I HATE swooping magpies – Dislocated my shoulder cycling… again…

Spring in Melbourne and thus the annual swooping magpies phenomena. I hate it. I SOOOOO hate it. Particularly when cycling…

Let me bring you up to speed…

Good Mrs is in Sydney for the week, a combination of nursing her mum after a hip operation and for work. Meanwhile, I planned to cycle the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail from Traralgon to Stratford.

Train from Flinders Street Station to Traralgon, I would cycle to Stratford, stay a night there, cycle back to Traralgon the next day and return home by train. 63km one way or 126 km over 2 days. Sounds like a plan, doesn’t it?

Gippsland Plains Rail Trail

That was not to be…

The “incident”

My cycling the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail started well enough. Apart from that I was the only cyclist on that trail the whole time I was cycling. Perhaps that should have told me something…

I may have got magpie swooped perhaps 10 times. None of the magpies touched me. Not like the week before when a magpie actually crash-landed onto the left of my helmet. It is still unpleasant.

Magpie number 11 or so came straight towards me from the front after some 50km or cycling. I was admiring the farming countryside, saw the magpie, did a reflex manoeuvre and… crashed.

Damping the fall with my right palm, I could feel the pain right away. First, I thought that I had rebroken the ulna, but I had dislocated my right shoulder… again.

My first dislocation was 2 1/2 years ago. I fell down a ladder in our Sydney home while preparing walls for painting. In other words, an already weakened shoulder. You would expect cuts and bruises from the crash but nothing more.

What to do in the middle of farming land with a dislocated shoulder, no humans in sight, only cows. I took a punt that there would soon be a crossroad as I hadn’t seen one for a while. After 5 minutes of wobbly walking alongside my bike, there was one. And I saw a farmers a short distance away.

Fast forward and the lovely farmers took great care of me. They called the ambulance service and invited me into their home while waiting for the paramedics to arrive.

I will spare you the details here, dear reader, but I visited the emergency department of Sale General Hospital and got sorted.

A couple of hours later, I was discharged and took a taxi to Stratford Motel for the night. The motel room was already paid for and doing a 3 hour train trip back to Melbourne, fighting rush hour traffic seemed less desirable.

Here I am, looking sad and sorry for myself in my Stratford Motel room.

Feeling sad and sorry for myself

Apart from cuts and bruises, my groin likely hit the handle bar and is now swollen in technicolor 3 days later. No worries, I will spare you any pictures.

About the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail

For some lighter entertainment, I include a few pictures from the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail while I was still cycling.

Tea break – gravel was the surface for most of the trail


There were several bridges like this one close to Traralgon


Glengarry Train Station – what is left of it


Gippsland Plains Rail Trail – stopper and marker


A short section had not been restored as a rail trail. Here you had to cycle on the country roads for 5km or so

I conclude with two pictures from Stratford train station while waiting for the 6.44am train to arrive. For the 3 hour train trip back to Melbourne and Flinders Street Station.

Stratford train station – looking west


Stratford train station – looking east

Swooping magpies… I may develop a phobia as I feel like a 3rd grade extra in the movie “The Birds”, as I now walk around Melbourne. Checking out birds in the trees I pass. I can not wait until the swooping magpies season is over…


My bike is still with the farmers. They were such lovely people. They called up that night to see how I was, texted several times the following day and suggested that they may be able to bring my bike back to Melbourne at some later date. Not an urgent issue for me. I will not cycle for some time. At least not until the swooping magpies and no longer swooping…

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