While city and interstate riding certainly have their challenges, riding in the country can be no less exciting.
Out here we not only have to contend with farm equipment on the road, local lads who feel that stop signs offer but the merest hint of a suggestion to slow down, and city folk gawking at “the scenery”, but the critters as well.
Dead skunks, even when given a wide berth, will fill your full-face with their olfactory presence for several minutes. Hitting a live skunk extends the pleasure for weeks. Turtles the size of a small boulder will suddenly appear from between the wheels of the car in front of you. And deer seem to have a genetically programmed death wish to cross the road in front of every passing vehicle. (I can imagine them bragging about it later. “Hey did you see that? I left fur on his bumper. Bet you couldn’t come that close.” “Bet I could. Watch this!”)
Now the bears are on the move in search of new homes and food.
Saturday, on one of my favourite riding roads a rider hit a bear with predictable results – rider injured (fortunately not too seriously), bike damaged, bear injured and most likely dead.
This particular road is favoured by local riders because of its (as the story says) “scenic curves”. It’s also lightly travelled so the chances of getting stuck behind Ma and Pa Kettle for 10 kilometres at 20 kilometres per hour are slim. For both reasons, riders tend to push a little harder than usual and assume the road will be clear around that next blind bend. I know I certainly have, and probably will again, but this story just serves to remind us that when riding anything can, and will, happen. And always when least expected.