Monday, 25 May
Spoiler alert! This will not spoil the outcome of a bike race for you, but it might spoil your lunch. Do not read this if you are ultra-sensitive about the fate of animals.
It finally happened. I ran over a squirrel. Bad karma, mea culpa, oy vey.
I was riding down the Old Woodinville-Duvall Road (a quiet detour off the busy W-D Road, and a nice little climb besides), not paying too much attention to wildlife, and suddenly there was a squirrel shooting under my bike. It happened very fast, but I do remember time to think “this is not good” (usually the vocabulary I come up with in such situations is not repeatable). I fully expected that it would be about like trying to run over a brick. Since I was going 20-25mph, definitely not good.
Who knew? Squirrels are soft.
I kept the bike going in a straight line, stayed upright, and did not stop. What could I do? While I would like to know how the squirrel came out of it, I don’t think I improved its wellbeing (I’m pretty sure I ran over more than its tail). If I stopped to inspect the damage, I was neither going to save the squirrel’s life (call PAWS?) nor dispatch it into the next if it was maimed (grab it by the tail and fling it high into the woods?). Don’t get me wrong. I could not have harmed the animal intentionally. I was quite distraught for the fate of the poor little creature, but—honestly—how could I have helped it? (To be really cruel about it, eastern grey squirrels are an invasive species here anyway.) Hopefully it at least managed to get out of the road so that all the Tour de Cure riders who had to go up that road on their century ride didn’t have to look at it lying there. When I did stop at the next intersection about a mile down the road, there were no traces of squirrel on my bike, just the usual worms and slugs that accumulate from wet roads.
Maybe next time you ride down that road you’ll see a gimpy but otherwise healthy squirrel? Maybe my bad karma is dissipated by the squirrel’s own Darwinian behavior?