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Are you visible?

September 27, 2010
It’s dark out there these days and getting darker let me tell ya. I was planning to write an entry about the biking season this year and how great it has been to ride all over Espoo. But since I had an interesting experience on the way to work this morning, I thought I’d share it with you as a lesson in safety.
 
I’ll be riding my bike until the end of October – let’s see how the weather holds out and how frosty it gets. I leave so early in the morning that lights are a necessity. Normally I make sure I am lit up like a Christmas tree and covered in reflectors so people can see me. This morning for some mysterious reason my fancy new bike light (touted by the Mr. as the best money can buy) stopped working on the trip to work. I fiddled with it, but it didn’t help. As I was flying down a hill in Kauniainen, I passed a woman who yelled with hostility about having lights on my bike. Well gee, it just stopped working – what the heck am I supposed to do? Go home? I promptly yelled over my shoulder that it was broken and renewed my trip to work with a little more vigour and alertness realizing that I was invisible. The batteries died, or the light is not up for the colder weather. Either way, I’ll be remounting my old light just to cover my butt. I could feel people’s eyes boring into to me as I passed them – dark and invisible. It was not a good feeling.
 
Since the dark began to fade in April, I’ve put close to 2500km on my bike this season. It also helps that we have an informal competition (virtual tour) going on at work; it’s kept me on my bike and motivated me to keep going. As part of that tour I’ve ridden all over Espoo and discovered some new places and visited some familiar ones. I even rode the Rantaraitti in Espoo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rantaraitti) – and it’s a nice ride let me tell ya – but be prepared to share the path with other people because it is very popular. I also took some rides outside the capital area and put some kilometres down on the 140 highway between Lahti and Mäntsälä (road is in great shape) and at my in-laws in Kuopio.
 
The crowning event this season of course was the Tour de Helsinki on September 5. The Mr. said last year we did it just to try it and this year we must be crazy because we did it again. Well, I suppose we’ll be doing it again next year too, as I now have something to prove. The weather was decent and the ride went really well – good people to ride with, good rest stops and in spite of dropping my water bottle about 27km into the Tour, I managed not kill myself and overdo it when I scrambled to go back and get it. The Tour de Helsinki (www.tourdehelsinki.fi) is getting more popular every year with some 1680+ riders crossing the finish line. Next year it promises to be bigger I am sure.
 
 
We’re very fortunate in Espoo to have great places to ride. And as the days get shorter, be safe out there if you’re riding – make yourself as visible as possible – and make sure your equipment is in working order.
 
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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 22, 2010 5:10 pm

    I’m a bit late, but well done on doing the TdH again this year! Hope to be in it next year if I can save enough cents for a new bike…

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