Cycling Through Curtains of Fog, Twilight and Darkness

I don’t fancy myself much of a night rider. I don’t go night cycling just for fun.  Night riding for me is strictly utilitarian –commuting to and from work, occasional shopping or cycling to a restaurant/event not far from home or hotel.   I’m slower because I can’t help but think

Sunrise along bike-pedestrian Riverside path while cycling to work. East Village, Calgary 2015. Photo by J.Chong
Sunrise along bike-pedestrian Riverside path while cycling to work. East Village, Calgary 2015. Photo by J.Chong

something might suddenly jump from behind inky black shadows of bushes and trees. Or I startle a car driver along a street less travelled by cyclists  –even if there is lots of streetlighting.

So where I can, I stick to wide bike paths and bike lanes in early morning, foggy days and night darkness.

I have once fallen off my bike in the dark, because a dogwalker allowed his dogleash to be far too long across a bike path. I’ve heard of a local cyclist bombing down a hill too fast and flattening a rabbit.

Kitslano Beach area in winter morning fog. Vancouver BC 2016. Photo by J.Chong
Kitslano Beach area in winter morning fog. Vancouver BC 2016. Photo by J.Chong

Though I have take extra care and alertness, by stroke of luck, I’ve seen brilliant sunrises, scampering wild rabbits ,  shifting colour lighting displays on some road and pedestrian-bike bridges  (thanks to energy-saving, cheaper LED lights), quiet kayakers paddling in downtown rivers or shimmering harbourside waters.  Maybe one day, by a miracle, on bike, I’ll catch northern lights undulating across the night sky.

Sunrise at Kilaueau, Kauai Island. Hawai'i 2002. Photo by J. Chong. Got up and cycled to lighthouse by beach watch sunrise over Pacific Ocean.
Sunrise at Kilaueau, Kauai Island. Hawai’i 2002. Photo by J. Chong. Got up and cycled to lighthouse by beach to watch sunrise over Pacific Ocean.

Some low-light haiku:

Soft baby ducklings
Patter across danger,
Parent hustles quick.

Spring sunrise sighting while cycling to work. Calgary, AB 2013. Photo by J. Chong
Spring sunrise and Canada geese with ducklings. During cycle trip to work. Peace Bridge, Calgary AB 2013. Photo by J. Chong

Misty fog hangs over
Wet path after frost melts.
I push past curtains.

Stephen Ave or 8th Ave SW on bike-pedestrian route. Downtown Calgary. AB 2015. Photo by J. Chong
Stephen Ave or 8th Ave SW on bike-pedestrian route. Downtown Calgary. AB 2015. Photo by J. Chong

Fall into love-stroke:
My pedals circling,
To sunset napping glow.

By Adanac bike route in evening. Chinatown, Vancouver BC 2016. Photo by J.Chong
By Adanac bike route in evening. Chinatown, Vancouver BC 2016. Photo by J.Chong
Birds on utility box. Downtown Toronto, near Yonge St. 2015. Photo by J.Chong
Birds on utility box under night streetlight. Downtown Toronto, near Yonge St. 2015. Photo by J.Chong
Snowy bike-pedestrian ramp. Calgary AB Winter sunset 2013. Photo by J.Chong
Snowy bike-pedestrian ramp. Winter 2013. Photo by J.Chong
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29 Comments Add yours

  1. Pit says:

    Fantastic pictures! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
    Safe bicycling,
    Pit

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean says:

      Good morning and thx for dropping by Pit!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sue Slaght says:

    You have captured some gorgeous images Jean. We were spying those geese just the other evening. Wonderful backdrop of the Peace Bridge. My eyesight is not great in low light so I prefer to avoid late evening riding whenever possible.

    Like

    1. Jean says:

      Like you, I would also marvel cyclists who can bike fast especially along areas where there are curves/bends and shadows of trees, bushes.. My reflexes tend to be more cautious at night. As you might know from long ago, some of the local cycling groups here, don’t start cycling in the summer until 8:00 pm or later for a “fun” night ride. I would be left behind in night /star dust. 🙂

      Do you know that Canada geese are protected by federal law?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great pictures. Everything is a bit different when riding in the dark.
    The only time I was riding my bicycle during total night/ morning time was in Finland few years back. It was a tour from 11pm till 5 am, however as it was in the end of June the sun never set so it wasn’t dark 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean says:

      Yes, CCCF, of course I can imagine cycling in the land of the midnight sun in Finland during summer (or in winter it’s the opposite. Dark twilight during day.) Southern Alberta is well over 1,000 km. south of Finland. However, even I had to get used to our summer sunsets at past 10:00 pm when I moved to this province. How many kms. did you bike during the summer night on that ride? I’m sure it was memorable and then you fell asleep eventually after the ride for breakfast?

