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What daylight savings time means for biking

Posted by Christina Jedra  March 11, 2013 01:40 PM

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Sunday marked the day when I, and many of my biking buddies, rejoice. We are grateful, for Sunday morning was the beginning of Daylight Savings Time. This means that we can now ride our bikes after work and make it (most of the way) home before dark.

We know that spring is still a few weeks away. And yes, the edges of many of our roads remain covered with a wintry mix of sand, snow, gravel, and ice. Not to mention the potholes that lie waiting to bring us down. 

Riding outdoors, at least for now, is a bit of a challenge.  

But for the avid cyclist, none of that matters.  

Daylight Savings Time means that the sign on Conant Road in Lincoln (“Attention. This road will be closed for two nights in March or April for salamander and frog migration”) makes its annual appearance.

I’ve never seen this migration. Perhaps this will be my lucky year.

All winter long the peloton has been suffering, consigned to ride in the basement. Pedaling and spinning, huffing and puffing, we work hard and go nowhere. Though we do increase our functional threshold power by 9.2 watts, which we will use to try to match the college racers with whom middle-aged men like me will never keep up. 

Still, a guy can dream, can’t he?

So soon, very soon, our Vitamin D deficiency will be gone. We will crawl out of our caves, perhaps as soon as tomorrow night, and hit the roads. Just thinking about an after-work ride makes me giddy.

Okay, so Sunday was not an auspicious start to Daylight Savings Time. The roads were wet and icy. But by 4 p.m. the sun had arced high in the sky, high enough to melt all but the most stubborn patches of ice, and turn last December’s 4:11 p.m. sunset into a distant memory.

And yes, by 4:11 p.m., I began to head west. Go back to your cave, winter, and leave us alone.
With spring almost here, we are well on our way to the Holy Grail, that 8:25 p.m. sunset that appears toward the end of June.

Sure, my friends from the Crack of Dawn Ride, which starts at 5:45 a.m. and follows the rule “Be there [on time] or ride alone,” are all about the sunrise. But for those early risers, the Crack of Dawn crew (and I try, I really do try, but I cannot find a way to get up that early, even if it does mean a chance to ride with my friends Jeff, Andrew, Mel and Bruce and the rest of the gang), Daylight Savings Time is but a bump in the road, a minor inconvenience before we reach their idea of Nirvana, a 5:07 a.m. sunrise at the beginning of June.

Me, I’m just happy another winter is almost over as I give thanks and pray to the Gods of Cycling. 

And that prayer? 

May the roads be dry and pothole-free. May I find a way to keep the rubber side down. 

And may all the salamanders and frogs have a safe and happy migration.

Jonathan Simmons is the author of “Here For The Ride, A Tale of Obsession on Two Wheels” You can follow him on twitter @On_Biking.

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