Stuff that Flies

09.29.2006 | 9:57 pm

This post has been moved to


  1. Comment by Random Reviewer | 09.29.2006 | 10:09 pm

    it’s hard to imagine the feeling of having a bee in your helmt while you’re descending at 50 miles per hour unless you’ve experienced it. or, rather, unless you’ve experienced it before and been stung, and are now experiencing it again.
    on the other hand, as god told ellen many years ago, do you have any idea how many people are employed in the flea collar industry?

  2. Comment by mark | 09.29.2006 | 10:45 pm

    I have never been made to feel like a cycling novice so much as I have today. I went to my mechanic to have him help me adjust the fit of my road bike. While I was there he–in the nicest possible way–told me that I don’t know how to pedal. Admittedly, I should not know how to pedal, since I ride a long-travel mountain bike with flat pedals (no straps or clips), but it’s still no fun to be told you don’t know how to pedal. Then, Fatty tells me that I don’t ride very much because, knock on wood, I have never been stung by a bee while riding. I once had a bee fly into my jersey, but miraculously I was able to coax it out before it did any damage. I also had one fly into one of the vents of my helmet, but again it flew out quite promptly. Perhaps I should start marketing my personal care products to cyclists as bee repellant. Maybe I’ve stumbled onto yet another use for Gold Bond Medicated Body Lotion…

  3. Comment by EricGu | 09.29.2006 | 11:34 pm

    I’ve yet to be stung. Some of that is because I’ve taken to wearing a second layer next to my skin, and some is due to my moral superiority and rugged good looks.
    I have, however, run into really big insects at 45 MPH, eaten my share of flies, and I *did* get stuck the last time I rode a motorcycle in shorts. That *last time* was about 20 years ago, but it made quite an impression on me.

  4. Comment by JET(not a nickname) | 09.29.2006 | 11:54 pm

    I’ve often wondered WHY insects instinctively fly into your face while you’re out riding. Why not zero in on the legs, or mid section? No, they go straight for my face. And the bees? I hate those little spawns of satan. I hate bees, can’t stand them, swat at them and run away screaming like a little girl (which is kind of a funny site when in actuallity a 6′5" male is running around the yard screaming with appendages flalling) whenever they come buzzing by. And they know this, and fly straight into my vents or down my jersey. Flying insects are the only thing I can truly say I hate about cycling. I also know the pain of getting struck by the large insects. I once hit a Monarch butterly doing about 40mph. drilled me right in the chin. Thinking about all of this makes me want to wear a full faced motorcycle helmet next time I ride.

  5. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 09.30.2006 | 12:06 am

    Sadly, it’s not just on the trails.  Those bugs also congregate on the shoulder of many roads.  And worse than that – they’ve mistaken ME for YOU and swooped in for the kill.
    I did once get a wasp sting between the knee and the knicks about 5km from the end of a 200km road race.  It’s always an intense time in a race, but for me doubly so.
    And technically, aren’t you running into the big bugs, rather than them into you?  Just thought that should get cleared up in case it ever goes to court.

  6. Comment by Jsun | 09.30.2006 | 2:51 am

    Here goes my self inflicted jinx- I have only been stung by a bee twice in my thirty eight years on this planet (and am not afraid to go outdoors). 
    I’m not bragging, I am just trying to figure out how to add my name.  ??

  7. Comment by Unknown | 09.30.2006 | 2:17 pm

    Anything that flies is technically a pest when one is on a bike. Seagulls can be particularly mean near the beach. Flying things are evil when on two wheels. And they ALWAYS ‘get’ you at inopportune moments, like when you’re going pretty hard and have your mouth open to breath…glachh! …right in the little hangy thing at the back of your throat.

    I have been stung so many times that I have to carry that little hypodermic needle kit (prescription only) with the liquid injectable adrenaline or whatever it is…a lame addition to the ziploc kit of tube, patch kit, $$, phone.
    Thanks, F., great blog today, getting stung or smited by flying crap kinda sucks.

