As you might have gathered, I am more of a cat person. Dogs are not to be trusted. I like them best when they are not barking, not drooling, not moving and not stinking. Basically when they’re sleeping.
Unfortunately, that’s not the kind of dog that you meet as a cyclist.
I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about bicycles that sends dogs into a wild, frenzied, blinding rage that literally makes them jump in front of cars just so they can chase you down the road. Maybe it is because our legs resemble slowly rotating sausages? Or because they think Antonio is a sheep that ran away from the flock and needs to be returned immediately? (If that is true there should be less attacks now that he’s had a haircut).
Whatever it is, there is nothing, nothing, more terrifying than the few seconds between hearing ferocious barking and determining where they are coming from and then realizing that Oh fuck they are right behind me I am going to die right now and they will devour me like a pack of wolves. Especially when you’re crawling uphill at 4.5km per hour. Did you know that dogs can reach a top speed of around 48km/hr?
So then what?
After trying various techniques that didn’t work (barking back, pretending to be a motorbike by making engine sounds, singing really loud, kicking, crying with fear, waving a stick, shitting your pants) we realized:
The only thing to do is gather all your courage (or whatever hasn’t left via your pants yet) and get off the bike*. This will confuse the dogs so much (“Where are the rotating sausages?”) that at least they will stop trying to eat you – for now. You will now be surrounded by still ferociously barking dogs but at least you can try to talk them out of ripping your throat out.
“Oh poor dog. Why are you so upset?”
“Shhh it’s ok we can talk about it if you want?”
“Yeah that’s right. Relax. I am not your sheep”
“OK then. Good job. Have a nice day!”
And off you go.
*Also: Call over Antonio who is usually 100m ahead and leaving the dogs to me. Another great tip: as long as you’re faster than your cycling partner you have nothing to worry about.