You can only begin to imagine our surprise when we rode into Woori Yallock to find an angry mob carrying a large “WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE” poster. They seemed hell bent on capturing or killing the character whose head was prominently featured in the glossy photograph. This is not something you expect to encounter on the normally peaceful Warburton Trail.
Up to that point our ride had passed peacefully and relatively uneventfully. The weather, although overcast, was not bad for riding. Apart from Bob’s unfortunate puncture at Launching Place on the outward ride, nothing else of particular mention had taken place.
With Warren now returned from China we had opportunity to catch up with some good gossip at the coffee shop, although general opinion was that the quality of the food and service at our popular watering hole has deteriorated since it changed hands a few weeks ago.
“These cakes are stale”, Warren moaned as he looked at the four half-eaten lamingtons on his plate. “These mugs are too small”, added John. “And they haven’t once noticed my smooth legs”, lamented Bob. It was agreed that we should start looking around at some of the other options. Next week we will try the Water Wheel cafe to see what their offerings are like.
As we were now on the return ride, and as Warren and John had already left the peloton at Launching Place, we had good reason to expect that the rest of the ride would similarly pass in uneventful pedal turning. None of us were expecting to be stopped by a couple with murder on their minds.
As we drew closer we could see that the large poster carried an unmistakable photograph of our old foe Eddy the Mad Magpie of Woori Yallock. Apparently we have not been the only ones he has been terrorising and some of his erstwhile victims had obviously decided to fight back. We pulled in to find out some more about of what was going on.
We soon discovered that we had met none other than the reigning President of the Rail Trail Committee , along with one of her committee members. “That crazy magpie knows me by sight and tries to kill me every time I pass by”, the man said, his voice breaking with emotion. “I won’t stand for it any more, so I’m going to attack it with this piece of laminated paper”. I glanced down at the poster he was holding with his shaking hand, trying to picture how he planned to defeat Eddy with paper warfare.
As he stood there with his sign, looking for a place to prominently display it, we could not help but notice that Eddy himself had stopped by to eavesdrop on our discussions. As our new friend went on to explain “that bird is soooo intelligent, it knows what we are thinking”, I watched Eddy quietly walk along the ground closer and closer, until he was no more than a few metres behind him.
While we were comparing notes about our experiences with our joint avarian adversary, I paused to introduce ourselves as the legendary Warby Ghost Riders. We were somewhat surprised at the response we got. “Yes, everyone knows who you are, we like to read your web-site”. The President added “but your pictures don’t do you justice”. Bob was especially chuffed when the would be Bill Poster recognised Bob – “Didn’t you used to be a cyclist?”, he asked, “back in the 1930s or so?”
Apparently they were wishing to gather incriminating evidence against Eddy and asked if one of us would ride through the station while they took pictures of his attack. John Ruigrok (obviously hated by magpies from Wandin to Woori), decided to have a go. He first started by shouting a few torrents of abuse at his feathered nemesis, but old Eddy just stared him back in the eye and glared right through him
As soon as John started down the trail, Eddy took off after him, attacking him over and over again. It was absolutely tremendous entertainment for all who were watching. It was obvious that Eddy (just like the other Eddy at Collingwood), loves being the centre of all the attention. I am not sure if any photos were taken during the laughter as I took the opportunity to make my own escape to the safer regions further down the trail.
About 30 mins later, back at the cars, we were able to reminisce on our experience with the committee members. Although we had been hoping to hear that the trail was going to be compacted to help settle the rough and loose gravel, it was now clear that they were going to have to rely on the passage of time to do the job. Now if only one of our major political parties really made a commitment to support cycling, then we might see a sealed path all the way to Warburton. Wouldn’t that be something to dream about?