There is a menace in Southern California, one that imperils every right-standing citizen who chooses an alternative means of transportation. Of course I’m referring to bicycles and the goathead thorn menace.
Its official name is Tribulus terrestris, or puncturevine, making it sound like something out of the Monster Manual. You can find their mat-like vines around Southern California (and indeed, across the Southwest), lurking in fields and tracks.
The seeds are the thorny bits. They attach themselves to tires, both bicycle and car, spreading seeds along the sides of roads. They love bare feet with a passion. They love to take over large swaths, choking other plants out. An apropos Google reveals woeful stories of destruction and pain, particularly for bicyclists, hikers, and animals. Like a lot of things in Southern California, puncturevine is an import, probably hitching a ride from the Mediterranean region in the wool of sheep.
Your faithful author was a recent victim of this creeping menace, failing his saving throw vs. puncturevine at the end of a lengthy cycling adventure, transforming him into a gibbering pedestrian pushing his bike home, trying to compile a list of songs about bicycles.
Puncturevine is just one of the myriad natural hazards living in SoCal. With all the mudslides, forest fires, earthquakes, impending fire ant and killer bee fun…well, some days it’s almost too scary to leave the house.
The author’s bicycle, newly armored with 4.5mm-thick puncture-resistant tires, has sallied forth several times into the dangerously beautiful SoCal spring sunlight, thankful he doesn’t have to deal with other dangers.