|Nature has become the bicycle|
Another story was reported by Sam when he returned from a club ride with a local group. The group was riding along when out of nowhere, one of the cyclists let out a quick chirp and pulled over. Apparently, a wasp had managed to fly under his arm, into his loose-fitting jersey and was stinging him on the side of his abdomen. A lesson to those of us who prefer looser fitting clothing while riding: perhaps a more fitted top is in order to avoid such incidents.
I've also heard several stories about various animals appearing without warning in front of cyclists (the scariest ones taking place in the dark of night). Everything from prairie dogs and squirrels, to deer and moose, as well as birds that seem unwilling to move (geese and ducks are particularly common on trails in this area), sending cyclists careening off the road/path. Fortunately, no one who has told me their story was hurt too badly (bruises being the worst case scenario).
One cyclists' story involved nothing more than a rock in the road. I can definitely identify with his story because I, myself, have had similar experiences. He was riding down a well-traveled highway when in the distance he spotted what he believed to be a small(ish) rodent. Believing that the animal would move (out of fear) when he got closer, he thought little of it and looked down at his GPS device to see his current rate of travel. By the time he glanced up again, it was too late to realize that what in fact was in front of him was a fairly good sized rock, which ended up taking him to the ground. A bit of a bruised ego, I have no doubt, but he lived to ride another day.
My personal nature v. cyclist moment came just a couple of weeks ago. I don't normally run into problems with nature, so I was taken a bit off guard. I was out for a ride with Sam one weekend when I was approaching the top of a climb. Relieved that I would soon be racing down hill, I began picking up speed. About half way down the most glorious downhill, something struck me directly in the eye. I slowed and pulled off the road, wincing in pain. I couldn't open my eye at all and thought it must have been the biggest rock ever to hit someone in the face (the fact that it was able to bulls eye me was itself miraculous as I was wearing glasses and a visor on my helmet - somehow, it was able to sneak through though). When Sam reached me, he informed me that it was in fact a bee that had smacked me in the eye, and it was now stuck - partially on my eyelid, and partly on the inside of my glasses. The stinging sensation left behind - not from the actual stinger, but merely from impact - won't soon be forgot.
I'm not sure I could have this sort of thing happen again even if I planned it, but let these tales be forewarning to those on a bike. Nature is all around us... and it's ready to strike - especially when least expected. So, how about you? Any random run-ins with nature this (or prior) cycling seasons? Feel free to share.