Author Topic: Hillbilly dogs  (Read 1349 times)

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Offline John Nelson

Re: Hillbilly dogs
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2021, 07:16:54 pm »
hopefully there's no such thing as a bad route.

I wouldn’t go that far. There are lots of bad routes, lots of terrible routes, lots of blah routes, and a few good routes. There are many unsafe roads, where you’ll be saying, get me the hell out of here! And many boring routes where nothing interesting ever happens. Well-researched routes are golden.

Offline Nyimbo

Re: Hillbilly dogs
« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2021, 08:57:07 pm »
I rode W-E on the TransAm from Oregon to Colorado and then in Eastern Colorado I veered off north to continue across on the the EasternExpress route.  I did not do so to avoid dogs or to avoid riding the more difficult E mountains sections. I did so because I wanted to experience the Katy trail and I wanted to pass through St Louis and Cincinnati to visit some family along the way.  I had mixed feelings about the EasternExpress. I thoroughly enjoyed both the Katy trail and the GAP and C&O. I think experiencing those two well known trails made it worth the trade off of missing the Eastern half of the TA.  I also quite enjoyed my ride across Ohio.  From St Louis to Cincinnati was the the least favorite section of the whole ride. (Well that and about 40 mile of wind swept Southern Wyoming.)
BTW Staehpj1 my worst ever dog experience was also the California Central Valley.

Offline TCS

Re: Hillbilly dogs
« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2021, 09:18:00 am »
As for hills, I can't remember all the "contours of the land" quote -- perhaps someone can help me here?

"It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.  Thus you remember them as they actually are, while on an ebike in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle." - Ernest Hemingway
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Hillbilly dogs
« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2021, 02:53:52 pm »
As for hills, I can't remember all the "contours of the land" quote -- perhaps someone can help me here?

"It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.  Thus you remember them as they actually are, while on an ebike in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle." - Ernest Hemingway

Thanks for that!  (Though I'm not sure ebikes are quite as bad a motor cars...)

Offline HobbesOnTour

Re: Hillbilly dogs
« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2021, 07:39:27 am »
I think it's a pity that you are considering an alternative route. The comments about "perceived" fear and the real risk of traffic are spot on, I believe.
As are the comments on over planning.

You have 9 months to get your head straight. Since this is your first tour, the processes you establish now will most likely become permanent (or at least difficult to change). I think you should pay attention to that.

The problem for me was that the dog situation was such a shock to the system - I wasn't prepared. Traffic, despite being more dangerous (and sometimes pure malicious) was easier to deal with because I had prepared for that.

If you do wish to create your own routes I recommend https://cycle.travel/map A very handy website with instant access to Streetview.
My biggest issues when creating my own routes were the disappearance of shoulders (often at county lines) and bridges. I came to hate bridges.

Once you have your bike, load up and get as much practice under your belt as you can. Instead of cycling down a local road, try to imagine where you want to be cycling. It will all come together.

Good luck!

Offline TCS

Re: Hillbilly dogs
« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2021, 02:06:04 pm »
Thanks for that!  (Though I'm not sure ebikes are quite as bad as motor cars...)

Oh, no-no!  Ebikes are great!   :D  It's just that when you ride to the base of a big climb and dial up the assist, well, that's a different experience.
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Hillbilly dogs
« Reply #21 on: September 09, 2021, 03:42:56 pm »
Here is a detailed answer about dogs. I wrote it on another thread for a disabled veteran planning a transcontinental bicycling tour on a recumbent bike.

As for dogs on tour, I have had many experiences with them. Some cyclists might carry pepper spray, which I have done but never used. I saw another advise carrying a water pistol containing a mixture of water and ammonia; this I have never done. The fact is that dogs can be an occasional annoyance or hassle or whatever, but by and large they are not a real danger unless one comes charging at you from out of nowhere, startling you, and causing you to involuntarily swerve out into traffic. It happens.

There is something about the movement and sound of cycling that sets dogs off into a headstrong frenzy of barking and chasing. I mean, you come along, and there is some dog in a yard. It has been lolling around all day perhaps. It catches sight of you going by on your bike, and it immediately goes nuts. It starts barking, snarling, yelping, and growling, and chasing you at high speed and going for your heels with all its might. I have seen dogs go absolutely bananas at the sight of me cycling, even if I was two hundred feet away from them. I have seen them come charging out at me, stopped only by a fence around the property. They would follow all along the fence line to the end, and then go ape trying to jump over the fence or tunnel under it.  This kind of reaction comes from dogs of all sizes from the largest dogs to even those little Mexican Chihuahuas. That is no kidding. I was cycling through some town. Somebody was carrying one of those little Mexican dogs. It saw me. It went crazy trying to jump from its owners arms and chase along.

