I was riding at a fair clip on a local asphalt-paved rail trail, approaching a road crossing near an intersection. My wife was ahead of me, almost at the intersection, and I was looking at the traffic lights to see if I could still make it while the crossing light was on. Suddenly there was a thud and a jolt that bounced me up off the seat, but I recovered and went on to the crossing. Then I stopped and turned around to see what I had just ridden over that I hadn't seen.
At road crossings, the trail has some barriers to keep vehicles off which consist of three hollow metal posts that are about 4 x 6 inches in cross-section and maybe 3 feet tall. In order to give access for maintenance, the center post is actually hinged at the bottom so they can remove a padlock and lay it flat, although it's still a 4-inch high post lying lengthwise on the trail. And that's apparently what I had just run over.
Now I keep thinking that I must have hit that thing perfectly square and dead center to have gotten over it without a disaster. If I had just hit a corner of it, or if my front tire had angled into it from the side, I would have been spit off the bike faster than I could think about it! I'm also glad that I was on my comfort bike with the suspension fork and bigger tires, instead of my road bike that I often take on this route -- there was no tire or wheel damage.
Well, that will get me to keep my eyes on the trail in front of me (at least for the next few rides)!