Charles River Crocodiles

WheelPeople Editors

 A ride report is part of the Wednesday Wheeler tradition, and this one is being published here to alert you to a life threatening danger along the Charles River at low tide. Please let us know if you see any fresh crocodile sightings.


This year has been a particularly devastating for bicyclists riding in the low-lying areas of the Charles River during high tide.  As of mid-August there were 131 attacks against bicyclists and 129 individuals and their bicycles were lost to the Charles River crocodiles.  As you may know, the larger crocodiles are capable of surprising bursts of speeds, briefly reaching up to 7.5 to 8.5 MPH. Obviously, the unfortunate bicyclists were not Wednesday Wheelers.  If they had ridden with us on a consistent basis, they would have been able to “drop” the crocs.


One interesting fact that stands out in police reports is that all 129 ill-fated bicyclists were riding bicycles with carbon fiber frames; none had steel frames.  The Charles River crocodiles have become exceptionally clever; they can easily distinguish steel frames from carbon fiber frames.  They learned years ago that chomping down on steel frames would only result in broken teeth and that steel frames are not digestible.  Consequently, they do not attack bicyclists with steel frames - something one may want to contemplate when choosing a bike frame. Vertebrate zoologists theorize that the Charles River crocodiles have acquired a taste for carbon fiber similar to the way that some people crave dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa).  We have an individual like that in our group.  If you notice, she always rides with a pack on her back, but there is no water, fruit, repair gear, or anything else in the pack except dark chocolate.  It is stuffed from bottom to top with an assortment of delicious chocolates.  She usually volunteers as sweep so that no one can see her reach into the bag and incessantly devour chocolate throughout the entire ride.  I will not give up her name.


There is an abundant supply of fish, wild game, domestic pets, walkers, and joggers passing through the Charles River basin, yet the crocodiles never attack the walkers or joggers.  The zoologists hypothesize the crocodiles crave and are addicted to carbon fiber.  Nevertheless, they still gulp down the bicyclists along with their carbon fiber frames.  Since carbon fiber frames have dominated the bicycle industry in recent years, the crocodile’s preference for carbon fiber may be an evolutionary adaptation. 


Taking into consideration the fact that carbon fiber frames continue to get lighter each year, some zoologists believe the crocodiles only attack bicyclists when they are in the mood for a light meal.  The doubters of these conclusions claim the phenomenon is relatively new and requires research that is more extensive.  They support sponsoring bike rallies, group rides, and road races to attract more bicyclists to the Charles River Basin area.  Additional bicyclists in the area would provide more opportunities to study Charles River crocodile behavior in action in their natural habitat.


In one particular area, the river comes within a few feet of the road.  On the opposite roadside there is a small marsh overflowing with reeds, which provides first-rate cover for the crocodilians.  This is the spot where the majority of attacks occur.  Yes, we did ride by that exact spot today, but purposely did not have a regroup there.  Recently two bicyclists escaped an attack at the small marsh and unveiled an innovative new strategy being employed by the crocodilians.  After finishing off their latest victims, the crocodilians would eat all but one of the carbon fiber bicycles. They would drag and position the uneaten bicycle up against a tree, puncture one of the tires with their teeth, then wait hidden amongst the reeds.  An impressive example of wildlife using tools to assist in acquiring their prey.


While riding by the marsh, the two unsuspecting bicyclists noticed the bicycle leaning against the tree had a flat tire. They pulled over, stopped and looked for its owner to inquire if help was needed.  They probably were Wednesday Wheelers relishing the chance to jump in and repair someone else’s flat tire.  We all know very well that if you flat out on a Wednesday Wheeler ride, just hold tight, no sense getting your own hands dirty.  You had better move out of the way swiftly, because in the blink of an eye, no less than half a dozen Wheelers will surround your bike, feverishly debating who has the best method to repair the flat.  However, in spite of all the quarrelling, they will have your flat repaired properly and quickly.


The crocodiles crawled from the reeds and sped toward the two bicyclists but came to an abrupt stop within 2 feet.  It was as if a steel curtain had suddenly dropped in front of them.  Actually, it was better than a steel curtain; the two bicyclists were riding bikes with steel frames.  The crocodiles were misled by the presence of a faux carbon fiber pump on the top tube of one of the bicycles.  Once the crocodiles realized their blunder, they quickly retreated into the river.  They were disappointed but not discouraged; for they knew, it would not be long before other noble Samaritans pulled over to offer assistance.  The crocs licked their chops, grinned at each other, and knew for sure they would meet with good fortune that day.  For it would be just a matter of time before a bicyclist pedaled down the road riding on the crocs favorite delicacy, a Specialized Roubaix.


Additionally, this year, sad to say, even Sasquatch (Big Foot) succumbed to the Charles River crocodiles. Sasquatch had tired of the forests in the Pacific Northwest and the ruthless pursuit of the paparazzi.  He migrated to Massachusetts a few years ago, believing that the Charles River area would be a peaceful place to settle.  Sasquatch was fully aware that the crocodiles were patrolling the river and its banks, but believed that he could elude them. Unfortunately, due to size of his feet, he could never run more than 7 MPH.


Concerned that, it might have kept riders from attending today’s ride, information about the Charles River crocodiles was intentionally withheld from the ride announcement.  However, I am delighted to report that all riders were accounted for at the conclusion of the ride. 


The ride report was written by Pete Fiore as a Wednesday Wheeler ride report on August 18, 2010. We want to thank the several members who helped with the logistics of bringing this to press: Helen Greitzer, Ken Hablow, Clyde Kessel, and Butch Pemstein