I have worked out a manner of dealing with dogs. In spite of all the noise and chases not one dog has ever actually bitten me.  However, they do seem to be fond of going for the feet, and some have come close to biting. First, slow down a bit, look at the dog and yell out a loud, sharp report, and when I say loud and sharp that is what is meant; something like you might expect to hear from a marine corps drill sargeant. You might have to yell a number of times. The yelling will bring some dogs to a halt. Some will stop temporarily and continue, and slow down or halt every time you yell. Just yell out hut or ha loud, sharp, and clear. If that does not dissuade the cur from pursuing his pleasure or whatever it is he gets out of the chase, come to a dead stop and give him the yell. He will stop. He may turn around and take off. He may tarry a while and snip and growl. He may come close, but my experience is the actual attack will not happen. I have cycled 34,000 miles through 19 countries, and six or more times across the USA, so I know of what I speak.

I have always ridden an upright touring bike, therefore, having a dog running along and chasing at my heels is a different matter from riding a recumbent with the animal more nearly at the vital parts such as torso, head, and throat. My general advice is this. If you are concerned, do what I have told you, and carry a water pistol with water and ammonia in it, if legal to do so, or a very good pepper spray, not one of those little key chain things, but a canister with a real fog or large volume spray that comes out, but do not use it as a first response. If you yell and stop and yell, the dog will stop his pursuit. In other words, do not run and it will not chase. Often, as you are stopped at the roadside waiting for the animal to lose interest, its owner will come out and call it back, and it trots on home. If you stop and it stops and loses interest, it might head back to its territory on its own, but if you take off it will turn around and continue chasing. Dogs, for the most part, are a temporary nuisance, but not a real serious danger. However, I am sure cyclists have been actually attacked, and perhaps even injured.

When stopped, the hound may come close, but will not actually sink its teeth into your hide. If it is particularly vicious or mean, give him a whiff of the pepper spray or whatever, but I have never found that to be necessary. If you get off the bike and walk a ways, which you would not or might not be able to do, it could lose interest; get back on and cycle away, and it will pick up where it left off, or just go home.

Try not to let a dog catch you by surprise in close quarters. That happened to me once, and I tipped over injuring my ankle. It was at night on a quiet, placid road. A very large dog came charging aggressively from out of the bushes near the side of the road. All of a sudden I heard this very loud barking and snarling, and saw a blur out of the corner of my eye. In an attempt to stop, dismount immediately, and get the bike between myself and the attacking dog, I forgot my feet were strapped into the pedals, and tried to get off on the right of the bike, I fell over and twisted my ankle. Well, at least I fell over away from the dog and not toward it. After all that the dog just stood there looking at me, and turned around and left. It was one of the larger breeds of dog, and I am sure it would not have harmed me, but it caught me completely unexpected, and I reacted unthinking with a start. There was no time to think through what to do. The subconscious mind told me I was under attack and needed to respond, and I did.

You might have dog problems in some areas at times, and no dog problems whatsoever in other places. In 1984 in winter along highway 90 in Florida free ranging dogs were all over the place, and I might add, were often seen dead along the roadside after having been slammed by motor vehicles. In 2007 I cycled 90, and there was not the first problem with the first dog; very different from 1984. In countrified areas dog owners may be more disposed to letting their dogs roam free. Some may be fenced in, but have some little tunnel dug out under the fence in some bush-covered corner. They actually seem to be smart enough to try and cover or hide their tunnels. Anyway, that is about all I can tell you. If you go into Eastern Europe, you may find canines of a very different stripe; very different from the friendly domesticated kind we are used to in the USA.

As for some of those dogs I encountered in eastern Europe, nothing short of a firearm would save you.  Some of those would run you to earth and kill you and eat you. I had never seen anything even remotely as vicious as those, and have not seen anything like it since. If there is any such thing as a homicidal, insane, psychotic, murderous, savage dog, those dogs were it. For those dogs I would seriously recommend using a flame thrower. I have never encountered dogs anywhere even remotely that ferocious in the USA. Thank God for that chain link fence. Those were raised to be extremely murderously violent.
 

Offline John Nettles

Re: Hillbilly dogs
« Reply #22 on: September 14, 2021, 10:20:33 pm »
Depends on what you are looking for. I have ridden the TA, NT, and most of the PPP.  I would definitely take the TA over the others if I have not ridden it before.  I have ridden parts of the EE too.  If  you are totally concerned about the dogs and can not stop worrying about them, use the EE and maybe swing down to the TA in Kansas (from Clinton, MO).

