Sidelined as I am with iliotibial band issues, I've taken to my bike to get out and enjoy the intermittently beautiful Pittsburgh Spring days. I am relatively new to all things biking, but I look at my injured state as an opportunity to explore more and cross train. Riding doesn't thrill me as much as running, but it still gets me out and about, and riding with friends always leads to several hours of 'bike therapy' -- helpful in these fragile weeks.
Early Saturday morning I was afraid drear would cloud my weekend -- overcast, the chilly rain threatened to stay -- but by mid-morning sun started to peek through the clouds giving way to a clear and sunny afternoon. So I called my friend, and running buddy of last season to meet me for a bike ride -- she's new to biking as well, and we've had a delightful time in our nubian forays around town.
We met up at the 31st street bridge and decided to head over to the Southside trail which runs along the Monongahela river -- heading into town, we cut over onto the Strip riverfront trail, and settled in for a leisurely ride. Leisurely, that is, until we ran smack dab into a family of Canadian Geese. I've often come across geese along the riverbanks, and never given much thought to sharing the 'road' with them as it were. Certainly they are not the most docile of creatures but I've never felt threatened by them in any real way. I continued along the path moving to the left of the geese and speeding up a bit to get past them quickly. But the momma goose had a different idea. In a split second a giant feathery mass flew up and came rushing towards me -- squawking and hissing, I struggled to keep my equilibrium. The bird flew around and I was dazed, I attempted to right my bike and make my next move when she came at me a second time throwing her weight against me, I dropped the bike and ran the other direction -- towards my stunned biking companion. After determining I was ok and breaking down into somewhat of a hysterical laughter, I notice four little puffy yellow chicks that had been out of view with two big geese beside them. Without such motherly intervention, my bike may have squashed one of these chicks. The geese retreated to the water, and I was able to retrieve my bike and sneak by until I was safely able to bike along the path again -- with a few scrapes and bit of an aching shoulder.
So, my fellow trail users of Pittsburgh, watch out for those geese! Do not take hissing lightly or you may end up with a 20 pound bird flying directly at you. I have learned a lesson in deference, and the healing power of raucous laughter in the face of absurdity.