THE cyclist and the road — an energetic bond where once those pedals get moving, the road becomes an escape from the stresses of everyday life.
When those wheels start turning the only thing that can get in your way is … a giraffe?
About 15 cyclists who were using the road through the Bisley Nature Reserve in Pietermaritzburg were involved in a stand-off with a “towering and intimidating” giraffe at around 6.30 am yesterday.
Craig Botha, who was following the cyclists on his motorbike, said that as the morning mist cleared, the huge figure of the giraffe materialised menacingly in front of them.
According to Botha, the giraffe “just stood in the middle of the road without moving, stopping [them] from getting past for over 15 minutes”.
Luckily, wardens from the nature reserve managed to move the animal by clapping their hands and shouting. The giraffe followed the wardens before disappearing into the bushes.
“It was an unusual thing. I’ve never come across something like this before. Our presence didn’t even bother the giraffe. It wasn’t intimidated by us,” Botha said.
Another cyclist said that a similar incident occurred during the Hill-to-Hill Race.
In 2008, Pietermaritzburg residents were puzzled at the case of a man thought to have been killed by a giraffe in the same area. At the time, frequent visitors to the reserve gave accounts of an aggressive giraffe that was prone to attacking humans.
But, said Botha, the giraffe they saw “didn’t seem aggressive at all. It just decided to block our way.”
The giraffe has also been involved in a stand-off with a motorcyclist who was roadblocked while on the way to work. He reported being told by passers-by that the giraffe ruled the road there.