It was a beautiful summer day. The sun was shining, there was a light breeze, and I was flying down Glenarm Road at speeds upward of 20 MPH. The grass was high that day, providing an attractive view, and I was enjoying the ride with the rest of my cycling group who rode just a few paces ahead.
We were forty-five miles into our weekend ride, when I heard a small rustle in the tall grass. Moments later, I saw a ball headed right towards me. The next thing I know, the “ball” was lodged in between my front tire and the frame of my bike.
I was hurled over my handlebars, landing face down several feet away from my bike. My head smashed into the ground, denting my helmet, and my legs and hands were cut and scraped.
As I lay on the road, thankful my helmet did its job, I saw the “ball” start to twitch. The next thing I know, it starts to unroll and a squirrel emerged, slowly scampering away from the scene.
My crew picked me up and we began to examine the carbon frame of my bike. Luckily, the bike wasn’t damaged, but some of the guys questioned my accident. I told them that a squirrel was responsible for my mouthful of pavement. Normally, they wouldn’t believe such an outlandish story, but the culprit had left behind evidence of his crime. Wedged in between my wheel and the spokes was a small tuft of fur.
I dusted myself off and got back on my bike, riding the rest of the way home with only my left hand. Now, when I see that dent in my helmet, I smile at the memory of one of my first outings as a cyclist.
That squirrel taught me some important lessons. One: you should always be able to laugh at yourself in a funny situation. Two: don’t mess with squirrels. They may be small, but they are brave and, clearly, they have nothing to lose. Three: when you fall off your bike, much like in life, you have to get back up and try again. This I believe.