I hope you enjoyed the extra glimmers of light during your morning commute today, because you traded some light on the way home to get it. Due to the end of daylight savings time over the weekend, sunset Monday will come at 5:44 p.m.
But do not despair! November comes with some small challenges for biking, but it’s really just a test to see if you can bike through the whole winter. With every new challenge comes something new and beautiful to enjoy on your ride.
Here’s a couple tips for people new to fall/winter biking (and reminders for everyone else):
- Keep your bike lights charged. If you don’t have rechargeable batteries for your lights, I cannot recommend enough that you get some. You will start burning through batteries much faster now that it gets dark so early. (It’s almost a crime American bikes don’t come standard with lights, but it’s really a crime that most lights don’t come with rechargeable batteries)
- Beware of sun glare. Use your lights whenever the sun might be in people’s eyes. Windshields make the glare of head-on setting sunlight even worse.
- Ride more defensively during dark rush hour commutes than you already do. Don’t assume that somebody in a car sees you. The number of people driving who strike people on foot in Seattle peaks in November in large part due to the dark evening commute.
- Have fun! As we’re written before, biking is a great way to get through the dark-before-six blues. Fresh air and mist in your face beats a dreary car interior any day.
November is probably the most difficult month of the year for bike commuting in Seattle. It’s the rainiest month of the year. Puddles and fall leaves clog the bike lanes.
But when you make it to December, then you’ll know that you officially have what it takes to bike year-round.
Do you have any dark commute tips or questions?