Happy Matariki! As the first occurrence of our newest public holiday comes towards a close, I’ve returned from enjoying some of the fun light displays in town at Tirama Mai – do get along if you haven’t already, before it finishes on July 3rd. Earlier in the week we also celebrated our 11th Winter Solstice Ride, with plenty of zany lights on lots of bikes and riders – some more photos to come soon. All of these night-time activities (and the night-time stars that we are currently celebrating) help to remind us that biking can often be quite the peaceful experience after the sun goes down. This blogpost, originally from May 2018, describes some of the nice aspects of biking after dark…
Lately I’ve been doing a lot of travelling around the country. More often than not, that has necessitated very early starts to catch the “red eye” flight out of town. As described previously, my usual method of getting to the airport at that time of the morning is to bike to the Bus Interchange and then catch the first airport bus of the day. Then at the end of the day, the process is reversed to come home.
One thing that you become aware of is how nice it is to ride your bike in the quiet hours of the night. Assuming that you are well lit up and (if need be) warmly wrapped up from any chill, you get to take advantage of the greatest benefit of night-time cycling – little traffic. Often you can ride miles without seeing anyone driving around, having the whole street to yourself.
It’s interesting to see who is around in the wee small hours. Street cleaner trucks do their thing, delivery trucks bring their wares (and often park in the cycle lane while doing it…). The gym is full of loud music and keen bodies working out (or they could have just gone for a bike ride…). And there is usually a surprising number of other people out biking already in the early morning, often heading off to start an early shift.
Now I appreciate that for some people, the prospect of biking at night seems a bit scary, especially when we hear stories of attacks at night. Notwithstanding that the reality is much better than the perception anyway, I would argue that biking is probably safer than walking at night; it’s harder for someone to accost you and a lot easier to get away (you could even learn how to use your bike as a weapon…). But if you’re concerned, stick to more public and well lit areas, e.g. main roads instead of secluded pathways (as I say, there won’t be as much traffic as usual on those main roads overnight).
Biking shouldn’t be only a half-day activity – if you stick to the hours of daylight then you’re missing out on the nicest part of the biking day…
Do you enjoy biking at night?