I encounter a number of dogs in my travels. I’m really not a dog guy, actually, but they do love a unicycle. If, by love, one means bark at and chase. I know I should be carrying mace, but I am not.

The other day, I was chased by a pair of dogs. They were very excited. The big one actually tried to push me off of my unicycle. Made positive contact with my foot and pushed. It’s a miracle I stayed up and moving, but I did. Apparently disappointed by their failure, they called off the chase soon afterward, which is good, because I was coming up to a pretty steep hill.

I encountered one yesterday that was chasing a kid on a bike and changed targets to me. It kept up pretty well. I managed not to run it over, mostly by just barely staying ahead of it. It followed me as I climbed and descended hills and crossed streets. At one point, I had just crossed the street and was turning my wheel to continue on my path when the puppy ran headlong into it. Not deliberate. Didn’t even know about it until I felt the bonk. A few terrain-changes later, I climbed the steep tarmack to the level crossing, over the tracks, down the other side, around the curve and then a long straight run. The puppy was still keeping up. It was starting to sound tired, though. Eventually, it started getting quieter. I hope it had enough sense to return home, but, then, it didn’t have enough sense to not be chasing me, so such hope might be misplaced.

There is a little dog at the end of my block that comes barreling toward me, barking. I gather that its name is Nacho, even if it doesn’t know that. I’ve done the ignore it until it gets bored thing, and it was amusing, but apparently not permanent, and it gets old. I can’t be waiting around all day to bore dogs; I’ve got important unicycling to do. Somebody must have caught on because there is now a fenced pen in the yard, which the little dog is unable to exit to chase me, and, presumably, any other entity it does this to. But not yesterday. No, yesterday, it was just like old times. The barking rapidly got louder and there was a dog at my ankles. Barking. I just happened to be carrying a radio antenna that I assume had snapped off of a truck. I casually lowered the end toward where I thought the dog might be. Didn’t whip it or any such thing, just lowered it. I felt it contact something soft, but which wasn’t my toe. The barking stopped immediately, as did the sound of claws on tarmac. No yipe or other cry. Just, I am assuming, mindblowing surprise at getting bonked on the nose under these circumstances.

Some dogs are successfully confined to a perimeter. Sometimes, there is an obstacle. They spot me through the fence, bark at me, see what direction I am traveling in, and run around the back of the building to the other fence where they bark at me some more. They have clearly done this before. Sometimes, there is not obstacle, they just track me the full length of the fence. Barking. Sometimes, they have enough sense to stop before reaching the end. There is one in particular, guarding a car dealer’s lot, that I have half a mind to bore as described above. Oh; woof woof woof, yourself. It’s always woof woof woof with you. Where’s your other tail?

One of my neighbors’ dogs is a little one that runs in front of my wheel. It has done this twice, one of them in the view of its owner. I managed, both times, to dismount before flattening it. Next time, who knows?

Some dogs have seen me enough that they don’t even kick up a fuss any more. Others just never learn. Some have learned, but forgotten, so they’re going to have to learn again. I was riding in town awhile back and didn’t even notice the dog barking at me, but heard its owner telling it “You see that guy all the time, stop barking.”

no you should not be carrying mace! if you are really having problems then i would suggest dismounting the moment you notice a dog coming at you. I have no idea why you are having so many issues I have ridden by many dogs and maybe one out of 50 run up towards me.

just to reiterate do not carry mace! If i saw someone mace my dog i would kick the shit out of them then restrain them while i call the cops!

And you would be the one it trouble since your dog was attempting to hurt ldlux… Smart.

IMO mace is probably not a bad solution if you have this problem a lot, just don’t use it unless absolutely necessary. And apparently it’s a good idea to make sure the owner isn’t watching if you don’t want to get kicked.

I would never let my dog chase someone like but if it happened, I wouldn’t be particularly upset if she got sprayed. If a dog is coming after you it is reasonable to defend yourself. Some people are rude enough to let their dogs chase people and it can get pretty annoying. Just do your best to make sure that you aren’t contributing to the problem.

Mace or pepper spray is perfectly acceptable to use on an aggressive dog.

So many dog owners can’t accept the responsibility of keeping their dog confined or leashed, which is the law in many places.

If some asshole tried to kick my ass after I felt it necessary to deter his run amok pet he would be eating his teeth or at the very least getting a dose of what his dog got.


Mace the owner, not the dog.

Most dogs are well meaning. If a dog is being aggressive, by all means, do what you feel is neccessary I guess. But I think some people over react a bit and think they’re being attacked, when the dog really just wants to see what in the hell you’re doing.

