"The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep."
Substitute roads for woods and you have bicycle commuters amidst the opening chords of winter. The weather will vary but no matter where you live, be it Minnesota or Ottawa or Vermont or California the days will get shorter, the dark will get longer. The onset of daylight savings accelerates the process and instead of leaving work in early twilight you leave work in the deepness of the night.
The night is not a friend to bicyclists who share roads with automobiles. We push back the threat with our lights but our ability to materialize on a distracted driver's radar, never very good in the best of times, is made worse by a dark sky and the flash of high beams.
Last year as I was riding home on the first truly dark night I felt…discouraged as I threaded my way through the maze of headlights. That feeling continued until I turned onto Bryant Street, the road on which I can unwind as it is bicycle focused. I looked forward and on the right side of the road was a long string of twinkling and solid red lights, tiny and twinkly. On the left side of the road was a second line of twinkly lights, this time white.
It was the other bicyclists, people like me who were finding their way home in the dark and my mood lifted immeasurably.
This year has been better. The cool nights have arrived and brought fast riding with little wind. What was good: two days ago a bicyclist caught up to me at a red light and asked about my route. After that he asked me how often I biked and then told me he had started bicycle commuting in May and loved it. He asked for suggestions on bicycling to work when the weather is rainy. We parted ways before Portola Valley but I know he is out there riding every day just like on good days I believe that more people will bicycle and more cars will treat bicyclists with respect.