3 Cool Things

05.31.2016 | 12:47 pm

UPDATE: If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t generally read the comments, let me recommend that you make an exception this time. I love reading about the amazing things readers are describing having seen from their bikes. And to those of you who have posted comments: thank you. We’re all so lucky to have seen such amazing things, aren’t we?

I’ve been riding for more than two decades now. Not contiguously, mind you; I do take breaks. For example, I’m not riding at this moment.

You’d think — or I’d think, anyway — that by now I’d have run out of things that amaze, surprise, or delight me about cycling.

But I haven’t run out. Not even close. And there are three really cool little bike-related surprises I want to tell you about today. 

The First Cool Thing

Years ago, a guy named Wade asked me to link to his new blog, CyclingTips. I took a look at it — a nice site with a lot of good information in it — and added it to my blogroll. 

Now, of course, CyclingTips is way more than tips about cycling. It’s a mainstream cycling site, and one of my favorites to read.

And as of right now, I’m contributing to it. Specifically, I’m co-hosting their new weekly CyclingTips Podcast. You can subscribe on iTunes, use its RSS feed with many podcast managers, download it directly, or just listen to it here:

You can read more details on this first episode over at CyclingTips. And let me know what you think.

The Second Cool Thing

Last Saturday, The Hammer, The Monster, and I went on a nice long, flat road ride around Utah lake. It’s our go-to ride for when we want to put in a lot of hours, but not a lot of climbing. Plus we wanted The Monster to have a good experience for her first century. 

Screenshot 2016 05 31 09 59 22
I have really stepped up my Strava Ride Description game lately.

The ride went great. Somehow there was little or no wind, and it was at our backs more often than not. We kept a good pace. We had no mechanicals.

And traffic was light — not many cars. But — and this is the important part — we did get passed by about 700 motorcycles.

I am not exaggerating. At least I don’t think I am. Basically, about forty-five miles into the ride, one Harley-Davidson motorcycle passed us, followed by another and another.

And then, for the next four miles, at least one motorcycle passed us every single second. Beautiful motorcycles, obviously cared for and loved. All of them were a pleasure to look at, and many were straight-up eye candy. 

Many of the riders waved, all of them gave us plenty of room. And Harley-Davidsons just sound wonderful

We had been taking one-mile pulls, fading off the back at the green mile markers, but while this unbelievable parade went by, we just held the formation we were in.

Finally, they had all gone by and we had the road to ourselves again. I looked back and laughed. “Can you believe that?” I asked.

“That was amazing,” The Hammer said.

“That had to have been every single Harley in Utah,” The Monster said. 

We hadn’t expected to see a parade, weren’t after a parade. But out in the middle of nowhere, we had been the lone spectators to an incredible parade.

I’m not 100% certain it’s the coolest thing I’ve stumbled upon while biking, but it was certainly close.

The Third Cool Thing

That brings me to the third cool thing. Which is your cool thing. Which is to say, after seeing all these motorcycles, I started thinking about all the amazing things I’ve seen because I happened to be on a bicycle. I’ve seen a wild turkey, running at top speed down a road, looking for all the world like a velociraptor. I’ve seen a moose, standing stock-still and facing me down. I’ve seen people hugging and crying at finish lines. I’ve seen stars, clearer and brighter than anywhere else.

And I’ll bet you’ve seen some amazing, memorable things, too.

I’d love it if you’d share one of those things with the rest of us, in the comments.


  1. Comment by NZ Ev | 05.31.2016 | 12:58 pm

    I see beautiful snow capped mountains this time of year as in the Southern Alps on the South Island of New Zealand. On clear mornings on my commute into work I see the stars shining so beautifully. I see friends riding by and we always wave and smile at each other as we all love the bike and where it takes us.

  2. Comment by Jerry | 05.31.2016 | 1:06 pm

    Biked Sunday on a 42 mile course with 4100 feet of climb. I say that to emphasize that when I came upon this woodchuck near the end of the ride I was pretty tired. Woodchuck stood up and looked at me and decided “I can sprint with this guy”. He ran alongside me for about 50 yards until he veered off into the long grass. Weird!

  3. Comment by BostonCarlos | 05.31.2016 | 1:10 pm

    I’m in Zambia right now with World Bicycle Relief. I can’t even begin to tell you the cool things I’m seeing right now. Or at least I don’t want to spoil the upcoming blog content I’ve got for you. But here’s a video of our site visit to the assembly facility and me building a bike!


