Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Bugs, Both Entertaining And Annoying

Pretty flowers in Sokol Park.  One of my break places on today's hot ride.
Was it hot again today? Does a fish like water?

Actually, a fish doesn't have a well-enough developed central nervous system to be very self-aware, so no, it doesn't like water because it doesn't “like” anything. But, shucks, it was HOT.

And yet I rode. Fortunately, I rode earlier in the day. I had hoped to get on the road by 8, but and left closer to 8:45. Still, my ride today was at a much more sensible time than yesterday's dizzy journey.

It was indeed hot, and I didn't finish until 1:30 p.m. I did the Bowman Woods hill first, then took the “new” trail back to C Avenue and headed west to the Cedar Valley, Cedar River trails. I only went as far north as Boyson Road (there is a nice restroom there), and then turned south.

I biked to Ely and back, stopping every hour, drinking a lot, taking it easy.

It was a very warm, but fairly pleasant, ride. The only off note was the bugs that bugged me.

One upside of a dry Iowa summer is that it's not as buggy as a wet Iowa summer. Still, trust me, Iowa in summer is a buggy place. And the Japanese Beetle, a newly arrived pest of the East, is coming out in force right now, which distresses me as both a gardener and a human biker. They sting—no, they don't have stingers, and don't bite, as far as I know, but if one hits you when you're tooling along at 15 mph and that metallic little bug bomb is going the other way at 10 mph—well, they make an audible “pop” and they sting.

Fortunately, they have tough exterior skeletons, and they don't also splat, at least not a bicycle speed. They are just annoying—you're riding along, enjoying the scenery, when you unknowingly approach a linden tree or crab apple or apple or rose bush or hollyhock or any other of the numerous plants these little garden panzers of mayhem attack, and …. pop. Pop. Pop.

From a St. Paul Minnesota web page, telling our northern neighbors
how much fun this newly arrived pest will be . A Japanese beetle.
And you have to brush the brutes off, cause they just sits there on your bike shirt. Or, worse, face.

Well, although I intensely dislike Japanese Beetles, they aren't the worst bug out there. They are not as bad as when you stop for a break and a black fly lands on your ankle. The bite of the Iowa summer black fly is not as serious as a mosquito bite, in the long run, but in the short run it hurts RIGHT NOW! Ouch!

Well, not all insects are horrible little biting flies or big brutish plant-destroying bits of metallica. At the end of the ride there is a pond in Ely, and, despite the heat, or perhaps because of it, I spent a few entertaining minutes watching the many dragonflies.

Until that darn black fly bit. Ouch!

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