Riding Aluminum Takes Balls

On the Commute: Brought to you by the makers of Brave Soldier Chamois Cream, “Performance Beyond Limits”.

Tonight felt darker than usual. I guess I still have to get used to the change in time. With my cold weather bike on the DL, I called my Cannondale out of the bullpen to work in relief. Riding aluminum takes balls; literally. It’s still fast. I know that I can throw it and have it respond without question. That response comes at a cost.
Riding through downtown Paterson as busy as it is, is lit up. I don’t fear miscalculating a pothole or running over glass in the area. When I get out onto the CR’s that’s when the riding gets more difficult. Tonight’s darkness had a special guest; mist. I navigate like a bat at night, under regular conditions, but rain and mist mess with my radar.

I usually ride with my Niterider set at 300 lumens. I don’t know exactly what the hell a lumens is, but I know that 750 of em’ is really bright and really unnecessary on my commute. Tonight I had to bump up the power on the light. Jumping from bike to bike takes a little getting used to and in combination with visibility issues; makes for a nervous ride.

I altered my route to accommodate the weather. Instead of taking Broad St from Clifton to Bloomfield, I opted to climb a bit on Grove as it has a wider shoulder. Broad is flat and fast, but also littered with debris from the storm and motorists that don’t give much space without a fight and a honk. Instead of cutting through Brookdale Park I kept onto Watchung. I never go this way as like to go through the park, but slick roads, debris and low visibility kept me on the main road. Level 42’s “Something About You” was playing on my I-pod. I love that song. It’s safe enough to keep me riding without risk. As soon as I hit a descent as if on cue, Soundgarden’s

“Pretty Noose” came on. I launched to take the lane and barreled down. With the mist fogging my glasses causing major visibility issues, I concentrated on headlights coming the opposite way and any dark object on the ground that would’ve indicated a depression. I didn’t want to go faster than I could react, but I was on my Cannondale and we had been here before in San Francisco on streets steeper than this. I kept traffic at bay by riding the limit and finished the descent by taking a wide turn going right to the double yellow in order to stay safely upright. Jacked off adrenaline, I kept it at steady 19mph the rest of the way home, weaving through cars when I had to, accelerating when needed and only coming out of the drops to cool down for the final mile. I love this game.

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