  4. Comment by spaceyace | 05.31.2016 | 1:15 pm

    At the Chicago Night Ride several years ago, I saw people stumbling out of bars at 2am, looking at the hundreds of us cyclists passing under the streetlights with wonder and disbelief.

    I’ve seen a tarantula marching across the road in front of my descent after a desert thunderstorm.

    I’ve seen dusk settle over the Natchez Trace in late summer.

    The weekend, I saw a man with one arm on a hand-cycle complete the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic road tour: 6800′ climbing over two mountain passes at two-mile-high elevation.

  5. Comment by Alan | 05.31.2016 | 1:17 pm

    I’ve seen a road almost made unpassable by a giant drift of tumbleweeds, almost 4 feet high, 100 feet wide, and 20 feet thick.

    I’ve ridden near Leadville (after last year’s 100) on an old logging road covered in wild strawberries. It was 1 mile long, continuous strawberry plants. We ate as many as we could.

  6. Comment by Alan | 05.31.2016 | 1:18 pm

    Oh yeah, and I had an owl silently fly along with me for ~50 yards one evening commute home.

  7. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 05.31.2016 | 1:28 pm

    I’ve had the ‘owl’ commute. The ‘coyote’ commute. And, numerous snake encounters. (you don’t have to like them, but I do admire snakes-just know the dangerous ones)

    Alone on the Golden Gate Bridge late at night, or The City shining in the distance from the Marin Headlands on a MTB Ride at night, all great sights.

    But Bobcats, beautiful intelligent predators, have to be my favorite. I’m sure they could take old slow me, but so far I’m ok.

    Mountain Lions stalk Dave T but he’s a much faster prize.

  8. Comment by Erik | 05.31.2016 | 1:34 pm

    One story that comes to mind is the time I was slowly passing two bighorn sheep who were facing each other. Right when I was beside them at arm’s length they rammed, which sounded louder than a gunshot.

    Flashbang lightning in the final descent of a century would be my next story…

  9. Comment by Jenni | 05.31.2016 | 1:38 pm

    Just one? Impossible.
    I’ve seen the kindness of a hand on the small of my back aiding me up a hill while I became weak and blind with tears on a Young Survival Coalition ride going up the gorgeous coast of California.
    I’ve seen acres of compassion in people who got up early together, braved rain and freezing temperature, or thundering rainstorms just to lend support to helping others suffer less.
    I’ve seen obstacles left behind as someone rode with their carbon fiber prosthetic leg for 100 miles. (It said, “Limbstrong”)
    I’ve seen this awesome guy name Fatty create friendships that span thousands of miles and years upon years.

    Oh, and a bear along side the road.

  10. Comment by Jim Tolar | 05.31.2016 | 2:02 pm

    I sent you a picture of something I saw on your blog this morning. It’s in your email. I won’t re-attach the picture here because, well, check your email.
    Cool story about the Harleys though.


    Jim – replied to your email. – FC

  11. Comment by PNP | 05.31.2016 | 2:02 pm

    A few years ago, I was out with two friends for our usual Sunday morning ride. We were about 30 miles west of Portland on a remote rural road, where we always stopped at the top of a hill for a drink of water and a bit of rest. Then we heard a car, which wasn’t normal.

    Next thing we knew, we were treated to our own private parade of about 30 vintage cars, some including Model Ts and cars from the 30s and 40s, every one of them in beautiful condition.

    So we waved and cheered, and the people in cars waved back and smiled. It was amazing.

  12. Comment by Cat_Rancher | 05.31.2016 | 2:09 pm

    I have seen more wildlife then I knew existed- nutria, javalina, coral snakes, a roadrunner that ran along beside us (beep beep!), and yes- a coyote, horny toads, deer, turkeys and on and on.
    I have ridden the beautiful Texas hills in wildflower season where we stop at the tops of hills and just lose our breath from what we see.
    I have heard a hundred cyclists say, “Ahhhhhh” when we switched from chipseal to paved road.
    I have seen our local group band together and go help people clean up on a favorite riding route after they were hit by floods and then a tornado.
    So many things, so many times, and I say to all of us here- as I say on most rides- “How lucky are we to be out here doing this now?” Lucky indeed.

