Cycling Adventures
Cows Can Too Skate!

Back road, middle of nowhere, West Texas (one always capitalizes "West" to show proper respect). Two lone cyclists, one smart, witty, perceptive. The Ahead of them, a rangy Hereford steer ambling down the bar ditch, pondering the weightier questions of his (well, no longer a "he," but let's pretend) bovine world.

Cyclists overtake steer, unexpectedly (to him) it seems. He stumbles onto the shoulder of the road and breaks into a run, straight ahead in sort of a stampede-for-one, obviously thinking to himself, "I don't know what they are, and I don't intend to find out." Or something equally cogent. West Texas cows are fast, fast as West Texas horizoncheetahs, nimble as gazelles, wise as...well, you get the picture. Hot day, steer won't stop running, cyclists trail just behind, worrying about bovine overheating, but not stopping. One cyclist (not the smart, witty, perceptive one) reckons that the only way to turn this feller is to get ahead of him.

Quick sprint (25 mph - no kiddin' - this steer is motivated!) to overtake him. Just as cyclist draws even with steer's left eye, he (the steer, that is) understands that life as he knows it is about to end unless drastic measures are employed. To wit: ever seen a cow in full motion jam on the brakes? Traction es no bueno por nada. Four stiff legs out in front, rear-end lowered (displaying at least a rudimentary grasp of both aerodynamics and physics), leaving skid marks in the dirt for six feet... ten feet...where's a good BABS ("Bovine Anti-Lock Braking System") when you need it?

Alas, failure to respect the power of one's front brakes is a shortcoming not unique to the human species. The cow goes down in a flaming heap, about 800 pounds of soggy steaming cowflesh, legs splayed out to one side, eyes the size of a 32-tooth freewheel cog. Quick: how do you help half a ton of panicked steer to its feet?

Well, he was OK. The smart, witty (did I mention "perceptive"?) cyclist wore the infamous "I told you so look" like a badge of honor for a week, and the other cyclist was suitably chastened. The moral of the story? Beats me, unless it's something like "even if you can out-cycle a cow, so what?"

And that's no bull. (You saw that coming, didn't you?)

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