Cycling can present many challenges, steep hills, strong head winds, hard saddles and inconsiderate motorists being amongst them, but an added hazard can be Man’s Best Friend, the dog. More accurately, it is not just the Best Friend but also the Man (or Woman) accompanying them who is part of the problem. Most of my rides take place along waggonways, cycle paths and bridleways which are very popular with cyclists but also very popular with dog walkers. On a recent trip to the Cycle Hub and back, a distance of about thirty miles, I counted the dogs along the route. On the way there I passed fifteen dogs, five of which were on the lead, and two cats (neither of which were on the lead) and on the way back there were thirteen dogs (seven on the lead) and no cats. This is fairly typical in my experience. So what? Why should this be a problem to a cyclist?
Those of you who use Strava, the mobile app, for logging cycle activities will be familiar with segments. They are a specific section of a route created by users for the purpose of comparing performance over time. One segment on NCN 72 is called Dog Dirt Dash. The reason is obvious. Not all owners clean up after their dog. As well as having a spare tube and a puncture repair kit in my bag, I also carry latex gloves – just in case I have to remove a tyre which has passed through something nasty.
Of course some dog owners do clean up – but get the final step wrong.
Hedgerows are festooned with discarded dogs’ colostomy bags. Continue reading