Saturday, April 25, 2009

Reflectors and Reflections

Greetings Readers

I think I have noticed this before, but never really paid attention to until this past week.

This is not true shit. This is not fact. But this information is in the majority.

Us hard-core bikers do not have any reflectors on our spoke tires. Whereas every day bike commuters have reflectors on their spokes – whether their bike is a road or a mountain bike – or even a fixed gear bike.

I did not take them off to be against them being on the spokes; I just took off all the reflectors (except the Mountain Bike I bought this year) that were on all my road bikes. Going further I do not think I have any front or back reflectors on my bikes either.

Just a second Readers.

I just looked in my box of bike stuff and found the zip lock bags of miscellaneous lights and reflectors. And yes, I do have a lot. Before this post I did not realize how many of those items I have in my box that have never been used beyond the day I bought any of the bikes.

Reflectors are nice, but in my opinion battery operated lights are better than just reflectors. Just as Sam – he showed off his battery-operated lights that were in his spokes. I only saw a picture last year of his lights in his spokes, but going from what I read and saw a picture does not give it justice.

Although, my battery powered lights do get used when required. Yet, I have to be honest there are times when I do not have my battery operated light or my batteries are dead and I do have to ride in total darkness. And Readers – I know that I am breaking the law by riding without lights on my bike at night.

Dangerous, but somewhat exciting barreling down a hill in complete darkness. Only the sound of your tires beneath you and the wind making noise in and around your ears. Sometimes, I am riding in areas that are without lampposts, and then there are areas where there might be lampposts every 50 yards. Even though I do mention that I am barreling down a hill I will tell you Readers that I know the area I am riding in to the best of my knowledge.

That does not make it alright Readers. How am I not to know if the County Workers came out and decided to work on (or destroy) that part of the road or sidewalk earlier that day? I just do not know. I do not encourage this type of riding – matter of fact Readers - do not do it. You could crash into something, you could fall, you could break your rim, break your bike or worse yet hurt or even kill yourself riding at night in the dark without lights.

Yet, my proudest moment (and my proudest moment may be my most fucked up moment – depending on your point of view) was my brother and I riding down from Echo Lake to Idaho Springs at 9 PM on August day years ago. That day in August we got caught out riding to the top of Mount Evans on our bikes and took longer than we thought. Even though we misjudged our time we still rode to the top and then back down. I would have to say that was pretty scary and reckless of us to ride in the darkness of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, but it had to be done. It was so dark, but being the area without any lights anywhere we could partially see from the stars up in the night sky. No moon that night, but the stars helped us get down to Idaho Springs. However, when a car came from the opposite direction we had to slow down and pull over just in case the vehicle thinks that they were the only one on that road at that moment. And to adjust to our pupils being dilated to the darkness and then the suddenness of high beam headlights shining in our fasces, we really had to slow down and ride to the far right of the road to b safe from the oncoming vehicle.

Flashback – my brother and I were so cold coming down from the top of Mt. Evans we had to stop at the lodge at Echo Lake. Luckily, the place was open. My brother and I ordered some hot chocolate to warm up. While we were doing that I saw on the wall of the place a movie poster of the movie – American Flyers. One of my favorite bike movies – yes even better than Breaking Away. So there I sat on the stool looking at the American Flyers movie poster with some autographs of the actors and actresses of the movie. To me that was the neatest thing to see – After all, I have the DVD American Flyers and then to see that movie poster was a “moment” for me. Meaning me, big brother, looking over younger brother just like in the movie American Flyers. That entire day I looked over my younger brother – I drove us up to Idaho Springs, paid for his admission to the State Park and then for the cup of Hot Chocolate. I told him how to ride down in the dark and of course be careful.

That day meant a lot to me and that to this day I still have my Mt. Evans park pass – 08/22. Also, every time I see American Flyers I cannot help to think of that one-day in August and the similarities of me and my brother and the character brothers in the movie. Yes Readers, I know that it is fiction, but still believable enough to be true.

In closing Readers, I do not support, suggest or encourage any rider(s) taking off their reflectors or riding in the dark without any lights. I am more experienced than the average bike rider, but that does not mean I am immune to any type of repercussions of riding in the dark without reflectors or lights.

Until the next time

Daryl Charley
The Fallen Athlete

No comments: