Uncle Dave Has a Plan...

Daylight Saving Time: You're Doing it Wrong

Words Dave Tolnai
Photos Deniz Merdano
Date Mar 22, 2021
Reading time

Like what feels like every second person in the Lower Mainland, I spent a fair amount of time riding bicycles this winter. Honestly, it was crazy out there. I’d find myself trudging through the sludge on the sort of day when you historically might only bump into a handful of other morons, only to find that 2020-2021 has caused all sorts of people to descend towards madness, riding in the rain and the snow and the dark.

These rides kept me sane through the winter, but they often felt like I was just doing it to do it. You’d mention the possibility of a ride in the morning, your significant other would perk up to the fact that they would have the house to themselves for a few hours, so you find yourself kicked out, loading your bike up in the rain, dreading the wet ass you’re going to have in an hour or so. You have some fun, but you also think that all those people that are really into football might be on to something.

Winter riding is fun, but it’s also not. And as I rode my bicycle tonight after work in the light of day for the first time in several months, I had a revelation. We, the mountain bikers, need to treat the coming of Daylight Saving Time with more reverence.

Look at all the stupid shit we celebrate. Rider contracts! Bicycle releases! Certain people prepare for the summer solstice like they’re auditioning to be pagan high priests. But we’ve got nothing for an extra hour of daylight in the spring? It’s madness! This event is life changing! New possibilities are immediately opened up. Literally overnight, evening rides go from a race against the clock or a juggling of lights to a leisurely thing that you do whenever the hell you want. And you get your weekends back! I mean, you’ll probably wind up riding more, but not because you feel you have to. Pissing down rain on a Sunday? No worries! I’ll ride tomorrow evening! Or not! Because I could ride Tuesday or Wednesday as well!

It’s taken a bloody year of pandemic isolation to realize how important this event is for me. I was so fired up that I made a two hour swing this past Monday. I adjusted my required, government mandated hour, and then I threw in another one on top, just because. I sprang out of bed early and I started to get shit done. And, as I thought about it, I realized that this was an annual occurrence for me. Every year on that first Monday, I’m early out of bed so that I can start work early and I can really hammer a nail into that first evening ride. By the time I hop out of my truck, and breathe in all that fresh spring air, I’m something close to 20% less of an asshole. We need to spread this word.

Think about it. Daylight Saving Time brings the dark into the light. It’s a gift of our most precious commodity and it should be treated as such. Granted, I’m proud of the restraint you all showed this year due to this whole pandemic thing, but next year, we need to make this happen. Or, more accurately, somebody with some follow through and a budget needs to make this happen. Maybe it can be sponsored by Specialized or Santa Cruz or some other company with deep pockets. Yes, somebody needs to ensure that the first Monday after Daylight Saving Time becomes known as International Go Mountain Biking Day (or maybe something a bit snappier than that).

Do I care that there are lots of other sports that can similarly take advantage of all of this saved up daylight? No. Do I care that this might fall on spring break and that parents have other things to do? No. Do I care that it’s traditionally one of the most dangerous days of the year for traffic accidents? No. I mean, I do, but this is too important to allow things to be derailed by such details.

What needs to happen is that we all need to layer a nice evening bike ride onto our already sleep deprived selves. We should send all those damned spring break kids off to the mall for a few hours and reclaim this time as our own. If they’re persistent, the kids can come along, but they should probably head home before things get too crazy. There should most definitely be donuts, beer and sausages, and there should most definitely not be costumes. There should be a mother-flippin’ traffic jam full of tailgate pads and roof racks on the Lion’s Gate Bridge! There should be cars backed up down to the bloody mall on Mountain Highway! There should be trailhead fistfights* to see who gets to drop in next, and bonfires, sacrifices and police cars! Rain or shine (or the first Tuesday if there’s lots of rain), this should be a thing. And then for the next few months, we can get back to complaining about there being too many people on the trails.


Uncle Dave

*No, not really.

Uncle Dave’s Music Club

How does one celebrate Daylight Savings Time via music? I really have no idea. The song should involve time. It should involve new beginnings. It should be uplifting and motivating. Well, my goodness…this feels right. My goodnes..why are the embeds no longer working? This now feels anti-climactic. Please click here.

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+3 AJ Barlas Cooper Quinn Cam McRae
The_Nige  - March 22, 2021, 12:05 a.m.

Here in the Yukon we ditched daylight savings this year, so now the winter sun sets at 4:00 instead of 3:00! Winter recreators rejoice!


LAT  - March 24, 2021, 4:15 p.m.

it’s a bit dark in the morning, though.


+3 Vincent Edwards WheelNut Absolut-M
WalrusRider  - March 22, 2021, 5:06 a.m.

The people of Washington have been trying to get Daylight savings time to be a permanent thing for years now. Unfortunately our Federal Government has to approve any state wishing to make changes to its time. There is a bill called the Sunshine Protection Act which will hopefully be voted into law this year that will make the entire USA permanently on daylight savings time.


+6 AJ Barlas Cr4w Mammal hotlapz Sandy James Oates Absolut-M
rolly  - March 22, 2021, 6:49 a.m.

Get this done asap.  As soon as you do, BC can move ahead and stick to DST as well.  I dread the "fall back" lose an hour garbage.  It already is miserable in the winter as the darkness creeps in, but to knock off an extra hour of liveable daylight is just cruel.


+2 Mammal Sandy James Oates
WheelNut  - March 22, 2021, 9:31 a.m.

From what I've seen in the news paper Oregon will follow suit with Washington and BC on this one. I'm really hoping that the Sunshine Protection Act gets through this year!


WalrusRider  - March 22, 2021, 5:06 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

-2 LAT rolly Sandy James Oates FatBear
Kos  - March 22, 2021, 5:59 a.m.

I'm fine with DST, but hate the newer, earlier start.


Lover of Spring Corn Skiing

Edit: Wow, thanks for the tolerance of a different viewpoint, guys.


+2 IslandLife Niels Andrew Major Absolut-M
Skyler  - March 22, 2021, 7:44 a.m.

Alternative perspective: imagine you live across the bridge from the North Shore. On March 10th, you set the alarm for 5am, are in the car with a cup of coffee at 5:40 and cruise through empty roads to be parked at Hyannis around 6am. You start pedaling uphill in growing light and by the time you get to the top of GSM, the sun is bright. You get a proper 3hr ride in, and get back to the car at 9am. By the time you're changed and loaded up, rush hour has passed and you can get back to work in south Vancouver by about 9:45, which no one minds because they all stay until after 6 anyway.

Then, on March 15, you wake up at 6am (which is the same time of day as that 5am start the other week), and get to work at 8. You're the first one there because everyone else is struggling to adjust to DST. At 4:30, you get in your car, which is already loaded up with your bike and kit. Then, you spend the next 1hr10 smashing your head against the steering wheel, while trying to get through 22km of motorized a-holes. You arrive at Hyannis at 5:40, but finding parking is hard because it's 2021 and everyone is doing the same thing. You get pedaling just before 6pm. At the top of GSM, it's starting to get a bit hard to see under the dark canopy. You do one lap and then it's pretty much too dark to ride without lights. You drive home wondering if the time spent in traffic was worth the 10 minutes of descending.

In short, we didn't gain an hour, we just changed what time we go to work, and the closer work hours are to dawn or dusk, the more daylight you have on the other side.


+1 Cam McRae
Mammal  - March 22, 2021, 8:57 a.m.

Yep, you're right. But I would suggest that most people use their spare hours after work. It happens both ways, but the extra time is more commonly used in the evening. At 5:30 am Monday morning, I'm in my car with a coffee and bike loaded, heading to work in South Van. At 3:30pm, I'm gearing up for a ride at Seymour (with hours to ride now).


+2 Cr4w Mammal
Deniz Merdano  - March 22, 2021, 9:14 a.m.

How about the monday after DST is a public holiday and nobody has to go to work.. wait.. make than just mountain bikers of the GVRD. And then we can ride all day or not.. but we.have the option to..

Uncle Dave, if you ran for some sort of MTB president, I'd consider rallying for you..I really would. 

Now, it's the day after a 50cm dump on Seymour, so I'm off to ride my bike...


+2 Cr4w Deniz Merdano
Cooper Quinn  - March 22, 2021, 10:13 a.m.

I hereby bequeath my title to Dave.


+3 Dude@ Skyler Karl Fitzpatrick
IslandLife  - March 22, 2021, 9:23 a.m.

Same for me... I have a weekly Sunday morning "dawn patrol" ride that allows me to get a good long ride very early in the morning with no one around while at the same time gets me back to the house with the whole day to spend with the fam, do chores or go from another ride with the fam.  (The fam rides as well... but I still need my solo or with a friend,  high-speed, smashy double-black rides).

