I’m fairly certain that most people can say that they have run over a squirrel before. I can count myself among those numbers, but have you ever run over a squirrel with a bike before? I just did. Here’s the story:
I was riding my bike on a sidewalk along a busy road in our area as I am apt to do once a week. I reached a part in my ride where the space between the road and the sidewalk is a narrow 8 foot section of grass with a sparse amount of trees on it. On the other side of the sidewalk there are a bunch of high bushes and more trees in that 8 foot section of ground before it meets the back wall of a subdivision. As I was rolling along, I noticed a bunch of squirrels hanging out on the sparse side of the walk, having an intense meeting on how their takeover of the world was going. As I approached closer, the vast majority of them dispersed into the bushes and trees on the other side of the walk. All except one.
This one was clearly riddled with indecisiveness as he continued to stare at me as I slowed my approach. I got within 6 feet of him when he finally decided on a course of action. First, he darted for a nearby tree then had second thoughts. He then went towards the street and immediately turned around. He then darted towards the bushes on the other side of the walk at which point I was in the way of his most direct route. He cleared the front wheel, didn’t get so lucky with the rear wheel.
I heard a squeak and felt a bump under the rear wheel as I kept going down the sidewalk, cursing his squirrel parents for raising such a dithering rodent and making me feel like the bad guy. I wasn’t far from my turnaround point, so I reached it quickly and went back, looking for a heavy stick or rock along the way in case I needed to finish the job. I would hate for him to be suffering any more.
By the time I got back to the point of convergence, the squirrel was dead. He was on his back staring at the sky. No outward indications of what had happened. I must have squeeked the life out of him when I ran him over. So I pedaled on back home, wondering what I could do to prevent this from happening again. I’ve been biking that same path for four years and I’ve never had an encounter like that. In our previous neighborhood, I had a streak of 7 years without ever steamrolling an animal (lizards and ants don’t count). By the time I got back to my garage, I had an idea.
I bought a bicycle bell. If I ever run across those scheming squirrels again, I’ll ring the bell and see if that gives them a head start into the bushes. If not, I might just stop and turn around in case they remember that I’m the one who took out their leader who was spearheading their Total World Domination plans.
On second thought, maybe I should bring a heavy wrench too……