Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The Yard Dogs From Hell...

My Bianchi is still in pieces in the garage, so I'm riding the back-up commuter bike, an old Centurion converted to a fixed gear. Actually, my original plan was to use the Centurion through the winter, and save the Bianchi for the very windy days. But with the Bianchi out of service, the Centurion is doing full time commuter duty. This has actually worked out well. My cadence has improved markedly because the fixed gear is relatively low.

But that low gear introduces problems too.

We have what are called "yard dogs" around here. They're mixed breeds, mixed sizes, and mixed temperaments, usually found roaming around their owner's house unchained. We call them yard dogs because they're never neutered, and their population is kept in check by passing cars.

A few years ago, a huge black dog chased me every time it could. It belonged to the neighborhood psychic, who could have foreseen the lawsuit if that beast had ever bitten someone. But she ran into some other legal problems after shooting her husband one night. She's a guest of the state these days and the dog is long gone. Good riddance. You'd think she'd have known what would happen.

Last summer, a new place went in along the same road, and it too has the usual complement of yard dogs. When I rode the Bianchi, they were never a problem because I could zoom by. But the fixed gear isn't nearly as fast, or should I say that I'm not nearly as fast on the fixie. Regardless, my best speed is only slightly faster than the dogs. This morning they were working out the math problem.

"OK, if train A leaves the station at 9 o'clock traveling at 25 miles per hour, and train B leaves the station half an hour later at 28 miles per hour....."

I gotta admit - they're pretty sharp dogs - but I'm far more concerned about the needle-sharp teeth. Three of them are huge, like Buicks with fangs, and another smaller dog of the yappy-dust-mop variety trails behind the pack. Some mornings I glide by without waking them, but not today. I figured the fog would muffle my approach, but all the dogs were awake when I arrived. They followed me barking, snarling, and yapping for
about a quarter of a mile. There are only a couple of houses along that road, but I suspect the occupants were rudely awakened!


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