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Something to Crow About

November 13, 2012

Rick’s photo cracked me up, Share with Care indeed!

I got this great email from Bike Friendly reader Rick the other day. Rick’s just bought his first bike as an ‘adult’ in NZ, he’s done the research, he’s taking it slowly and plans to commute to work. Brings a tear to the eye, Auckland needs more Ricks!

And as you’ll see, apart from Satan’s giant winged avenger trying to pluck his eyes out it’s all going swimmingly.

Hi Antoine,

My name is Rick. I would like to share with you what happened today. It is about cycling, don’t worry.

But first, I must thank you for running Bike Friendly North Shore. Your posts has helped me greatly in daring to get a bike for commuting on the shore. You see, I have dreamed for a long while that I could cycle to work, to the library, to the beach, to the market, and so on. Having only biked when I was very young, in a different city and a different continent, the idea that I could do all these things in Auckland didn’t quite register to me until I found your blog.

Last week I have bought a bicycle.

Today I rode to my LBS (a term I learned from the blog and is beginning to creep into my vocabulary), and around the neighbourhood. It was great.

Previously, I did much research into sharing the road with others (it was, and still is, my biggest worry) – what to do, what not to do, etc. Stories of road rage and inadequate infrastructure pop up every now and then. I have read about how to deal with such issues and imagined when I encounter them eventually there are ways to handle the situation, and I would be prepared. It came as a big surprise to me on my first road ride today when I was harassed by a bird. A bird.

The weather was superb. I rode down Rosedale Road and turned into a road along the softball fields. Nothing could be better. Soon I was riding on a share-with-care path, then suddenly the sounds of flapping wings and loud bird caws emerged behind me. I looked back while still pedaling (a trick I am still trying to master), there was a bird almost right in my face.

It was scary. I went on to the LBS and finished my business. On the way back, It was there waiting for me, looking down from the tree branches. I could sense what would happen if I continued on the same path. Sure enough, It came right after me. This time however, I decided to stop. Interestingly, It stopped too; conveniently on top of a share-with-care sign post that I have grown to love seeing. I tried to move closer, but It must have decided that I have been defeated.

On the way home I stopped and watched a couple of innings of a softball game that was being played, while contemplating how much I hated that bird. It just happened so that the batting team worked their way to have a runner on all the bases, and then the next batter hit a grand slam! Victorious!! I probably wouldn’t have seen this amazing play had I been driving past.

After some googling it seems bird attacks on cyclists can be quite common around this time of year, especially in Australia. Here are some interesting links I found:

http://www.wikihow.com/Keep-Safe-from-Swooping-Australian-Magpies
http://www.cycling-inform.com/general-cycling-stuff/697-how-cyclists-can-deal-with-magpie-attacks

Have you been harassed by birds before? If you or your family ever ride near that area in the near future I suggest that you tread carefully. Or perhaps you have some tips to calm the birds?

I am planning to bike to work. It will take a bit of preparation and make myself more fit. The ride is fairly long and hilly. Wish me luck!

And thanks again for the continual great work on the blog. I feel it is an indispensable part of our community; no doubt it has helped many people like me to start cycling on the shore.

Kind regards,
Rick

Thanks again Rick for the encouragement, it’s the occasional bit of feedback like this that keeps me going.

As for the links above, a hat fashioned from an ice-cream container might well increase your sex appeal but I’ll be sticking to my tried-and-true ‘bird evasion technique’ of pedaling like hell to get the pluck out of there.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Natasha permalink
    November 16, 2012 8:49 am

    He, He! Good one Rick – and well done. Agree on your plaudits for Antoine …
    I am also a newby rider (after 20 years out of the saddle) and have used this site for ideas of interesting training rides around the Shore. Last week I achieved my goal of cycling to work. Was knackered for about 3 days afterwards … not so much the distance but the stress and noise of the traffic (Rothesay Bay to top of Symonds Street return via the Devonport ferry – 44km), So proud! I still have the smile on my face!!!

    So thanks for all your tips, stories, photos Antoine … very much appreciated!

    • November 16, 2012 9:03 am

      Great stuff Natasha, that’s a long commute! I used to work in Newmarket so I’ve had some experience riding that far, probably not something you’d attempt every day but satisfying/fun when you do.

      That Takapuna to Devonport stretch would be a lot more relaxing if you were actually separated from the cars on a dedicated cycleway rather than a painted line.

  2. Christine permalink
    November 17, 2012 8:07 am

    Another newby to this site, thanks Antoine.

    Good luck with those magpies Rick. I have just arrived back from working in Oz and experienced the magpie attacks.. I would be biking along and suddenly Smack on the back of my helmet it gives you such a fright. They keep attacking until you’re out of their space. One day I was actually biking past 3 people walking on the footpath, and the bird picked on me. I am like you though, a bit afraid of biking on the Shore with narrow roads and no dirt tracks, but hope to become braver

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