I don’t know what it is about dogs and cyclists but we have an unexplainable connection. Up until now they have been leashed or behind a fence barking and jumping up as I cycle past. Occasionally I will confidently antagonise them with my best ‘woof’ knowing full well they cannot get me. Where house after house has a dog it is like a dog relay as each sprints alongside me to hand off to the dog in the next front garden.
There seems to be a strong correlation with fewer leashes and more roaming and wild dogs the further east I cycle and I am starting to become more aware of a new threat and the possibility of a foaming mouth.
Today In Hungary on a single lane dirt track I had my first head to head confrontation and I was petrified. Ahead of me I see my match in a big brown dog with very big bollocks. His skin is shiny and defined muscles are pronounced under his skin. His face has a few rolls of skin but in particular he has a biggish flap over his top lip that makes him look like he has a moustache. Just like you would expect from a stereotypical Hungarian man.
I stop. I think he won’t spot me but he is a dog and I am a cyclist so there is no chance of that. He stops and we engage in a moments silent stand-off before he starts barking like mad and looking back down the country road with erratic head movements like he is trying to communicate a warning.
I am stuck and opt to try the very slow wide berth approach thinking I will attempt a sprint if he goes for me. I edge up on the left hand side, he is barking and I think I am past but then like two velodrome sprint cyclists we both react and start sprinting (how I ever thought I would outsprint a dog from a standing start I will never know.) This is a serious adrenalin jolt and rather than going for my ankle he manoeuvres out to my left through a ditch and into a very green field barking manicly. Running in parallel he moves slightly ahead, my legs are going far too fast for me in a low gear and then he sharply changes direction for a direct attack from 10′ O clock.
This is fight or flight so I clip out my left shoe ready to kick out should he get too near which he did and I manage a pathetic but accurate tap to the poor mutts head.
The Dogs: 0
I immediately realise I may have read the situation completely wrong. I don’t know dogs very well but I think this is dog play not dog violence.
I paid the price an hour or so later with the return of the squeak.