Sat with Nat

A bee, some barf and a bicycle flat

A short report on a 60 km ride I did on Sunday May 3.

It was gorgeous in London, Ontario. We struck out at 9 am along the bike paths heading east, the red wing blackbirds were singing. It was warm. By 10 am we were well outside the London city limits and it was getting toasty. So much so I whipped off my shirt and rode  in my bra, shorts and open toe sandals. Oh so sweaty. I had a moment where I thought, “oh no people will see my belly!” but that was quickly forgotten because I felt instantly cooler and more comfortable. A headwind when it’s hot feels refreshing. It’s hard to believe a month ago it was 8C and a headwind was chilling me to the bone.

Everyone was out, cyclists, runners and motorcyclists, all wanting to soak up the sun. We got to Belmont before 11 am and enjoyed lots of yummy food. Back on our bikes and heading towards London I was huffing along trying to catch up to Randonneurs Dave & Michel when I inhaled a bee.

It thwacked the back of my throat and I swallowed reflexively. I tried coughing it back up as I felt a burning and swelling in  my throat (maybe a sting?) then I started uncontrollably vomiting…at speed. Of course it was at speed. So as I’m slowing down, retching, I hit a very small pothole. Then the road seemed very bumpy, no wait, I’m losing control, oh is this a fricking de-railer thing? I wobble to a stop and try to regain some semblance of dignity (ya, no, that car going by totally saw me honk my guts out). I get off my bike, wipe my mouth and see it is only a flat. My spare is riding away from me on Michel’s back (I’ve haven’t gotten an under-seat bag yet for my flat kit). I call out “GUYS! Guys! I ate a bug!” I am six year old me, kind of pouty lipped and sad. I hate vomiting. I hate inhaling bugs. I hate not being 100% independent and needing help. “Guys! Wait up guys!”


Michel sensed a disturbance in the force and looked back, seeing me walking my bike he wheeled around. We get the tire off the bike and Dave is there offering to teach or do. “Just change it, I will learn by watching this time.” No, I haven’t changed a flat yet, it was my first. Dave walked me through how best to do it. I would have taken everything off the rim but it is way easier just to slide the inner tube out leaving the tire mostly in place.

I grabbed the hand pump only to find the nozzle, which was there a couple weeks ago, missing. Dave had CO2 cartridges, thank goodness we are friends! So the flat fix took about 15 minutes, thank you Dave!

Back in town we stopped for iced tea, I had overheated quite a bit and was starting to have a headache. I eventually remembered to put my shirt back on as a few friends rode by lovingly calling out to me “Hey sexy lady!” Right, I’m standing on a busy rode in naught but a bra and cycling shorts breaking all the fat girl rules.

My bike, Ethel, only has one water bottle clip and I definitely need a second, I refilled my bottle twice and was still a little dehydrated by the end of the ride. Michel had switched to his new fixie, Handsome Bob, and needs water bottle holders too. It’s been quite the experience getting geared up over the past 9 months, it seems we are always finding more things we need, like under seat bags, a multi-tool, a repair kit etc for me. I’ve been sharing with Michel but that moment of seeing all my repair options disappear over a hill was not cool.

So, there was a bee, some barf and a bicycle flat. It’s a funny story and a very memorable ride. I’m thankful I’m not allergic to bees!


11 thoughts on “A bee, some barf and a bicycle flat

  1. Bee in your mouth? Scary! I once got one stuck under my helmet chin strap on a group ride. I was in the middle close to other riders and I had to undo my helmet and get rid of the bee, without crashing. I got stung on the neck. Ouch! There was a doctor riding with us who said to pay close attention for swelling and to watch that I didn’t get short of breath. It was a fast group ride. We were 60 km from home still. Of course I got out of breath. I got home to the start of the philosophy department start of term party, showered, changed, and stood on a wasp and got stung again. I also learned an important life lesson. If you’re dehydrated from riding, don’t go anywhere near cold white wine. We might have met for the first time that day, Nat!

    1. Thankfully I was mostly grossed out. I don’t think I’d have even gone to the party at my own house if I’d been stung twice in one day.
      Gosh, we’ve known each other a long time. Ten years! So I’m the age you were when we met 🙂
      Look at all that has changed and what stays the same. O.o mind blown.

  2. Wow. A bee in throat. So it died in your gut or did you barf it out??

    I should blog my bee story.. we were cycling on edge of Calgary….when a bee buzzed and stung ..on my eyelid. It got under my sunglasses. I was freaking out, cycling and hanging onto 1 handlebar while other hand was trying fling off bee stuck on my eyelid.

    I was really freaked.

    Next day my eye swelled up twice the size. It looked as if someone at work punched me in the eye. I couldn’t see very well.

    So yes, learn to cycle with 1 hand hanging on..for a few kms. or up a small hill, which is what really happened.

  3. What a great story (well, you know what I mean…). Vomiting seems like a sensible response to the bee-swallowing problem. I’ve not (yet) swallowed a bee while on bike, but have ingested and inhaled many many bugs of various types. Hawking, spitting, and cursing immediately ensue. What’cha gonna do…

  4. Scary. It could have been so much worse. So glad you’re not allergic but yuck. Doesn’t sound as if it was fun. I’m impressed with what you’re doing on the bike this spring!

  5. What an amazing story. I laughed so hard! (Probably because of the picture.)

    I think I could handle a bug (also with much cursing) but not just ANY BUG – not a bee. I’d have been smeared across the pavement.

    I’m glad you’re not a Natalie-flavoured smear right now. 🙂

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