Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A bee in the bonnet

So there I was, riding happily past huge bushes of wildflowers, enjoying the sunshine and beautiful day.  I had just finished the section of the Sacramento-Davis ride that takes you alongside I-80 and I was alternating between grooving to the nature around me and freaking out at how much longer this stretch seems when you're not in a car.

I felt something hit my helmet.  That's not true.  I felt the distinct sensation of something hitting my scalp, despite the fact I was wearing a helmet.  Something small -- but with detectable mass -- had managed to achieve the precise angle necessary to enter the air vent over the right side of my forehead and fling its tiny body against my somewhat larger one.

And once on such an intimate basis with me, he was in no mood to leave.  Can't blame him, really.

I'm not a particularly fast cyclist, but it turns out I am a remarkably fast bee extractor.  The instant I felt the impact, I knew it was a bee.  Maybe it was the humongous bushes of wildflowers alongside the path, or maybe it was some innate ability to recognize Apis Mellifera, but there was no doubt in my mind about the identity of my new cranial visitor.

This is not the actual bee in question.  Well, it could be, I suppose.  For all I know, the bee that hit me in the head could very well have had a career in modeling before he met me.  This seems unlikely, so let's say for the sake of moving things along that it is a different but similar bee. 

By the time you could say, "Oh God, I hope it's not Africanized," I had my helmet off and was whomping it against my still-pedaling leg to dislodge Beezer (as I have now decided to name him).  My efforts to jar him loose came to nothing, unless you count dislodging the clip-on blinky from the back of the helmet and sending it scattering across the trail as an accomplishment.

Finally, I had to stop, get off the bike and get serious.  In that moment, though, I realized that I had no idea of how to get rid of this bee.  He wasn't letting go and I wasn't reaching in there to get him.  It was then, dear readers, that I thought of you and how much you might enjoy a photo of this merry encounter with nature.  I abandoned the cause of dislodging the bee and reached into my pocket to retrieve my iPhone.   

Beezer, I now realize, is a very shy bee. He had no interest in being photographed for my blog and took his leave at once.  Come to think of it, it is nearly impossible that he is the same bee who posed for the Wikipedia photo above.  Or, if he is, then the experience left him determined not to repeat it. I have heard such things about modeling jobs and photographers and I am prepared to believe them.

The departure of Beezer did not deter me from documenting the event.  I snapped a photo anyway, using a handy stand-in for the petulant star.  Audience, please note that in this particular production, the part of Beezer is played by Nearby Wildflower Blossom.

I like to think that somewhere in an apiary near Davis, a tiny blogger is writing (or dancing or buzzing or emitting chemicals) to recount the story of his brush with another species.  When you speak of me, Beezer, be kind.


  1. This is not the actual bee in question. Well, it could be, I suppose. For all I know, the bee that hit me in the head could very well have had a career in modeling before he met me.

    Haaaaaa haaaaa haaaaa


    Visual imagination, sorry. Images of the bee posing for Victoria's Secret and all that. Okay.

    Thanks : )

    And glad you weren't stung! My encounter with a bee was... getting a black eye when a huge one hit me right on the brow when I was cycling along the Danube Cycle Path last May!

  2. LOL, great story! I got a beetle-ish sort of flying bug down my tank top today. I could feel it climbing around in there until I got to a stop light and got a chance to fish it out. Must have been quite the site for the guy in the car in front of me. :) Yay for bug season!

  3. Oh, my. Your blog had me alternately shuddering and rolling on the floor in hysterics. You are a funny, funny man, Michael.

    Better you than me for I would have surely been utterly undone.

  4. I love this story! Had me laughing out loud!

    Thanks for sharing.
    Carrie (an old friend of Jan's)

  5. Thank you, Carrie! Nice to know you're reading!