Shiny-bottom or Wobbler Bird species are as many and varied as the stars in our infinite universe.

Well there’s an awful lot of them anyhow. From your Streaky-breasted Flufftail to your Clamorous Reed Warbler. Happily, biological diversity is also thriving in the wonderful bikeways that criss-cross our city. And I’ll bet you didn’t know that cyclists come in several species too? There are two main species of cyclist with very distinctive markings and characteristics. Firstly there’s the serious bike rider – this is the ‘shiny-bottomed hairless racer’ species. These lycra clad, fiercely focused types look like some sort of weird, alien gadfly, with their streamlined aerodynamic helmets and their fluoro, figure-hugging plumage. While some travel alone, they can often be spotted in packs. These single-file groups are called ‘hazards’ as in, “Bloody hell, I nearly got mowed down by a hazard of them shiny-bottoms!” The other main species of cyclist is the middle-aged recreational cyclist – species name the ‘domestic, timorous wobbler’. Wobblers can be recognised by their leisurely pace, their mis-matched clothing and their daggy bikes. This species mostly travel in groups, commonly called either an Enid Blyton or a ‘conversation’ of cyclists. The latter term was devised to reflect their habit of travelling three abreast along the bike path in order to converse with each other. While the two main species of cyclist co-exist quite happily along the bike paths, they have little in common. Shiny-bottoms are fast-moving, built for speed rather than comfort. They can occasionally be seen taking sustenance from a water bottle or scoffing a handful of something called ‘scroggin’ (don’t ask) but all their activities (including mating, presumably) are undertaken ‘on the move’. Wobblers, on the other hand, delight in taking many stops along the bike path. A shady tree, a bridge, a park bench – any of these will cause the group to brake collectively, down cycles and begin to graze on chocolates, Tim Tams, and lashings of ginger beer – most of which they have crammed into their colourful handle-bar baskets. The one thing both species do have in common – besides their loathing of the juvenile of the species (the ‘tricycle interruptus’ or ‘pink-tassled obstructer’) – is their enjoyment of the wonderful bike paths provided to Brisbane residents by their council. If you’re not sure to which species you belong, you’re probably a Wobbler. So why not resurrect that old Tom Wallace from under the house, get a few friends, grab a packet of Tim Tams and head off to your nearest bike path? You won’t regret it – just watch out for hazards!
Sue Wighton is a Brisbane writer and Wobbler.