So that’s why you ride with your mouth closed

So there I was this morning, doing about 25 as I cruised down Ocean in Santa Monica, just trying to get a quick ride in before the weather turned.

But as I rode, I suddenly started having trouble breathing, as if something was blocking my airway. A quick personal inventory revealed something was stuck on the back of my throat. And being a semi-frequent practitioner of good dental hygiene, I quickly concluded that I must have inhaled something.

I observed that there was only a slight breeze, so using my brilliant powers of deduction, concluded that it probably wasn’t anything blowing in the wind. Not even an answer, with apologies to the formerly young Mr. Dylan — although I have choked on a few of those over the years, now that I think about it.

That left an insect, most likely of the flying variety.

Could have been a ladybug. Might have been a house fly. Or it could have been just about anything with wings, with the possible exception of the sea gulls and pigeons that frequent the area.

Of course, my fear was that it was a bee, since I didn’t get stung during the infamous beachfront bee encounter, and so still have no idea if I’m allergic or not.

So as I struggled to clear my airway, I anticipated a stinging — and I mean that literally — pain in my throat, followed by the inevitable swelling that would leave my airway constricted and unable to breathe. As well as the risk of anaphylaxis, leaving me a spasming heap in the middle of the roadway, and wondering if the paramedics would arrive before I suffered an inglorious death, surrounded by vegetable-carrying tourists from the farmer’s market.

Not that I tend to be overdramatic, or anything.

Fortunately, nothing happened.

Unfortunately, my instinct to swallow proved stronger than my gag reflex, providing me with an early, unplanned lunch. And with it, any possibility of discovering just what it was

And yes, I finished the rest of my ride with my mouth closed.


The cross-country Obama biker completes his trip — and I read about it first in a publication from Qatar? C.I.C.L.E. announces this weekend’s L.A. River ride. Bicycling talks to the CEO of Lance’s new LiveStrong foundation. Tips for Texas bike commuters. Timor has a brush with the law. And finally, Brayj starts a conversation about suing the MTA for more bike funding, and the Rearview Rider suggests starting a biking legal collective, ala NYC or Portland. Count me in.

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