Close Encounters of the Natural Kind – Cycling To Work

It was a cool autumn morning and there had been a light frost during the night. I pulled on my cycling gear and went down to have breakfast. As I sat at the table eating it was still dark out the sunrise comes late in this part of the world at this time of year. I could see a magpie perched on the handrail of my back deck lit from the light of my kitchen. They are the early birds around here and stay all winter (even at -40). I wonder as I eat breakfast why they don’t fly south for the winter, if I had wings I would.

I head out to the garage after my breakfast and there is still a nip in the air as I take my bicycle out of the garage. The sun is just beginning to paint the eastern sky as I hop on my bike. The city I live in is blessed with a great park pathway system that follows the river through the city. I head down my street guided by the light of an orange sun rise and as I make the turn into the park a Jack rabbit hops across my path. This time of year they have already turned completely white but the snow hasn’t fallen yet so they stick out like a sore thumb.

I head down the ridge descending to the river and gaining speed. I before I reach the switchbacks near the river I see a coyote trot across the pathway and into the long grasses to hide, maybe one of those rabbits will make a nice breakfast for him. Into the switchbacks I go heading down to river’s edge and onto the bridge. The Canada geese on the river are gathering together for their big flight south. Many of them actually stay here all year and again I wonder why they don’t leave?

On the other side of the river I turn into the woods and remember my wife telling me that a black bear was spotted in this park further to the west, I hope it hasn’t wandered east! I keep riding through the woods and out to a clearing. The sun is low and bright in the east as I head south and back into the woods. I hit the brakes and slow down after coming out of a turn; a mule deer is off to my left only six feet from the path. I coast by not wanting to spook her, having her jump in front of me would be quite a painful meeting! I can see her breath rising from her nostrils as I pass. Wow, what a morning this has been! This is why I love to cycle to work.

I start making my ascent back out of the river valley; it is quite a grunt getting back up to the top of the ridge. The rest of my ride in is along residential streets so except for the occasional barking dog there is no more wildlife encounters. I get to my office building and start locking my bike up. As I pick up my backpack and head in I hear the chatter of a magpie from the top of a flagpole. I look up and give it a wave, who knows maybe it was the one who saw me eating breakfast.

Kevin Redmond is a senior design supervisor for a large engineering firm in Canada. He loves to cycle to work whenever he can. He also runs a consumers website called http://www.avoidconfusion.com it has some great deals on bicycles and accessories and other deals from A to Z.

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