An Amusement & Diversion for The Genteel Cyclist. Daily.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Urban Obstacles: The Squirrel


Barker, a TV news reporter out in Seattle Portland, blogged today about his Thanksgiving ride -- the highlight of which was taking out a squirrel. Which got me thinking. Each day I ride through Loring Park on my way to the office, and I frequently see a dark-haired woman who looks like she's both crazy and wealthy. Wealthy, because she's in a long fur coat. Crazy, because she spends hours feeding the squirrels out of a plastic grocery bag, making a daily effort, apparently, to gain their trust to eventually -- what? Pet them?

Needless to say, the squirrels converge on her like she's St. Francis of Assisi. But this: They're preferred path to the Crazy Squirrel Lady is directly in front of my front wheel.

I'm not a cruel person. I take evasive action, at no small risk to my own person and property. And for what? To remove myself from my important role in Natural Selection, the Circle of Life, predator and predatee?

Squirrels are surely not the most threatening mammals en route -- I've hit dogs, deer, and once almost a porcupine, which might have produced a fabulous story and scars.

But our gray little urban friends are truly a divisive group. You either love them and think of them as cuddly, wild oversized hamsters, or you think of them as tree rats.

They are also the most capricious of jaywalkers. Have you ever hit a squirrel on your bike? Drop a line and let us know.

14 comments:

bother yam said...

I have. I was coming to work with a buddy when one of them thar rats ran into the middle of the road in front of my buddy. Rodent hits the Indecisive button on his little mental dashboard and does a little left-right-left and darts away right into my front wheel.

Instead of being thrown from my bike and the satisfaction of beheading the beast, it just bounced off and ran the other way and I just kept riding.

Next time, Squirrel.

Next time...

bikeblackribbon said...

Suicidal Squirrels are indigenous to our local MTB trails (Kettle Moraine)in SW Sconny. They dart under your wheels faster than human reflexes can react. These aren't the long tailed tree squirrels that (I think) you're talking about....these are ground squirrels......chipmunks. I ran one over this spring and heard-slash-felt his little skull crunch under my tire as I was enjoying a portion of the Kettle loops ironically called the 'squirrel loop'. It's called the Squirrel Loop, because the outline of the trail, on the map looks like a tree type of squirrel. I wonder what's got these squirrels down......what makes them end their lives this way. I blame rap music and the Bush administration.

Joel said...

Used to dodge (and occasionally hit) squirrels on my commute home back in CA. I did a detour on an MUP which ran along a canal and the little things were everywhere. First time I actually went over one was a little disconcerting, but the @#$%@ thing just kept running so I guess they're made of flubber or something.

Dobie said...

i don't know how you missed it, maybe from the previous post, but this guy is from Portland.
It makes me feel better about myself to point out others mistakes

dobie said...

on a more revelent note, I didn't hit a squirrel per se, but in an attempt to cross my path I had one jump at me, bounce around in the main triangle for about 1/2 a stroke, then leap out the other side. he ran off, to die?, I don't know

Anonymous said...

No, but I've hit a chipmunk. Chipmunks have this weird habit of running out in front of you, getting clear, then turning and running back, only to get nailed.

burnt said...

I have yet to hit a squirrel. I used to try to pick left or right and go around them. This led to too many close calls. Now I ride directly at them and force the little demons to choose. This works much better.

dudebra said...

ohmigadwd, i wonder how that fat squirrel got through those Ultegra calipers!

our group MTB ride got attacked by a red squirrel once, I distinctly remembering it getting inside my spokes and running circles around the hub. The best cleaning job ever!

But I thought hte damn thing was going to tear my flesh.

Anonymous said...

"and once almost a porcupine" That wasn't a porcupine, that was Zito having not shaved for three weeks.

Barkernews said...

Thanks for the link!
One minor correction: I'm in Portland, not Seattle.

And the squirrel's still laying there on the road. I rode past him this morning on my commute to work. Poor guy...

Anonymous said...

I never hit one on a bike, but once I stepped on one while jogging. I know that's not what you asked.

It's pretty close - the squirrel is dead.

Anonymous said...

Okay, it's not a bicycle, but it is one hell of a squirrel...

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