How to Tell a Donkey from a Bicycle

Do you ride a donkey to work while your next-door neighbour takes a bicycle? Do you find yourself spending way too much time each morning trying to determine which is which, so you don’t accidentally mount his bike and leave your donkey? Well, here we explain the subtle differences between a donkey and a bike, so you can quickly differentiate and never leave wondering if you took the wrong mode of transportation.

First of all, a donkey is (normally) a living organism. This means that it needs nourishment. Ordinarily, it will offer some indication of hunger in the morning, perhaps by chewing on your hat, pants, or one of your appendages. Bicycles, it is true, do need oil to keep the chain from rusting, but not every day; and they only ask for it by whining slightly after you start riding, not before. Bicycles do not usually chew on hats, though they sometimes chew up your trouser legs.

Secondly, donkeys are furry, hairy creatures. So unless your neighbour’s bicycle is the Al Capone fur-seat-bullet-proof-window-Cadillac version, it will probably feel much smoother on your rump if you accidentally mount it instead of your donkey.

Finally, donkeys do not shift gears. A quick test will determine whether you are on the donkey or the bike: using your right hand, give the ear a good, hard twist. If it changes gears and speeds up, you’re on your neighbour’s bike, which means trouble. If, on the other hand, it hees and haws in pain, wrenching its neck and trying to bite your head off, then you are safe: it’s your donkey after all.

Additional notes:

  • While donkeys and bicycles both have teeth, the bike’s teeth are on the gears and are made of metal; a donkey’s teeth are in the mouth and are made of, um, teeth.
  • A donkey’s wheels are of a much more rudimentary design than a bike’s. The donkey has four straight, hinged wheels, much less efficient than the modern, two-wheeled cycle with round, pneumatic tires. (However, donkeys are slightly less susceptible to flat tires.)

Now you can get going in the morning with ease, never more mistaking your neighbour’s bicycle for your donkey.


“Der echte Drahtesel,” by Trautner-kunst. CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.


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