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Six riders injured in Spanish vulture crash

Big bird puts one of group in hospital

If you think bird strikes are only a problem for planes, spare a thought for six Spanish cyclists who were injured when a vulture flew into their riding group, putting one of them in hospital.

The riders from the Club Ciclista Mirandés were off the front of a ride in Spain’s Burgos province when they rounded a corner and encountered the bird.

“The vulture was flying very low along the center of the road, and was coming straight at those at the head of the group.”

“Some of the group smacked into the wings, others against the bird’s body and other into the cyclists behind them,” one of the riders, Javier Sagarribay, told El Correo.

The bird was “trying to take flight and we couldn’t see it because the curve was so tight,” said Sagarribay.

“We weren’t going that fast, but there was no time to hit the brakes,” he added.

When other riders arrived they found riders and feathers everywhere.

“There were even feathers embedded in the bicycles and scattered on the floor,” a spokesperson for the group said.

They called the emergency services and attempted to locate the vulture, but it had fled the scene and was not seen again.

Most of the group had minor injuries, but one rider, Mario Sánchez, sustained seven broken ribs, a fractured shoulder blade and collar bone and a punctured lung. He was rushed to hospital in Miranda de Ebro but is reported to be out of danger.

Close encounters and collisions between wildlife and cyclists are not unusual in some parts of the world. In North America alarming encounters with bears happen now and then and if you're going to venture into the woods you need to look out for deer. Or a buck.


Thanks to Adrian Korte for the vulture pic.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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