carmichael dog bite

When Animals Attack: Endurance Athlete Guide to Wildlife Encounters

“If I don’t get up I’m dead.”

That was my thought as I lay on my back, one dog biting into my calf and another circling around toward the back of my head. I had to get up. I had to fight. Fortunately, when the two 140-pound dogs attacked me, my mountain bike fell on top of me. I punched the dog above my head in the nose, pushed the other one back with my bike, and then got to my feet and started swinging the bike at the dogs until they retreated. As I limped away with deep puncture wounds to my arm and leg, I was scared but alive. Fortunately, that attack was a few years ago, but it led me to reflect on the vulnerabilities endurance athletes face as we train, and how to prepare for them.


Perspective is the most important thing. Animal attacks are exceedingly rare. The vast majority of animals you encounter will either be friendly pets or wildlife that doesn’t want anything to do with you. In over 40 years as a road cyclist, mountain biker, and hiker, I can count the number of dangerous animal encounters I’ve faced on one hand. The risk is very low, but it still pays to learn what to do – and what not to do – in those rare situations when you are in danger.

As a result of my run-in with the dogs, I decided to compile a handy resource guide to dealing with a wide range of animal encounters, for myself as much as for you.


Dogs can be territorial and protective of their owner, and they love a chase. As an athlete, that puts you in their crosshairs. Virtually all road cyclists have been chased by a dog as you pass its yard, and typically the chase ends at the property line. They’ve done their job, protected their territory, and you can go on your way. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. The dogs that attacked me were unrestrained on the owners’ property and ran to where I was on the public dirt road to my cabin.

carmichael bloody arm

Deep puncture wounds from my encounter with two very large dogs.

Sometimes on trails dogs get aggressive when you approach their owner at high speed. They are being protective. In this instance slowing down and getting the owner’s attention is the best way to show the dog you are not a threat and get the owner to take control of the animal.

The most problematic scenario is encountering an aggressive dog when you cannot outsprint it (going uphill) and the owner is nowhere in sight. At this point, offense is your best defense. Summon your loudest yell. Bark back at it (weird, but it works). Squirt it with a water bottle. If those tactics don’t work you will most likely also be out of breath and subsequently unable get away. Now it’s time for weapons.

The goal of using your bike, frame pump, backpack, stick, or rocks is not to injure the animal; your goal is to maintain space between you and dog. Get off your bike and keep it between you and the dog. Continue to assert yourself. In my research I have found conflicting advice as to what to do in response to a full-on attack. Some say fight back and others say play dead so the dog loses interest. It appears to be a matter of degrees: if you are able to fight, fight. But if the attack is overwhelming, play dead.

I’ve heard and read about people using all manner of strategies against aggressive dogs, including frame pumps, air horns, pepper spray, and even guns. Honestly, in my experience, I’ve never had time to reach for anything more than a water bottle, and I’m not inclined to carry an air horn, pepper spray, or a gun on the unlikely chance I might encounter an aggressive dog.


I hit a deer while descending a mountain bike trail last year and broke my collarbone. Deer are rarely aggressive, but next to dogs they are probably the animals you’re most likely to encounter. Bucks can be aggressive during mating season (fall) and does can be aggressive if fawns are threatened. The biggest threat from a deer is a collision, and the best way to avoid a collision is to see the deer as early as possible. That’s why it is important to maintain a long sight distance down the trail or road, and to scan side to side. Dropping your head or staring at the white line on the road ahead is not a good idea in deer country.

My broken collarbone from colliding with a deer.

Mountain Lion

Mountain lion attacks hit close to home for me for two reasons. I live in an area where there are a lot of mountain lions, and about 16 years ago a friend and former CTS employee was killed by a mountain lion while mountain biking after he moved to California. Mountain lion attacks are far more rare than dog attacks, and typically only sick or old mountain lions bother with humans. If you encounter a mountain lion, the standard guidance is to continue facing the animal, make yourself appear as large as possible, make noise, and slowly back away. Don’t run, don’t crouch down, and don’t turn your back on the lion. If the lion advances, throw rocks and sticks, and continue yelling at it. If you do get attacked, fight like hell.


In the US, there are probably more than two types of bears but there are really only two categories of bears: grizzly bears and everything else. Your standard black bears don’t want anything to do with a person. Give them a wide berth and they’ll go on their way. A mother with cubs is a different story, but still a wide berth is your best bet. For an endurance athlete, the greatest risk is surprising a black bear as you run or ride on a trail. With rare exception, a black bear will take off running. If that doesn’t happen, stop and make yourself as big as possible, stand your ground, and make noise.

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Grizzly bears are far more dangerous than black bears, but thankfully they are only found in the northern Rocky Mountain region. If you’re wondering what kind of bear you’re dealing with, look for a hump at the shoulders. Grizzlies have the hump, black bears don’t. This guide from Outside Magazine provides concise guidance about dealing with different grizzly bear behaviors.