I’ve been riding for 3 years, and in that time, I’ve encountered one aggressive dog.

The hundreds of others I’ve encountered, might have been in my way, but weren’t aggressive, and by no means deserved mace, though their owners should be fined for not having the dog leashed.

I’ve definitely noticed dogs go apeshit when they see me. But usually it’s the dogs on leash that go crazy, the off leash dogs are definitely interested but usually keep a distance. There has been a few occasions when they get too close for comfort. I have a ‘dog’ (see photo), I live in a neighborhood where it seems most people have a dog, I’m not the biggest fan of having them always be around, seems there is always one crazy dog going nutz. It’s life, you have to deal with it, I try and keep it in a positive light.

I wouldn’t use mace, I would dismount and keep my uni in between me and the dog. I know usually it happens real fast and you don’t have time to do much except hope the dog is friendly… luckily most of them are.


Hello Idlux, I enjoyed reading your post. It was well written and very amusing.

ok first most dogs will not try to hurt you! therefore you should not need to do anything except keep riding or dismount so you don’t run the dog over
second i’m still confused on how this is such a large issue for you. In my neighborhood about half of the households have dogs and i have been chased by maybe 2 and both quickly stopped chasing me.

how are you being chased so much?

I have exactly the same issues as you. People seem to think the cycle tracks (And yes, they are marked as cycle tracks…) Are fair game to let their dogs off the leads on. I wouldn’t mind, but when the dog randomly jumps in front of me, the owner usually says something like ‘haha he’s only playing!’ or ‘oh, mind you don’t hit my poor little dogs name’! As though it’s my responsibility. Each time I tell them to get the dog on a lead when on a marked cycle track, and everytime I do, I get the same nose-in-air reply like I’ve just swore at them.

It’s usually the small dogs that are annoying, by the way. Larger dogs, while they’ll sometimes chase/race me, tend to keep their distance. There’s a lady who frequents the cycle tracks as often as I do who has two greyhounds, and they both start racing me as soon as they see me (Guess who wins, those things are FAST!) but always keep their distance. The owner asks me every now and then if I want her to stop them, but I say it’s OK because they don’t run in front and potentially cause pain for themselves or me (And it’s fun :smiley: ). Small, yappy dogs are quite happy to just run in front of me without any sort of warning, and it’s these that cause the problems.

He smells like bacon.


I have been told on three occasions someone’s dog is just being playful and has NEVER in all their life bit anyone. I’ve been bitten on all three occasions. More than once dogs that have been friendly to ‘everyone else’ have been not so to me.

My mom had to have stitches in her legs and shots later because she held her child up in the air to avoid the baby being mauled by a ‘normally friendly’ dog. (you think maybe she should have put the baby on the ground to let the dog sniff it and get to know it!?) And no, she would rather die than kick someone else’s dog, because; a. knows she would be shot by the owner having read this forum, b. she never thought about it.

My family own dogs. I have owned dogs. We see ourselves as responsible for our dogs even unexpected behavior.

People may react to trigger a dog’s aggressive tendencies. That includes the owners as well as the person the dog attacks. That can be subconscious. (ie “those people” look suspicious.) Certain people may say, well that child deserved to be mauled or even be ‘amazed’ Binky tore flesh out of that kid.

I know of serious accidents because people were trying to avoid running over someone else’s dog. If Binky gets run over by a 300 pound unicyclist because he ran in front of him and the uni person did not swerve (maybe couldn’t swerve) perhaps the owner of the dog might possibly consider their responsibility to the dog as well as to the wider society.

Even in the wild, wolf packs OBEY their pack leader. With humans, often it is less clear who the pack leader is. …and the pack leader is responsible and realizes there are consequence, however sad that might be.

Think about that. Think about it good and hard. Think about how it would work out in all scenarios. Think about how you wouldn’t be able to ride while your wounds heal, assuming you’ll be able to ride afterward. Think about your agonizing death from Rabies. Read these threads and any others like them.

The moment I notice a dog coming at me? Now I know you’re nuts. Who’s the dominant species here? This is a very common occurrance. Some days. Yesterday, I had no dog encounters out of the ordinary. A few fence-barkers, maybe.

There are other threats on the street besides dogs, some of which might be successfully addressed by non-lethal means. I have not encountered any of them yet, though your statement below suggests that I might. Or maybe I should just dispense with the mace and carry a gun. That would be better, right? Actually, I know the answer to this one. It would not be better. Neither mace nor guns are toys. You don’t use them “just because”. You hope never to have to use them. Mace is a one-use thing (don’t want to run out during your second encounter) and not exactly cheap. Duh. Some folks might choose the gun, but that is a completely different discussion.