  8. Comment by Born4Lycra | 09.30.2006 | 4:16 pm

    Well I’ve been very lucky insect wise having only been stung the once many years ago on the neck. Since then no problem touch wood. However we do have an interesting "pest’ here in Oz that often causes mayhem. During nesting season it’s swooping effing magpies. Some just flap around your head but others are hell bent on piercing the skull and obviously they are the ones you have to look out for. To top it off they are the emblem of one of the most disliked football teams in this state and that makes it even more annoying. They can be so bad and persistent the Cops often have to come and shoot them particularly if they are nesting in the vicinity of junior schools. I hate em. (All Magpies not all the Cops)

  9. Comment by Tom Stormcrowe | 10.1.2006 | 1:57 am

    I caught a grasshopper in the forehead once, right above my glasses and below the helmet line. IT HURT!

  10. Comment by Unknown | 10.1.2006 | 2:15 am

    Gnats. Da$&$&# them! My commute home is along the New River (weird they call it the New River when it’s geologically the oldest river in America….. anyway). Town has put in a nice set of bike paths that will soon lead almost from my back door to about 1/4 mile from work. Normally I like riding along the river, watching the seasons change throughout the year. I always like this time of year because the trees are starting to change and there are lots more ducks and geese around. It’s also often foggy and riding through the fog is always fun, watching the mist collect into drops on your arm hairs. Okay, this is mostly the ride in during the morning. The ride home is another matter. It’s warmed up and the dreaded gnats have come out. Fatty failed to mention the breeding habits of gnats. In my experience, they like to start new families near water. So, since the New is not very exciting here (read, the water’s slow), there are plenty of gnat residential areas.

    While riding home, with my lovely wife, we noticed that we don’t talk much on the ride home when we’re near the river. We also noticed that the gnats fly at head height. Chest height and below, no gnats; 5 feet to 6 feet, gnats a plenty.

    The best part is when the trail turns away from the river and then you spend a couple minutes trying to brush off all the gnats that are stuck to every part of you. You’ll never get them all, but it’s all part of the ritual.

    I’d like to think this was just our local problem, but now Fatty says he has ‘em. I know when I lived in Boulder there was a reservoir I always tried to avoid because the gnats were so thick in places that you could hear them pinging constantly off your helmet (hey, better gnats in the hair, then down the throat)! Gnats are the new houseflies!

  11. Comment by Andrew | 10.1.2006 | 4:14 am

    I agree with everything above and below, but nothing creeps me out more than pulling spider patrol and end up with on of the little buggers hanging by a slik on the inside of my glasses. I realize that spiders technically don’t fly, but the distinction seems irrelevant at the moment of occurance.
    the weak link

  12. Comment by Joseph | 10.1.2006 | 9:46 am

    last year I was stung about 12 times by wasps and bees, in one case the same wasp stung me 3 times because i could coax it out of my jersey. luckily this year only 2 stings, maybe because i rode far less??! 
    anyway, lucky for you that that bee didn’t sting you a little further back on your tongue, it might have swollen such that it would block your troath and asphyxate you.  i had a similar experience a few weeks ago, managed to spit it out so it only stung my lip, so it’s a bit of phobia of mine at the moment

  13. Comment by Tim D | 10.1.2006 | 9:50 am

    Wasps are my biggest phobia.  I’ve had the wasp down the shirt thing.  I ended up with a three inch diameter, 1/2 inch high raised disk of red itchy skin in the middle of my chest.  I rarely unzip my jersey since.  I got stung by a hornet in France once.  This thing, the size of a B52, attacked me with no provocation on my part.  It stung me on the arm, which swelled up to about twice its normal size.
    I can’t stand anything in my helmet.  Even when I know whatever got sucked in has been sucked out again, I still have to stop and take my helmet off to check.  Giro should market a helmet guaranteed to suck insects back out of the helmet as fast as possible.

  14. Comment by Woody13Fox | 10.1.2006 | 1:41 pm

    Man, you haven’t lived until you’ve ridden through cicada season here in the mid-atlantic/northeast region.  Cicadas are about two inches long by half-inch and come up out of the ground every seventeen years to mate.  They are EVERYWHERE!  About three years ago I went for a nice road ride through a heavily infested forested area…To make a long story short, I ran into several cicadas with my face and chest.  But the pain of hitting these lovely creatures is only half the story; they are big and JUICY, leaving guts all over my face, shades, and jersey.  Also, after the males mate, they die, leaving their big carcasses all over the ground…Soooo, I had to ride through a grave-yard/mine-field of thousands of these things, wheels crunching over them, splatting guts all over my bike, legs, and yes, water bottles.  NASTY!

