Yep, Winter Solstice is this weekend for us in the Northern Hemisphere. While I don’t hate winter in the Northwest, I do like longer days, and longer days will start happening soon.
The big problem for me with short days is…well, the shortness of the days. When there’s only eight hours of daylight, it does little to encourage me to ride my bike. Yes, I know I can ride at night, and yes, I have good lighting, so the darkness in itself isn’t the issue. But come the dark hours I’m more in the mood to hibernate at home than get out and ride beyond utility/commute purposes. This leaves my two days off as days to “take a bike ride”. And most of the time I’m too distracted with other stuff to get around to that, especially if I sleep in (which is easy for me to do on a day off). Hey, laundry needs to be done, other chores attended to, etc. Of course, when I do actually get on the bike for a ride, it feels good. But it’s all about the “getting on the bike” part.
About that commute: I remember talking to someone years ago who had a 10+ mile commute to work. I commented that it sounded like quite a long commute, and she said that it was perfect, because at that length she really felt like it was a “bike ride” and could get really into it. And after the commute I’ve had to work over the past year, I finally (finally!) understand what she was talking about. My commute to work is just under six miles (10 km), which, while not particularly long, ain’t short. It’s not like the 1 1/2 mile commute I had when I lived with April, where I could just about oversleep and get to work on time. Now when I oversleep, I’m late, no doubt. I have my commute trimmed to the fastest route possible, and I rarely deviate from it. Now a lot of it is pleasant riding, but it takes about 35 minutes, just not enough. If I had a commute of ten miles, it would mean about an hour riding, long enough to get in the mode of riding a bike. Long enough to feel like I’m getting a bike ride.
I’ve thought about waking up earlier and doing a longer route into work. But that of course would mean waking up earlier. I’m lucky enough to get up on time! I’m still open to this idea, but it might be easier to roll out of bed when it’s not dark out in the morning.
And that time is coming, my friends. With longer days it will mean that eventually I’ll have the opportunity to just go on a bike ride after work without having to get so motivated. And longer daylight during days off means I can actually do nothing in the morn and still have time for a good ride later in the day.