Like others, I carry Halt! but rarely use it.  My current can is probably 4 years old and is half full.  I squirt it at the start of each tour to ensure it does indeed still work but other than that, water bottle usually does the trick. When I tour with one couple, I am actually the "bait" because the lady of the couple is 80+ years old and is not a fan of barking dogs (bitten a few times).  To me, a lot of it is learning if they are "protecting their territory" or are actually looking to get to you.  I would say 95% are the former.  The worst are the ones where you only hear the toe nails clicking on the pavement and their panting. You look down and lo and behold, there is a snarling dog 3 feet back.  Scares the bejebbers out of me.  I usually swerve into them (they are behind me), get the Halt! and slow up a bit so I can get a good shot at them.  Works every time.  If it is a pack of dogs, I look for the alpha dog.  Take care of it and the rest follow suit. As mentioned, a squeeze of the water bottle and a firm commanding voice usually does the trick.

Tailwinds, John

Offline staehpj1

Re: Hillbilly dogs
« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2021, 07:00:24 am »
Oh, one other thing.  One of my companions discovered that yelling "Go Home" had no effect, but "Bad Dog" seemed to work better.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Hillbilly dogs
« Reply #24 on: September 15, 2021, 07:04:49 am »
Oh, one other thing.  One of my companions discovered that yelling "Go Home" had no effect, but "Bad Dog" seemed to work better.
In Alabama we yelled "Get off the damn couch!" which seemed to work.  ;D

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Hillbilly dogs
« Reply #25 on: September 15, 2021, 09:07:10 am »
In Alabama we yelled "Get off the damn couch!" which seemed to work.  ;D

It's kind of funny; the smarter dogs give you a look like "but I'm not ON the couch!"  I can usually get away from them while they slow down to think about it.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Hillbilly dogs
« Reply #26 on: September 15, 2021, 09:15:33 am »
That is funny.  Anyway, yelling "Go Home" is a waste of breath with most of them.  I suspect they may have even learned that it is something that helpless victims say, a "kick me" sign of sorts.

Offline New Jawn

Re: Hillbilly dogs
« Reply #27 on: September 15, 2021, 11:37:35 am »
After a good bit of reading numerous blogs and threads on the topic, I've decided to better my odds of avoiding hillbilly dogs by avoiding hillbilly country.  I'm going to do the Eastern Express, which connects to the KATY trail, and from its southwestern terminus, a short connector to where it connects to the TransAmerica in Eureka, Kansas, to continue on through Colorado, etc. 

I read a good number of blogs about the TA central, and nearly all report that unchained dogs were quite common in Kentucky and eastern Missouri, with a majority saying that they just assumed that each and every trailer and roadside shack will have at least one semi-feral mutt to circumvent.  This will be my first long solo ride and I just don't need the added stress.

That said, I will still carry a can of bear spray.

If all goes well, my next goal will be putting together a hopefully dog-free, 3-week trip to do both the Cabot Trail (Cape Breton, Nova Scotia) and the Viking Trail (Newfoundland).  I will start a thread on those trails and the planned trip a bit later, but never hurts to post the idea should any of you want to join in. 

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: Hillbilly dogs
« Reply #28 on: September 15, 2021, 11:47:23 am »
Good luck on your ride. I hope you are a great hill climber because the Cape Breton Highlands are beautiful, be prepared for some steep climbs and ocean breezes.
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline misterflask

Re: Hillbilly dogs
« Reply #29 on: September 19, 2021, 10:10:42 am »
I can recall 3 dog encounters on the TA
1. Somewhere in western Kansas a pack of 6-10 dogs surrounded me preventing changes in course and speed while a pair nipped at my heels.  They were having a grand time and apparently intended only limited malice.  It was concerning at the time but mainly annoying in retrospect.  I'm still plotting revenge.
2. A large dog in Missouri embarked on a spirited chase with apparent ill will in his heart.  As noted, TA dogs often respond to faked pepper spray and shouts of 'Bad Dog', which fortunately worked just well enough here.
3. A tiny dog in Virginia ran along for too long nipping at my heels.  Just annoying.

There's a nice gravel ride near my home ruined by a pack of aggressive dogs that will run you off the bike against a bramble hedge until their redneck owner calls them off.  He calls them home but doesn't exactly discourage them.
Another roadbike ride nearby is universally avoided because the owner will run after and intimidate bikers in his car if someone sprays his aggressive dogs with water.