Friday, October 15, 2010

A GOLDEN THURSDAY EVENING RIDE…

Our BicycleHaywoodNC Thursday evening ride was held yesterday following the exit of a 24 hour period of rain and gusty winds. Mid-afternoon Wednesday saw an approaching cold front arrive earlier than anticipated and made riding on Wednesday evening out of the question. The cold rain and winds coated the streets with fallen leaves making for a bad combination of wet slick roads and low light situations. Thursday would be different…

Thursday turned brilliant just after lunch. The skies were without a cloud and the temperatures were heading down to the low 60’s. Our Thursday evening group continued its recent pattern of having fewer participants. Only three of us showed for the ride.

We made our way along the Greenway to Lake Junaluska to enjoy the fall colors surrounding the lake. This entailed some road riding, some gravel riding under the Great Smoky Mountain Expressway and finally some time on the sidewalks as we made our way to the entrance of the Lake.

BicycleHaywoodNC members along the shores of Lake Junaluska

(Joyce and Carolyn along the shores of Lake Junaluska)

The lake grounds were full of folks out getting their fitness walks and rides in before the setting sun gave way to a clear night. There were lots of hoods and sweaters in view as the pedestrians adapted to the drop in temperature. For my part, I was pleased to have on my Pearl Izumi knickers, heavier weight long sleeved shirt, and wind breaker. I could have used full finger gloves!

I noted that many, many of the pedestrians were using cell phones as they walked along the shores. At one point, I heard a loud man’s voice only to come upon the gentleman having a spirited conversation on his phone as he walked along the Rose Path. I’m certainly thankful that I was moving in the opposite direction. I would not have wanted to be walking nearby him as he carried on his phone conversation. I also noted several folks walking, using cell phones, and smoking. As we passed them, the smell of burning tobacco wafted behind them for several yards. Even though they were smoking, I’m glad they were out exercising. Maybe the two activities (smoking/walking) will prove incompatible for them and they will give up the smoking.

Our ride continued along the shores and beyond the auditorium. As we climbed above the lake, the sun had moved noticeably lower in the sky. I took a moment to catch the view from above the lake.

Lake Junaluska, NC at sunset

(The setting sun casts a golden glow over Lake Junaluska)

With a final stop at the Cross that sits atop the highest point overlooking Lake Junaluska, it was clear that sunlight wasn’t going to accompany us home. South Lake Shore Drive was already fully in shadow and it was clearly only a matter of moments until sunset would arrive. We headed down the steep hill, across the wooden bridge that spans the dam, and back along the greenway to our LBS, Rolls Rite Bike shop, which was the originating point of our ride.

We were fully enveloped in darkness by the time we returned to the shop. My new Portland Design Works Radbot 1000 rear light was doing its job making our presence known. The light had arrived on the earliest day of the scheduled arrival time frame. Batteries were already loaded so all I had to do was pull out a small plastic strip that kept the battery contacts from touching the light’s contacts. The light was well packaged for safe travel. Included were three different types of mounts and necessary hardware. I simply clipped it on to my seat bag without needing any of the other attachment options.

The only downside was that I couldn’t get it to come on so I removed the one screw holding the unit together in order to check the battery connections. They appeared to be in properly. There are no written directions included with the light – only a small diagram on the box itself that doesn’t address how to turn on the light.

After looking it over for a moment, I recalled reading in Kent “Mountain Turtle” Peterson’s review of the light that a safety feature to avoid the light being jostled on and off was that you had to hold the button down for two seconds. Sure enough, upon holding the on/off button down for the requisite two seconds, the light blazed on. A simple single push of the button then walks you through the different flash patterns. I preferred the zZzPOP scheme as it seems to be the most eye catching. Were it not for remembering Kent’s review, I would probably have been on the phone to the company asking for clarification or to return what I thought was a defective light. It might be a good idea if this instruction was somehow printed on the box or an insert. I’ve searched over the box several times and can’t find that specific bit of information anywhere. All in all, the ease of purchase, quick arrival time, and performance (based upon one ride) has been very positive.

When I returned to my office from our ride, it was dark. The Navigator was calling me to see where I was currently located as her anxiety level was growing. She must have forgotten I was protected by the impenetrable light of the Radbot 1000.  Working in the dark with no glasses on resulted in my locking my bike to the carrier in a fashion that I cannot now undo. Once the daily temps climb above 40 degrees or so, I’m going to have to figure this one out… It’s gonna be hard to get in much mileage with the bike locked to the back of my truck…

Until later,

- Zeke

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