Yet you make positive assertions and threats of violence based on incomplete knowledge. This also could be a whole other thread which would probably belong in JC, rather than here. I’m not going to start such a thread, though, because I don’t care enough to.

So many? What are you counting as issues? Encounters? Even trivial ones where I am not chased? Then yeah, rather a lot. But if so, it is you who digress, from your own fixation on mace. I ride a lot. Through the city, some of which is downright suburban. 20 miles is not an unusual ride for me, and I have done it several times this week alone. My slice of life post contains vignettes from several rides, but I thought my word choices made that clear.

It only takes one vicious attack. Zero (and it’s cousin, 100%) is funny that way. I haven’t been mauled yet, but you’re darn tootin’ that if the issue is forced, I’m going to do whatever I can to minimize the damage, even if that means injuring the assailant. Who is paying for the healthcare, downtime, “pain and suffering”, and possible lifetime disfigurement? The dog sure isn’t. Are you? Avoidance of actually injuring the dog should go without saying, but I get the impression it might have to be stated overtly for you.

Good for you. This must be why you think it is reasonable to dismount on all such occasions. We ride in different places.

If only one in 100 (or 1000 or whatever) injures or kills you, you’re still hurt, maimed, or dead. I, too, have ridden by many dogs. Only some of them chase me. Only some of those appear to actually pose a threat. It only takes one. When you get that one, you just might regret not having anything to dissuade it with. You probably also don’t wear a helmet because maybe one out of 50 UPDs lands you on your head. Your figure, not an actual helmet figure. This is not digression. The helmet and mace perform their respective functions as safety equipment. They get used very rarely if at all, but are useless if you don’t have them when the time comes.

I have never suggested macing every dog one sees. Go ahead, look; I’ll wait. The puppy was clearly not a threat. You did actually read that far in my post, yes? You know, beyond the word “mace”? The dog that pushed me (and was part of a group, which is more dangerous than one dog) might have gotten me to draw the can, but deployment would have depended on what happened next. In that case, it would have been re-holstered. That’s not some misguided effort to placate you, it is just what I think/hope would have happened in the hypothetical. When you are being attacked, you don’t necessarily have a lot of time to think things through. Another argument for temporary measures such as mace.

Do it. I need the money. I’ll wait for the cops. If you don’t call them, I will. This should set me up for a few years at least. Sure, the pain would suck, but my old lady’s got medical expenses. If you’re broke, well, the results are less satisfying, but I assure you, you won’t like them. Some of us are not playing.

Let’s see, what wins? Self defense against a dog which is, as the law sees it, running “at large”, versus a vicious human assault and battery. A 20 year-old kid beating up an old man. Hmmmm. You don’t improve your position by committing a bigger crime. Also, in my city, several complaints of leash law infraction can lead to the animal being “destroyed”. You know, in case the fines weren’t good enough. This interaction would definitely generate one such complaint, and I would know exactly who to file the complaint against because that information would be in the police report.

And what about the cases where the owner is not present or simply does not exist? When the owner is present, I know it because they’re calling to their dog to get out of the street. That is nice, because it tells me who to sue in the event, however stastically unlikely, of an attack. None of those dogs have threatened me so far. It has always been unattended ones. They’re still running at large, but, you know what? They’re not pooping in my yard, and they didn’t attack me, so I don’t rat them out. I should, as a good citizen, but I do not, as a matter of karma and of not being arsed.

That must be it. :wink: I make a nice savory oatmeal for breakfast with a little bit of bacon grease mixed in and an egg cooked on top of it in the microwave. It doesn’t take a lot of bacon grease, and it doesn’t really taste like bacon, but it makes a huge difference.

WTF…what are you doing…dousing yourself in ‘eau de sausage’ before you go out? :smiley:
Sounds like you shouldn’t leave the house…or that you live in an area where everyone breeds dangerous dogs?

All the trails I ride are popular dog walking spots and I’ve never been chased by one. You sure you’re not just a bit paranoid?

I meet lots that aren’t really paying attention and get in the way, or who have never seen a unicycle and want to come up and sniff it (difficult when I’m trying to ride past them). If I think a dog is going to put itself in the way I dismount and walk past…the owners usually apologise but the dogs are just mooching about…they don’t understand. I had one earlier today step confront of me to sniff something and had to do a tricky bit of off road to get around it…the owners apologised and said, “sorry, she’s a bit of an obstacle”. No problem.

If all the dogs in your neighbourhood (sorry, English spelling) are chasing you and barking at you I’m sorry to hear it…and frankly amazed.

…seriously dude?!!

