Boy, I live a dangerous life when I cycle. I’m not talking about the traffic, either, though that always has its challenges. It’s the wildlife.
Last night a panther leapt out of the hedge and landed, snarling, on the road a couple of metres in front of me. I expected it to lope on across to the other side, but instead it crouched, glaring at me, ready to spring. I slammed on the brakes, yelling in fear of the impending collision. This galvanised the creature into action. It sprang forward, out of harm’s way, while I cycled swiftly on before it could turn and come after me.
This morning, a pterodactyl skimmed past my face, its fearsome claws just inches from my eyes. Further down the road, I had to slow right down for a pair of enormous water birds, cycling cautiously behind them until I could pick the right moment to overtake. Their beaks snapped angrily as they realised my ankles were no longer within reach. Looking behind me to make sure I was safe, my wheels almost skidded on the still warm remains of a porcupine – a victim of the vicious predators which roam our roads. Giant hornets and oversized mosquitoes stung my unprotected hands and face as I toiled up the final hill.
Okay, I nearly ran over a cat, dodged a low-flying blackbird, had to slow down for a couple of ducks waddling down the lane and saw a squashed hedgehog. And there were a few insects in the air. But who knows what might be round the next corner?