Moose and Elk

If your only experience with moose is “Rocky and Bullwinkle”, I have news for you: they’re no joke. A bull moose or elk is a 2000-pound animal with hooves and antlers, programmed to assert dominance over his territory and females. They are fast and can be very aggressive, especially with calves around or during mating season. The guidance around moose and elk encounters is the opposite of encounters with predators like mountain lions or bears. They are herbivores and just want to be left alone. Give them plenty of space, including backing away, and they are likely to leave you alone. Watch for signs of stress, including raised hackles, like on a dog, and pinned back ears. They may also toss their heads and swing their antlers in a show of force. If a moose or elk approaches in this manner, run for cover to get something like a tree or rock between you and the animal. If you are attacked, curl into a ball and try to protect your head and spine. You may get stomped and raked by antlers, but the animal will stop when you are deemed to be no longer a threat. Stay down once the attack has stopped, as getting up too soon may lead to a renewed attack.


In Colorado we have our share of rattlesnakes, one of four types of venomous snakes found in the United States. The others are cottonmouths (water moccasins), copperheads, and coral snakes. Overall, the risk of a snakebite is extremely low, and the risk of death is even lower. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates there are 7,000-8,000 venomous snake bites per year, but on average only about 5 people die from snakebites annually. A higher percentage (10-44%), however, sustain lasting injury or disability as a result of the bite.

The greatest risk to endurance athletes is encountering a venomous snake on a trail or when scrambling or climbing off trail. They are ectothermic, or cold-blooded, meaning they need energy from the environment to warm up. As a result, runners and cyclists often encounter snakes in the morning, basking in the sun on roadsides, bike paths, and trails. The good news is that they also move slowly when they’re cold. They spend the warm parts of the day in the shade, which is why people get bitten while climbing, scrambling, and moving rocks and branches.

The best defense against snakes is to leave them alone. Give them a wide berth, and don’t attempt to move them. Although it’s an old study (I didn’t find anything newer), researchers found that more than half of rattlesnake bites occurred when people were handling the snake, and that 85% of bites were to the hands and fingers, with only 12% to the ankle or foot. So, just leave them be.

According to the CDC, the best things to do if you’re bitten are to stay calm (to keep heartrate low) and get to a hospital so they can administer antivenin. They explicitly do not recommend cutting the wound, sucking out the venom, applying a tourniquet, or using ice. Remove constrictive clothing, as the wound site may swell, and keep the wound at or below heart level.

Most of all, be aware

Getting out into the wilderness is one of the greatest pleasures of being an endurance athlete, and awareness is your greatest defense against an unpleasant encounter with wildlife. If you are in an area populated by wildlife that could pose a threat to you, the best thing you can do is notice an animal before it notices you. This gives you the best opportunity to give it the space it desires and back away whenever possible. Situational awareness is the biggest reason I discourage athletes from wearing headphones. Hearing is perhaps the most important sense of all when it comes to road cycling, mountain biking, running, or hiking. If I can ride up to within three feet behind you on a mountain bike without you hearing me, you are oblivious to anything going on around you. That puts you at significantly greater risk, not from me, but from an animal, or even a person who wants to do you harm.

Be aware, be safe, and have fun.

Chris Carmichael
CEO/Head Coach of CTS

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Comments 52

  1. Pingback: How to Overcome Cyclists' Top 5 Fears - CTS

  2. Great article, and a great set of suggestions.

    Four hours ago a threat I’d never thought gave me an exciting spill in a little island in the Gulf of Thailand: a water monitor lizard a touch over 7 feet long scrambled out of the roadside weeds and stopped right in front of me. I’d checked for dogs and wild boars, both tall enough to be conspicuous. None in sight, so I decided to enjoy coasting the slope down into town, and let my attention drift. Bad idea: the lizard’s tail was like 6” steel pipe, and I was on the pavement one second after I saw it.

    So my tip is: Keep an eye out for the threat you never thought of. Get off your bike before you relax.

