I had to be at work at 4am this morning, which meant getting up at 2, getting on the road at 3. I am not a fan of waking up that early, but boy am I a fan of being on the road at 3am!

It’s funny because my coworkers often will express concern when they realize that I plan on biking in even on the days when I have to be in super early like that. I guess they think it’s more dangerous because it’s dark.

Or maybe they think it’s more dangerous because I’m a woman traveling through this mean mad world when it’s dark.

But the reality is that most everyone is asleep. There is almost no traffic, which makes for a very stress-free commute. The world is quiet. And if there are lurking predators waiting for a lone female, vulnerable in the night…well, I don’t see them lurking in the bike lane. And even if they were lurking in the bike lane, I’m more than capable of changing lanes to avoid them.

As for it being dark, I’ve got a lot of lumens in all directions. I bet I’m more visible to drivers when it’s dark out than I am when it’s bright sunlight!

So today was a good day. In by 4am, out at noon.

I stopped by the bike shop on the way home. After spending a couple years frustrated with one bike shop, I met a mechanic for a different bike shop last November while participating in a bike light giveaway run by a local advocacy group. I decided to give his bike shop a try, and I’m so glad I did.

I have been very happy with my new bike shop. They’re more on the way home from work, though still a couple miles out of the way. There is almost no turnover in mechanics, and they are very much on the same page as me when it comes to my biking. At the other place, they never really seemed to get the needs of the commuter.

At the new place, there’s one mechanic in particular, Ricky, who is amazing. He loves bikes, and really cares about making sure my bike is running great. He also has a magic hand when it comes to adjusting brakes. I make it a point to go to the shop on the days I know he’ll be there.

I needed new rear brake pads, and the front adjusted, and I needed to order a new rear wheel. Bike shops in the winter are so much fun – every customer treated like royalty. In the summer they make you feel like you need to beg to get on the waiting list. The new place is better, and willing to work with commuters, but they’re still busy so there’s only so much they can do. The winter is a completely different story.

It was a great feeling to leave and have brakes working so well. Of all the different aspects of the bike to be princess and the pea about, I’ve discovered that it’s brakes for me.