One of the most pleasant aspects of bicycle commuting is the opportunity for riding in the pre-dawn hours during the fall, winter, and spring. Granted, one has to keep their eyes on the road, trail, path, or whatever you are riding upon due to the darkness, but the refreshing air, comparatively tranquil and peaceful surroundings (traffic is at a minimum), and ability to glance up or stop and soak in the beauty of the stars dotting the night sky makes it my favorite time to ride to work.
When I ride at night for either commuting or recreation purposes, I feel as if the stars and constellations are accompanying me as I pedal. Each time I look up, there they are like old friends. As the seasons change, these old friends gradually shift position in the night sky. Each new season (or cycle) brings about a happy reunion with my celestial friends.
Celestial cycling brings me peace and contentment that I do not find as easy to achieve in the daylight. Perhaps it is the soothing blanket of darkness that envelopes me or the soft twinkle of the stars. Either way, it is like being enveloped in sweet angelic arms as I ride my bike.
It is also a reason why I am so passionate about protecting the night sky through organizations like the International Dark-Sky Association. Nothing can ruin the ambiance and idyllic setting of nighttime ride more than light pollution and sky glow.
Don’t get me wrong, daylight riding has many pleasant aspects too, especially when pedaling along a scenic bicycle trail. But, the noise, commotion, heat, humidity, and brightness of the day more often do not provide the same peaceful respite that celestial cycling does.
If you have not tried celestial cycling, give it a whirl. Be sure to wear the proper reflective and protective gear and have you bikes lights operating properly. Enjoy the ride!
Below is a short poetic verse that attempts to capture these feelings.
As I pedal forth
I glance upward
To see my dear friends
Adorning the dark night sky
For they are with me
In all seasons
And in all places
Bringing comfort, peace, and joy.
– Rick Brown, 2012