  13. Comment by Larry N | 05.31.2016 | 2:20 pm

    I saw Sasquatch once during a 24-hour race. (My friends tell me it was a chow, but I don’t believe them.

    I also saw a rattlesnake on a long dirt road climb during the Wilderness 101 and four years later saw another (possibly the same) rattlesnake on the same climb.

  14. Comment by Rob & Joanna Szrama | 05.31.2016 | 2:50 pm

    I saw my son, who was 7, riding with me.

  15. Comment by Dave T | 05.31.2016 | 2:54 pm

    On the mountain bike all kinds of animal life including 4 mountain lion sightings last year, one that required a 911 call.
    On the road in the bay area you see all kinds of clubs out on the weekends. On a big ride a few months ago the model A club was leaving the same time as us on the climb up page mill. Climbing at about the same rate. When we got to the top the exotic car club was going down skyline at a very high rate of speed. Nice contrast. Getting passed by the south bay scooter posse was a bit embarrassing.

  16. Comment by NDE | 05.31.2016 | 3:20 pm

    Saw a rabbit run out of the bushes only to get grabbed by an eagle, taken 100 feet into the air and dropped. The eagle then dove back down to grab and fly off with the dead rabbit.

    Also saw a Tarantula hawk kill (paralyze) a Tarantula 3 times its size and then drag it across the trail and to a safe spot to lay eggs in it. That freaked me out the rest of my ride. I thought one was coming for me.

  17. Comment by NDE | 05.31.2016 | 3:24 pm

    I once saw a rabbit run out of the bushes only to get grabbed by an eagle, taken 100 feet into the air and dropped. The eagle then dove back down to grab and fly off with the dead rabbit.
    Also saw a Tarantula hawk kill (paralyze) a Tarantula 3 times its size and then drag it across the trail and to a safe spot to lay eggs in it. That freaked me out the rest of my ride. I thought one was coming for me.

  18. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 05.31.2016 | 4:13 pm

    Great stories all!

    For me, three. Everything knows that things come in threes.

    1. The summit of Mount Evans
    2. The finish line at Leadville
    3. The clarity to reject a poor compromise of a relationship and seek out and find a profoundly better one

  19. Comment by Don | 05.31.2016 | 4:25 pm

    Hi Elden,
    Trans Iowa 2016. (1) Ride, (2) Beautiful sunrises, (1) mind blown.

  20. Comment by Anonymous | 05.31.2016 | 5:06 pm

    I have a wife, kids and not enough time to ride, so sometimes I get up early and ride before work. Leaving the house at 5am and riding on deserted rural roads in the dark is a treat unto itself but sometimes it gets even more special. On one occasion a very large owl swooped silently across the road about 5 ft over my head. Still marveling at the sight of the owl I rounded a bend in the road just in time to see a fox and her kit crossing right in front of me. Ten minutes later I saw two cold blue luminescent eyes staring at me from the dark road as a skunk walked towards me along the 4″ fog line.
    Not gonna lie, the skunk made me nervous.

  21. Comment by Kev | 05.31.2016 | 5:25 pm

    Not seen but heard. A volunteer at a 24 hour race on seeing my dieing light said “Hurry home little boy. Hurry home.” I was in my early fifties at the time.

  22. Comment by ScottyCycles | 05.31.2016 | 5:39 pm

    I’ve seen trees that are green red roses too
    I watch them bloom for me and you
    And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

    oops…couldn’t resist that one.

    Lately it was a squirrel eating a dead bunny rabbit at Fiesta Island when my girlfriend CinelliGirl and I were riding this past Sunday.

  23. Comment by AKChick | 05.31.2016 | 5:44 pm

    On my rides in Alaska, I regularly see moose. Apparently, two cyclists were attacked by moose on a stretch of trail I’d ridden two days before. Eeps. That is pretty unusual as they are pretty tolerant, even the mamas with babies on that trail (it’s paved and well traveled). I’ve seen porcupine, hawks, squirrels and eagles. I haven’t seen a bear yet (fingers crossed I don’t) but I have counted over 10 piles of scat one year on one of my favorite paved trails. On my fat bike, I’ve encountered a team of sled dogs training for the Iditarod. That was pretty cool. I’ve also had snowmachiners (we call them snow machines in Alaska – don’t know why, but you’ll get made fun of if you say snow mobile) slow down and be very polite when passing. They almost always wave. Much friendlier than motorists. :)

  24. Comment by Joe Lee | 05.31.2016 | 6:12 pm

    Mountin Bike ride at Hartshorne Woods in NJ – had a fox trot out in front of me on some singletrack and he or she just ran there – a bike length ahead – for about a mile. Didn’t seem spooked at all. We were moving too :) Amazing.

