My friends and I have a rollerskating meetup on Sunday mornings, and I use my bike as transportation to get there. We went earlier than usual this Sunday, and were gifted with a gorgeous sunrise. This gave me the opportunity to create a Ridespot story to mention some tips about riding in the dark, per the request that was made to all of the PeopleForBikes Ambassadors. Photos follow.
I had charged my lights overnight, and then attached them. Note that both front (white) and back (red) lights are required by law when it is dark. Lights with lumens over 500 allow me to both see and be seen. (Lights with lower than 500 lumens are for being seen, not for actually illuminating your way.)
I packed my snacks (I love my beeswax wraps* and banana case**!) and skates (hand-painted to match my bike!). On my road bike, I use a terrific set of panniers that I got for like 50 bucks. On my upright bikes, I use a removable bike basket made from reclaimed ocean plastic. See my separate Ridespot review of that here.
I chose a route that allowed me to minimize contact with drivers of motor vehicles who might not see me due to sunrise glare since my city is dangerous by design.
Note: my city is the only one in the State of Georgia that has decriminalized sidewalk riding for people of all ages. My route includes a combination of sidewalk and road riding. I’ve documented that I experience a 40% “time tax” by sidewalk-riding (in a low-density suburb-city, with pedestrians and people in wheelchairs as priority) due to the need to ride slower than I am capable of riding; exercise extreme caution at driveways and bush-blocked blind spots; push beg buttons; and walk my bike in the intersections.
Sidewalk-riding is also very uncomfortable on the road bike, and I tend to use my less-preferred upright bikes as a result but today I needed my road bike for the trip that followed the skating, into four other cities that involved lots of miles and hills. It should be seen as a temporary work-around until actual bike infrastructure or pop-up tactical urbanism that meets NACTO guidelines is put in place. (FYI, I also usually use a 3-foot-pool noodle, which I tag #BikeNoodle on social media, when riding on the road in this city but I didn’t want to drag that with me to the other cities where I don’t need it. Here’s everything you want to know about BikeNoodle.)
Your city may want to consider legalizing sidewalk riding as well. I literally would not be doing the amount of bike riding I do (or supporting local businesses) without this legal option in the place where I call home (a nearby city is considering it right now as well). I hate riding on the sidewalk, and I resent having to do it, but it is what it is. Here’s a post about it, if interested. In fact, I think it’s a must-read.
As always, anytime I go anywhere by bike, in whatever way I need to do so to arrive alive, is worth it. This time, I was rewarded by an unexpected sign in the window at the school where we skate in the parking lot!
I then rode to the MARTA transit station to take my bike on the train to my next adventure!
* This gorgeous boxful of beeswax wraps was sent to me to road-test by a woman-owned Canadian company:
** I bought this product after the company, Po Campo, sponsored the 2021 National Bike Summit. It actually solves a real problem for transporting a banana on a bike without it becoming a mushy mess by the time you need it. It is one of my top-five-viewed TikToks: