Bicycle. Cow. Bang.

Long ago in June of 1979 I got on a bus (with my bicycle in a box) headed for Astoria, Oregon.Mike Roehrs, Gary Hoschak and Craig Herr were my pedaling companions across the country. We were young and adventurous and stubborn. We crossed the Continental Divide 11 times.

Out side of Bend, OR, I was coasting gently downhill. My buddies were a little way behind. There was a cow grazing peacefully along the side of the road. I grew up in Ohio around cows. They are docile beasts. Eastern Oregon is so dry the cows were set free to eat where they will. A car was coming toward me. The car startled the cow. The cow jumped right in front of- BAM! I hit a cow with my bicycle!

I slid down the road. I scraped by arm and my leg a bit. The only thing I really hurt was my pride. I got up and threw a rock at that damn cow saying, “I am gonna sue the farmer!” The driver had stopped. He said, “You can’t sue the farmer. Here in Oregon if you hurt a cow the farmer can sue you.”

That night camping, after dinner my buddies put on an improv play. One was me, one was the driver, one was the cow. I protested- “I wasn’t that mad!” “Oh, yes you were.”, they said.

That was the first time I had ever seen how I foolishly got so mad over something so silly. I my anger lead me around by my nose. In that moment I decided I need to keep that anger in check. Sometimes I succeed. But at least I have never hit another cow with my bicycle.


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