Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Bug Season Has Arrived In The Willamette Valley
I know I need to get back to the top ten reasons to ride in Salem, but this entry just couldn't wait. And try as I might, I couldn't figure out how to fit it into the top ten. Anyway, enjoy.
Today signaled the start of Bug Season in the Willamette Valley. The sun must have coaxed all the happy young bugs in 97305 to test their little wings today. All of them, at the same time, like mass Drivers’ Ed for bugs. These critters’ first forays out into the friendly skies brought mixed results: the skilled and lucky ones survived to fly another day, the not-so-lucky ones went to heaven after their first flight. The upside is, they were an excellent source of protein for me!
A basic fact of nature will repeat itself every day for months: from now until we see frost on the pumpkins, cyclists will be on a collision course with bugs. We will be slapped, slimed, stung, and force fed with insects of every variety. I don’t know how fast these little buggers fly, but when they hit you head-on, you feel it!
When bugs slam into my helmet head-on, they usually make a loud noise. It makes me wonder whether they survive or not. But then I worry that maybe they landed inside one of the helmet holes and are jammed between my helmet and my head, dazed and confused, and they’re gonna be mad when they wake up. I hate thinking about that. I’ll admit that I’m a helmet checker after a bug slap.
Some of the more intelligent bugs have devised a better strategy: they travel in the same direction as you and politely latch on, hitchhiking on the cyclist’s arm or leg or neck for a while. We become sort of a “rest stop” for the smart but weary flyers, who just need a moment to stretch and yawn before continuing on their enlightened little journeys. I suppose I don’t mind smart passenger bugs, as long as they don’t crawl. I get wigged out when they crawl. That’s when I flick ‘em.
Swallowing a bug on a bike ride doesn’t really happen all that often, but when it does, there’s not much you can do about it but hope it doesn’t wriggle. You can’t really avoid open-mouth breathing when you’re riding hard. And if by chance, you happen to ride south on Cordon Road at 20 mph, and you inadvertently swallow a bug that was flying north at 10 mph, that’s a 30 mph snack. You don't even get the chance to taste it. It qualifies as “fast food.”
Fly on, my little bug friends. Take to the skies on your winged flight. Perhaps our paths will cross soon.