Trail Ramblings: Creatures of the Night

Lincoln trails are fast, dry, and for the most part clean this week, even the Bison and Salt¬†Creek levee trails. Also, as everyone has by now noticed, we are back to Nebraska Normal for July. It’s hot. It’s humid. It’s dry. If you have a problem with that you’re living in the wrong state. So what do you do if you want to ride your bike and and you don’t enjoy the heat? Aside from moving, you have a choice between early morning and late evening or night riding. The trail system is good for this, but you do need a better than normal light. The kind that actually lights up the trail enough to see, not just be seen. You also have to be extra vigilant for those dog walkers and runners who don’t wear any reflective gear. You’d be surprised at just how many of them there are at 5:00 AM.

night rider
Gina the night rider

I’m not normally a nocturnal person, but this time of year I think early morning and night are ideal times to ride. There’s very little traffic and a ride that normally takes 45 minutes may take just 30.¬† When I had relatively frequent job start times of 5 or 5:30, one of the things I enjoyed most, aside from it being the most awesome time of the day to ride in good weather, was watching the wildlife. The street storm water sewer system acts as an animal subway at night. 4:30 AM seems to be rush hour for the raccoons, cats and other animals using it. Another unforeseen perk is how much more intense vegetation and earth smells at night. Plants actually seem to lean over the trails. Your whole sensory experience shifts from being primarily visual to your senses of smell and hearing.

So those of you who just can’t get enough heat, have fun. For the rest of us, we’ll be more nocturnal in our riding habits to get our daily dose.