Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bicycles vs. Dogs - The Age Old Story

I wonder how postal workers on bikes deal with canines. Photo credit: FUN Online
We've all been there: cruising down a country road, enjoying the scenery and the quiet is interrupted by a ferocious barking. A dog comes out of nowhere barreling as fast as its four legs can go. There's a moment of terror. My heart is in my throat and I panic, wondering how I'm going to deal with the creature. Is the animal protecting it's territory and will eventually leave me alone, or should I stand in the pedals and make a run for it? Can I outrun him?

An incident occurred in the South when we crossed the country in the 80s. I was following my husband when a golden retriever silently dove for his bike, but instead of aiming for flesh the animal chomped onto his rear pannier, pulling him to a halt. By the time my husband whipped out his bike pump the dog sped away. It's almost like the dog was toying with us. Or a canine buddy played Truth or Dare. It was hilarious in hindsight, considering the normal friendliness of the breed.

Photo credit: FUN Online
According to Cyclopedia, Victorian Age cyclists carried pistols. One can only imagine how vulnerable the cyclist felt, perched on a high wheeler, prone to unpredictable free-ranging mutts. On the other hand, the poor animal was only following its instinct, attacking a moving object—and to be shot at, well, that's harsh punishment.

Did you know the Germans made gunpowder-filled anti-dog grenades? How I would love a stockpile of those gems.

Sometimes I miss the old style, but ever so practical frame pump. It was great for handy defense; pull and swing. Undercut the bugger. Listen for the whimper. Despite the efficiency of my Topeak mini-pump, it  falls short in the dog management department.

What kind of dog versus bike stories do you have?


  1. I enjoy riding the country roads around here but don't like dealing with the dogs so I don't do it as often as I'd like.
    Never been bit while riding. Nova had one lock on to her shoe once leaving teeth marks.
    When this topic comes up I'm always reminded of this

  2. I've had several incidents over the years, but the only time I got "bit" was from a little yip dog. And I use bite loosely, as it never broke skin, more like a scratch. It was more a "WTF?" moment than anything else. Come to think of it, the longest distance a dog chased me (in Iowa last year) it was a li'l thing. It turned around when I made a motion to kick at it. Napoleon Complex?

  3. Frame pump. Any bike I ride into the country around here has a frame pump. I stick with frame pumps for this very reason.


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