Light at the end of the season


Tonight is the longest night of the year – the winter solstice. For some it’s another excuse to get naked on a bike but for all of us it means less dark from now on through to high summer.

Tomorrow, 22 June 2011, is the shortest day of the year for us in the southern hemisphere. The precise astronomical event of the solstice is 3.16am (AEST). This is the moment when the south pole is the furthest from the sun in its yearly orbit. The Sun rises north of east, sets north of west and reaches 28 1/2° above the horizon at noon. See Museum Victoria for more on the equinoxes, solstices and seasons.

The darkness can be more of a psychological challenge than the cold in winter, so it’s great to know that it will now start getting lighter earlier in the morning and darker later in the evening. It’s a gradual change but just knowing it’s happening is very encouraging.

Tip – Keep shining bright

The dark is receding but there’s still a bit of night riding before bike lights are so last season.

Run rechargeable batteries in your lights so they are easy to keep topped up. Every couple of days (or as soon as you see them fading) chuck the batteries in the charger overnight and load them refreshed in the morning. We recommend these lights.

Lights can jump out of their mounts and smash, they can short out due to water leakage or battery corrosion and they can simply run out of battery. So it’s a great idea to carry a second set of lights to avoid a dark and dangerous ride home. Try these ultra compact lights.

You could also install a dynamo light and never recharge a battery again.

This post is for day 22 of Ride On‘s June riding challenge.

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