bike race / cycling / humor

Racing with the Emus

It’s almost August, that particularly heated, dreaded time of the year when this little town invites everybody to come and share our misery dealing with said heat and the wind. We do this in the form of a bike race…100 miles…in the unforgiving Texas sun. And it’s fun, gosh darn it! All these earnest, sweating bicyclists challenging themselves, attaining a personal best and overcoming obstacles. One obstacle to this mighty race that I have just discovered is, of all things, emus. Yes those big birds with brown feathers who can’t fly, but boy can they run. Apparently those cyclists, outfitted in their colorful second skin, brightly attired, attract these large, curious but bored birds who are navigating the outskirts of town, maybe hold up on a ranch somewhere and tired of the run of the mill cows, coyotes and people running around with those water sticks vainly searching for underground streams. Yes apparently the cyclists have piqued their interest. Maybe the emus want a chance to outdo them.


I can only imagine the fear when these vibrant cyclists, suffering from heat stroke look up to see Big Bird barreling down upon them, giant sprawling feet, little head with beady eyes, and that piercing beak agape… and then “Oh Snap!” and a loud scream. If the cyclists are lucky, then there is just one emu, okay maybe unlucky if that particular emu likes the color red they happen to be wearing. Hopefully the sweltering bikers haven’t encountered a whole flock on the road, then they might suffer from worse than a little nip.

Some interesting emu facts include:

  • Females are in charge, they make the males hatch and care for the babies.
  • Did I mention they are curious?
  • They have “strongly clawed” feed that can rip metal wire fences (how fast can you pedal?)
  • They can go 50 km/h which is described otherwise as a “fast, economical trot.

Does anybody happen to know why we have this little bit of Australia in Texas?..oh well, happy racing folks!


HHH Ride Start

Hotter N Hell 2006 038

Hotter N Hell 2008 033

Bicycle race photos – Courtesy of City of Wichita Falls

11 thoughts on “Racing with the Emus

    • I was surprised to find out that aspect of the bike race, you would think they would be more likely to be chased by a longhorn. I’m safe either way since I don’t race, I prefer to ride my bike alone in my neighborhood 🙂

  1. Emus? In Texas? How very intriguing! And scary, and funny!! Cycling alone is scary for me. Cycling in the heat? Probably not – throw in some big birds as well – Nope! Never!! I do hope someone clever comes up with an explanation for how they got there – It couldn’t possibly be the old hangdog of ‘escaped pet’ could it………….. Could it? 🙂

    • Yes indeed, the Emus are here. There are camels too. I’m not sure exactly why they are here, maybe it is the exotic pet thing. You would think these ranching folks would just be happy with cows, pigs and horses, but apparently not. I know several people who spend all year training for that race, but like you, I will happily pass on it!

  2. I’ve absolutely no knowledge of why our emus are on a visit to Texas. One thing though, here in the Land Down Under emus are a problem for outback touring by motor bike or car. Kangaroos are also a problem for motorcyclists and car drivers too but they roos do have a bit of road sense.Not menus, you never know what they are going to do, run beside you up to about 40-50mph or just run in front of you then either stop dead or make a U turn. Disastrous results for both bird and rider. At least they don’t surprise us when they pop up out of the scrub or long grass but I can imagine how they must scare the tripe out of racing cyclists in Texas. Can’t wait to spread the word amongst my cycling and motor bike riding mates. What a great yarn for round the camp fire.

    • Oh my, I can’t even fathom emus and kangaroos in traffic. They do sound unpredictable for sure. The emus may have been brought here for a business venture, or by someone who just it would be cool. Yeah for awhile they had been known to pop up and give the cyclists a run for their money, ha ha. Glad you enjoyed it, thanks for reading!

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