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Old 02-14-06, 03:21 PM   #1
jcm
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WARNING! Don't Feed The Swans!

This morning I was out riding in the Snohomish River Valley enjoying the overnite snowfall and clear blue skies. What a day! Surely, this is God's Own Land. The river, the fields, crisp and clear and... wait, what's that? A gaggle of geese? No, it's a swarm of swans. There, out in the corn stubble. Trumpeters, I think.

I stop to take a phone/camera shot at about fifty yards. Heads pop up like periscopes. Good composition, so I snap off a couple pics and decide to get a little closer, thinking I'm Ketchikan the Animal Man. They begin to rise from their resting spots and casually walk away, keeping one beady, black eye on the Wildlife Expert. No! Don't go! These moments rank among the reasons I ride! Don't you beasts understand?

Not to be outdone and knowing that I am smarter than a bird by quantum leaps, I reach into my pocket for an oat bar. You know, the kind with seeds. Birds like seeds, right? I begin to break up the bar and, while sowing the crumbs like chicken feed (I've seen it on the TV), I begin a slow methodical chant. Somewhat similar to the one the largest swan is making.

What happened next should convince all doubters that a pair of 34" legs is no match for a pair of 24" legs, backed up by two 4' wings. And a 7" beak. A beak exquisitely designed by God (upon Whose land I am tresspassing and now attempting to exit) for producing a Craftsman Plier-like grip on flesh.

Good thing I was wearing my bike helmet. The fowl creature was on my shoulders by the time I had gone 15 yards. I swatted him off and thought he was done because he stood there hissing at me like he had fangs. No way! Here he comes again! I made it to my bike, unbitten so far, because I turned and stood my ground a few times.

He kept charging every time I tried to mount up and soon it was a stand-off. Me on one side of my bike and the ingrate bird-brain on every other side. Soon, it degenerated to a shouting match. Me, yelling about how birds are supposed to like seeds. He, matching my volume decibel for decibel, yelling whatever it is pissed off swans say.

Then, in an instant, he attacked. Right through the open bike frame. Popped his head in there and, AAAAAAHHHHHGEEEEZZZZ!!!! Dead-On the tip of the ol' Gooeyduck!

Now, I won't describe the results, as they are at this writing still evolving. And, I won't post any pictures of same, because I don't know how and this is a family show. However, this Christmas we'll be eating goose instead of turkey cuz they don't farm swans around here.
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Old 02-14-06, 03:59 PM   #2
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What a crackup... great story! Here's wishing you a speedy and complete recovery!
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Old 02-14-06, 04:14 PM   #3
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Funny tale. And, bye the way, I have seen similar dispays of affection by geese. They deserve to stand in for the swan next Thanksgiving. My best to you. Recover quick.
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Old 02-14-06, 07:58 PM   #4
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Sorry to hear of the mishap but that's just hilarious. Never heard of spandex eating fowl before..........Hey, at least you didn't try to pedal away and have them attempt some kamikaze maneuvers on you!!
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Old 02-14-06, 08:16 PM   #5
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Makes note to self to close bike frame when confronted by angry geese.
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Old 02-14-06, 09:05 PM   #6
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I had a goose fly along side me for a few feet, then land AND RUN along side for a couple of tenths of a mile. A group of about ten of us were waiting for everyone to regroup and the same goose walked across the road and began to give us what-for. To this day, I don't what we did to offend him, but he seemed ready to take all ten of us on. We left.
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Old 02-14-06, 10:19 PM   #7
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jcm, Is it safe to say you won't be attending any performances of 'Swan Lake'?
Hope you feel ...errrr... get better!
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Old 02-14-06, 11:53 PM   #8
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One of the best told tales of cycling in a long time...had me laughing way too hard! Hope you feel better soon!
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Old 02-15-06, 02:46 AM   #9
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12:30 AM

Just got back from work. Things have NOT improved. Way too embarrassed to go to the clinic so I called from the truck. Some snotty, nasally sounding witch of a Nurse Practitioner thought I was pranking. Said I should pack the thing in ice and try not to strain! At what!! She told me that she would have a Physician's Assisitant call me within a half hour. The PA seemed sympathetic but then just had to ask if the bite covered a "large area!" Good grief.