UL…in inch away from having my face torn off by the looks of it :roll_eyes:

Dogs don’t understand words, but they understand tone of voice. Say something dismissive in a dismissive tone and they will often become embarrassed and pretend they weren’t being aggressive. Yu think I’m joking, but I’m not.

“Get down you daft bugger!” or words that effect have worked for me many times.

Failing that, dismount and put the unicycle between yourself and the dog, then speak to the dog firmly but nicely. Half the reason it reacts to you is that it does not know what a unicyclist is. They recognise ordinary people but they think that the wheel is not part of you until you dismount and behave like they expect a human to behave.

And when the owner is nowhere to be seen, or, in the case of dogs running wild, doesn’t exist? The goal here is not punishment, it is to get the dog to back off so I can continue riding without fear of injury. Naturally, I prefer less radical, yet effective, methods. Mace is actually less radical than some.

I’ve had dogs run behind or aside me in a non-threatening manner. No problem. Running in front is a problem, but only in that it requires me to dismount to keep from running over the dog. Jumping or biting at me is a problem. A line has to be drawn somewhere to facilitate timely decision making, and physical contact seems to be one reasonable place to draw it. On the other hand, once an attack has begun, it is really kind of too late to prevent it. I also probably wouldn’t have deployed mace in any of the encounters I’ve had thus far if I had it. It is like a helmet in that when you need it, you need it, and if you don’t have it when the need arises, it’s too late. I still don’t have it. I do almost always wear a helmet when riding, even though I haven’t landed on my head yet. There have been a few exceptions, but when I have forgotten my helmet, I went back home to get it, rather than ride on without it.

Even the dog that pushed me was probably playing, but it was really close to the line of what constitutes a threat. I am glad it backed off, I was not looking forward to trying to fight it. I don’t speak dog, but the barking it was doing didn’t exactly sound playful.

Thanks. That’s actually what I was going for with this post.

Most is not equal to all. I do keep riding. That’s not going to work every time, though. It almost didn’t work when a dog tried to push me off.

Your experience is not the same as everybody else’s. Also, you are confusing an exercise in (nonfiction) creative writing with a large issue. Many of us do different kinds of riding. Mine is road riding through the city. I was sharing a slice of life, not griping or even venting.

Maybe I encounter more dogs than other riders do, and maybe I don’t. If I do, it’s probably attributable to demographics, and maybe exacerbated by the recession. Or just the fact that I ride a lot. I mentioned mace in an offhand way, once, because it is a valid piece of safety equipment, and you totally ran with it. Even though I stated quite clearly that I don’t even carry it.

When I come up to a dog on the trail, I dismount and let it walk by, same as I would a horse, for the same reason - they get spooked by strange things coming at them, especially if it’s a narrow trail where they feel trapped.

If I blithely ride past a dog and it freaks out, it’s not the dog’s fault, it’s not the owner’s fault, it’s my fault, because I know better.

A dog off leash may be in technical violation of some rule, but I’m in violation of the law every time I ride my “play vehicle” in the street here. Doesn’t mean somebody in a car has the right to roll down their window and mace me, or throw something, or take a swing at me with a handy car antenna. Even if they find me annoying.

And getting upset at a dog barking when you come up into its territory is silly. That’s thousands of years of dog breeding in action. Barking at strangers is one of the reasons dogs even exist.

When I read your post I, as well, found it amusing and well written. I find your arguments well stated and fair. I don’t think you are intending to begin a one-man vendetta against all of canine-dom.

I agree that it is prudent to protect yourself from animals and people for that matter. My oldest boy took 15 stitches to his eye (he’s lucky to still have the eye) from a dog that “Has never bittten anyone. I don’t know how this could have happened”. My youngest boy was bitten by the dog of a friend of mine who, god knows why, brought her dog to my house uninvited. I knew that dog was skitchy and so did she, but she brought him anyway and my son took the brunt of her decision. I have been bitten and had flesh torn by a different dog that had never bitten anyone.

On a leash dogs are controllable. Off the leash it’s anybody’s guess. By the way, I’m a dog person. I like dogs and have owned dogs throughout my life. Unfortunately, many dog owners are convinced of the saintly nature of their pets and believe them to lack the capacity to harm other living things. Curiosity is different than aggression and can, sometimes, be discerned, but not always. I agree with Idlux. Carrying mace or a stick is not the same as using them pre-emptively on every dog you see.

As for the comments re: kicking the poo out of someone for macing their dog, I doubt that would happen very often either. Bravado isn’t usually translated into action, it often diminishes into finger-pointing and angry words. After all, there might still be mace in the can. :wink: