This is a public service announcement, this is not a test.
These are the top 15 dangers of cycle touring from conversations I’ve been having over the past few weeks.
- Acts of God
- Getting lost
- Geezas from Horror Films
- The weather
- Human predators
- Night time
- Day time
From reading the blogs of people who have traversed this route, I’m actually rating Dogs at the top of my personal “danger” list.
Long story short, I read a first-hand account of a person being chased down a lane and ripped off his bike by a pack of German Shepherds and mauled (on the same route as the one I’m going on!?). Luckily his friend was there to use his own bicycle as a weapon to battle the dogs. After being dragged around like a carcass this bloke escaped with gaping wounds in his shoulder and thighs and required “911”.
Now that petrified me, so I had to immediately research what to do WHEN I land myself in this situation.
The following list is advice I gathered online, so if you’re in a scary dog related situation remember the following:
- Consider the breed of dog, is he a cold-blooded killer or is he a pooch? Perhaps he’s one of the good guys so you can stop for Instagram phots, great news.
- Okay he’s a cold-blooded killer and he is one of a pack of 10, this is unfortunate and requires evasive action. What gear are you in? Please don’t tell me you’re cycling uphill, head for a slope and pedal.
- Worst case scenario, you don’t think you can out pedal them. DO NOT attempt to outrun them unless you are certain you can do it. This is because dogs have predatory instincts and even more so when they are in a pack. If they catch up with you then you my friend, will suffer the same fate as the bloke I spoke about at the beginning.
- So, your last option is to face them head on, dismount the bike, and prepare for battle. What was just your bicycle has now transformed into both a shield and a sword. At all times keep the bike between yourself and the pack. If that’s tricky due to the size of the pack then adopt the windmill approach, spinning 360 degrees with your bike in a bid to make contact with the biters. Meanwhile hopefully help is on its way.
- But hold on, before the battle even commences there are two last chance saloons…
Option 1, Dog Mace, this is a pepper spray essentially and will not leave lasting damage, but it will temporarily disarm the dog and give you enough time to make a break for it.
Option 2, Air Horn, this will just be a F*@k Off loud noise that hopefully sends the dogs with their super sensitive hearing running for the hills. If not, at least it would be a funny sight to see me being mauled to death to the soundtrack of a continual air horn, and people in the area would be alerted to come retrieve my body.
So, there it is, my “how to not die” when it comes to our normally heaven sent canine companions.
Yours in cycling,