes this morning on my ride over to the ruins of Pevensey Castle, throwing a note of caution in the air along with a nip of frost, but at the same time adding a pleasurable touch of misty, moody Hound-of-the-Baskervilles atmosphere.  I kind of like riding in…

Give Them The Old Razzle Dazzle

I see that the new season’s bicycle headlamps are now hitting the pre-Christmas stands with manufacturers boasting more dazzling brightness and beam intensity than ever before. We’re up to 3000 lumens now for Niterider’s very brightest, top-of-the-range headlamp – surely overkill for all but the fastest, most dangerous late-night MBT descents and twenty-four-hour mountain races. I cannot imagine a circumstance where anyone would need that kind of luminosity on the road, and I speak as a cyclist who not only rides thousands of miles each year down darkened country lanes but who also likes to have plenty of light to see by when he does. It begs the question: how much brighter can they go? And how much brighter does anyone want, for God’s sake?