|End of the road|
But last nite, the bus didn't come. I don't know what it is with the 46, but it seems to be the most unreliable bus in the system. So there I stood at the bus stop last nite, with my bike, waiting for a bus that never came. "No problem!" I thought, "I'll just hop on my bike and ride home!" Having the bike does give you a great feeling of freedom. So I coasted down The Av and turned right onto the Burke-Gillman trail.
Things are certainly different from the last time I rode the trail, earlier in the year. There are leaves everywhere - slippery, wet leaves. As a thin sheet covering everything, and in wet, sloppy drifts that try to grab your wheel and pull it out from under you.
And it is dark. I mean really dark - the trail is not lit, and so the only light is what filters in from nearby street lighting. And my little headlight? Well, it is more of a "please don't hit me" light, warning oncoming traffic that I am there. It does almost nothing to illuminate the route.
There is not much traffic - bikes or pedestrians. But what there is, is a real problem. Many of the oncoming bikes have headlights that are seemingly as bright as car headlights - they blind me... to the trail, and more importantly, to the pedestrians.
The pedestrians and joggers are the real concern - they are very difficult to see (why do so many wear black coats?!) - literally impossible to see if there is an oncoming bike with one of those very bright lights. But blessings be upon you pedestrians/joggers that have retro-reflective stripes on your outer clothing! My flashing headlight makes those stripes flash back at me, as if they were internally illuminated. Those stripes really work!
It is a good thing that I have ridden the trail so much in daylight - there are several places where the trail curves and where it is simultaneously very dark. Without the daytime familiarity, and with only my weak "don't hit me" headlight, I am certain that I would have been off in the weeds (or worse, splash!) in one of these corners.
I have two criteria that I use to determine whether or not I'll leave the boat on my bicycle in the morning:
- Can I get to the bus stop reasonably dry? I don't want to start the day in wet clothing, and
- Is there frost on the dock? I don't want to start the day in clothing wet with saltwater either.
And the skis come out.