Poisonous snakes and cyclists

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Poisonous snakes are a danger to cyclists.  Bicycle riders, joggers, roller bladers and skaters need to be aware of dangerous animals in their path
Poisonous snakes are a danger to cyclists. Bicycle riders, joggers, roller bladers and skaters need to be aware of dangerous animals in their path

While riding in the Reston Century last Sunday, I almost ran over a snake. Not just any snake, but a poisonous copperhead that was sunning itself in the middle of the path ! Luckily, I avoided contact with the venomous reptile, but this is not the first time I have seen a large snake on the W&OD Trail in Loudoun County. Another snake incident nearly caused me to swerve and crash. And, a black snake my wife ran over nearly bit me as I followed her near the Luck quarry ! While these snakes can be quite beautiful, it is best to give them a wide berth and not incite an attack that could prove fatal.

The Reston Runners website also reports “An unusually high number of copperhead snakes have recently been reported in Fairfax County. Copperheads are venomous snakes that are found here and throughout Virginia.” In tomorrow’s post, I will share some excellent tips from an Australian cycling site. The Aussies have to contend with a number of the most dangerous poisonous snakes on the planet, so their bikers and runners have a lot of good safety information to share with athletes here in America.

12 responses on “Poisonous snakes and cyclists

  1. Doug

    I almost ran over a little one the other week. He was about 18 inches long. I about stepped on one 2 years ago trail running and about died! Greq Hawkins, Set Up., Inc., Durham, NC – Virginia Triathlon Series Race Director

  2. Doug

    I almost ran over a little one the other week. He was about 18 inches long. I about stepped on one 2 years ago trail running and about died! Greq Hawkins, Set Up., Inc., Durham, NC – Virginia Triathlon Series Race Director

  3. Doug

    Dear Greg,

    Glad you didn’t die. Apparently, off road bikers, hikers and runners encounter venomous snakes more often than “roadies” and “tri-geeks.” Perhaps because triathletes are not in close proximity or pelotons, and they are usually looking at the ground in “aero” position, that they see snakes on the road…

  4. Doug

    Dear Greg,
    Glad you didn’t die. Apparently, off road bikers, hikers and runners encounter venomous snakes more often than “roadies” and “tri-geeks.” Perhaps because triathletes are not in close proximity or pelotons, and they are usually looking at the ground in “aero” position, that they see snakes on the road…

  5. Zach

    I might be the only one saying this, but <> I haven’t seen a copperhead in years; it’s good to know that populations are still thriving in Fairfax County.

    Biking and walking paths are actually ideal places to find snakes, especially in the early morning. As poikilotherms, snakes depend on the heat of their surroundings to thermoregulate. Especially in densely wooded areas (like a lot of the running and biking paths in Reston), you’ll find tons of snakes taking advantage of the hot asphalt to get themselves warmed up and ready to start the day.

    That’s a beautiful snake! Good spot. And good point, always good to keep your eyes open and your wits about you while biking. Just about every serious cyclist I know has suffered from road rash, a collision, clotheslining on poorly-marked barriers, being struck by a car, hitting a pot hole, you name it.

  6. Zach

    I might be the only one saying this, but <> I haven’t seen a copperhead in years; it’s good to know that populations are still thriving in Fairfax County.

    Biking and walking paths are actually ideal places to find snakes, especially in the early morning. As poikilotherms, snakes depend on the heat of their surroundings to thermoregulate. Especially in densely wooded areas (like a lot of the running and biking paths in Reston), you’ll find tons of snakes taking advantage of the hot asphalt to get themselves warmed up and ready to start the day.

    That’s a beautiful snake! Good spot. And good point, always good to keep your eyes open and your wits about you while biking. Just about every serious cyclist I know has suffered from road rash, a collision, clotheslining on poorly-marked barriers, being struck by a car, hitting a pot hole, you name it.

  7. Glenn Stephens

    Hmm. I haven’t seen Doug at any tris this year. Is it possible he is a shape shifter? (Since I am an attorney, I will eschew the obvious lawyers are snakes in the grass joke).

    Seriously Doug and Brian, thanks for the heads up. In the past I have seen as many as 8 snakes in the swampy mile or so around Diffcult Run on the W&OD.

  8. Glenn Stephens

    Hmm. I haven’t seen Doug at any tris this year. Is it possible he is a shape shifter? (Since I am an attorney, I will eschew the obvious lawyers are snakes in the grass joke).

    Seriously Doug and Brian, thanks for the heads up. In the past I have seen as many as 8 snakes in the swampy mile or so around Diffcult Run on the W&OD.

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