With just a month to go until Midwinter, it is very definitely dark out there and my commute in both directions now starts and finishes in pitch blackness. I'm lucky enough to live in a small village which, although on a reasonable busy road, is a couple of miles out of the nearest town. The upshot of that is though, that most of my usual and very lovely rural commuting route is completely unlit.
I discovered in short order on my first night ride that my front light, bright though it is, struggles to illuminate much beyond the first two yards of road ahead of my front wheel. The road surface is not that great in parts either and so, with some regret, I looked for an alternative winter route.
I've found that by taking a different route to the station in the morning, it's only the first couple of miles out of the village that are in pitch darkness. OK there's more traffic going that way, but a seriously bright, flashy rear light and a high viz jacket mean that I've done as much as I can to be seen. No close calls yet either so it must be working!
To be honest, commuting in the dark is not nearly as bad as I thought it might be. As with riding in the wet (and to a degree, the wind) one's mind tends to make a bigger deal out of the situation than ever transpires to be the case. Through a sleep-fogged, pre-coffee brain first thing in the morning, getting on the bike in the cold and dark is not often an appealing prospect. However, after the first few pedal strikes, the world is a brighter place, figuratively if not literally!
To paraphrase something I read recently, it is not what you ride that counts but that you ride at all. In any conditions, it is preferable to commuting by car.
In other news, I spent some of the weekend mucking about in the garage on the resurrection of my fixed-gear MTB. It's an old bike that I used to commute on years ago which was converted to fixed-gear knock-around duty when I found this site. An addiction to fixed gear (and other quirky bikes to be honest - folders being a case in point) was born that, even though I have other bikes, continues to this day. I have raided it for parts over the years but decided to get it back together for reasons which escape me now. It's not going to be pretty but will (I hope) be an absolute hoot for bombing around the local lanes and trails in the mucky winter weather. Bring on a bit of snow is what I say!