Bike to Work & the Snapping Turtle

Last Friday was bike to work day. I noticed an unusual amount of bike traffic that day, but now it is back to normal. The weather has been good for biking, warm but not hot with gentle winds. I have been at FSI this week, which is a little more than half way as far as my usual ride, but since I have to make the return uphill trip, it is a little harder.

I see some of the same people on the bike trails, which is not surprising. Most of the people riding at that time are commuters like me.  We tend to ride faster and more consistently. I am very consistent in my biking times. Only a strong wind makes significant differences. 

People who bike only occasionally or for leisure are less predictable or consistent. Sometimes I see someone way ahead, but when I catch up and pass, they go faster and pass me back. Then they slow down again until I pass again and the game continues. One of the habits some bikers have is a kind of lock colonization.  People leave their locks attached to bike racks, presumably because they are too onerous to carry around every day. I think some people just forget about them after a while and they accumulate.

Most people walking dogs on the trail are okay, but some have bad habits and so do their dogs.  The offensive dog walkers have their animals on long leases. The dogs run back and forth across the path, alternatively getting in the way and setting up a rope barrier across the trail. Dogs have become dumber and less agile. They used to be alert. Old time dogs knew when you got close and would leap out of the way with alacrity. Many of today’s dogs are like slow-witted drunks. They stare blankly as you come up on them and often don’t move until the owner pulls them away. I think they are too cosseted by their owners. It has dulled their instincts. Maybe there is more inbreeding too. Those little designer dogs seem to be the stupidest.

I haven’t really figured out the runner etiquette. I run to the extreme side of the trail or on the gravel verge. It is easy to bikes to pass me.  Some runners insist on running down the center line.  I give them as much space as I can when I am riding, but if they are striding the center there is not much space to give them. The center runners tend to be the crankiest. Some of them complain when you pass them about not getting enough space or warning.  Shitheads. I just keep on going. But most of the runners are good.  I think the ratio is like I used to tell the kids. Ninety-nine out of a hundred people are good, but you pass more than 100 people.

There is one old guy I have been seeing for more than ten years, a barrel chested guy with a Marine style haircut. I never talk to him but he seems so familiar that I wave at him when I pass.  

A big snapping turtle was stranded in the middle of Shreve Road when I rode home. Cars were swerving to avoid it and I didn’t figure it was long for this world. His shell would have done him no good against the car tires. At the pace he was going, I wondered how he got that far w/o getting squashed. A guy stopped his car and we kicked it along until it ambled to safety on the side of the road. Another passing motorist suggested we grab it by the tail on the assumption that it couldn’t snap us in that position, but both of us were afraid of the thing. It opened its mouth threateningly as every time we nudged it and everybody knows that those things can snap off a finger if they get a good shot. There is a wetland on the side of the road where we shooed him. The other side is just a construction site. It seemed like the thing was crossing from the verdant swamp to the rocky construction site. It would have been a mistake, but turtles don’t do a lot of hard thinking.

Why did the turtle cross the road? To get to the Shell Station.