There are many natural hazards out there on the road. Here I am not thinking of bumps, hills, or cars. I am not even thinking of wind, even though that might be considered a natural hazard at times (such as today when the wind here is blowing at 20 mph with gusts up to 30). I am mostly thinking of bugs.
One day, Dave got stung by a bee while riding. There was a general stop while medical necessities were dealt with. Unfortunately for Dave, Chuck was the one doing the dealing. According to Chuck, he pulled out a credit card (always a useful thing to have on a ride, right?) and used it to scrape away at Dave’s forehead (yes, he nearly got stung right between the eyes) in an attempt to get the stinger out.
According to Dave, Chuck abandoned the credit card and pulled up a speed limit sign and used that to scrape away at Dave’s forehead and didn’t stop scraping until several minutes after hitting bone. We think Dave may exaggerate, but he swears that, if he ever gets stung again, he’ll leave the stinger in rather than let Chuck help him out because it will hurt less.
Other bug encounters have been less painful.
For example, one day I headed out to ride with some friends. I was riding to the rendezvous point and, for some reason even I can’t explain, had decided to go as hard as I could. I was an utterly unattractive site, because my mouth was hanging open so I could suck down air and a bug flew straight in my mouth, bumped my epiglottis and dived down my throat.
Now, I know that bugs are supposed to be high in protein and low in fat, but I’ve never eaten one willingly, not even as a child, and I'm not tempted to eat any more, because this one tasted really really bad. The experience has not inclined me to become insectivorous.
Then there was the great mosquito feast.
A group of us had gone out for a ride in the county, and, as sometimes happens, someone got a flat. We all pulled over to wait. There were no houses visible within a few hundred yards. There were, however, trees, grass, a ditch (into which I would, on a later day, tumble head over heels while trying not to run over the face of someone who had gone down right in front of me) and lots of dirt.
No big deal. We lounged around chatting while the flat was being changed. The lounging lasted all of three minutes, after which slaps began to be heard followed by a bit of language. The mosquitoes had come. We don’t know from where, but they had come in a massive swarm. You could see them crawling over nearly every square inch of exposed skin. Who knows what they lived on when they could get human, but there were a ton of them.
I am not ashamed to admit that we fled. (Not the person who was changing the flat, mind you, though I suppose the insect advent did increase the speed with which that flat was fixed.) We hopped on our bikes and took off down the road for a good hundred yards, where we tentatively climbed off our bikes and waited. The mosquitoes did not follow us.
Then there are the armadillos.
Armadillos?! Aramdillos aren't bugs.
I know. I just wanted to work them in and couldn't think of a good segue.
Well, we don’t actually know about the armadillos. Chuck claims to have seen the armadillos one day while out on a ride. Several other people looked but no one else saw the armadillos. I offer that one up without comment because I wasn't there.
I also know at least one cyclist who ran into a deer (or got run over by a deer, depending on whose side your on) with no apparent injury to either party.
We won’t even bother to talk about dogs. The dog related injuries of people I know have ranged from scrapes, bumps, bruises, road rash, a separated shoulder and a broken pelvis. None of them, however, have been bitten.
(Yes, I did notice that, right after saying I wasn’t going to talk about dogs, I pretty much did so. That’s the kind of confusion you get sometimes in a blog like this.)
I suppose there have been other animal encounters out there, but I haven’t been involved in them. If you have, feel free to share.
See you on the road.