The title may sound like the latest ride at Disneyland but I assure you, it is not.
When I was a junior in high school, my brother was a freshman and I drove us to our early morning class. I also picked up two of our friends who also had the pleasure of getting their learn on at 7am. This entailed leaving the house around 6:30am and during certain months of the year, it was still dark, which didn’t help me wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. In fact, the four of us often rode to school in total silence. Me and three high school boys. Silence.
Until one morning when I was driving my little white ford ranger along Browns Valley Road. We were driving along in the aforementioned total silence until my brother, sitting in the front passenger seat, did his best impression of the teacher with the monotone voice from the Wonder Years.
“Deer,” he said, in the most matter-of-fact, flatline voice.
I swerved and still say I didn’t clip the deer, as I saw it scamper back across the street into the hills, but the boys think I maimed it. I would also like to state for the record that there was no damage to the truck that a deer might have caused.
I couldn’t believe that was my brother’s warning for a large four-legged animal about to hit me. And neither of the other two said anything either. Although, to be fair, I wasn’t sure they hadn’t gone back to sleep. I also couldn’t believe they thought I hit it. Clearly, if anything, it had almost hit me. But I digress.
Today, another deer got its revenge for anything that may have transpired with the previous woodland creature from 10 years. Because today, I rode my bike for the first time in approximately 17 years and the deer that I encountered on my ride clearly knew this.
A little side note, the reason for the cycling lapse was simple. I hated the mandatory bicycle helmet rule that became law when I was around 10 or 11. I hated it with a passion. The helmet was constraining, choking and didn’t accommodate my ponytail. When it became a law that minors had to wear a helmet, my law-abiding parents went out and bought Joe and me each a helmet. Ted was still sporting training wheels and his own helmet closely resembled a giant bubble made of styrofoam. My helmet, on the other hand was a neon pink Jammer that was the size of a melon to my pea-sized head. I literally gave up riding bicycles because I had such disdain for my pink Jammer and by the time I was no longer a minor and therefore free to ride with the breeze blowing my hair back like a shampoo commercial, I didn’t have time for bike rides.
Enter today. The first chance I’ve had to ride a bike while under no legal obligation to wear a helmet. I had already been for a run this afternoon but needed to deliver a flash drive of pictures to my aunt and uncle, who live about a 1/2-mile down the road. So I hopped on my bike thinking a quick little sport would cap off my workout. I was a little rusty and this particular bike has holsters for your shoes on the pedals. I was a wee bit nervous at the idea of my foot being locked in a shoe prison but I slid my shoes in and took a minute to get my balance and figure out the gears and off I rode.
Everything was fine on the way there. Except the huffing and puffing that went on trying to get over the Pinewood Hill. That damn hill still kicks my arse. But I didn’t have to get off my bike and walk it like I used to when I was 8, so I guess that’s improvement.
After I dropped off the flash drive, I hopped back on the bike to head home, as it was just getting to be too dark to ride. I went around the block to get momentum to take on the Pinewood Hill again and as I was zooming down Brookwood, feet ominously locked onto the pedals, I was ambushed by a deer!
He darted out into the middle of the road, stopped just short of my front tire after laying eyes on me and darted back in the direction from which he came. But not before I wobbled around from my surprise attack.
I regained my composure (and balance on the bike) and powered up my legs for the hill that laid before me but I’m pretty sure the deer went back to his little deer friends and shared that story about how he scored one for all of deer-kind.