Getting My Courage Up For a Spooky Ride

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Do one thing every day that scares you. I don’t follow Eleanor Roosevelt‘s advice every day, but I did last week When I went for a night-time bike ride. I haven’t ridden at night since sometime in the 1970s when I was trying to beat curfew: even then, it wasn’t by choice.

The ride took place on a very dark and rainy night, and our little group rode to a part of the city I had never biked through before.

There were puddles. The paths were covered in leaves so that it was hard to see where the edges were, let alone stay on my side of the yellow line. Wet leaves are slippery. I was super nervous about sliding and falling.

At first I had minimal peripheral vision because I had my rain hood so far over my face to keep my glasses dry. My bright headlight failed in the first half hour; thankfully I had my old one as a backup.

I survived and actually had fun. It was quite magical riding between trees that arched overhead to form a green/red/yellow tunnel. We even stopped to admire Halloween decorations.

Halloween-themed lights in various colours glow on a dark night, with bicycles and cyclists barely visible in front

That night ride was enough of a confidence boost that a few nights later I rode downtown to an evening ballet performance.

I am as prepared as I can be: helmet reflective vest, and cycling pearls.

Diane Harper lives in Ottawa, where she commutes to work by bicycle and is trying to live a mostly car-free lifestyle. Longer rides, just for fun, are a relatively new adventure.

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