Tim Speciale - February 27, 2020
The thing about squirrels is that they stubborn little shits. You're rolling along with some pals at 25 mph and all the sudden you find yourself in a showdown with a squirrel.
When I was young – 6 years old young – I spent a lot of time at my grandmas. She lived in Rockford Illinois, which is not exactly the type of city that comes to mind when thinking of the natural beauty of Northern Illinois. Granny somehow managed to make a wonderland out of her backyard though.
Her yard was seriously some type of Snow White type of situation. This probably sounds like hyperbole but she had wild animals eating out of her hand every morning. These animals had names and she identified different personalities and temperaments. I’m talking blue jays, squirrels, robins, chipmunks, neighborhood cats. If you can name a type of animal native to the area, it probably took a peanut from her hand at some point in time.
One morning she noticed a particularly friendly squirrel on one of the trees and she encouraged me to try and approach it. I snuck up there patiently and quietly and tried to pay attention to its reaction as I took each step. I managed to walk up to this wild squirrel and pet its tail. I pet a wild squirrel’s tail that my grandma had befriended. Kind of wild…
The thing about squirrels
The thing about squirrels is that they stubborn little shits. When you’re riding through the woods of the midwest it’s not uncommon for one of the things to jump out into the road. You’re rolling along with some pals at 25 mph and all the sudden you find yourself in a showdown with a squirrel. You’re coming at it, it’s staring at you frozen in the road. It can go left or right, and it knows that you can go left or right. And you both know that there’s not enough time from stopping the forward movement. It’s you, your bike, and a squirrel locked into a sick game of chicken.
I’ve hit two of these guys. You hear stories about people getting wildlife caught in their wheel and flipping over the bars in a gruesome incident in which a critter is dead and a rider’s face is smashed. I’ve never seen that. The two times I’ve managed to make contact with one of these fellas they ran off like nothing happened.
Whether you actually hit them or its just a close call, there’s a rewarding rush that comes over you knowing that you didn’t actually kill the guy. Somehow you both made the right decision. And it all happens in a second’s worth of time at most. Kind of wild…