Sea Shells and Flying Squirrels


I’m sure, much like a sea shell from the water’s edge, while held to your ear, you can hear the ocean. Likewise, if you picked up my helmet and held it to your ear you would hear the sound of me screaming like a little girl. Why, you ask? When riding along, we bikers encounter things that might evoke a scream or reflexive body jerk to avoid what may or may not be there. A bird flying up from the road as it hears you coming can cause you to duck even though it wasn’t going to hit you anyway. A dog or other predatory animal running out on the road can also cause an uncontrollable sound to come from my mouth-as I react in an un-cool manner. Even the bug that is coming straight at my head, only to miss me after dodging it with cat-like reflexes can cause a reaction that can be embarrassing to me and others if I know there might be a witness. And those witnesses are usually the ones riding behind you. A bug? It can’t hurt you, right? Of course not…

The ride to work this morning is why I bring this up. It was a beautiful fall ride in, although a cool and windy one. The trees are changing their colors and I know that I’m in the midst of a change in seasons. Stunning. When out of nowhere, a bird, bat or flying squirrel, comes from above, flying directly at me with very high velocity! I was traveling slightly above the posted speed limit due to two cups of coffee, and I realized an impact was going to happen. Everything went to slow motion as I weighed all my options in a nano-second. Swerve or duck? Accelerate or hit the brakes? Take the full hit? So many options in such a short time. Decisions, decisions.

So here is what went really went down. I’m riding along, and out of the corner of my eye I see a flying animal of some sort coming at me with a death wish. Start slow motion cameras and scary music. In a split second, I duck, scream in my helmet, close my eyes while bracing for the impact, and realize that a leaf doesn’t hurt as bad as you think…


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