Updated: Aug 14
Spring has sprung which means a lift in our moods and more time outdoors. Spring is also the seasons that keeps cyclists on their toes.
I always found it funny when I've travelled abroad and people ask me about Australia, with lots of questions about our deadly animals, snakes, spiders and sharks etc. The thing is, Aussies aren't worried about those critters.
We know that once spring has sprung there is only really one threat. Magpies.
Every Spring during mating season, Australian Magpies are extremely territorial and defend their area both from other magpies as well as potential predators. Some individual magpies perceive humans as a potential threat and accordingly, swoop down with a fast warning flight, occasionally making contact.
Never fear! - this doesn't stop us nor should it stop you.
Here are 5 tips you can still ride your bike without fear!
Plan Your Route
Plan your route ahead of time and be confident riding it. Check out Magpie Alert, an Australian website created by a keen cyclist back in 2013, which still gets updated today with daily user submissions. If you know of any swooping locations you can submit them yourself too.
It's easy to say but keeping your cool is crucial when you're riding throughout the Spring months. Remember this, the magpie isn't the one that causes damage, it's how you react on the bike is what matters.
Don't say it, don't say it, don't say it....Zip ties
Lots of folks fashion their helmets with zip tie spikes coming out of the helmet to warn off would-be swooping magpies. Same goes with stick on googly eyes and such. Try it out, it may help.
Ride in Groups
Pending COVID restrictions, it may be better to ride in a group of 2 or more. They simply struggle to focus on just one of you - making your getaway less stressful.
Take a Detour
Know the areas which are known for nesting and give these Swoopy Boiz the space and take a detour. Their young ones will soon be out of the nest and your cycle route will return to normal.
Wave them away
Ride your bike as if you are turning right (left hand on handlebar, and right hand off the handlebars as if you're signalling). Wave your right arm above your head like you are doing a big wave hello to a friend. This might stop the magpie from connecting with your helmet as they won't want to get near your hand.
Remember - don't let Magpie season stop you from riding your bike. Keep a level head and get on with it. If anything it will get you a story to tell when you reply back to this post 😉