I'm torn on this whole thing... I definitely appreciate the time change and enjoy more light in the afternoon.  But after the time changes, for a good chunk of the year in early spring and late fall, those rides have to start much later.  And if we move to a full year of this... those rides aren't really lonely dawn patrol rides anymore, they kind of verge on mid-morning rides with the masses.

And with my current life schedule with young kids, riding after work isn't an option for me.  But, I do get how there are a lot more people who are able to use that extra light in the afternoon/evening vs early morning riders it's part of why my early morning rides are so gloriously unpopulated... I'm usually the only car in the lot when I start my ride!

I'm torn...


+2 Skyler ExtraSpecialandBitter
Cooper Quinn  - March 22, 2021, 9:54 a.m.

Pro-tip: park at the corner at the top of on Northlands Drive. While it won't solve your traffic woes, it'll solve your parking woes.


+2 IslandLife Cooper Quinn
Dave Tolnai  - March 22, 2021, 4:44 p.m.

Who knew there were so may DST truthers out there?

I wrote this last week as I came down off the stoke of my first evening ride. I'm willing to consider other opinions now, but it seems really foreign to me to want to do anything so early in the morning.  I wish it weren't the case.


+1 Pete Roggeman
Skyler  - March 22, 2021, 7:15 p.m.

The truth is, the only things more powerful than my love of staying in bed in the morning are my coffee habit, my love of mountain biking, and my hatred of traffic.


-1 FatBear
ExtraSpecialandBitter  - March 24, 2021, 11:04 a.m.

Or you convert your commuter bike to an e-bike and tow your mountain bike past everyone that's chosen to be part of the traffic jam.  Remember, you're not stuck in traffic, you are traffic.

Or just ride up in the dark and start your ride down in the light.  It's nice turning your light off part way up the climb and enjoying the sunrise.

More importantly, does this mean Skyler is back in Vancouver?


Skyler  - March 24, 2021, 1:06 p.m.

This is a really good idea!

Yup, back in Vancouver.


0 flatch ExtraSpecialandBitter Cooper Quinn FatBear
KenN  - March 22, 2021, 11:48 a.m.

Okay, so first ... thank you from the bottom of my heart for correctly calling it Daylight SAVING Time, not savingS time!  It's not a fxxxing bank account!

I may be in the minority, but I actually like the DST system.  The worst thing, imo, is having to endure the endless bitching and moaning about DST twice/year.  All this silliness about "increased accidents" and so on are just a diversion that appeals to people that are so resistant to change that they can't handle an hour of time change.  People fly across time zones every single day and adjust to 1, 2, 3 and more hours of time change and nobody whinges about that!

Rant over, the sun is coming out for what's shaping up to be a gorgeous Monday, can't wait to finish off my work cause Imma hit some trails this afternoon!


+1 cheapondirt
flatch  - March 22, 2021, 5:47 p.m.

Different perspective, I still have a couple of girls who walk to school and I’m not sure I’m big on the idea of them out there in the dark in the morning. Keep in mind, permanent DST will have sunrise around 9:00 am in the dead of winter. As some of you know I do heavy civil and road construction and starting my day later and later really blows. It will also have me fucking up your commute home later into the afternoon/evening. First world problems. Besides, night rides are a blast.


cheapondirt  - March 22, 2021, 7:03 p.m.

I'm with you on that. The sooner we have enough light to start work, the more time we have with family in the evening (before, say, kids bedtime - or anything else that's tied to the clock instead of the sun).


+1 Greg Bly
Squint  - March 22, 2021, 8:39 p.m.

100% with you there. Not interested in winter morning commutes in the dark. Lock to standard time, you may have to wait as few more weeks for evening spring rides but you get them longer in the fall.


0 Skyler IslandLife Greg Bly FatBear
Drinky Crow  - March 22, 2021, 6 p.m.

So there was this scientist on teh CBC the other day making a very compelling argument that we ditch DLST for ST permanently because ST is based on the sun to which we evolved.



> "As a biologist, I think about this in terms of the biological clock," explained Patricia Lakin-Thomas, York University professor and Canadian Society for Chronobiology board member.

> "We have this clock in our brain that is set by light and it controls our daily activities, our daily physiology, our sleep-wake cycle. And then there are clocks all over the body … they get set by the brain clock," she said.

> Lakin-Thomas compared switching to permanent daylight time as being in a perpetual state of jet lag, as the body's biological clocks, or circadian rhythms, would constantly be out of sync.

> "Under standard time, the time is going to be closer to our natural tendency to rise with the sun and to be in sync with the sun. Standard time is closer to that body time," she said.


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