I can only assume that that is what a prankster thought when he strung it tightly across the cart path up near Indigo and Grand Belizean Estates this morning.
It was a splendid Sunday morning after a cold front passed through Belize yesterday. Bright sunshine, low humidity, and a moderate north breeze made for a perfect morning for bicycling. We rode north up the beach in great spirits. I even sighted and stopped to snap a photo of this Black-Headed Trogan right by the White Sands Dive Shop. I couldn't believe how close he let me get. I wish you could see his distinctive light-blue eye in this photo.
Before I could even process what was happening, I heard Barry yell out "woah" or something similar. I was close behind him, and almost right as I heard him yell, I felt something hit me full-on in the face. It stopped me and my bike immediately in my tracks, and the next thing I knew, I crashed down on my right side (the same side I went down on and fractured my pelvis when road riding in North Carolina in 2005).
Moments later, we realized what had happened. Some Darwin-award contender had strung a piece of strong black braided fishing line tautly across the path, a booby-trap for anyone coming by with any speed at all. Since Barry has flat bars on his bike, he was leaning slightly forward, so he hit the line right above the brim of his ball cap, which thankfully he was wearing or his scalp would have been hit full on. I, on the other hand, was sitting upright. And before he could warn me, the line caught me right across the mouth. It did not break the skin, but it stung like a sonofagun. And I was banged up from the fall as the sand is very hard there.
After this incident, I was in no shape to continue the ride. I was angry and hurting. I tied my bandanna around my leg to catch any bleeding from where I fell and scraped up my right knee, and turned around and rode back home to administer first aid, with Barry close behind me to make sure I was okay.
Taking stock of the damage at home, I have a swollen welt on the right side of my face from where I ran into the line, a badly skinned right knee, a sore and swollen palm on my right hand, and a couple of small scrapes on my left leg. My shorts got scraped up, and I will certainly have a bruise on my butt tomorrow. As bad as it was, it could have been a whole lot worse. Just imagine what could have happened if the line had hit at neck level, or if the jerk who did this had used wire instead of fishing line.
I can only assume that whoever did this was playing a prank and that we were not intentionally targeted. Maybe the expected a golf cart to hit the line and be startled by the palmetto it was tied to to suddenly rustling towards them as if a madman were jumping out of the bushes. I'd like to assume they didn't think about a bicyclist getting injured. Right after I went down, a golf cart came through from the other direction. If we'd been two minutes later, he would have been the victim, not us.
I write this post not for sympathy; I'm a little sore and banged up but am sure I'll be fine in a few days. But mostly we wanted to warn others who might ride bikes in that area, just in case the genius who set the trap decides to strike again. Since the fishing line is virtually invisible, ride or drive very slowly in this area. Something like this shouldn't happen to anyone on this island, whether it be a tourist, expat, or local.