JUST when you start looking forward to spring, with its warmer days and flowers in bloom, the magpies have to go and ruin everything — as my eldest daughter discovered last weekend.
But the “terrifying ordeal” was probably one she deserved.
During one of our weekly bike rides through Banyule Forest, Ayla was not on board with cycling in cold weather through muddy puddles.
After kicking up a stink, she decided to head home early while Maya and I continued on our way, on the lookout for more adventure and daring hills.
Less than five minutes later, a tired and grumpy Ayla (or more likely her bright helmet) was being stalked by a maniacal magpie.
All of a sudden, she felt a rush of air above her and two beady eyes staring down at her.
Thinking the bird had had its fun, she peddled on, albeit slightly faster, but the magpie wasn’t done with her yet.
This time it got even closer, almost landing on her helmet, to Ayla's absolute horror.
I wish I could have been there to witness this moment, but she explained it in such detail I almost feel like I was.
Describing it in dramatic fashion (no idea who she got that from), Ayla was apparently peddling for her life while screaming like a banshee trying to get away from this frightful feathered fowl.
Not sure if that’s entirely accurate, but she never lets the truth get in the way of a good story (also, no idea who she gets that from).
It's lucky she isn’t a Collingwood fan, because her newfound hatred of magpies would have seen her switch teams for sure.
She was apparently trapped under a tree “for ages!” before speed racing the entire way home.
Oblivious to the madness a few hundred metres away, Maya and I were cruising the forest tracks looking for some hills to ride down. Which is hard when you’re continually getting lost and then ending up where you started.
But during one of our wild wanderings, we found some pretty decent mounts that would be steep enough to give us a little buzz as we flew down.
I decided to go first to show Maya she had nothing to be afraid of.
So, trying to look like the impressive pro I am not, I sailed down the slope “yeehaa!''-ing all the way down — wind blowing across my face — before realising I needed to go full pelt to make it uphill on the other side.
That’s when things went downhill. Literally.
I was having so much fun on the downhill run that I left the ascent a little too late.
About 30 cm short of the top, I flipped my mountain bike and landed on my hands before bouncing and crashing with a thud on my buttocks.
Those late-night snacks certainly came in handy, likely protecting me from further damage.
Well, it must have been a sight to see because all I could hear was Maya’s hysterical laugh as she came rushing over to check if I was okay (that’s right, cackle came first, concern came after).
By that stage, we were both in fits of laughter and I was covered in dirt and mud and it took a good five minutes for us to be upstanding again.
Each time Maya tried to help me up, her uncontrollable giggling would start again and both of us would end up crying with laughter as we desperately strained to hold in our pee.
We finally managed to get out of there intact and slowly cycle home, which was made even slower by our incessant laughter stopping us in our tracks every couple of minutes.
Maya couldn’t wait to tell her big sister about how her clumsy mum had stacked it in hilarious fashion.
Turns out Ayla had her own story to tell.
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