Cycling in the dark: an appreciation

Yesterday some new super-powerful front lights arrived, to replace the ones lost in the midst of one of my many bouts of forgetfulness. I’m now back to my preferred set up of two back lights – one flashing, one constant – and two front lights.

The beefier of the two front ones is only required for dark country lanes. To test it, I cycled down to Reculver at 11pm last night, through the drizzle and past the sea fishermen packing up their rods for the night.

I switched it on shortly after the church of St Mary the Virgin, and Reculver lane’s secrets were revealed to me. My handlebars made grotesque shadows on the passing hedgerows, like antlered hell beasts moving unnaturally along the margins of my world.

I sped downhill, taking the middle of the road as cyclists are wont to do, my new powerful beam pointed down at potential pot holes. I passed an estate of retirement static caravans, guarded by a gate topped with stone lions, and then all of a sudden I was by the sea, switching my lights off and leaning my bike on a metal barrier.

When my eyes had adjusted to the darkness, I could see the towers of Reculver, and, just off the coast, the lights of a ship, blurred by my fogged-up glasses and the worsening rain.

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