  3. My wife and I live in Georgia and ride exclusively in the rural country side. We are chased by dogs about 80% of our rides…many times multiple times on a single ride. Given we ride 2 to 4 times a week, I recon over the past 15 years we’ve encountered dogs nearly 1,500 times. At first, I was really scared of them, but over the years, I learned the following tricks that always work for me:

    1) Kindness: Most dogs are just playful and they don’t really want to bite. I can usually tell they’re friendly/harmless by from their less aggressive expression and/or mannerisms. I treat this dog as a friend, so I engage this dog with a friendly tone of voice and loudly pronounce “good dog…good dog”. This signals to the dog that I’m not a threat. I only need to keep this dog from running in front of me or being too playful and jumping up on me, so I typically slow down and even pet the dog. Once that dog gets to know me. I never have a problem with the canine again.
    2) The “Bad Dog” Command: I think all dogs know the command “bad dog” or “go home”. This command voiced loudly and with confidence, will trigger their “uh oh, I’m in trouble” response. This typically disarms or confuses the less friendly and/or more aggressive dog allowing me to establish control over the dog’s behavior and encourage the dog to back off and go home. And when all else fails…
    3) I’m The Alpha Dog: When I encounter a particularly aggressive dog (or group of dogs) that I can’t just ride or sprint away from, I do not cower or try to avoid them; in fact, I engage the dog(s) as if I’m on the hunt. If possible, I slow to avoid a collision, then I will engage the dog directly by turning towards the dog and growling aggressively as if I’m about to fight tooth and nail with full confidence I will win the fight…I’ve even chased after them growling like a mad man as my wife rides away to safety. Admittedly this takes balls and full confidence, because I’ve done this to dogs that can rip me apart, but they don’t know that. My extremely aggressive behavior confuses the dogs, because they’ve never been challenged like this before. I’ve use this tactic when accosted by packs of dogs that try to surround me as well. I identify the alpha dog (he’s usually the lead most aggressive snaring dog) and go after him first. The other dogs see this and wait to see if the alpha dog cowers, he always does (at least in my experience) and I win the alpha battle. I used this “I’m the alpha” tactic just last week on two 80+ pound coyotes who were stalking me when I was out on a late evening run. I believe I was being hunted, but if figured I had nothing to lose: ether I was going to be run down from behind, or I was going to engage their attack head on…it worked; they cowered off and I walked away unscathed.

  4. Lots of great stories of animal encounters! I can’t resist adding to them.
    1. While road riding in the hills outside Salt Lake City up Emigration Canyon one summer, I was chased THREE separate times by the same coyote ( I think). First time I was coming downhill and going about 30 mph when I saw a dog in the middle of the road where there are no houses nearby. Strange but not out of the realm of possibility. When I got up to it I saw that it was a coyote. And in a few seconds he was running right beside me! He was fast! Yelling at him repeatedly caused him to back off. The other two times, I was going UP hill. He was in the same location. So I was looking for him. The third time, I saw him right away and he left me alone but went for the woman behind me. I yelled but she didn’t hear what I said. So I circled back and rode between her and the coyote swinging my water bottle. After that I carried pepper spray. (I’m not too smart – as it took 3 times for me to buy it!)
    2. I think I’m the first to talk about a bison encounter! While trail running outside of Edmonton, my wife and I saw fresh bear scat and nervously looked around every corner. One of those corners yielded a herd of bison about 20 yards away. They are LARGE creatures when you’re not in your car! We were able to skirt around them without incident but they raised our heart rates for sure.

  5. I had to stop at a drawbridge that was up. the waiting area to get across was basically a dead end bike path up a small hill. got cornered by a vagrant and his off the leash dog. couldn’t back away or move off the path. thankfully I started carrying a small pepper spray. just pulling it out was enough to cause them to back off. I think that is why there are 3 jersey pockets in most jersey’s now!

  6. Here in Florida, I nearly got run over by a wild hog crashing through the palmettos on a back trail ride a couple of years ago.

  7. I have recently moved to the Pt. Charlotte area in Florida. There is a 7 mile trail through the woods and forest areas. I started just running on the trail and then experienced 3 different times encountering Bobcats and one time a panther. I decided that running on the trail was NOT a good idea. I now just ride my bike on the trail and have encountered a panther again, snakes, an alligator, armadillos, giant lizards, and large turtles.
    It makes for an interesting ride and keeps you on your toes all the time.

  8. In riding for over 55 years (I’m 68) I have had strange and occasionally dangerous encounters with all manner of wildlife. Some of the stranger ones have been bird and bat collisions where they seemed to be attracted to my headlight in the pre-dawn dark. But, the absolutely strangest was in the early 1970’s during the Wupatki/Sunset Crater road race outside Flagstaff, AZ. I was in a group of 4 or 5 riders, about 50 yards behind the lead group of 8 or 9 riders, on a gentle descent, when suddenly, the leaders all began frantically reaching down and unclipping their feet and raising their feet as high as they could. This was in the days of toe clips and straps. I puzzled over this for a couple of seconds, when the motivation for the behavior became obvious. As we approached spot where it had happened, we saw a bunch of probably 30 to 40 tarantulas on the road. As fast as we could, we repeated the lead riders’ tactics, and coasted safely past the spiders. It wasn’t until after the race, when somebody educated me to the fact that tarantulas can jump about 10 feet, and probably the best thing to do would have been sprint like crazy to get on down the road as quickly as possible. So, if you ever encounter tarantulas on the road, now you know what to do. LOL.

