After a late August and early where I struggled to stay motivated in my training, I feel like I'm back in the groove this week. The humidity is finally starting to ease up, daytime highs are more mild, and the mornings have a lovely crispness to them that I've missed.
All these good things come at a price, and that price is shorter days. Specifically, my early morning training rides (5:30-6:30am) now take place entirely in the dark. In the heights of summer I wouldn't even bother with a taillight, now I'm running full headlight/taillight and wishing I had some reflective gear to strap on. I plan on quitting the early morning rides (switch to running) after the century ride I have scheduled Sept 28, but that leaves me two weeks where I need to be on the bike every day.
The darkness has cut my options for routes dramatically. My small town is about 3 miles long, maybe a mile wide. There are a fair number of quiet, well lit streets to pick from, but it's tough to get more than a half mile without turning or stopping.
Having a broken up route is annoying, but the bigger issue is visibility. I have a half-watt taillight and headlight from Planet bike. I find this setup perfectly sufficient while in town where my visibility is augmented by streetlights. Beyond the streetlights, I start feeling very, very vulnerable. My biggest fear is meeting a car and becoming difficult to see for overtaking traffic. I've snagged a reflective vest from the cycling section of the local hardware store, I guess it'll be an improvement, but I don't know if it'll be enough to be out riding without feeling invisible.
How about you? Any recommendations for riding in traffic in the dark?