Danger Zone: Evening riding
#1: Evening riding by itself is bad enough, what with the decreasing light levels, the different darkness thresholds people have for turning on headlights and increasing traffic associated with afternoon rush-hour.
#2: A new problem, specific to the late summer has appeared! Swarms of tiny midge-like insects that emerge from whatever torpor with which they pass the day, and fly up to eyeball level in the evening.
Story: Last evening, circa 8pm, I was riding to Lee’s house and coming down the weak hill on Route 25A in Stony Brook. Just as I approached the little nursery west of the train station I went through such a swarm. Fragile flying insects filled my eyes, blinding me with tears and bug-guts. At the same moment I hit a patch of sandy gravel that had spilled from the nursery’s parking lot into the bike lane. I wanted to stop because I couldn’t see anything, but I know if I hit the brakes in the gravel-puddle I would crash for sure. I held on until I felt clean road again, and then stopped to rub my eyes. Rather than removing the bug matter from my eyes, this only pulverized it more and I had to creep the rest of the way to Lee’s house with severely blurred vision.