Sat, 11 Jun 2005

Midair collision

Yesterday, Jenny and I were on one of our normal weekday evening rides to the state line and back on the Centennial Trail. The critters were out in full force. The mild winter left a thriving rabbit population that exploded this Spring.

With the recent rain, the vegetation has closed in around the trail leaving plenty of places for the little critters to hide from sight right at the trail's edge.

Twice, little chipmunks scurried out in front of us. Each time, Jenny squealed, jammed her brakes, a desperately avoided maiming or killing the furry little imps.

Jenny, I chastised her, "Don't hit the brakes and swerve! If you actually hit one while you're doing that, you'll crash. Better to send a chipmunk to his death than end up in the hospital yourself."

But she just can't overcome her natural reaction to avoid hitting them at all costs.

My turn came on the return leg. We were cruising along, side by side, when I saw a flash of fur out of the corner of my eye. A full grown rabbit—last year's model, I assume—was parked under a bush that was encroaching on the left side of the trail, out of sight. We startled it and it launched itself like a rocket. Stewart the rabbit jumped high enough to clear my front wheel vertically, but not soon enough to avoid a midair collision just under my handlebars. The crash made a terrific racket. Stewart went careening off the right side of the bike between Jenny and I.

I didn't swerve. I didn't hit the brakes. Nor could I have. It happened instantly. But upon hearing the crash and seeing the flash of fur out of the corner of her eye, Jenny braked and began pulling to a stop as I was looking over my shoulder to see whether Stewart was rabbit or stew. He was scampering for cover.

When I turned my attention forward again, I had to avoid a collision with Jenny who was now nearly stopped in front of me.

Never brake! I said, a bit shaky.

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