Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Turkish dogs

Today I went past 10,000 km - just on sunset, with nothing around. Quite a thrill. I picked a pretend finish line and sprinted to it. Julie's done over 5000 km too - pretty impressive for a first bike tour! I've been telling locals 'besh ai' - five months - on the road but it's been more like 6 and a half. Time has become somehow fluid.

Otherwise, the biggest thrills on the bike over the last few days have come courtesy of huge, vicious, Turkish attack-guard dogs. These are mostly tied up around highways and big towns but worryingly are on the loose around many villages. Riding in China I always had a stick to whack them with, but over there dogs were smaller and more of a pest.

Here as we approach villages we can hear the barking start from a few hundred metres away. Then we see these big white things loping across paddocks to intercept us.
A couple will be waiting ahead on the roadside, panting.

I always preferred to ride away from them if possible, kick out maybe, or hit with a stick. The pannier bags protect you a fair bit - dogs try to bite them.

The other day Julie got nipped on the ankle by a yapper. No real injury but a nasty shock. The next morning (0 degrees) a dog nicked off with one of my gloves. I yelled and chased it - so it ran away, wanting to play. Eventually I got clever and got down on my knees and called it over. It dropped the glove and came panting over for pats.

But over the past few days they have become more frightening. The first bad incident was being attacked by a guard dog on the highway - with regular big trucks. Julie stopped and put her bike between herself and the dog while I threw half bricks at it, scaring it but also enraging it even more. She walked slowly along until we'd left its territory.

Today a huge beast with metal spike collar attacked me and I tried to ride away from it. It caught me and bit and pulled at my bags - pretty terrifying. Eventually it turned for Julie, who I had abandoned behind to her fate. I yelled abuse at the owners who had come out while she went back to her bike fort strategy, which kept her safe.

The faster you ride away, the more furious you get, so I think I'll have to use the Julie method too. It goes against instinct but they seem to calm down and get a bit unsure of themselves if you just stop.

1 comment:

Otto said...

Never look a dog in the eye.
Move slow and steady.
Have your body turned at least 90 degrees away.
They can sense fear from your body - stay cool and determined.
Keep a little pouch of pepper power handy.

...only been bitten once - not bad.