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Bicycle Racer Attacked by Antelope

Bicycle Racer Attacked by Antelope


Mountain biking isn’t usually considered either an extreme or a full-contact sport, but when you throw in charging African antelopes, I think it qualifies as both.

Proving that you can’t ever really be just an uninvolved bystander when you’re out in the wild, 17-year-old South African mountain biker Evan van der Spuy had rather too close an encounter with a red hartebeest (Alcelaphus caama) recently. He collided with the antelope while competing in the Time Freight Express MTB Race at the Albert Falls Dam Nature Reserve near Pietermaritzburg in South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal Province earlier this month.

Both teenager and buck got away without major injuries, although I reckon it’s fair to say that the antelope – standing about 1.3 metres tall at the shoulders and weighing in at around 130 kilograms – won the bout by technical knock-out. The hartebeest got up and ran off dazed, but apparently unharmed.

Van der Spuy’s helmet was smashed and he was momentarily unconscious. He suffered from a concussion, but x-rays taken at a nearby clinic confirmed that he had no broken bones or fractures.

The youngster, who races for Team Jeep South Africa and was in second place in the race at the time, can’t remember much of the accident, saying “I saw it coming from about 100 metres away … I looked at it and think I pointed at it and from there it was a blur. I just remember lying on the floor when I came to.”

Thanks to his teammate, Travis Walker, who recorded the entire incident on his bike-mounted camera, van der Spuy has become an instant YouTube hero and we can all watch what happened in bone-crunching slow-motion:

Walker said that it was all about being in the right place at the right time for him and being in the wrong place at the wrong time for his friend: “It hit him, lifted him off the ground, [and he] landed in the grass … he started making weird noises and I didn’t know what to do.”

Van der Spuy seemed rather pleased with being branded “Buck Norris” on Twitter. “It’s pretty cool,” he said.

Andreas is a book shop manager and freelance writer in Cape Town, South Africa. Follow him on Twitter: @Andreas_Spath


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6:28PM PDT on Jun 20, 2012

one lucky cyclist in another's territory....

10:08AM PDT on Oct 19, 2011

both need to go to traffic school

9:58PM PDT on Oct 18, 2011

All participants were very lucky as this could have beenmuch much worse.
I am dissapointed to the chosen heading though, as one must accept that riding in the bush occupied by wildlife to be dangerious.
We face it all the time with cattle, horses, emus and naturally kangaroos.
We lost a very dear friend who was on the main road of the property checking cattle for the mornings mustering (round up) and was likewise struck off his ATV and sadly he died as a result. The roo survived unharmed to tell it's story.
We do the same things day in day out and tend to take things for granted... and it cost a life that day.

12:35PM PDT on Oct 15, 2011

Maybe the trafficlight didn't work properly.

4:17AM PDT on Oct 15, 2011

synchronicity??? happenstance???

7:11PM PDT on Oct 14, 2011

It was an accident, it was stupidity by the human, if you are to intrude in someone else's
home you should be more careful and respectful.

2:48PM PDT on Oct 14, 2011

How silly to say he was attacked, it was a simple accidental collision. These things happen when you happen to be riding a bike in the middle of Africa, ya think??!! I am glad they were both okay, that's all.

8:20AM PDT on Oct 14, 2011

Very relieved the antelope is okay....but to call this an "attack" is inappropriate. Typical misuse to sensationalize the story and giving the impression that it's the animal's fault {as usual}.

BTW, who was invading whose territory {as usual}?

7:39AM PDT on Oct 14, 2011

Why would you title this story Bicycle Racer 'Attacked' by Antelope? You have no idea how fired up you will make gun-happy, conservatives. The antelope was confused, animals (especially of that nature) don't randomly attack. You are sensationalizing this story.

5:27AM PDT on Oct 14, 2011

"Attacked" is hyberbole for sure! The boy was invading the antelope's territory and it was an unfortunate incident. Good thing the hartebeest is fine!

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