Sunday, October 9, 2011

Autumn Bike Rides

Been getting some good biking in as we get into autumn. Over the last few weeks I've racked up 86 miles either on my own or with Jim. This brings the season total to 319 miles. Still nothing to crow about, but breaking the 300 mile bar makes things a little less sad.

On one of the rides, I saw a praying mantis crossing the path. These are another animal I think of as an 'earth alien'.  Like the octopus and stingray, praying mantises (manti?) are creatures that just look otherworldly. They have a lot of special characteristics that make them unique. For example: some mantis' jaws can puncture skin and they are the only insect that can turn its head on a neck. Then there's that whole business about the females eating their mates while they are mating. And you have to love them because they are one of those voracious predators that eat tons of bad and/or annoying bugs (like dragonflies).  Stopped to take a picture of this one(click to expand). It was about 5 inches long and was doing this weird swaying motion on its legs as I got closer. Maybe this is a behavior designed to make it look even more like a leaf or piece of plant debris? Not sure, but it was kind of funny to watch.

Yesterday, Jim and I were riding together and the fall colors were really getting started, so Jim took some pictures. This is a big picture, so you can really see the beauty of the scenery and colors if you click and expand. With the slanted autumn light, the beginning of fall is just a gorgeous time to be riding the paths!

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