Saturday, December 17, 2011

Things that “Bump in the night” or “Wear a Helmet”


It has been pretty nice out recently. Yes, some rain and that has been GREAT for us draught stricken areas. But the commute to work has been very nice. It is dark of course so I need all the lights and always a helmet. Why are these two things so important?

Lights: My concentration has been on being visible; flashing lights are a key item. The headlight and rear lights are nice and bright and their flashing drives me crazy. And that is good because that is what gets the attention of drivers. I found out lights are good for seeing where you are going too (more on that under helmets). While my flashing headlight is good for getting a drivers attention, it is not the brightest tool in the shed. Here in Texas, although winter is close, we are actually more in a fall condition. The leaves are falling heavily and covering everything.
That means the trails in some areas are all covered in leaves. This is where ‘seeing where you are going’ comes in handy. On the ride home last night I went off the bike path once and came close a few other times. The handlebar mounted light is not enough for seeing everything. But sometimes that is good. I also heard a couple animals in the bushes (bigger than a rabbit but most likely an armadillo; nonetheless the mind always guesses bigger: coyote? bobcat?). Not seeing everything in those situations is good. And the other night the screeching of a rabbit seemed to say it was losing a battle with something much bigger than it was. I was kind of glad I could not see what was going on out there (and glad it was on the other side of the creek).

Helmet: Yes this is important even on short rides. Last night was again another reminder of this. On the bike path part of my ride we have a tree that came down in the rain and wind the other day. No big deal; on one side of the path I can still get by and that worked well yesterday morning. But last night my great headlight did not seem to tell me the whole picture. Assured I was seeing it all I just moved to the edge of the trail, ducked low with my head to the handlebars and elbows bent way out, closed my eyes, and cruised on by.
CRUNCH!  Well, I did not clear the branch. It was nothing terrible. I readjusted my helmet and this morning I am stretching my neck a little more than usual. BUT, what if I did not have my helmet on!

Wear your helmet even when you don’t think you need to; you never know!


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