On a recent mountain bike ride, a dog bit my foot! I was minding my own business riding down the trail when this evil dog came from the other direction and clamped onto my foot!
Now you might be thinking, here comes a rant complete with a new Lake Travis area Facebook Page — Mountain Bikers Against Unleashed Dogs and Owners.
Well … not today.
I’m a dog lover and would be a hypocrite to speak out against unleashed dogs on trails. Dogs have always been a part of our family. I did a lot of hiking and biking with my dogs when I lived in Colorado and they went everywhere with me … all off-leash. I’m a leash-law-breaker!
Nowadays, my two dogs care more about wrestling with each other and sleeping than getting out on the trails. But if they ever did go on a hike or bike with me, there’s a good chance they would be running freely.
Mountain Biker vs. Evil Dog
As I mentioned, I was rolling down the trail approaching one of the steeper downhill sections on the route.
About halfway down the descent is when I noticed evil dog coming up the hill with the owner about 20 yards behind. Because the terrain made it somewhat difficult (not impossible) for me to stop and get off my bike, I decided to keep on rolling down the hill. Evil dog decided to give me a friendly reminder about trail etiquette by inserting my foot into his mouth as I passed.
Honestly, it was a pretty soft bite right around my shoe and the dog was NOT evil. I stayed calm and kept on rolling. He released his grip and continued up the hill. As I passed the dog owner, we both exchanged a nice “hello”. I don’t think she even realized what happened.
Was it the dog’s fault?
Absolutely not! I left something in the garage when I set out on my ride today — etiquette. I’ve always made it a point to yield to other trails users — including dogs. My decision to blow-off trail etiquette because I was on a steep section resulted in the dog’s decision to bite my foot. Who knows what that dog was thinking as my two big knobby tires rolled past him. Maybe I looked like a big chew toy going down that hill.
Trail Etiquette 101
If you are going to yield, the way to do it is to get your wheels as far to the side of the trail as you can and stop. Then put your outside foot down (so it’s off the trail by a couple inches). You’ll be the good guy by allowing the other trail user to pass and help to keep single track skinny.
Lake Travis area mountain bikers – remember to yield to other trail users including four-legged friends. Be cool and bike in control.
Lake Travis area dog owners – if you’ve discovered that your dog is aggressive towards mountain bikers and other trail users, please have them on a leash or be ready to put them on a leash.
A simple concept: if you offer respect, you are more likely to receive it. All user groups have rights and responsibilities to Lake Travis area trails, and to each other. We do this stuff together.