Towpath Life

I have a bell on each of my offroad bikes, but I normally don’t use them — I prefer verbal communication when I overtake someone, since it’s more effective and (in my opinion) way more polite. Yesterday, on the way back from the Museum, I came across a little old lady walking her German shepherd, and called out my usual “hi, passing on your left!” She moved over to the left (oops!), but by that time I’d stopped, and we were doing that neighborly, chuckling “yes, hello, passing you on the towpath” sort of greetings and negotiation, when her dog just absolutely went bonkers — barking, snarling, leaping at me at the end of its leash. It looked for all the world like an attack dog in some kind of video.

It dragged the woman over as it came at me, completely out of her control — luckily it was not as hardcore as it wanted me to believe, because when it attacked it went for my ankle. Luckily again, I was wearing street clothes, including hiking boots, and the dog couldn’t really get a purchase on them. (I’m guessing it happened too fast for me to react, since I felt strangely calm throughout the entire situation.) All the while the woman was yanking at the dog, and when she finally got it under control I got a little snarky and said “good thing your dog was on a leash.”

I don’t think she got it, because her reply was “well, it is the law.” I just rode off…

Her parting shot, once I was down the trail? “If you had a bell you could have warned me!” I was tempted, but I didn’t ring my bell.

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