We got out for a 2 hour blast on the tandem last night after work. The weather has been incredibly mild for February – about 10 degrees when we left. Very windy though! Up the back road to Heriot and hang a left up to the Granites. It was getting dark by the time we reached Heriot. There is something special about riding at that time of night known in Scotland as the ‘Gloaming’ – that period before it is too dark but when the light is starting to fail. You get an amazing quality of light that is magical to ride in. The sky just looks fantastic.
Last year I created a Strava segment from Heriot to the Granites turn off called ‘Barn Owl Boulevard’ as I would quite often see an owl if riding up there in the dark. Yesterday we saw a barn owl on the way up, and a snowy owl on the way back! First time I’ve seen a snowy owl around here in many years.
On the way back it was getting to be pretty much pitch black. I now run a Cateye Volt 1200 on the front of the bike with an extra Exposure Joystick Mk 12 on top of my helmet for use on descents. The combination of both of these is really bright, maybe even too bright. I was getting a lot of haze off my glasses and I couldn’t see anything in the mirrors other than bright white light. Running just the Cateye is much nicer and doesn’t spoil the night vibe. However I need all the help I can get to spot road debris when descending at speed in the dark.
It feels somewhat strange to be riding at night in February at 10 degrees C, but, as reported by Cliff and Susan, as they say in Texas, I’ll take it!