I love the smooth ride of cycling on pavement, but I’m less than comfortable on the road with cars, and where we live the closest alternatives are trail riding and mountain biking. Usually, when I’m limited on time, I choose trail riding along the Canal. It’s bumpy and dirty, but it’s also beautiful and serene. And since I don’t’ have to worry about cars, I can wear my ear buds and get lost in my music. Cycling with music is therapy and joy for me. I can think deeply, relax and work on whatever might be going on in my life.
Lately, however, nature has been almost a little too present for me. Wildlife along the canal is always out there and welcome. After all, it’s their home I’m riding through. And, perhaps because there are a lot of people who use the trail, nature is pretty accustomed to the human intrusion.
Today, cycling the Tow Path, I came across squirrels unwilling to move off the path, black snakes lazily lounging across the trail and a dog that beat his person back to the path from a hike in the woods. The latter just about put me over the edge of panic. This summer alone I’ve been faced with foxes in daylight, geese that came after me (as I screamed and tripped over myself trying to get away), a dive-bombing heron, and a few territorial groundhogs.
I’m petrified of animals. Always have been. Which is bizarre if you know anything about my husband and the various animals living under our roof. I’m starting to rethink the road versus trail riding choice and the danger of cars over animals. I used to think it was really only bears that scared the beJesus out of me, but, as it turns out, #Iamscaredofbearsandanyotheranimalwithavowelinit!