Have you ever seen a motorcycle race a pigeon? Well, now you have. This video from Pakistan shows what looks like a man on a Honda Sonic racing a bird down the highway. This is no random act of man vs wild as the two appear to be close friends.
It looks from the video that the bird is a trained racing pigeon, and at the conclusion of their little race he lands affectionately on his buddy’s arm. The unique motorcycle training regime is too charming not to share and raises my esteem of the little grey sky rat to new levels.
At first, I thought that our hero on the Sonic was letting the pigeon win, as cars pass the duo with ease. Then I looked up “how fast does a pigeon fly” on Google, because I’m a serious motorcycle journalist and stats are important. The Sonic can do about 80 mph, pigeons are closer than you’d think: They’re capable of reaching 77 mph. So maybe the pigeon was trying to let his pal win too?
There are some tense moments as Mr. Pigeon gets bored of the race and tries to land on the trainer’s special pigeon glove at speed, but the bird and rider both seem unflustered. After a brief roll-on test, both participants have had enough and end the day’s session.
This video raises so many questions. For example, how do you train a pigeon in the first place? Do you have to raise it from birth? Why isn’t the pigeon afraid of the loud motorcycle? What happens if your pigeon glove falls off while you’re riding? What if he poos on you?
As it turns out, Pigeon racing predates motorcycle racing by some 1,700 years and was first recorded in 220 AD. You train them from birth, and racing pigeons must be fitted with a special brass anklet at four weeks old. In addition, pigeons aren’t afraid of anything because they’re apparently way more badass than I thought.
If the glove falls off, you have to stop and pick it up, and if/when the bird poos on you, you have to wash it off. The world is a fascinating place.