Tough part was trying to convince my wife that the deep purple bruise and the single tooth mark were from a large, angry bird and not from a sordid arrangement gone bad.

I'm telling you that this brute tried to separate me from my Unit! The only reason I got away was because at the moment of contact, I reflexively dropped the bike. It fell over with the top tube landing across the creature's shoulders, his neck fully through the frame, beak attached to me. This, and NOT me, scared him off.

I hope I can ride tomorrow... I sense a haiku forming...
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Old 02-15-06, 06:28 AM   #10
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Really sorry for the discomfort but the saga continues to get more humorous. This might call for a special feature in Cycling News or Bicycling Magazine. I guess we now know what Swan's consider a delicacy!!!!

I'll never look at a Swan the same again.
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Old 02-15-06, 06:37 AM   #11
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Now you know why there are signs in the large parks that state "Don't Feed the Wild Animals" Stop watching Animal Planet! Large fowl are dangerous, territorial, and vicious.
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Old 02-15-06, 10:48 AM   #12
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Now you know why there are signs in the large parks that state "Don't Feed the Wild Animals" Stop watching Animal Planet! Large fowl are dangerous, territorial, and vicious.
This should qualify for, "When Animals Attach!"

Jppe, I've seen geese eating slugs.
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Old 02-15-06, 10:58 AM   #13
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I really hope this is not your "Swan Song."
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Old 02-15-06, 11:01 AM   #14
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Surely, this isn't your cycling "Swan Song"?

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Old 02-15-06, 11:26 AM   #15
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You know, if you become America's first case of avian flu, you're gonna' have a hard time explaining how you got it to the media. Inquiring minds will want to know

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Old 02-15-06, 11:48 AM   #16
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I really hope this is not your "Swan Song."
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Surely, this isn't your cycling "Swan Song"?

madli

Great minds . . . .
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Old 02-15-06, 11:55 AM   #17
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Experienced minds anyway! Keep cycling!!!!!!!!!!

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Old 02-15-06, 12:13 PM   #18
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It's 30 degrees and sunny! Perfect! And there's no way I can ride!

"Swine bird." - Clouseau
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Old 02-15-06, 12:26 PM   #19
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There must be some witty comment that I can make, and When I stop laughing, I might be able to think of one. Still, Thats what you get if you try and entice young birds with only a cereal bar
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Old 02-15-06, 12:56 PM   #20
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Hey, it was Valentine's Day. That was just a love kiss!!!
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Old 02-15-06, 01:03 PM   #21
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Y'know, it puts a whole new spin on the "chicks love scars" thing. Dunno' if you wanna' let the swan story out in that p'rtic'lr context tho'.

Oh, and next time ya' use it, try not to think about swans!
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Old 02-15-06, 01:10 PM   #22
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There must be some witty comment that I can make, and When I stop laughing, I might be able to think of one. Still, Thats what you get if you try and entice young birds with only a cereal bar

Brings new meaning to “The early bird gets the worm”. OUCH

Sorry, I couldn't hold back.
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Old 02-15-06, 05:18 PM   #23
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Seems to me jcm that you'll have to add another piece of equipment to your cyling kit - every Canadian knows that you gotta protect yourself with a hockey cup. It changes the contour a bit, but happiness is a swan with a crumpled beak.

Hilarious story - THANKS!
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Old 02-15-06, 08:55 PM   #24
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Makes you regret leaving that favorite frame pump at home! Next time, "Run Forrest, run..."
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Old 02-15-06, 09:41 PM   #25
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Roflmao!!!!!!
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