What's the strangest experience you've had on a ride?

I was mountain biking near my house and rode up to the top of a small hill. A young boy, maybe 4 or 5 years old, was at the top with his dad. When he saw me, he said:

“That biker is going to DIE!”

I don’t know if he doubted that my skills were up to the trail back down (which was pretty easy), or if he had visions of something even more ominous. That was over 15 years ago and I’m still pedaling, although he will be proven right eventually…


My strangest experience is when I was climbing up a steep street in the foothills of a Los Angeles neighborhood and a brown bear, the size of a small crossover SUV ran across the road in front of me. Like 15-20ft in front of me.


Mostly just animals doing their things–a hawk swooping down in front of me to grab a not so quick snake off the pavement to bring home for dinner, a couple of young boars, heading towards me before a welcome retreat, and lots of monkeys, in numbers as large as a couple of dozen or so, on the street, on the side of the road, hillside or the trees above–as well as the usual deer, raccoons, koi, and so forth. Monkeys don’t like to hang around for picture taking, but here’s one.


Another is not so much an experience, but just a local oddity–what I call “Dummy Village”, near Yuki (Hiroshima), where I live. As Japan ages, many of the young have left the country villages for the cities, leaving ghost towns in their wake–a few remaining residents sought to repopulate their village, in their own way.


I find that quite scary TBH


There was an owl up in a tree that I saw but it was no ordinary owl. It was prehistoric size. To this day I can’t believe how big that owl was. And it was scary looking. I swear it looked like a monster. I was shocked and truthfully terrified. If that bird wanted it could have killed me no problem. It was like out of a horror movie.

I grew up spending a lot of time in the woods. I know wild animals and what to be wary of. This bird wasn’t like seeing an eagle and thinking “How beautiful and majestic.” This was “How fast can I ride my bike to get out of here”


I don’t even know where to begin…

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I’ve had a lot of encounters with dogs, but none lately. The weirdest one was many years ago. I was training for my first century, and would ride quarter -half mile laps around this neighborhood. There was a dog that would chase me every time, but never catch me. I came around one time and instead of starting even with me or behind me and try to catch up, he started off coming straight at me from about 11 o’clock. I barrelled ahead waiting for him to get behind me and chase. Instead he tackled my front wheel with his chest with both of us going top speed–my front wheel was destroyed. I don’t think I ever saw that dog again.

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I was once t-boned by a shitbag I mean a dog that contacted around the seatube area. had my head down for a second at the time recovering from an effort, didn’t see it coming. rear wheel destroyed, came out of both pedals, lost the bars and almost went over them, but stayed upright.

edit- also, found a crack at a weld on the aluminum frame I was riding at the time a couple days later, not sure how much it had to do with the impact with the shitbag.

The strangest experience I’ve had whilst cycling was being passed by a car that actually followed all the rules of the highway code when overtaking me.


Strangest experience was doing a Sunday group ride before a crit in the afternoon so I had my 66mm deep Reynolds wheels on the bike. We’re cruising down a section of road at 27+mph in a double paceline when at the last second I see a massive chunk of concrete/pavement in front of the rider infront of me. I couldn’t even move my lips to call it out before he hit it, went over the bars and broke a few ribs. Some how by pure luck I accidentally managed to scoot right by him and stop (we were riding in a very tight pack) probably my best bike handling of all time. Got a double flat and my rear brake track had separated from my wheel. I didn’t hit anything at all and the rock had barely moved so had zero clue as to how that happened.


Riding through that village would be quite the experience.

Seeing wild monkeys is one of those things I don’t think I’d ever get used to.

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When I first got into cycling, I bought a used Battaglin steel frame from a local racer. It looked used, but otherwise fine. I was out riding it, minding my own business, and the next minute I was lying on the ground, bleeding. The down tube just snapped, perfectly cleanly like it was cut with a laser, right in the middle. The bike folded up into a U-shape, but the top tube was still intact. It was deeply bizarre, and I have never come up with a good explanation for what happened. Thankfully someone gave me a ride home.


I can remember 3:

  • On a very small rural road in SW France in the woods, pavement suddenly disappeared to be replaced by Strade Bianche like gravel (guess there wasn’t any money left to resurface it and nobody cared). At some point it turned downhill, steep, and I was trying to slow down without falling off the bike when a wild boar family crossed the road meters ahead of me. I couldn’t stop, was just lucky that they finished crossing before I was on them. They watched me pass, and luckily decided I was not interesting enough to turn around.

  • On a very small downhill road in rural Normandy, early Sunday misty morning, a very big deer with very big antlers (should I use plural or singular ?) got out of the woods and started to cross the road just in front of me. It was impossible to stop so I just shouted “you stop” at it, and… it saw me and stopped. I sped past it, that one was close. I vividly remember the mixed emotions: the beauty of the deer appearing from the woods in the mist in the quiet and silent morning, with only the sound of the wind, and the thought “I am going to hit that thing and die a stupid death, or I am going to hurt myself pretty bad and that thing will finish me off”.

  • On a downhill road in the pre-Alps in SE France (cat.3 climb downhill, 1 km section at 10%, dead straight), I comfortably overtook a Dutch camping car. I knew the road, shot out of the last corner quite fast and was young and stupid, so I caught the thing, popped my left arm to signal I was overtaking, overtook like I would have in a car, popped my right arm and got back in line. That was the only time I hit 100 km/h on a bike. On a 6 kgs Orbea Orca with Reynolds 32 mm tubulars shod with 22 mm Veloflexes, with Ciamillo brakes :scream: :sweat_smile: (I haven’t ever hit more than 85 since, even in the Alps, and now I think I am too fast at 65 ^^)


Top of road to Mauna Loa weather station. Ride up is strange already otherwise. Arrive at the gate, get off to walk a bit and the ground starts shaking. For a couple seconds, thought I was hallucinating. No, just a friendly reminder she’s very big and very live.


Mine would have to be a couple of years back riding down the bike path next to the river here. As I went to pass under one of the bridges I noticed a strip of rocks had been placed acrosss the path and a heap of jelly fish slopped in front of it which made stopping in time interesting.
As I slowed down to sort it out I was pelted with rocks by a couple of dudes who I had thought were crabbing in the shallows. I discovered that I wasn’t their first victim when I pulled up and called the cops who turned up about 5 minutes later.


Many years ago on a club ride, we were moving along nicely in a long double line when a big aggressive pitbull type dog started running straight at us. I was near the front so reckoned I would be OK but someone near the back was gonna get it badly.
Next thing a car came around the bend in front of us and hit the dog, killing it.

All I remember is the sound of claws on pavement then a bang and a whimper.

Instant Karma


On the same ride, I disturbed an amorous couple in a car down a quiet lane, and I also passed two blokes on mtbs dressed as Batman and Robin.

(I would stress the 2 events above were in different places and apparently unrelated).


Riding down Black Mountain at 70kmh a large Christmas beetle collided with my forehead at the small gap between helmet and glasses. It made a loud “tock” and left a bruise. No word on the condition of the beetle. Glad not to head off into the scenery.


Must have been 1984, before anyone started wearing helmets, my parents took me and a Canadian exchange student to Tuscany. We were pretty competitive and raced down the wonderful descent from San Baronto direction Pistoia, 23mm tires on cracked tarmac. At the bottom of the descent I was soundly beaten, and my friend had to wait at the road side - but when he lifted his bike to put it back on the road the front wheel just fell out of the fork. Looks like the QR had been loose all the time. I was reminded of that incident just recently watching the GCN Andrea Tafi documentary, where I think they go down exactly that road.


Holy, that is really strange!