Friday, July 27, 2012

Three before dawn

It was another dark-and-early morning for me, and I left in a bit of a haze. The short story is that I saw three other cyclists on Santa Fe Trail drive this morning, all which which looked like commuters in some way or another. The long story is... Oh heck, It's been forever since I put anything up here, hasn't it?  I probably need to provide some back-story.

This kind of started with the Lenexa Midnight Bike Ride two weeks ago. I was once again called on for communications support on the hiking trail section of the event. I opted to take Frank this time, loaded him down with my Motorola GM300 radio. When I have panniers on the mountain bike, the Superflash does its best on the back of the rack.

Why am I telling you this? Because, all told, there was probably 30 pounds of crap on Frank's rack that night. Well, and I like to show off my nerdy bikeness. So what, though? 30 pounds seems like a lot, but I've loaded more than that before. I'm pretty sure that all that weight caused some screws to loosen up on the rack, though. I had a bit of an incident with the Rack last Satuday, where it became detached from my seat stays, pivoted on the remaining bolts near the rear drop outs, then dragged on the ground behind my bike, snapping my SuperFlash clean off the bike. I got off my bike and rescued the light. I think the light itself is okay, but the mounting bracket might be hosed. I lost the batteries from the light, and didn't bother scouring the roadway for them.

Oh, and I also depleted both my Blackburn Flea and my NiteRider Evolution headlight batteries on the Midnight Ride.

Now I can get on with my story this morning. So it's a bit past five in the morning and I have about half an hour to get to the office. This is when it strikes me that my helmet is drying on a clothes rack in my home office (I'd washed it in the shower a few days before) and that all of my usual lights are out of order or depleted.

I always have my 2xAA Mini Maglite with me, whether it's in my pockets, my panniers or my backpack, and I always keep the piece of cut-up inner tube in the bike's under-seat pouch that lets me rock the flashlight as a headlight in a pinch by strapping it to my handlebars.

So I used that silly trick again this morning. In my box of random bike crap (stored alongside the bikes in the garage) I found my old, hacked-up Blackburn Mars 3.0 tail light. I decided to tempt fate this morning without the helmet. I was running late. I finished off by tossing on the Vest Of Retina Destruction. Side note: one of the three other cyclists I saw this morning was wearing the exact same vest.

And for all the hackery I've done to make sure I had at least some kind of lighting, the fact that I ran across so many other people on bikes before the sun was up this morning was really the only remarkable thing.

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