Call me a grouch. A wet blanket.
There were times I had a more upbeat attitude about winter, this month is not one of them.
Make that a frozen, wet blanket.
The shorter, colder days cut down on saddle time. If we do ride in subzeros temps, it’s humorous and inelegant – picture a Michelin Man atop a fuzzy caterpillar.
But when temperatures soared into the 40s, I got out twice in two days.
In the first ride, Pep and I headed out for a few hours. We hadn’t ridden in a month, so everything was new:
- Leaving the herdmates.
- Birds in the brush.
- 30 mph winds stirring things up and making things loud.
Everything warranted a spook or a conversation.
At one point, Pep managed to jump sideways and buck at the same time. At a lope. What a talent!
Temple Grandin was on my mind as a group of cyclists approached on a long, straight section of gravel road.
“Bikes are scary to animals because they come up fast and they don’t tell you they’re coming,” she said at the Alberta Horse Breeders and Owners Conference in Red Deer.
Pep saw them coming from a half mile away but the advance notice did not help defray her flight impulse. As they approached, her head raised higher and higher above her withers. They passed silently and she scooted around on the muddy shoulder, all in a tizzy.
But the next group was talking back and forth. Nonstop and loudly. Their noise seemed to help Pep get a better handle. She was much more mellow when they passed.
All things considered.
This I’ve learned: It’s much easier to deal with bikes if we think of them like dogs or any other possible predator: we’re better off if we face them and have room to maneuver.