Ok, it is time to deal with this.
We all know that cars hit stuff. We see dead stuff from cars all over the place. They are, in fact, carnivores and killing machines. Snakes, turtles, skunks, birds, cats, dogs, deer, moose (they win), horses, people. All have fallen to the might that is the automobile.
But what about bikes? Do they not have a tail of woe to tell?
Personally, I have crunched over snakes sunning themselves in leaves on gravel trails. Snakes I cannot see. Snakes I have no idea are there until it is far too late. I have had chipmunks commit suicide by running through my wheels. I have nailed hidden bullfrogs in the leaves at very high speed on my cyclocross bike (they splash hard). Squirrels have jumped on my feet and gone for a ride 'round and 'round and 'round 'til off they jump.
But nothing prepared me for last night.
Riding along, in the dark, with 300 lumens of light guiding my way.
A dark country road. No paved or gravel shoulder. Farmer's fields ploughed to the edge of the tarmac. The odd tuft of grass poking up at field's edge.
Smooth blacktop, well maintained.
Temperature in the low teens, with a hint of damp in the air. No wind.
Speed easy to attain and maintain.
A steel Kona Sutra loaded down with the day's goods from a commute to and from work.
Then it happens.
The beam of light passes a large tuft of grass, a flash of fur erupts, passing between the splay of light and front wheel.
Bars swing violently. Grip tightens. The front wheel jars and lifts. Fur connects with legs and chainring. Rear tire squirms violently and connects again with blacktop.
Circling back, there is nothing. Nothing.
It is almost as if this was something imagined.
Until later, when the bike is inspected, loose spokes noted, and fur removed.