Monday 22 March 2010

What is it with dogs and bikes?

Twice within the space of a mile on Sunday I had to deal with that scourge of the cyclist, the chasing dog.

The first incident was with two dogs running along parallel to me but in a garden behind a fence. I could see that the fence had chicken wire tacked all along it, presumably to keep the dogs off the road, so wasn't bothered by them. Unfortunately whoever put up the wire didn't do such a good job and one of the dogs was able to get out at the end of the fence to run alongside me on the grass verge. He wasn't trying to get at me but was very agitated so I was worried he'd veer out and push me into the path of a car or worse.

As is my usual tactic I got my bottle out of the cage and gave him a quick squirt. That's generally enough to make them stop in their tracks, at least long enough for me to get out of range.

Not a mile after that, I'd settled in to my rhythm again when I spotted another mutt in a field to my left. He'd obviously seen me and was beside himself with excitement, rushing along the hedgerow looking for a way out. This guy was almost comically excited and obviously didn't mean any harm, but he found his gap and ran straight out in front of me ... on a corner. At least I'd spotted him so had my bottle ready. Another quick squirt and he was running for the field again.

But what is it with these dogs? They live on reasonably busy, country roads near a major city. They must see bikes going by all the time. They certainly see cars and trucks all the time but don't chase them. So why bikes?

Several websites I've looked up suggest it's down to the dogs predatory instinct. They just love to chase! Most, but not all, know that chasing cars is pointless but a bike is slower and the rider more visible so it's fair game. Having said that most of the dog owner sites also suggest you shouldn't try to outrun them but should stop and take the fun out of it for them, keeping your bike as a "fence" between you and the dog just in case. I think I'll stick with the bottle!

And what about their owners? Do they not see/hear the barking? Do they not realise the danger the dogs pose to cyclists and themselves by this behaviour? Mind you, I'm not going to stop and knock on the door to tell them with a manic dog running about!

Feel free to leave a comment if you've got any good dog v bike stories.

Saturday 20 March 2010

Riccardo Ricco - the snake! - Part 3

This is turning into a gossip column!

This week Riccardo Ricco returns to the peloton at the Coppi et Bartali race in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy. And, on the face of it, he finally appears to be showing some understanding of just what he's actually done.

"I made a mistake, I know, but I’m human, too and people make mistakes in life. I’m sorry. I want to apologise to all the cycling fans, cyclists, officials, journalists, everyone in the world of cycling. My errors are part of my past and from now on you’ll get to know a new Riccardo." he said this week.

But don't be fooled! This is the same snake who said of his CERA positive girlfriend (and mother of his baby), Vania Rossi (above): "I am disappointed with my girlfriend and there can be no reconciliation until Vania is shown to be innocent of the allegations that were raised". Pot, kettle, black?

But there is, hopefully, some good news. Giro D'Italia organiser, Angelo Zomegnan, appeared to rule out any return to this years race for Ricco and his team. Although he didn't mention any names he was quoted as saying “At the 2010 Giro d’Italia, there will be riders in quarantine. In the past we have put our faith in riders who didn’t deserve it, as time showed later on (Di Luca perhaps?). From this experience, we learnt that whoever has to be invited to the Giro will have to be patient for a certain period of time.”

Photo  © Bettini

Friday 5 March 2010

Kare Tour De Foothills

I registered for the Kare Tour De Foothills today. It'll be the first sportive of the year for me but hopefully not the last, like last year!

It's on Sunday 11th April, starting and finishing in Naas GAA club. There'll be 100km, 50km and 20km options. They haven't announced the routes yet but I suppose they'll be similar to last year.

I did the 100km then, on a beautiful sunny day. The organisation was so good the only problem on the day was deciding whether to risk shorts in April! I did and that was a good move. The route was very scenic taking in a lap of the Blessington Lakes and rolling roads through west Wickow and east Kildare.

It's all for a good cause too. KARE is an innovative and progressive voluntary organisation committed to providing an individualised service based on best practice to over 400 children and adults with intellectual disabilities and their families throughout Counties Kildare, East Offaly and West Wicklow.


Tuesday 2 March 2010

Riccardo Ricco - the snake! - Part 2

Just when you thought the Ricco/Rossi soap opera couldn't get worse the guy digs himself down even deeper into the mire. Now we can add delusion and desertion to his growing list of reprehensible traits.

Read this and, literally, weep: