Thursday, September 26, 2013

Mischief In The Dark

Post-apocalyptic sci-fi universe, or residential neighborhood?
I've talked about this before, but riding at night is pretty cool. Familiar routes become new and interesting and, of course, you can't help but feel like the hero in an action/sci-fi flick.  The instrument cluster becomes noticeable in a way it can't be during the day, all colorful and glowing in the darkness in front of you.  Riding at night somehow feels purposeful, in the same way riding in the rain does.  It feels like you're on an adventure even if you're just going around the block.  Or, maybe it's more like playing flashlight tag in your neighborhood when you were a kid.  The game itself is familiar, but getting to play outside in the dark made it fun in a new way.

Heck, maybe it's just that it's a lot like going Trick or Treating, except with less candy and more raw speed.

I'm sure none of this is new information for most of you.  Heck, getting out for a ride at night was hardly a new experience for me.  All the same, it has been a while, and doing so again felt like visiting an old friend that somehow always convinces you to get into big mischief that just so happens to also be very big fun.

It has been too long since I've ridden at night. The other day, I had new tires mounted on the Triumph (more about that in another post). While I was out breaking them in, I discovered my battery was apparently having a hard time. The speedometer kept doing funny things like telling me I was going 143 miles per hour, and then going blank.

Despite some weird glitches, the Triumph got me home, as it always does. I assumed the battery was finished, but I put it on a trickle charger and it seems to be doing much better now. The charging system tests fine, so if there is a problem, it's the battery.

Last night I went for a ride to make sure things were working as expected. They were. I'll be taking the bike out again for a longer ride to verify this discovery before I go out for a proper long ride, but I'm mildly hopeful that it was just a little sleepy from too much sitting.

If so, given the time of year, I expect I'm going to be riding in the dark a whole bunch very soon.


mq01 said...

one of my _most favorite things_!
riding in the dark!
not dawn. not dusk.
but the dark of night. :) under the moon and stars. i love that you can see light glimmering, not only off the bike, speedo, chrome... but also from other vehicles or movements around.

hmmm, i need a midnight ride soon...

keep up the mischief! the season is short!

Charlie6 said...

I ride in the dark, especially now with Fall here, don't expecially like it as my night vision sucks. Still, there are some magical moments....but then some cager tries to kill you and ruins it. :)

Ottawa Rider said...

Personally, I hate riding in the dark...but maybe that is only because I have done it less than a handful of times.

I think the important part of riding in the dark for me to improve is making sure I am on familiar roads. I would not want to do too much exploring on roads I've never been when my visibility is not at its best.

Enjoy the fall!

- Dave at Motorcycle Addiction

Richard M said...

When on two wheels, I never rode in the dark as when it's dark it's usually winter.Now, it's becoming a little more common. With my old bike, I don't have the nice dashboard display and the everything gets harder to read. Everything is still illuminated with white incandescent bulbs. Plus it's harder to see the wildlife that seem to like walking on the roads as it's easier than walking on the shoulders.

Canajun said...

Having just ridden home in the dark tonight (it's dark so early here now) this post resonated. I too like riding in the dark but therein trouble lies - deer, skunks, racoons, etc. all appear out of nowhere at best scaring the crap out of you and at worst leading to some nasty outcomes. So extra caution is needed, but it can be magical as well, especially on those hot summer nights.

Lucky said...

mq01 - I need a midnight ride too. Maybe this weekend? The season is short, now. If I don't get one in soon, I'm going to have to wait until spring.

Charlie6 - Around here, there's always some cager trying to kill you, day or night. ;)

Ottawa Rider - The key is to make sure you aren't out-riding your headlights. And it helps, as always, if you're somewhere there isn't too much traffic.

Richard M - True, the fuzzy critters on the road are a concern. Vigilance is required.

Canajun - Hot summer nights are the best time to ride! The sun doesn't beat the hell out of you, and the critters (at least around here) aren't quite as active as they are in the fall.

Trobairitz said...

I wish my night vision was better. It isn't safe for me to pilot a bike at night but I do enjoy being on the back of hubby's for midnight rides.

I once asked my eye doctor about my night vision and she said - You aren't a cat! Okay then. Humans aren't meant to see in the dark too well, although some have really adapted to it.

"Midnight bugs taste best" - I think that is how the quote goes.

Heather Thompson said...

Having to ride in the dark every morning to go to work I can relate to moonlit roads being incredibly beautiful, however there is more than enough suicidally insane wildlife ping-ponging across the roads that the beauty is rapidly overtaken by 'arrgh' moments.

On the other hand I'm really, really good at panic stops..

Lucky said...

Trobairitz - You might (or might not) be interested to know that at night, one's eyes use so much oxygen that hypoxia can set it at significantly lower altitudes than when there is daylight.

Yes, the bugs at midnight are by far the tastiest. Not exactly sure how that works, but it seems to be the case...

Heather Thompson - See? It's good to look at the bright side. Yes, the suicidal wildlife is always a risk at night, caution is required.

But we didn't start riding motorcycles so we could play it safe.

Coop a.k.a. Coopdway said...

Careful Lucky, I almost lost another friend last night to the hooved ones. I avoid riding at night if I possibly can and then would only do it in urban areas.

Lucky said...

Coop - Yikes! Glad your friend is OK!!