      If you look at a map of Canada, Calgary is signicantly more northern than Toronto. (No wonder why our winters a lot colder!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Somehow I never had problems with the summer sun in Finland. I actually can even fall asleep when the room is fully lit
        I am not so sure anymore how much we biked, I think it was something between 120-150km with only short breaks in between. We ended up at a friends summer cottage and got some porridge (normal Finnish breakfast) and then went to sleep for several hours

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Jean says:

          Ah porridge, that digestible carbohydrate of cyclists. 🙂 For me it’s oatmeal, except I have to get my microwave working again. That bike trip length is pretty decent. I’ve done 103 km. maybe 1-3 times. In most cases I seem to hit around 90-95 kms. more often over …the decades. I don’t do such distances on 1 ride each wk.

          I rarely can fall asleep in a fully lit room. Handy for a busy father like yourself, of an active young son though!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I rarely do such trips either. Usually I go for 30-40km and that is enough for me 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Jean says:

              Keep at it, CCF. Mini jaunts are healthy too! A nice mental break.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. I really do have to start again, was too busy snce last summer / ill.
              But now I will try to get my bike fixed again for next week 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

  4. Mabel Kwong says:

    Oh dear, cyclists bombing down the slope and flattening rabbits on the awy down. Sometimes it can be tricky to see what’s ahead in the dark, unless you have something like bionic vision. Amazing shots of the dawn hour. Very nice skies.

    I’m not a morning person at all, so if would be very hard for me to wake up early and have a walk outside. But i do prefer going out in the day when you can actually see everything clearly around you. In general, I feel more alert at night even though I do not look forward to walking in the dark when I have to. Very rarely will I go out at night for a walk because I don’t see in the dark too well (astigmatism) and for safety reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean says:

      I’m more an early morning person. I regularily leave on bike for work by 6:15 am. I did have a former job where I had to bike to a transit rail station by 5:15 am to catch the first train.

      I was like you many yrs. ago before cycling when I had difficulty showing up at work @8:00 am. But over the years, especially living in southern Ontario when summers were hot and humid, it was best to start off cycling for work, fun (on weekends) by 6:30 am and then for a fun ride be done by 10:00 am when it became very hot. I felt I accomplished a lot and still had the rest of the day! That’s how I’ve become an early morning person.

      ‘Course I need to go to bed earlier..

      Like

      1. Mabel Kwong says:

        I suppose if you get up early enough each day, it becomes a routine and your body clock gets used to it. Maybe your body naturally wakes up early as well. Hope you get a decent breakfast before cycling each morning to work.

        Don’t know if I will ever get used to sleeping early and waking up early. I find myself to be most creative and productive late at night.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Jean says:

          Everyone is different and needs to find their circadian sweet spot. 🙂 Meaning when best to sleep and when to be most productive. My partner is actually more of a night person. My days of being up until 1-2:00 am at night, are not ideal for me at all.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Love sunset/ night riding, but ultra bright lights do the trick for me. Cars dip their lights for me! Only drawback is our potholey roads

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean says:

      Potholes are terrible at night. My night bike lights aren’t uber beamers but enough for city cycling. You might be cycling in more rural areas because of where you live, fossil. In our part of Canada, our skies do tend to be clearer and it’s open prairie land in certain parts of the city. Enjoy those sunset rides..!

      Like

  6. livelytwist says:

    Being safe is key, I like your stance.
    I like all the photos especially the bike-pedestrian route in downtown Calgary. What are those on the floor?

    Like

    1. Jean says:

      On the cement floor are light shadow shapes. I’m not sure how the effect was done.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. thedumplingmama says:

    Amazing photos Jean! Kitslano Beach is gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Alex Hurst says:

    The lighting in that Calgary photo is really nice. I would be afraid to bike in low light situations as well. My partner said two of her high school friends were just walking late at night out somewhere in BC and actually fell right off a cliff and died. 😦

    Like

    1. Jean says:

      😦 How terrible!

      Like

  9. Lani says:

    I can’t believe you fell off your bike because of a too-long dog leash! Were you angry? Ug. Frightening, to say the least. I don’t like biking at night or early morning in darkness – the limited visibility bothers me (it does driving as well). Of course, there is something forgiving about a limited landscape, focusing on just what is in front of you…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean says:

      I was sure ticked off for that irresponsible dog owner-walker. The only thing lovely about night cycling if it’s a short trip..is seeing sunrise or sunset. Or maybe one day it’ll be northern lights.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ll bet you will like Taiwan. They have miles of cycling lane.

    Like

    1. Jean says:

      From what I’ve seen, Taiwan also seems to have some steep hills because it’s a small ,tight island.

      Like

  11. Great photos Jean!
    Alison

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Inger says:

    I am definitely not a nightrider either:) A lovely photo series and I really enjoyed seeing the photos from Calgary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean says:

      Merry Christmas Inger! Do you have snow where you are in Norway? It’s -26 degrees C in Calgary. We had snow a few days ago so it isn’t that. It’s so friggin’ cold!

      Like

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