  25. Comment by Bob | 05.31.2016 | 6:16 pm

    A majestic Bull Moose in the middle of the road that forced me to lock up my brakes is memorable as are numerous experiences where I’ve had a helping hand on the small of my back and the few times I’ve been able to be that helping hand, but nothing is more memorable than the time my little brother, Tom, slipped off the wet shoulder on the descent into Mink Creek, Idaho and went over the handlebars. We didn’t know at the time, but his neck and collar bone were broken (he has since recovered and is back running, skiing and cycling). Because he complained about neck pain, we had him lie on the side of the road. Soon a local sheriff stopped and knelt with his knees on either side of his head and hands on his head keeping him stable while we waited 20 minutes for an ambulance. A young boy about 8 years old was in the first car to stop. He offered his favorite pillow that we carefully placed under my brothers head. Later the EMT’s loaded him on the stretcher and secured his head and handed the pillow back to the boy and his mom. When my bro winced in pain with his broken collar bone, the EMT asked one of the others if he had something to place under Tom’s arm. The other EMT shrugged and then the boy reached out and offered his pillow, which the EMT took and then placed under Tom’s arm and loaded him into the ambulance. Favorite pillow was gone for good. A few minutes later, with tears in my eyes, I walked back to the car to thank the young boy for his pillow and the thing I remember most is how his younger sisters immediately realized that big brother was a hero.

  26. Comment by LoPhat | 05.31.2016 | 6:24 pm

    I saw a horsey and a ducky and a doggy and a kitty and a big green tractor.

  27. Comment by miles archer | 05.31.2016 | 6:54 pm

    I ride on Sunday mornings a lot. There’s a “Cars and Coffee” event that I pass by. I often see the coolest cars. Ferraris, Lambos, Ford GTs, Model Ts, 1940’s cars, you name it.

    In terms of critters, some time in the fall, the tarantulas all decide it’s time for a big tarantula sex party. Or maybe it’s just the guy tarantulas. I don’t know. Anyway, I’ve seen dozens at a time walking down the road. The first time, I tried to move them off the road so they didn’t get squished. It didn’t help, they moved back on it.

  28. Comment by miles archer | 05.31.2016 | 6:58 pm

    I forgot about the turkeys. They are a scourge around here. They cross the road worse than deer. At least the deer usually will move out of your way. Turkeys get startled and just stop where they are and look at you.

    I’ve found the best thing to do is to gobble loudly at them. Don’t let the neighbors see you though. They might think you’re slightly mad wearing lycra and gobbling like a turkey.

  29. Comment by Joe | 05.31.2016 | 9:56 pm

    Three guinea hens chasing a grey fox out of a ditch and across the road. The fox shot me an embarrassed look and ran into a patch of heavy weeds.

  30. Comment by Chris | 06.1.2016 | 4:41 am

    Three deer watching our hill training session this past Monday was pretty cool.

  31. Comment by Tom in Albany | 06.1.2016 | 5:10 am

    Too many to figure out the best. Most recent, however, was riding along the bike path next to the river on my ride in to work yesterday and seeing all of the mama snapping turtles digging holes and laying their eggs. Or, in a few cases, where they’d clearly been to lay their eggs. Turns out that snappers know NOTHING about camouflaging their nests.

    Still, very cool.

  32. Comment by Brian in VA | 06.1.2016 | 6:51 am

    I’ve seen a hawk snag a chipmunk out of a field after a long swoop and then see the chipmunk get out of his grasp only to fall into the road in front of me. The hawk made a second pass, about 5 feet in front of me, and didn’t drop it the second time.

    I’ve seen a spectacular rainbow appear after getting drenched during a late afternoon ride; the end of it appeared to be hitting my house in the distance.

    I’ve seen my two grandsons giggling from their seats on the back of their dad’s “Portland minivan” as we cycled to dinner at a local pizza place. They were amazed that their “G-Dawg” could ride a bike at his advanced age.

    I’ve seen the best of myself while riding in my first century when I thought I couldn’t possibly continue and did.

    Bikes have given me much.

