It was near Midsummer and Coydog was wandering through the fields and forests of Wisconsin. She chased a few bunnies, startled a few quail, and was, in general, quite bored. Now, a bored and idle Coydog is always a troublesome thing indeed. And what is a Coydog, you might ask? She is a little bit Coyote, some Dog, and maybe a touch of Wolf. That should tell you just how much trouble a Coydog can be.
So Coydog decided to go into Sauk City to see what the humans were doing on this fine day. It turned out the Great Annual Bicycle Adventure along the Wisconsin River was passing through. Many of the cyclists had stopped there for lunch. Coydog decided to amuse herself by switching signs on the doors of various businesses. She sat back to watch the ensuing confusion.
“What are you doing?” asked a nervous voice.
“Oh, hello, Hare. I’m just redecorating.” Coydog smiled broadly at her old friend. “Beautiful day, isn’t it?”
Hare looked around. “I suppose it is at that.”
“Might rain later,” added a sombre voice.
Coydog looked up at the clouds. “Oh, I don’t know, Tortoise. Might just blow over.” She was contemplating the bicycles parked along the sidewalks. “I wonder what those numbers are for …”
Tortoise and Hare exchanged looks. They’d been following the bicycles, enjoying a friendly race. Tortoise whispered, “He’s going to ruin this bicycle tour, isn’t he?”
Hare fretted, “These are nice people. I don’t think they need his sort of help.”
“What are we going to do?”
They watched as Coydog knelt down to take a closer look at one of the bicycles. She muttered, “Why all this pedalling? Don’t they make little electric motors for these now?”
Hare decided it was time to intervene. She took Coydog by the elbow and started walking. “Oh, you know how people are. They enjoy a good challenge from time to time.”
Coydog started to pull away. “I’m good at making challenges …”
Hare tightened her grip. “Of that, I have no doubt. I’m sure you’ll have a very good time on the bike tour. It’s a shame you won’t be able to join Tortoise and I on our little adventure. We’ll miss you.” She let go of Coydog’s elbow. “You’ll need to get a bicycle. I suggest going to a shop for one. These are all in use, you see. I would tell you to get a helmet but …”
Coydog smirked. “Who needs a stinkin’ helmet?”
“Exactly. Good luck to you now. Come along, Tortoise.”
Tortoise wasn’t sure where they were going but she didn’t argue. She just followed Hare. “See you around, Coydog.”
Coydog watched them walking away, thinking hard. “What are they up to?”
Hare counted under her breath, “One, two, three … and now.”
Coydog caught up with them. “So what are you doing?”
Hare answered, “Oh, nothing you’d be interested in. Don’t you need to get a bicycle?”
Coydog shook her head. “Nah, too much work. Seriously. What are you doing?”
Hare winked at Tortoise. “Oh, we’re just going to float down the river. We haven’t done the water portion of our race yet.”
Tortoise added, as she hid her bike helmet and gloves in her shell, “Yes. We’re getting kayaks over there.”
Coydog offered, “I can come along as a … judge. You know, make sure neither of you cheat or anything.”
Tortoise looked dubious. “But you cheat all the time.”
Coydog nodded knowingly. “Exactly. That’s how I’ll know if either of you cheat. I’m an expert.”