Monday, September 5, 2016

Into Each Tire Some Cactii Must Poke


Cholla ball in my tire. Use a stick to remove. Did not flip up into my knee this time.

In enjoyment of Labor Day morning off, a wee dram of mountain biking was had. In the process, I got briefly up close and personal with some Teddy Bear cholla cactus, Cylindropuntia bigelovii, which is wonderful, beautiful, Sonoran Desert signature stuff, so long as you don't touch it, or run over its plentiful balls. The puncture protection layer in my tire seemed to work just fine, though, so no problem with a little kiss from a teddy bear cholla. I used a stick to remove the ball and associated spines, as I mentioned in the caption. No matter how easy it looks, you can't touch these things--they stick on you, and in you, and work their way in, and you can't get rid of them. Very affectionate, like. And they look so white and fluffy!

Here Teddy Bear, please hold my bike that you already put spikes into (bad idea 2). Balls=clone plant starters.

Into each tire some cactii must poke. With proper preparation, sealant, and puncture protection layers, though, it's no big deal. Remove ball with a stick, keep on riding. Since the dropped balls can root and grow on their own, these dense stands are often clones of an original teddy bear that moved into the neighborhood. The Cholla family stares as I pedal past them, shimmering in the morning sun. As far as I have been able to determine, the balls do not actually launch or jump at you, just cling tenaciously and painfully if you happen to brush by them, or otherwise contact them. Although it is a bit terrifying to think of that family of clones sitting there, quietly waiting for the unsuspecting mountain biker to pass them, launching a volley of pokey-sticky clone balls in the general direction of the motion, sound, shadow, or vibration. C'mon teddy bears, don't do it!
   

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