When some 2,500 registered bicyclists and an unknown number of unregistered bicyclists fill their bellies with swine flesh and then fill the Raccoon River Valley Trail with bicyclist flesh, it stands to reason that a certain measure of trash will be the result.
Whether deliberately or not, bikers often leave a trail of packaging in their wake, from their energy bars and gels to their power drinks and shots. What one does not expect to find among the cyclists’ refuse, however, is a loaded pistol.
But that is exactly what was found about 3 p.m. Saturday, when someone informed the Dallas County Sheriff’s office that they came across a loaded .357 magnum handgun on the Raccoon River Valley Trail near Redfield.
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry once claimed he shot a coyote while jogging. Although armed jogging does not sound pleasant, we can probably expect cyclists in spandex shorts and cleated shoes to be similarly prepared for all emergencies.
Iowa bikers in particular are prizing their newly enlarged liberty of standing their ground. On a humid day on a crowded trail, when road rage could overcome the patience of the Dalai Lama, the wise cyclist will have wisely pack heat in his or her fanny pack, especially in heat like this.
A sidearm could also come in handy off the trail and on the county blacktop, where passing motorists might need a gentle reminder that bikes freely share the right of way, and the operators of motorized vehicles are obliged to give them a wide berth.
Given the wise prudence of weaponized biking, then, it also follows that losing one’s gun along the trail is, conversely, a risk to be minimized. We could even generalize and say that losing one’s loaded pistol on a public recreational trail is one of the stupidest and most careless things one could do.
So it will be interesting to see if anyone comes forth to claim the lost gun. The serial number did not return any information on acquisition or disposition, according to radio traffic.