Tip: Dealing with four legged obstacles as a cyclist

QuickTipsfeature1-300x92One of my least favorite things to deal with as a cyclist is dogs! I am fortunate to live and train in a rural county but while I don’t have many cars to contend with I do have to wrangle with mans best friend from time to time. I have come very close to hitting a dog or two this season and let me tell you it will wreck you and your bike. To avoid this I remember where I have issues with dogs and mentally mark it on my routes as sprint areas and prepare for them. If I am riding somewhere new I watch homes that are especially close to the road and watch around parked vehicles, porches, fences and other buildings where a dog may be snoozing. If a dog does run out and I can keep from cursing I will usually yell out NO and BAD DOG. I have seen many a dog stop dead in their tracks as if their owner had just scolded them. However there are dogs who want to do more than chase. These animals in my experience are breeds that have the tendency to be aggressive in the first place. If confronted I will sprint my heart out! If I encounter an animal like this and their owner is out I have been known to inform them what a leash law is. But failing this I have also been successful spraying a cold water bottle at there growling snouts. For awhile a I carried a small travel bottle filled with ammonia.

If you find that you cannot out sprint or have fallen in the process put your bike between you and the dog fast. Be prepared to use your helmet as a weapon if you have nothing else to wield. Also make sure you speak/yell at the dog with out fear and with a commanding voice.

If you find yourself constantly dealing with a particular dog put the owner of the dog on notice. This means that you write two letters stating the problem you are having with the dog and to please keep the dog up based on your local laws. Add that if you continue to have problems that you will document and date the incident and advise local law enforcement and animal control services of the incident. The other letter is a copy of the first that you keep. This does two very important things. One it gives the dogs owner a chance to rectify and two it shows a history for you if you do have to press charges.

4 Comments on “Tip: Dealing with four legged obstacles as a cyclist”

  1. Dogs scare me too, great tips! Once I rode past a farmhouse with 4 cute little puppies chasing me. I yelled at them to go home. It was cute. Six months later I rode by the same spot. They weren’t cute any more. They were terrifying! Squirting water and throwing a gu at them did not work. I rode by again later and tried a cayenne pepper laced piece of cheese. no good. I have tried a mini fog horn (no good) and mace (too scared to use it for fear of backspray at my own face). I’ll have to try the ammonia next time I go out that way!

  2. And a good thing NOT to do is try and kick at a dog.. from a moving bike, while clipped in on the other side – not many good outcomes from that sort of thing. But at the end of the day most dogs that bark and chase are going to be a lot less dangerous than the ones who are quiet and come out of nowhere

  3. The challenge with kicking a dog is getting bitten in the process. Now I know it sounds mean of me to even consider this but when you have been chased by dogs and had them hanging off the back of your ankle while pedaling you may start to see where it is tempting to do so. It is ill advisable to do so because of the force of doing this can cause a pretty serious loss of balance for the cyclist leading to a fall making the cyclist an even easier target for a K9 attack.

  4. Yelling loud and forcefully at the dog works majority of the time. Can be scary especially when it’s a pack of farm dogs!

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