Friday, August 17, 2007


About two weeks ago I was riding my bike home from work when a yellow jacket smacked into by glasses and dropped down onto my bare arm below my shirt sleeve. Panicked, I swatted at the bee with my free hand but didn't knock him off. That, apparently, ticked him off so he jammed his stinger into me and buzzed off. Oof! I pulled off the road and started sucking the poison and spitting it out. Suck. . .spit. . .suck. . . spit just like my mother-in-law used to do with bee stings on her grand children's feet. I'm not sure what people driving by thought of this guy sucking on his arm. But by the time I got home, the pain had lessened and there was no swelling, just some redness.

Flash forward two weeks and I'm out for a ride one afternoon and SMACK! another yellow jacket hits me this time in the lower lip. From there the bee did a somersault into my mouth. Fortunately I had my teeth close enough together to keep him from going farther. I started spitting bee parts out thinking how lucky I was that I didn't get stung this time. Wait. . . for . . it. . . .yeow! He nailed me on the lower lip and man, it was stinging. I couldn't suck my lip so I was stuck being stuck. When I got home I put ice on my lip but by that time it was red, and painful and starting to swell. It stayed that way for about 24 hours.

What was I going to do to keep this from happening again? Ah ha! Look it up on the Internet, of course. I Googled "preventing bee stings" and here's what I found out:

1. Don't wear bright colored clothing.

This gives me the choice of wearing my orange day-glow vest and getting stung by a bee or wearing black and chance getting run over by a semi.

2. Don't wear suntan lotion.

Again a choice: Wear suntan lotion and get stung or get skin cancer.
3. Don't smack a bee hive.
Okay, that's something I can get behind. But, sheesh! What's a biker to do? Maybe it is the scent of the suntan lotion that attracts the curious bee. I'll have to look for unscented sunblock. As for the orange vest? I'm hoping for the sunblock to be the solution.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Riding home from the Bethel School District Thursday afternoon I heard a strange "click" then "scrape" pause "click" then "scrape" pause. I pulled out of the bike lane into a shady driveway in front of a church. I spun the back wheel and sure enough, there was a click and scrape sticking out of my rear tire. The click and scrape was an industrial-sized staple with one pointy end stuck in the tire and the other bend under and up.

I figured I'd have to pull it out, but I was in a nice shady, safe spot to repair the flat. I gently edged out the staple and the tire went "pssssst" then stopped. Hmm. The tire still felt well inflated. I must have been light-headed as I actually thought I might have some special tire or tube that was self-sealing. So I pushed out into the bike lane and headed home.

A quarter mile further along "psssssssssssssssssssssssssssss" and the tire was flat. But this time I was along Highway 99 with trucks and cars zipping by at 55-60 miles an hour. And no shade. I pulled off the road and about 20 feet down an embankment. It was hot, dusty and dry with brown weeds and dead grass mixed in with the dirt. I longed for my shady spot in front of the church. What was I thinking?!

I pulled the wheel off and managed to get the tube out and replaced with my spare. I did this trying to keep my head in the shade of the 55 MPH sign I'd leaned my bike against. I reassembled the bike and felt the newly inflated tire. I was ready to roll albeit a bit dirty and a lot sweatier.

I checked. I don't have self-sealing anything including my sanity.