Tri-ing in the Holy Land

The ramblings of a struggling triathlete in Israel

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Location: Israel

I'm the mother of 3, a teacher and a couch potato turned triathlete.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bikes and dogs

Before I write anything, let me introduce you to some of my best friends in the world:

Blackie is an 11 1/2 year old half Dalmatian, half who-knows-what.  We adopted her when she was five weeks old.  She is smart and loyal and would do anything to protect us.

Chico is our 3-year-old Pug.  He is as cute as he looks, maybe cuter!  He loves to play and to go for walks and to drive Blackie nuts, though she is generally very patient with him.

Sadly, Mocha is no longer with us.  She and Blackie came from the same litter and we adopted them together.  A year ago, we had to put Mocha to sleep because of a tumor on her liver.  I still think about her often and it always brings tears to my eyes.  She was big and had a loud bark and strangers thought she was scary, but she was actually a gentle, kind soul who would never hurt a fly.  In fact, she was scared of flies!  

I live in a mainly residential community of about 6,000 people.  Many of the people here have dogs.  Most of them take their dogs out for walks on a leash.  However, for some reason, some people think that it's acceptable to walk your dog on public sidewalks and streets without a leash (which, by the way, is against the law, but for many Israelis, the law is just a suggestion).  I adore dogs, but I don't like meeting them when I'm out running or riding my bike when there's no one holding on to them.

On my ride this evening, I rode into a traffic circle at about 30 kph.  I saw a couple of people with a big dog standing on the corner.  I noticed right away that the dog was not on a leash and the dog noticed right away that I was on a bike.  It a split second, he was under the sidewalk railing on and coming at me barking.  I screamed at him to go away and his owners called him, but he pretty much ignored all of us.  I slowed down and kept screaming and I guess when he figured out that I was not interested in playing with him, he decided to leave me alone.  As I rode through the traffic circle, I yelled out to the owners to be careful with their dog because if he'd gotten caught up in my wheels, I would have crashed.  Apparently, they couldn't hear me very well, because they called out, "What?" I was too out of breath and getting too far away to answer them.

At the top of the dead end road after the traffic circle, I made a u-turn and came back down.  As I approached the traffic circle again, the owner of the dog (who now had him on a leash) was standing at the corner GLARING at me.  He yelled out something, and I'm sure it wasn't nice, but I have no clue what it was because there was a head wind and I couldn't hear him.

What a jerk.

A little while later, I met dog number two.  He was all on his own, running in the street directly at me.  He wasn't as big as dog number one and I'm not even sure he was all that interested in me, but he since he was running directly into my path, I screamed at him and stopped.  He just ran on by.

I am so tired of being chased by dogs.  On our long rides outside of town, we have to deal with sheep and goat herding dogs that belong to the Bedouins in the area.  These dogs are never leashed (they're also never in a town with people walking around, but they have a tendency to leave the field where the sheep and goats are and run after cyclists in the road, who I assume they think are sheep or goats who have strayed off).  Most of the dogs in town are on leashes, but there's always the occasional one who isn't.  I don't know why people think it's ok for them to walk their dogs like this.  What about the people and especially children who are afraid of dogs?  Don't they have the right to walk around without fear of being attacked?  I take my dogs out for walks, but I'd never dream of letting them run off the leash.  They can do that in my yard.

I'll bet if that jerk knew how much it would cost him to replace my carbon road bike if his dog made me crash, he wouldn't keep walking it off the leash.

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