Category Archives: Security

Magpies and bikers

Surprisingly, an Australian piece of news appeared in 2019 indicating that a man died because of a magpie attack. This shocking issue made me ask myself whether or not this incident was usual. It freaked me out reading that 4,000 attacks from magpies took place in Australia in 2019, 70% of which had cyclists as victims. These impressive figures provoked the creation of the dedicated web Magpie alert to record attacks and advise people:

  • If a magpie swoops while you are cycling, it will probably stop swooping if you get off your bike and walk.

  • How to cable tie your cycling helmet

They say injuries tend to occur when cyclists fall off their bikes during a magpie attack. Better, keep calm instead of flailing since it may come across as aggressive behavior and provoke the birds further.

Moreover, these birds are a protected native species in Australia, so it is illegal to kill them or take their eggs or chicks. Indeed, residents are urged to stay away from trees where magpies are known to breed.

Going a step further from the famous Hitchcock movie, it seems like the birds swoop when they perceive an unknown threat by an intruder. Furthermore, magpies are smart enough to recognize people as well as their habits and will not swoop anyone they have come to know and trust. Raven acts similarly. For example, Istanbul inhabitants suffered raven attacks in 2014 probably due to the fact that a crow was run over by a car.

How to carry the shopping

The sum bicycle plus shopping is seen as something difficult or even incompatible by non-bikers sometimes. But when it comes to use your brain to solve this apparently important problem, it all has sense.

First of all, freedom is increased in comparison to using a car. You can park your bike easily and it occupies less space. Secondly, you exercise your body.

Moreover, you need a rear rack, saddlebags or just a backpack. Regarding saddlebags, the best way to organize them is putting the heavier and less fragile objects at the bottom, i.e. tins and boxes. Next, put the most breakable items on top such as eggs and bread. Remember to distribute weights uniformly in your saddlebags in order to avoid your bike bending.

Thirdly, you can use a bicycle trailer or a cargo bike to carry extra shopping weight in addition to people. Finally, never ever forget locking your bicycle by at least two points while going shops.

Youngest cyclists

After writing the post about the oldest bikers, my intention was to reflect who were the youngest cyclist in the world. I could not find the answer on the net, so I am going to explain a little about the process a lot of us have experienced with great pleasure.

Learning to ride a bicycle, a two-wheeled bike without training wheels, mostly occurs sometime between the ages of 3 and 8 (although some adults learn it because they did not have the opportunity when they were young, and fortunately, people do not forget how to ride). The average age is 5. Indeed, most kids just learn when they are ready if their families can provide them with bikes. Curiously, a systematic review found that children who started biking at ages between 3 and 5 suffer higher injuries than those who were 3 to years old.

Sliding the 3 to 5 group, kids between 3 and 4 years are in significant gross motor skills development. For example, they learn to balance on one foot, walk on their tiptoes, climb, hop and skip. A 3 years old child can pedal, use a handlebar and ride a tricycle, but she does not have the balance required to ride a two-wheeled bicycle. Better, she can ride a bike with training wheels and after she dominates it, increases coordination and muscle, move to a bike without training ones. It is a good idea use foot brakes instead of hand brakes in this age group.

Regarding the 4 and 5 group, these children are ready for two-wheeled bicycles. Most 5-year-old kids have balance and coordination enough to ride a bike without training wheels. However, they might not understand the risks of riding near traffic or without paying attention to crossings. Then, adult supervision is required to avoid falls and injuries.

Riding under the rain

One claim that lazy cyclists from sunny countries affirm is stop cycling when raining, even if it drizzles. Though you should pay extra attention to the road and bike lines because of falling in curves when raining, it is not impossible to do it. Indeed, riders from rainy countries even enjoy and appreciate it. It is just a matter of mentality and use the appropriate garments.

Habitual clothes to deal with rain when cycling range from raincoat (better if it is long and allows you to pedal without problems) to waterproof trousers, boots or gloves. Waterproof garments have boomed partially because of the sportstores specialization in urban cycling as well as its resurgence in the last decades. Moreover, research in new materials has helped it.

On the other hand, some cyclists use umbrellas when raining. It is probably uncomfortable, specially to those who are not used to it, but could be effective with absent wind. Here you have an example:

Going a step further, some brands have developed a modified bike to incorporate a kind of umbrella which also protects from headwind:

And finally, other firms have put on the market something in between the two previous examples:

In this case, the biker should wear at least waterproof gloves and raincoat.


Separators in bike lines are needed in some complicated roads, specially those which suffer from excessive car traffic or in which cars circulate at illegal speeds. They constitute a safety element to protect cyclists and give a clear message to drivers: You must not cross this line. Easy and direct. There are a myriad of separators in urban biking ranging from different colors and shapes to incorporated issues. In the following example from Pamplona, they integrate reflective elements (the gray stripes) so that drivers see them even in a close night. The distance between two separators was not chosen so by chance. Technicians optimized it to avoid cars intrusion into the bike line and create the psychological effect like “do not trespass this line” in the driver mind. Besides, their height improves this point in contrast to the ground level separators which can go unnoticed by car drivers.