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Riding into Light: Riding into Darkness

Updated on August 17, 2013
Entering Needham Center at dawn.
Entering Needham Center at dawn.

My bicycle is my most reliable vehicle, a fact which proved true yet again today.

We are a one-car family. When the family car needs service, I put my bike in the car and drive the car (if drivable) to the automotive repair shop. From the auto repair place I bike the eighteen miles to work. Today the car needed service, so last night I put my bike in the car and got my biking clothes ready.

I had looked at weather forecast which predicted 28 degrees Fahrenheit in the pre-dawn hours I would be biking, but it also predicted that the temperature would rise about 10 degrees during my ride. So I tried to choose my kit so that I was neither overdressed nor under-dressed. I did pretty well with insulated bib tights over a base layer and two pairs of socks, a mid-weight long sleeve jersey, nylon jacket, head sock, gloves and liners.

Next time I will also use shoe covers. My bike shoes have a lot of mesh for ventilation - not the greatest thing when the temperature dips below freezing.

In addition to clothes I made sure I had decent safety lights to wear. I got together three flashing red lights for the back and two flashing white lights for the front. I got up in the morning at about ten minutes before five and was on road by five-thirtyish, arriving at the mechanic's shop at about six o'clock. I parked the car, filled out the key envelope and dropped it with my car key through the mail slot. Then I put on my biking shoes, glasses and helmet and made ready to go.

The temperature was already in the low thirties, so I did not find the temperature uncomfortable at all. Our mechanic's shop is in a busy section of Natick and the traffic was commensurate with the busy-ness, but I am comfortable in multi-lane traffic. On the drive there I had noticed that a key bridge on my usual route was under repair, so in my head I devised an alternate route past Lake Cochituate, which reflected the first light of dawn as I rode past.

Because of the difficult light of dawn, I needed to be very mindful and present, concentrating as much as possible on the road immediately in front of me, because obstacles - pot holes, manhole covers, drains and the like - were hard to see. The level of concentration combined with the fast rhythm of my pace (I wanted to stay warm and I wanted to get to work fast) to drive all extraneous thoughts away, such that I felt almost in a meditative state. It was very peaceful as I rode through Natick, Wayland, Wellesley, Needham and Dedham.

As I rode into Westwood, the sun broke over the horizon and lit the tops of the autumn trees afire. They were so beautiful I had to stop and take the picture above.


Bicycling Philosophically

I wrote this poem about cycling:

Wheels want to stay vertical because they spin

Marvelous slender fragile stability

So much like my psyche

Wondering what state I'm in

The bicycle an athletic lover whispers

"faster, faster, mister"

Me in my tunnel of vision

Too early for drivers' derision

Keep my tires safe from glass

From careless cars protect my ass

Here and there a vehicle of sports utility

Gets a little too friendly

On the shoulder crowding me

I swallow the road rage

Better act my age

Through the roundabout

Ain't no doubt about

Glad to be alive

Left so by those who drive

Feeling good sprinting fast

Made both those lights at last

Hammering up that long hill

Exercising force of will

(The bike says go faster please

The body says don't make me wheeze)

Occasional deathwish at a red light

Common sense says you'll lose that fight

Down the other side

The wind of descent as I glide

Pass those three famous streets

Faith, Hope and Charity

What kind of message do they send?

Each of these streets is a dead end

What's the best part for me?

Riding on that cloverleaf

Across the interstate -

A good place to meet one's fate

Yet once more I survive

Mildly grateful to be alive

Another hill and down again

Around the corner my commute ends


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    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States

      I love it when readers regard my writing as desert, Scriber :)

      Thank you, Juneaukid!

      Glad you could come along, SilentReed!

    • SilentReed profile image

      SilentReed 7 years ago from Philippines

      Dawn,as the sun rise / a bicycle ride to town / autumn leaves, afire ~ thanks for sharing your ride ;)

    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 7 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      A beautiful reflection!

    • profile image

      scriber1 7 years ago

      You said: "I had to stop and take the picture below.........." Adding a bit more icing to the word picture cake it attempts to portray. Thanks, Tom

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States

      It was a great ride. Thanks, G-Ma!

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 7 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      Such a wonderful reward...thanks for sharing...:O) Hugs G-Ma