Cross Pollination


Cross Pollination


Jason Harrod

I don’t know about you but I am a friggin’ magnet for honey bees.  They find me like I have some kind of StingMePlease GPS implanted in my body … or maybe it is something I emit when I perspire, a bee pheromone so to speak.  Whichever the cause, the effect is a painful one.  In all honesty I get stung about 20 times a year.  I just guess it is a good thing I am not allergic; if something good can be gleaned from getting stung a gazillion times.


Last week in NorCal we were blessed with some Spring time weather: sunny, 70’s, a slight breeze.  I took full advantage of said sunshine, and used a couple of my vacation days, to put in a mini training camp of my own.  Let’s call it ‘Old Fat Guy Who Thinks He Can Ride’ camp.  Whatever the inspiration and motivation, I did get five solid days of 50 plus mile road rides in, it felt good to be that kind of tired.  Back to the honey bees.


So there I was J.R.A. – just riding along – and whack.  One of those drones gets sucked right into a helmet vent.  How do I know?  Trust me, I am a seasoned veteran.  I am that guy you see out on the road, cruising along, who all of a sudden locks up his rear brakes, skids to a stop, starts waving his hands about him like a airport traffic guy or some sort of deranged Ninja fighting invisible foe, rips off his helmet and starts frantically trying to get what appear to be a million imaginary bugs out of his hair.  Yes, that is me.  That is my M.O.  Having looked like a Neanderthal on more than 10 occasions from taking a honey bee to the head, rear end first, I now try to avoid getting stung at all cost.  So there I was J.R.A. – just riding along – and whack.   And I’m flapping and freaking and ripping off my glasses and helmet all for … false alarm.  Dang cricket.  And back to spinning.  I mean this now, not two minutes later … whack.  Right in the vent, and this time I can hear the buzzing, almost feel that dudes little fuzzy feet on my bald spot and then, BAM.  Stung right on the top of the head.  The swelling is immediate.  I can feel the chinstrap on my helmet tighten and constrict around my throat as the swelling on the top of my head acts like a hydraulic jack, quickly rising and lifting my helmet off my head.  I remove my lid and feel around for the stinger.  All clean.  I rub the wound and the pain itches like crazy.  Oh well, back to the ride.  I near the first of many climbs and unzip my jersey to allow cooling, the breeze to ruffle the bear-like fur of my chest and … BAM.  Another one of those suckers slides right into my jersey opening and around the back and WHACK – second sting in five minutes.  Dang it.


Now most rational people might have turned around and gone home at this point.  Not me.  I like the ride too much.  These bees are a problem for me … for sure.  I decided to employ science to determine the reason I am so attractive to the Apis mellifera.  And honestly, I have nothing.  Well, not nothing, but nothing scientific.  The reason these little critters adore me so can be only of two reasons.  They either love my navy, yellow and white kit … or they love the way I stink.


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  1. Phil Samuels says

    I recently stumbled across your article and whether by Osmosis or just dumb luck I got stung twice today – first right between the eyes on a ride and again later while walking my dog. Yeah I know you’re not to blame but I did think of your article when it happened.
    I’m up in San Anselmo on occasion. It’d be nice to connect for a ride some time if you’re available. Oddly enough I’ve been bumping in to a few Wheelsmith boys as of recent. Hope all is well your way.

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