Last weekend featured a seriously fat moon (at perigee).
Proud to be a lunatic (at least this very moment), I took advantage of the long long nights and arose well-rested at four a.m. Sunday morning.
“Think about all the years you won’t have the energy to pedal into the hills on a whim” I goaded myself.
There is always a ten minute tug-of-war between the coziness of the duvet plus the peace of the street, vs. the knowledge that silvery roads and webs of treeshadow are impossible to enjoy just any old time. Faint honks of a northbound flock of geese break the deadlock.
My readers know that here in the San Francisco Bay Area it’s illegal to seize the night. On public land like Municipal Water District or County Open Space, or state park or National Seashore. Maybe even the entire continent frowns upon nocturnal frolic. Is this a puritan thing?
And yet, like some other pastimes, it hurts no one (am I deluded here?).
NIght rides are cheapest (note: I didn’t say ‘best’) when enjoyed alone. Ears can pick up the murmur of gun-and-radio toting sheriffs who never go it alone after dark.
It’s pretty jarring when the rangers catch you: They yell “Freeze! ” just like on T.V. I once overheard one bellow to his surprised quarry: “You didn’t stop fast enough! You’re under arrest!” etc..
Given the recent BART police shooting of a young man lying flat on his face in a train station on New Year’s Eve, one realizes it’s best to steer clear of excitable boys with badges.
Just leave the lamp at home. Sans headlight, your eyes adjust. OK, a flashlight can help you around a fallen oak in the middle of the trail that wasn’t there the day before…
Oh haven’t you heard about the plague? Sudden oak death. Just heard that it’s reached Scotland too. Ouch.
We believe it’s related to the climate change. Our dry summers became damp, which opened Pan-Dolores box. No winter storms this month. Only three flavors of day: foggy, cold, or fine-and-cold, or sunny-unseasonable.
Douglas iris began blooming in December, along with milk maids and violets. These are February wildflowers.
It’s as if they know Marin’s in a drought, and are rushing to fling out some blooms, and maybe set some seed .
This is a boon for cyclists.
Correction: a boon for lazy, maintenance-loathing riders. No, wait: it isn’t a boon, it’s a dilemma. You get to ride more, and clean/maintain bike less.
Meanwhile, the “Planet” (our acre here in the Bay Area anyway) screams “au secours!”
It’s enough to drive one mad.
Or out the door at four a.m.
The ritual: Tip toe carefully down frosty steps (so as not to detonate the damn dog chorus). Enter house, scrounge up day pack, empty it of debris. Swiftly (before doubt creeps in , since the house is nearly as cold as the outdoors) put on the right clothes in calculated layers. Heat up up some cocoa and milk and pour scalding hot into little thermos. Wrap cup in a towel (this will be used to sit upon), throw the Zeiss mono-scope for better moonviewing.
Gloves….flashlight…helmet? Sure, I’m riding by Braille, might as well hedge me bets. Gloves off, helmet cinched. Gloves back on. Press on fake moustache…Check bike tires for inflation. Pray they’re hard, otherwise it’s another five minutes to light up the shed, to find the pump, then find the valves on each wheel (you have to turn the wheel a minimum of three revs, enough to freeze the fingers through gloves), find the cap after putting it on the ground, etc. When it all checks out, we’re off to play in the sleepy hills.