  33. Comment by GrannyGear | 06.1.2016 | 6:59 am

    The finish line of any charity ride!

    Quarter of a mile before the line, the usual. Heart rate and respiration up. Sweating. Wishing you wore the bib shorts with the thicker chamois…

    As every riders front tire hits the line, smiles from ear to ear, the search for friends (it’s a charity ride, just walk up to any group and you now have new friends), and if you partake, perhaps one adult beverage.

  34. Comment by Mike | 06.1.2016 | 7:22 am

    I came over the top of a little hill on evening, and found myself right in the middle of a herd of about thirty deer. When they saw me, of course they tried to scatter in every direction which put some of them running alongside me. Very surreal, I felt like I was part of the herd! I wonder if they still talk about it,also?

  35. Comment by Tim | 06.1.2016 | 7:25 am

    So many stories to tell. One that I will never forget was an early morning spring ride on the Katy Trail in MO directly into an Indigo Bunting migration party. If it wasn’t so startling in color, it would have been kind of freaky with so many birds flying around.

  36. Comment by Tim | 06.1.2016 | 7:27 am

    One more thing….awesome, emotional story Bob.

  37. Comment by Katie | 06.1.2016 | 7:57 am

    1) My tired (and very satisfied) dog who joined me on a bike ride. She’s got the biggest grin on her face as I encourage her to build stamina and fitness
    2) Compassionate strangers who stopped to help me after my bike wreck
    3) Spending time with my spouse on a 20 mile ride. His exercise of choice is running.

  38. Comment by Mark in Bremerton | 06.1.2016 | 8:13 am

    Trying to get a tavern full of Austrians to understand why we were riding a tandem along the Danube, how it broke and why we wanted to use the telephone. That was hilarious.

    We encountered nothing but friendly, helpful – if not English speaking – people on that week-long trip. THAT was memorable.

  39. Comment by GenghisKhan | 06.1.2016 | 8:46 am

    Cranking up the north side of Suncrest (Draper, UT) in the middle of the 10% grade, hurting. A car drives by and I hear the clang clang clang of a cowbell. It was just what I needed!

  40. Comment by Geoffrey | 06.1.2016 | 8:53 am

    I add my little piece of things I’ve seen:

    My son and daughter ride through waves of the ocean on the beach, with grins too wide to measure.

    The Romanee-Conti vineyards and an 11th century abbey while riding with my father in France.

    The islands off the coast of Southern California from the top of Black Mountain.

    And, yes, you asked for one thing. More like many things, big and small, on every ride.

  41. Comment by Arizona Guy | 06.1.2016 | 9:06 am

    A bull elk staring us down in a misty evening mountain pass. We stopped and eyed each other for a few moments, then he took his small herd of cows into the woods. We found out later that night my friend’s father had passed away that exact time – we decided that the elk was his spirit guide.

    A 60 year old, one armed man who finished La Ruta racing across Costa Rica.

    6 strangers, all guys in their 40’s & 50’s randomly meeting on Porcupine Rim and slaying it, nose to tail, for a half hour of rocky, technical descending.

    A golden eagle sitting on a fence post watching me (and some prairie dogs) for an hour during my 100 MoN a few years ago (The battle of Rabbit Mountain )

  42. Comment by dooglee | 06.1.2016 | 10:11 am

    I saw red and blue flashing lights behind me.Pulled over on a road bike?

  43. Comment by Peter on a bike | 06.1.2016 | 10:20 am

    Countless wildlife encounters. Two that stand out. This year I had a Small herd of elk running alongside the road with me on a solo ride in the Alberta foothills. They suddenly crossed in front of me where I had to hit the brakes hard.

    And early in my cycling hobby a friend and I were mountain biking in Jasper National Park. Way too long of a day, and we were barely hanging on. Long fire road ride, and we were very close to the end. A side cut hill to our right had this furball tumbling down about twenty feet and roll out across the road in front of us. It had tumbled down the embankment and stopped on the far side of the road. We stopped wondering what the hell. It was two chipmunks knotted together and very recently deceased. They fought to the death. Literally. We have always wondered if it was over a girl or a pine cone.

  44. Comment by Todd | 06.1.2016 | 10:27 am

    Being from So Cal I don’t see but the brightest stars…
    on the 2nd Ride of the Rockwell Relay (Leg 6), riding up Boulder Mountain, I pulled to the shoulder and turned my lights off and saw more stars than I have ever imagined existed. Never would have thought I would be riding through National Parks on my bicycle.

