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Old 09-24-08, 12:24 AM   #1
stevage
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Livestock afraid of bikes...

Ever noticed that sheep and cows seem to be more afraid of bikes than of cars? I just started to notice on my most recent trip that you'd get cows bolting away from you as you rode past, yet they'd ignore semitrailers! The strangest was one morning when I came across a paddock full of cows lying down, yet as I passed, about half the herd lumbered to its feet, eyeing me suspiciously.

I find this somehow...troubling.

Steve
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Old 09-24-08, 12:47 AM   #2
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It varies a lot how one herd to the next will react to a bicycle. I grew up on a ranch with thousands of head of cattle. Our cattle would not have been so spooked by a two wheeled object, however our neighbors who use motorcycles and ATVs to chase their cattle would be deathly scared of anything that looked like them. We used horses and took our time letting the cattle go at their own pace, making it seem like they were just on the move on their own.
The eye ball you talk about is not so scary. I know it seems like they are going to take after you but are actually about reading to dart off in the opposite direction instead.
Also the younger the animal the more curious they are going to be.
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Old 09-24-08, 02:34 AM   #3
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They are just frightened more easily of foreign things. They see thousands of semis, but not many bicycles.
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Old 09-24-08, 09:09 AM   #4
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Stampeding Cattle

In June of this year, I was on my first tour. It was Oklahoma Freewheel, which is a 7-day 420-mile ride across Oklahoma. I was riding on rural roads one of the days with my sister. She was waving at all of the cows as she rode by. I asked her, "Do they every wave back?" And just as I said that, about 30 cattle got up from under a tree and ran as a herd toward the fence and then ran along side us for about a quarter of a mile. It was quite bizarre.
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Old 09-24-08, 11:41 AM   #5
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And just as I said that, about 30 cattle got up from under a tree and ran as a herd toward the fence and then ran along side us for about a quarter of a mile. It was quite bizarre.
I bet you anything those cattle have been handled with horses. And probably a good portion of those were 2 year old heifers.
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Old 09-24-08, 11:48 AM   #6
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Bikes are also much quieter then autos so you are able to sneak up on them easier and startle them.
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Old 09-24-08, 01:06 PM   #7
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Almost everytime I pass cows they either stare me down the whole time or come to the fence, some follow along.I always find that sort of funny.
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Old 09-24-08, 01:15 PM   #8
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Moose on the Cabot trail reacted more to the freewheel and cliping in & out than to passing cars and paparazzi.
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Old 09-25-08, 08:08 AM   #9
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I was chased by a herd of cows in Switzerland, and was forced to bail out and roll under a fence. Fortunately, my camera was with me, not in my panniers...
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Old 09-25-08, 10:02 AM   #10
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I was chased by a herd of cows in Switzerland, and was forced to bail out and roll under a fence. Fortunately, my camera was with me, not in my panniers...
Couldn't you have tried spraying them with a water bottle? :-)
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Old 09-25-08, 10:24 AM   #11
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Couldn't you have tried spraying them with a water bottle? :-)
Oh... I didn't think of that while pedaling as fast as I could to outrun the stampeding herd!
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Old 09-25-08, 12:54 PM   #12
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I have the impression that cows don't like people, specifically. People in cars don't qualify, that's just a moving box. Case in point: I got to wait out a cattle drive, and they gave me all the room they could!



Have you ever noticed that cows almost always stare at riders, but bison usually don't?

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Old 09-25-08, 01:09 PM   #13
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You need to practice your "Moos!"

There's the upset "Moo-OOOO!" which most people tend to make.
Then there's the soft, reassuring "Mmmm-ooo-◦ ◦ ◦" that calms them.
Chinese speakers have no trouble with this.
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Old 09-25-08, 01:10 PM   #14
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There afraid of of the free wheel sound...it sounds like a snake....
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Old 09-25-08, 02:34 PM   #15
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Horses and cows usually stare, I've never been chased though. I always thought it was funny and generally give a loud "MOOOO" to break up the mind numbingness of some days in the plains.
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Old 09-25-08, 06:44 PM   #16
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I always thought it was funny and generally give a loud "MOOOO" to break up the mind numbingness of some days in the plains.
The cows were probably thinking, "Yeah, yeah, we know, we moo. That's it, go ahead and get it out of your system."


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Old 09-25-08, 09:57 PM   #17
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On the GDMBR, near Hartsel CO, there's a ranch that has cows and also some bison.

The story at the bar was, last year the bison were kept near the road. Bison have the ability to jump fences! Like a one-ton deer, they just hop right over, the ground shakes when they land and you wouldn't believe it unless you see it but there they are. Bison were chasing riders down the road!

Sounds crazy, but it seems it was presented as truth (not just jacking with the visiting rider, they hadn't figured out I was a rider at that point).

There are a trillion cows out there - maybe more - so I took to yelling "I'm thinkin ARBYS"
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Old 09-25-08, 10:57 PM   #18
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I love seeing cows and horses on rides through the country. If you stop, most of them will be scared/suspicious of you, but some eventually are curious enough to walk closer to you. Then they sometimes follow after you when you leave.
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Old 09-26-08, 07:05 AM   #19
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The cows that chased you sensed the salt in your jersey. They love salt.
But seriously, I noticed the same phenomenon with antelope. They let cars pass without flinching but ran when bikes went by at the same distance. I suspect the biker might be closer to the size range of a typical predator or hunter and hence a real life threat image, whereas the motorized vehicle is in the outer size limits and has been seen many times before. tom

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Old 09-26-08, 08:19 AM   #20
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"The cows that chased you sensed the salt in your jersey. They love salt."

You are probably right. After ditching my bicycle, the herd proceeded to lick the handlebars and water bottle. After five or 10 minutes, they lost interest -- or perhaps they had extracted all the available salt -- and wandered away.

My jersey would have been a better prize, but by this point, I was standing on the other side of an electric fence, snapping pictures!
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Old 09-28-08, 11:15 AM   #21
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Coming through the Custer State Park in the Black Hills this summer, I came upon a herd of buffalo that had wandered up to, and into the road. I passed two large males who were occupying an entire lane of the road at a distance of only a couple of feet, and they just stared at me warily. When I came upon the second part of the herd, they started stampeding away from me, almost crashing into the cars and motorcycles that had stopped to ogle the buffalo.

I've also noticed that cattle tend to run away whenever bicycles come down the road, even if they are set back from the road by several hundred feet.
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Old 09-28-08, 11:47 PM   #22
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sitting ontop of Boulder Mt UT. I ate one of those for lunch now that it is local!
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