  15. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 10.1.2006 | 2:46 pm

    I’ve been stung probably 5 times, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of the offenders.
    Once while I was riding in Snowshoe West Virginia, I was stung/bit by something on the inside of my thigh. Whatever it was got me through my shorts and it hurt way worse than a regular sting. Over the next week, the skin in the area became necrotic and rotted a dime sized hole in my leg.
    When your lip was all swollen up, would you have said "Fat Cyclist" like "Fabbpt Cybblist"?

  16. Comment by Tim | 10.1.2006 | 7:45 pm

    Flies, gnats, wasp, cicadas!! Pah!! You really know you’ve been attacked by stuff that fly’s when a magpie attacks you. As per Born4Lycras comment, Magpies, a native of Australia, love nothing better during mating season than aggressively swooping on unsuspecting bunches of cyclists and pecking the backs of necks etc. They really give me the sh!ts… and they’re Australian too, to boot.

  17. Comment by sans auto | 10.1.2006 | 10:49 pm

    I have never been hit by as many flying things as I was outside of Arco ID.  The gnats would be stunned at impact, but when I stopped to use the restroom, I learned that they were all still alive.
      I once had a robin try to fly through my front wheel on the Interurban trail outside of Kent.  He didn’t make it, and he nearly caused me to crash.
      I’ve only been stung once on a bike ride, just a couple inches to the left of my man parts, through my shorts.  I will count myself lucky
       I’ve only been shot once.  I was riding with a small group just south of Provo UT and we heard a shot and then three of us were hit in the rear by what we think was bird shot.  The guy was far enough away that it didn’t break skin, but the three of us each had a handful of matching welts on our backsides.  We called the cops and they come and concluded that based on the foot prints in the snow, the guy was shooting at us and not the birds.  That ended the investigation.  I ride by that spot twice a day on my commute and think about it every time. 
      I would say that the gun shot hurt worse than the big bugs, but it was comparable to the bee sting.

  18. Comment by Jane | 10.2.2006 | 7:01 am

    I started riding my ten speed again, FC. What do you do when your head itches and you can’t get at it through the helmet? Gnats suck, too btw. Toodles!  Jane

  19. Comment by Tim D | 10.2.2006 | 9:04 am

    Talking about riding through stuff.  A few years ago, we did a tour down the Danube cycle path.  Early in the morning the path would be covered in huge green slugs, 6-8 inches long and about 1-1 1/2 inches in diameter.  You couldn’t avoid them.  The first hour of each day was accompanied by the squelch and pop of unlucky slugs.

  20. Comment by Unknown | 10.2.2006 | 2:54 pm

    what do you expect when alot of you live in the beehive state ? I’m just glad I don’t live in wisconsin.

  21. Comment by bradley | 10.3.2006 | 1:34 am

    I was nearly stung in the ear this year (nice rhyme, eh?) but as I was frantically trying to poke the bugger out of my ear, it stung my finger instead. But you know, there are nice flying things. While I hit many a cloud of gnats yesterday, I was also able to watch some red tail hawks flying above a field that was being plowed, waiting for some "timorous little beasties" to run into the open for lunch/dinner. At least we don’t get eaten by flying things, we eat them instead (how do you know you spit them out when you are spitting? I sure can’t tell.)

  22. Comment by Baby Blue in Texas | 10.3.2006 | 3:58 pm

    Being allergic to bees and having to carry a shot kit around daily, I believe that bees must not be able to differentiate between the sexes because they must mistake me for you.  If there is a bee within a one mile radius, it will find and harrass me while I also flail around screaming like a girl (of course this isn’t as funny as you doing the same as I am a girl).  But I wonder and can’t remember if Utah gets those "lovebugs" (or telephone bugs, they say hi and hang up) that plague us in September and October and November BAD.   Can’t keep a car clean here in Texas during that time and as for the knats, I guess the ones in Texas seem too enjoy  tormenting the Texas people themselves, whether you are walking, riding or just standing – they find you.
    Here’s to better riding in the future and less bee stings for you and yours,

  23. Comment by Unknown | 10.9.2006 | 7:06 am

    Gah. _So_ been there on the mouth sting. Happened to me a couple of weeks ago, actually ( My cow-orkers had a field day. I still wince when I come down that hill into work, and have to remember to keep my damn fool mouth shut, no matter who’s playing on the iPod.


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.