  45. Comment by Kate | 06.1.2016 | 10:27 am

    A herd of cattle running together under a full moon on a Kansas gravel road.

  46. Comment by Liz M | 06.1.2016 | 10:50 am

    I live in the west and work in the east, so I see a lot of sunrises and sunsets on my bike commute. I cross a river just before work. I’ve lived here 31 years and have done the same commute for seven years, but it never stops taking my breath away when I cross the bridge, peaceful water below me and the city before me.

  47. Comment by Bob | 06.1.2016 | 11:13 am

    Seen today in the Murdock Canal Trail – a man walking arm in arm with a teenage boy on a hover board (his son, I presume) who appeared to be both mentally and physically challenged, yet able to stand on the hover board with assistance. The grin on the boys face was priceless.

  48. Comment by Donna | 06.1.2016 | 12:06 pm

    I saw my Wife, who had broken her ankle on our first mountain bike ride of that season…beside me,riding her mountain bike, clipped in for our last mountain bike ride of that same season. The look on her face during that whole ride was worth all the pain, frustration and rehabbing (read mtn bike on trainer in driveway for 4wks) that she put in….wow…. total awesomeness. BEST. RIDE. EVER.

  49. Comment by Jarom | 06.1.2016 | 12:08 pm

    While riding through a neighborhood on my daily commute a couple of weeks ago, passed a squirrel in the gutter who’d lost a race with a car. The next day said squirrel had dandelions scattered over it, attesting to the last rights given it by a neighborhood child.

  50. Comment by MikeG | 06.1.2016 | 2:44 pm

    The burrowing owls squawking “good morning” to me along the canal as the sun comes up. A coyote in the bike lane opposite me trotting along as I leave the neighborhood. A family of wild turkeys I surprised grinding up to 9,000 feet on my 29er single-speed in the White Mountains of AZ – I thought you could hear my gasping for breath from miles away, guess I was much quieter than the hunters on their ATVs!

    My son’s grin on the local mountain bike loop. The paralyzed hand-cyclist that was in front of me during El Tour de Tucson and Tour de Phoenix. The guy older than my 50 years on the Razor scooter going up South Mountain during my 100 MoN out-of-body experience (could have been a hallucination I admit). The community of our group riders coming together to fix meals for one of our own who crashed and broke his hip and pelvis.

    The bike sure can be a window to an elusive and amazing world that lies hidden just beyond our vision…

  51. Comment by rich | 06.1.2016 | 4:04 pm

    I saw a veteran on a hand bike being pushed up a hill by a line of 20 other vets each who had one hand on the back of the guy in front of them….truly inspiring!

  52. Comment by Shugg McGraw | 06.2.2016 | 4:20 am

    I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. One Christmas I passed a dog standing on a rack on the back of a bike covered in fairy lights. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears…in…rain. Time to die.

  53. Comment by Patrishka | 06.2.2016 | 6:31 am

    Shugg FTW.

  54. Comment by Christina | 06.2.2016 | 7:40 am

    In February 2013, we lost our friend to suicide. He was an antique tractor enthusiast, focusing mostly on Johh Deeres.

    In June of that year, I participated in BRAN. On the first day, I saw a train go by with two brand new John Deere tractors loaded on a flatbed. I teared up and said a prayer for Gary.

    What I didn’t expect was that Nebraska was hosting an antique tractor rally across the state that week that followed us. On the fourth day, I pulled into Kearney and was stopped as antique tractor after antique tractor puffed by.

    I stood on the side of the road and sobbed.

    Biking, for me, is a way to clear the head of all the things that get jumbled and pushed down while I deal with everyday life. Weeklong tours are my time to untie that knot in my head. I see lots of cool things (like the Barnum and Bailey Circus Train) and lots of corn, but my favorite thing ever was that train parade.

  55. Comment by roadrash | 06.2.2016 | 7:45 am

    always good to reflect on why we ride…

    1) the clicking sound of cleats on the cobbled square in a small Italian village and savoring the dainty cup of espresso after the first 50 of a 75km countryside ride

    2) the rangy smell of the enormous moose in middle of the narrow road in Nova Scotia. it was on a downhill outrun after a blind turn. so fortunate the moose edged to the right as I flew by on the left

    3) that garbage truck that slowed and motioned for me to take the equivalent of a “sticky bottle” all the way up a large hill (small mountain) in rural Vermont. I had the big group tent on the back of my bike that day. I was all smiles as I breezed past my compatriots to the top of the hill. thank you kind stranger.

