When bike riding, I’ve switched to kicking as my primary weapon. This allows me to keep both hands on the handlebar. The last thing I want to do is wreck while defending against a dog.
The key here is that I try to sprint away before the dog is close enough to attack. In order to unclip my pedal and kick, I have to realize that the dog is too close.
And then, remember to retract your leg after each kick. You don’t want the dog getting a mouthful of your ankle.
Above all, don’t forget the verbal command to “Go Home”. Kicking isn’t that great in and of itself. But its really effective when combined with the command.
Remember the dogs on the hill I mentioned earlier? I have used that method against them twice, now.
When the Dog is In Front
Sometimes you find yourself in that odd situation where the dog is ahead of you on the road. These situations require special care. If the dog gets in front of you it can catch your wheel and flip you. Not cool.
If you are a runner, this scenario gives the dog the upper-hand in the confrontation.
On a Bike
I typically slow my speed and use my verbal commands. This make my bike less of a target to the dog. Often you can get past them, and if they start to chase, you can, at that point sprint quickly out of their reach .
However, if the dog is too aggressive, I will dismount and walk past the dog, using the bike as a shield between me and the dog.
I will typically start the confrontation by picking up some rocks a good distance back, or prepping my pepper spray. Then, when I enter the dog’s territory I use my verbal commands and stay ready. If the dog doesn’t move, I start skipping rocks at it.
However, if the dog still does not seem phased, I typically turn around at this point and choose a different route. Its not the dogs fault that he’s where he doesn’t belong, and there’s no reason for either of us to get hurt if I can help it.