I’m telling you, a rabbit landed on me…I wouldn’t make this stuff up!!

scottish borders

You head out for an evening bike ride, for a bit of good honest solitude. You’re several miles down the most obscure country lane in the north of England. The only signs of humanity are the Tarmac beneath your wheels and the odd dry stone wall.

You’ve even turned your phone off.

But still, you are not alone.

Your surroundings are teeming with wildlife just waiting to interact with you. Until you’ve been honked at by a goose, stared down by a sheep, or belligerently ignored by a cow, you’re not a proper British cyclist.

I often wonder whether I might one day strike out on some epic ride across a continent – from one end of Australia to the other, for example. When I consider this, the thoughts that spring to mind are always the same.

There’ll be Funnel Web Spiders in my tent and Kangaroos bounding alongside me as I ride. I’ll undoubtedly spend much of my time beating off Saltwater crocs, Pythons, and poisonous Cane Toads. Meal times will see me fretfully attempting to distinguish between good, nutritious bush tucker, and plants that want to murder me.

To be honest, I can’t imagine I’ll even have much time to ride my bike.

All of which makes the odd panicked peacock or adversarial hare, both of which have confronted me over the years, seem trivial. And extremely British.

On one recent evening ride, as I skirted the dusky light between day and night here in Lancashire, I may have had the most British wildlife encounter that any cyclist has ever had.

As I rolled absent-mindedly down a deserted lane – probably happily mulling over the difference between drizzle and mizzle, or firming up my personal moral position on the best flavour of crisps, as we Brits are prone to do – a medium-sized rabbit dashed across the road ahead.

He glanced briefly up at me, and disappeared into a hedge.

Two pedal strokes passed, and he appeared again.

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I was surprised, he was terrified, and he leapt with involuntary panic at the sight of my front wheel; a panic not, it seems, tempered by the fact that he was at least about to be run over by a rather nice Campagnolo front wheel, rather than some run-of-the-mill piece of kit.

The panicked leap had him appear, surprisingly, at face height, before landing with front paws on my handlebars and the length of his body resting on my wrist and forearm.

He gripped me, with a fearful tension.

“Aaaaahhh…ooohhhhhhh…whaaaa!” I said.

“Squeak. Squeak squeak squeak. Squeak eeeek,” he said.

We freewheeled together for a few seconds, unsure what to do, before he flung himself to the Tarmac and skittered, legs flailing, into the undergrowth.

I should mention at this point that “he” could easily have been a “she”; in the confusion, I didn’t have time to sex my new friend.

Neither did I have time to get a picture.

This has led to doubtfully raised eyebrows each time I tell this anecdote, as if this is exactly the kind of evidence-free tale I would conjure up from thin air.

Had I been thinking clearly I would have engaged the rabbit in conversation, gained his/her trust, and requested that we recreate the whole implausible scenario while I took some pictures.

This would have provided a sound evidence base for an entertaining anecdote.

Instead, you’ll just have to believe me.

I’m just glad it wasn’t a Saltwater croc.


(Bike Image: http://www.ragtimecyclist.com | Rabbit Image: via pixabay.com)

 

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9 comments

  1. What is going on? On my way home last night I gazed in awe at a bat flying above me along the same cycle path. As I overtook the little fellow he decided to perform a kamakaze dive into the top of my head. Thankfully my cap stopped me from getting a bat to the face. I saw him bounce on the tarmac as I rode away still figuring out what had happened. I think he mistook my slightly dry chain squeak for a bug. Or perhaps the animals have decided to revolt. It is their nature that we ride through.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. While I haven’t had a rabbit land on me (yet), I have had some “exciting” encounters with a flock of turkeys that decided to cross the road in front of me in the middle of a steep, tricky, fast descent. I also came within inches of striking a fair-sized fawn that was intent on scooting across the road in front of me to get back together with Mom who had already crossed at a safe distance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow. A flock of turkeys? I fear you would’ve come across second best there. Reminds me of the time a peacock leapt from the undergrowth and into my path. Nearly ended up with some seriously upper-class roadkill!

      Like

    • Wild boar are always on my mind when I ride in France, for some reason. I always imagine them snuffling around in the undergrowth and about to appear on the road. Too many Asterix books as a kid, I think!

      Like

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