  56. Comment by RedK | 06.2.2016 | 11:46 am

    A guy wearing only a red thong, standing on his head on a picnic table, with a small dog sitting beside him.

    Maybe not cool, but one of the stranger, more interesting things I’ve seen.

  57. Comment by David | 06.2.2016 | 11:52 am

    I love all of the inspiring stories and wildlife encounters, but the two that stick out in my mind are:

    1) An F-18 flyover at only a few hundred feet. The plane was going the same direction as me, so I felt the roar long before I knew what was happening.

    2) Drafting off of a Ferrari is better than other cars. I eventually beat that PR, but it wasn’t as much fun.

  58. Comment by John C | 06.2.2016 | 12:59 pm

    I lost my mom to cancer in July of 1998. The following winter I met a woman that was into cycling who told me about an annual century ride to raise money for a local cancer research and treatment center in Hanover, NH. That’s what got me started riding. At mile 99 you encounter a not too long, but very steep hill. People are along the road cheering tired riders on to the top, there is a steel drum band playing near the top each year. The energy level is palpable. At the top is a retirement home. The elderly residents are out each year in force clapping and ringing cowbells, you crest the hill and then you see their big sign, “We’re over the hill and so are you!”

  59. Comment by Mikeonhisbike | 06.2.2016 | 1:11 pm

    Last weekend I was on my way home from a morning ride descending a busy road to me house. I looked over across the street and there was a deer running at the same pace I was riding at. It ran along side me for long enough for me to get curious and look at my speedometer. Who knew a deer could run 25mph for a quarter mile. It was awesome.

  60. Comment by Chris Cowley | 06.2.2016 | 1:39 pm

    Just this evening, a buzzard gliding along next to me. It then turned right into a field and came up with (I think) a mouse in his talons.

    I like birds of prey, they are awesome :-)

  61. Comment by rb | 06.2.2016 | 2:54 pm

    Eric Marcotte pulling out from the lane and passing a train of fast club riders like they were standing still. That’s power.

  62. Comment by Joe | 06.2.2016 | 3:03 pm

    Last spring on a trail near Lost Creek State Park, Montana, I came very close to running over a black bear that had been sleeping next to the trail. I passed within 6 feet of it. He (or she) wanted nothing to do with me. It ran straight away from the trail, sounded like a bulldozer going through the trees. Then I had to pass by the same place coming out about 2 hours later.

  63. Comment by Twenty Sixer | 06.2.2016 | 3:20 pm

    Fat cyclist ridin up a hill with Armstrong and his team. Amazing!

  64. Comment by Tom Wright | 06.2.2016 | 7:14 pm

    Thank you all for the stories! Who would have thought that a simple thing like a bicycle could lead to so moany wonderful experiences and inspire so much emotion.

    I recnetly saw a wonam riding without a helmet talking on a cell phone.

    Oh, for those wondering, thank you Shugg for the Blade Runner quote!

  65. Comment by MTMark | 06.2.2016 | 9:52 pm

    I was out on an early Saturday morning ride on a paved path rolling through some neighborhoods. I thought I heard someone yelling and was looking around to see what was going on. When I got closer I saw an older down syndrome girl on a swingset flying back and forth as high as she could go. She had headphones on and was singing to her music like it was her birthday. Not a care in the world.

    I’m not going to live by their rules any more.

  66. Comment by MTMark | 06.2.2016 | 10:23 pm

    We were on our way back into town after our Tuesday night race/ride in Montana. We were spent. On the road we came up on a couple riders with their bikes loaded with gear. We started talking and found out they were racing (slowly). They were several hundred miles in on the Tour Divide Race– Banff, Alberta to the Mexico boarder. They had some good stories to tell, what an adventure. Made our ride that night seem pretty insignificant.

    A few months later I passed some kid trying to ride the same route on a unicycle. I’m pretty sure you can’t coast on those things. I had to respect him for the physical and mental effort it would take to do that, but I also wanted to sit him down and tell him, dude, there’s better ways to do this.

