Early Starts, Annoying Lights, and Shadowy Partners

Sunrise over Tree Line Blvd.

My weekend rides with Señor J were thoroughly enjoyable, not only for the great company and camaraderie, but also for the early morning starts. We pushed up my normal 8:00-8:30 AM start time to 6:30-7:00 AM which not only lets us escape the Florida heat (summers are always hot in Florida, but the saving grace is cool nights and early mornings), but also lets us enjoy spectacular sunrises while riding down empty, pre-morning rush boulevards (a curious note here, although there is very little traffic at this early hour, I did have to break for an errant armadillo crossing the road this morning).

The one bad point is that it is still rather dark out there at 6:30 AM and as summer winds down, it will only get darker. The combination of darkness and half asleep early morning motorists could be a disaster in the making, so I headed over to my favorite LBS (the Trek Store of Estero) to check out some lighting.

Not wanting, nor having the room on the bike for bolt on lighting, I was looking for something compact which could either clip to my saddle bag or my jersey, yet be highly visible to any approaching motorist. I was shown a large assortment of lights from a variety of manufacturers. All were compact, had a variety of mounting options and were bright, but one in particular, the Bontrager Flare 3 Taillight stood out, especially when it was switched on to strobe mode. To say it’s bright is an understatement. In fact it borders on annoying.  It is visible from over 4,000 feet away and runs on two AAA batteries for over 30 hours.

I tested the light out this morning on my solo ride. Sure enough, at the first stoplight, a motorist actually said “that light is really annoying”, which in my mind is a compliment and acknowledgment that I can be spotted from a distance.

The video above pretty much speaks for itself. I just feel a wee bit sorry for whomever is riding my wheel on the next group ride. Speaking of group rides, Señor J and I will be riding with the Trek group next Sunday. They are about 80 riders strong so we are really looking forward to it.

Speaking of Señor J, I missed having a riding partner today, although the sunrise did make for some rather fun, extremely elongated shadows. It’s just a shame you can’t draft off them.

Today’s solo (shadows do not count) ride was down Tree Line to Three Oaks Park and back. I’ve noticed that there has been a discrepancy between some of the numbers reported by my GPS computer and my bike computer. Distances and actual speeds have been spot on, but the average speed has been way off. As it turns out I did not have the stop detection selected on the GPS computer which made it report far lower average speeds. We’ll see if they are more in line on the next ride.

Route: Three Oaks Park
Ride Time: 2:08:37
Stopped Time: 44:03
Distance: 32.82 miles
Average: 15.31 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 30.02 miles/h
Ascent: 221 feet
Descent: 107 feet
Calories: 2035


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