Recommend you watch in “high quality” if you can (under right side of video window). The images are shaky. The person recording it was also riding along on another bicycle.
That is very difficult to do because you have to hold the camera while… keeping the image centered on the screen as you steer the bicycle with one hand over or around pavement cracks, bumps, and potholes…and keeping pedaling without causing too much motion…and avoiding major obstacles (like cars) ….and doing all of this while making sure the camera stays in focus as the other bike changes angle, distance, and lighting. Little things like that. 😉
ABOUT THIS VIDEO
This was originally intended to be just a home video for documentation, but Bobo was so amazing that we thought you all would enjoy seeing her. Also, when we saw the video “Victrola Playing Daisy Bell” by moldyapples, it was too perfect to resist ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl9heYEe0DU ). Due to the video jitters, it is best to keep your screen small — you have been warned. LOL
ABOUT BOBO’S RIDE
This is Bobo’s VERY FIRST bicycle ride. We had walked the area with her in a harness on our shoulders several times previously, so she was already very familiar and comfortable with the outside environment. However, we were prepared for her to be wary, nervous, or spooked, or for her to just not like the riding experience. Silly us. She loved it.
The riding in the cul-de-sac circle was all during the very first minutes of her being out on the bike. We started in the circle, and then practiced entering onto the road a few times to make sure she was truly comfortable and ready. As you can see, she seemed to hardly notice that she was on a bicycle — she was more interested in what was going on around her. We were also pleased that her familiarity with moving cars allowed her to accept them and not even react as they went by.
ABOUT THE PERCH
Bobo’s bicycle perch is a custom design.
Everyone else we had seen with a parrot on a bicycle had the bird on the handlebars or on a perch as part of the handlebars. That makes a lot of sense, since the bar is a perfect shape and diameter for a bird perch. Therefore, initially, we were going to do the same thing. But as we discussed it, we thought of some problems with the handlebars that we could overcome with another design.
Most bicycles don’t have shock absorbers in the front, and we had noticed that our wrists and hands do take a lot of stress from the road. It isn’t too bad for us as the rider since we are the ones driving. We anticipate the movements and will compensate. It’s sort of like riding in the back seat of a car — you can get more bounced around than you do as a driver. When a bicycle does hit a big bump, some birds who ride the bars are thrown or will attempt to take off, and maybe some that fly off might possibly just need to take the stress off their feet.
By perching the bird on the rider, it moves the bird farther away from the moving tires and the road, it shifts the perspective of the bird from the low bike to the high rider, and the bumps are smoothed so that the bird only experiences what the rider actually feels — in addition to the vibrations being damped by the body mass and tensioned perch. It appeared to be an good idea. Yet, we had to test the theory.
We had originally planned a more elaborate shoulder perch. After trying a couple of prototypes, we realized it was going to take a lot of time and materials. Needing to find something more simple, we experimented. Oddly, using a pre-made neoprene sleeve over a travel cage perch that is bungied on the ends (which we kludged together in about 20 minutes), turned out to be the best solution. It gives the bird a choice of wood or neoprene surface to grip, she has lots of flexibility for positioning herself, and it didn’t involve any major construction.
It was perfect. Except…
We forgot one small issue. Everything was fine for this ride, but by the next time on a bicycle, Bobo was so used to it all that a helmet moving temptingly by her beak drew her attention. She has shown a preference for riding on the left side, so we have now shifted the perch off more to the left so that she sits farther from chewing temptation.
So, Bobo’s getting to be a real pro at bicycling now. In fact, we’re keeping an eye on her…you see, the other day we thought we heard her say something that sounded like “Tour de France”. LOL