  67. Comment by Patrick | 06.3.2016 | 3:07 am

    The coolest thing I’ve ever seen on a bike was my then girlfriend waiting for me at the finish when I rode London to Paris back in 2008, after we said our hello’s I proposed to her! She did say yes!

  68. Comment by Dave T | 06.3.2016 | 8:59 am

    One more thing I have seen but would not have like to have see on a bike ride a dead body. Found on the side of Old Santa Cruz Highway on my way to school.

  69. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 06.3.2016 | 10:29 am

    Someone should write a short story about a bike ride in which a dead body is encountered.

  70. Comment by Flying Ute | 06.3.2016 | 10:39 am

    Thanks for sharing all these great stories.

    I saw a Mountain Lion at the top of the Alpine Loop that was as big as a tiger in the zoo. It was huge!

    I road across the Dewey Bridge before it burned down. (during the tour de bloom-Kokopelli trail ride)

    I’ve seen my family through blurry watery eyes at the aid stations during the Leadville 100 MTBR.

    I’ve seen friends pull me home after a hard bonk.

    I’ve witnessed lots or courageous moments where people dig deep and don’t quit or ride beyond their natural abilities which makes my life fulfilling to be part of.

  71. Comment by JessMess | 06.3.2016 | 11:46 am

    I saw the joy and excitement on my 3yo’s face as he rode his pedal bike for the first time after transitioning from his balance bike.

  72. Comment by leroy | 06.3.2016 | 1:16 pm

    I saw a talking dog.

    Of course, that’s not unusual.

    It’s the stuff he says that’s unusual.

  73. Comment by Anonymous | 06.3.2016 | 1:20 pm

    I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears…in…rain.

  74. Comment by MtlDan | 06.3.2016 | 1:55 pm

    Coming back into town, the last bit through the outskirts was two miles of about 8% descent with just one stop light and a couple of stop signs and light traffic. I always looked forward to that after a hard ride. One day, right at the top, a kid on a skateboard pulled out in front of me. No helmet, no pads, not a special long board. I chased him all the way to the bottom, mostly at about 30mph. Most terrified I’ve ever been on a bike, but I wasn’t worried about me. I had brakes.

  75. Comment by MattC | 06.3.2016 | 4:23 pm

    @DaveT…I’ll have to rethink riding w/ you next time I’m up your way…dead bodies, being stalked by Mt. Lions (SERIOUSLY SCARY!)…you’ll have to elaborate on the Mt. Lion/911-call ride sometime. And then remind me NOT to ride there (where was it btw?) I’ve only seen 2 Mt lions thus far…1 on a road ride, 1 on the MTB.

    And then there was that bull (and 5 or 6 of his ‘ladies’) that I encountered a year ago March up on a high ridge road. I survived (miraculously…I wasn’t even hurt a little bit somehow after he blasted me off the bike and down the bank like a cork coming out of a champagne bottle…he even popped me out of my right shoe). Sadly my bike didn’t fare so well. And I had the 14 mile walk to my car w/ my broken bike to think about it.

    And now I’m afraid of cows.

  76. Comment by DJ Brooks | 06.4.2016 | 1:55 am

    The first time I rode the White Rim Trail was a solo ride. About 3/4 of the way you come to either the Green or the Colorado River. There, I came across a flock of thousands of swallows that began to follow me on this undulating section. They would rise and fall in sync with me until I got this cool sensation that rather than them following me, it was I who had joined their rhythm. I felt for a second or so like I was flying with the swallow flock. I’ll never forget it.

  77. Comment by Jeremy Stewart | 06.6.2016 | 7:22 pm

    I was riding back home from work in Auckland, New Zealand, watching a massive lightning display above the Waitakere ranges. Strike after forked strike… and I managed to beat home the heaviest rain I have ever seen!!

  78. Comment by Slo Joe | 06.17.2016 | 12:18 pm

    In 2010 I was living in Johannesburg S.A. and was warned about road cycling: Two things can happen (1) You’ll be robbed or (2) You’ll be killed.

    A teacher at my wife’s school suggested I try mountain biking. Never had. First ride and my thought: “What have I been missing????”

    The highlight was that some big land owners kept their property as conservatory property and home to wildebeast, zebras (pronounced ZEB ras in S.A.) and giraffes along with numerous other wildlife.

    So numerous times I got to bike with wildebeast and zebras running right along side us. Yup, they had the right of way!!! :=)


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.