birds and bikes

[note: this is a slightly embarrassing story that involves spandex and evil birds. read at your own risk. and bear with me as some background info is necessary before we get to the action.]

some of you are aware of my severe fear of birds. the fear dates back to when i was 2 years old and a bird attacked me at the zoo. maybe i'll start a blog series chronicling my horror stories with birds. i'm afraid of all types of birds, but there are two types that give me shivers and make my blood run cold--pigeons and black crows. i'll talk about pigeons some other time; black crows will be the focus of this post. let me just say that the black crow is a large bird, a loud bird, an aggressive bird. i'm pretty sure that the black crow is pure evil.

recently, i have been biking a lot. i've been biking longer distances (30-60 miles) and sometimes commuting to work on my bike (20 miles one way) so i have started to upgrade some of my equipment. last weekend i purchased new pedals and biking shoes. the shoes clip into the pedal so that your foot is locked into the pedal while you're riding. the benefit is that you get power on the up and down stroke while you're pedaling. the difficulty in using them is that you can't just take your foot off the pedal, you have to unclip by kicking your heel out to the side. it isn't hard to unclip, but it isn't as fast as just taking your foot off the pedal and setting it on the ground. it's also very hard to unclip while riding up a hill since you don't have enough time. when you commit to going up a hill, you must keep pedaling or you'll fall off the bike. in case you were wondering, i also wear spandex when i bike. it's so much more comfortable. my spandex biking shorts have padding that makes my butt look huge. anyway, i digress...onto the action.

today, i had finished a bike ride and stopped by the bike store on my way home. i'm getting ready to upgrade from my hybrid bike to a road bike, mostly because they're faster. so i went to test ride a few road bikes at the local bike store. the guy helping me at the store put my pedals on the test bike so i could use my shoes and cleats on the bike.

i took the bike out and started riding around the neighborhood streets. the road bike feels a lot different than the hybrid. it is much faster. it isn't as easy to keep your balance with the thin tire. you're in a different position. and it just takes some adjustment. i almost fell a few times as i was getting used to it.

after about 10 minutes, i decided to take the bike back to the store. in order to get there, i had to go up a large hill (seattle is very hilly for those of you who have never been here). i was about half way up the hill when a black crow appeared. it was squawking quite loudly. i didn't think too much of it as there are lots of black crows around here. suddenly, it started flying towards me. fear rushed over me as the bird made a dive for my head. i ducked and avoided the direct hit. (keep in mind, i'm riding a bike up a hill with my feet clipped into the pedals so i can't just get off the bike. i have to keep biking.) the bird turned around and made another dive at me, hitting my helmet this time.

i'm freaking out at this point. i feel trapped. i can't escape. so i pedal faster. my increase in speed shifts my weight on the unfamiliar bike and i nearly fall. after recovering, the bird returns again and makes a swoop down again. at which point i scream, "leave me alone!!" (i was in the middle of a tranquil neighborhood on a quiet and sunny afternoon.) the bird doesn't listen to me and comes in for another attack (meanwhile, i'm still pedaling up the seemingly never ending hill). at this point, evil black crow #2 comes in and as both swoop in at me, i scream again, "ahhh! go away! leave me alone!" i was really screaming.

finally i reached the top of the hill. at the top of the hill are a man and his son looking at me like i'm crazy. i tell them that there are some crazy birds attacking me down there. it must have sounded to them like something other than a bird was attacking me. and i'm sure they thought i was the crazy one, not the birds.

moral of the story: helmets are useful protection for biking in case you fall off and hit your head. they are also useful in case you get attacked by evil black crows while biking up hills through residential neighborhoods.


marzbarz said...

oh my goodness, Linds. these birds are absurd. purely farcical and horrifying. i was getting panicky just reading your post. why do aves insist on relentlessly harassing you???

Ms. Matthews said...

oh man. that sounds like it's straight out of a nightmare you'd have. agree with marla - my heart started racing as i read just imagining the horror. ACK!!!!

Dee7 said...

I'm glad you've seen the broad use of helmets beyond protecting yourself from a crash. I'm glad it was useful during this crazy event.

Dee7 said...

i put one up just for you lindsay