  9. Pingback: How to Get Comfortable Running at Night - CTS

  10. Chris, ‘Cause owners at home are often yelling at their dogs “get off the couch, goddamnit”…as such, the ubiquitous “goddamnit!!” might alone be enough to make Fido think he is about to get a smack from his owner. Small pepper spray in the jersey probably best. Just rinse well your hand/bar tape/gloves after deploying it

  11. In Southern Arizona during the ‘right’ times of year, I have to be wary of rattlesnakes. I inadvertently ran directly across a Mojave (an especially lethal and aggressive rattler) stretched across the trail, getting a bit of sun to start the day. Luckily I was past it before he or I panicked, but he was plenty cranky that I interrupted his sunbathing. Other than trying to leave in the early am, which I do, being more observant of the surroundings would be my best option.

    1. Lynn:
      I didn’t address poisonous snakes but I should have. I grew up in South Florida and we have plenty of cottonmouth, coral snakes and rattlesnakes. The best tip is to know their habitat (where they like to live) and avoid it. Early morning when it is cool snake come out to warm up (being cold blooded) but they also move very slowly. So ride early when it is cool if you are riding in poisonous snakes habitat.
      Stay safe!

        1. I almost got a swinging alligator tail to my front tire on a trail in the everglades. I was looking at the large gator in the water instead of the trail ahead. An eye opener

  12. Great Article! I had a very close call with two lose XL Rottweilers who came at me with the intent to bring me down on the road. One came at my front, the other came in behind and grabbed the heal of my shoe. Fortunately, a man in a truck drove along to the side of me and honked at the dogs until they broke off their attack. Having run into bears, deer, bobcats, foxes, and coyotes – nothing is as scary as two big dogs on you. Another issue that is arising in my area, sad to say, are the homeless. Most are actually kind and friendly. However, one evening on my commute home an intoxicated homeless man was yelling obscenities at me on the trail and took a swing at me as I rode by. Ducking, my helmet was just missed. Being keenly aware of your surroundings, concerning man and beast, is critical these days. FYI – Kimber has a pepper spray blaster that will direct a stream (up to 13 feet at 112mph) to your target.
    Otherwise, water spray has worked well for me. I use a timber bell almost all the time on our trails these days. Yes, leave the ear buds at home!

  13. Great info and discussion. I will quite likely begin to carry some mace. I ride in the wilderness and do not wear headphones so I can hear my surroundings. having a way to make noise is good so that one does not surprise an animal. I intend to kill whatever attacks me if I can or get away if possible and will use whatever means I have available to accomplish that so for you animal lovers keep your animals under control.

  14. You don’t want a REAL gun, but a small squirt gun loaded with a mix of water and vinegar is better than a squirt from a water bottle…and it doesn’t use up your drinking fluids.

    1. Greg:
      I really like that tip of a small squirt gun loaded with a mix of water and vinegar. I get chased so often by dogs so I will try this out.

  15. Thank you for the article. What I have found to work with dogs so far and happened upon by accident is to ride straight at them. I think they are looking for angle of attack and when you come straight at them at speed they seem confused and get out of the way plus by the time they figure out what’s going on you’ve blown by them. This has worked a few times when I’ve come up on a group of dogs out on country roads in my path. I charge straight at them.

    1. Mark:
      I like this tip but worry about running into one of those dogs? Changing the plan is good but would be worried about hitting one and falling over.

    2. I agree. If you intentionally veer at them they don’t know what to do and you can turn off at the last moment. It does not work going up hill though.

  16. Hi Fellow Cyclists: I solved the problem with loose chasing dogs in the country with a marine air horn. I have two just in case one runs empty. They are scared of the loud noise and run away from you.

  17. No headphones is the best tip! I blast my music from my phone if I’m alone on a trail run. We got all the critters here in Etna Ca, and the music warns them I’m coming so they better get going!

    1. Lauren: Wow, Etna is very remote at least this is how I remember it from 25yrs ago. My coach from long ago lived in Etna and it was beautiful riding. Love it there.

  18. Very timely article. Even a lowly wild rabbit can take you out. Just this morning (!) I was riding a Sweet Spot interval and one such rabbit ran across the road right in front of me, inches from my front wheel. Nearly took out my front wheel. Those buggers are fast — so fast I didn’t even have time to tap the brakes. All I saw was a rabbit-blur right in front of my wheel. I was fortunate this time.

    1. North Krimsly: I should have included small animals. I once hit a squirrel while descending at nearly 40mph. It got stuck in my rear wheel and the frame and the unfortunate squirrel was split in half but it this squirrel was lodged in my front wheel it would have been game over for me. Keep an eye out for the small ones too!

  19. I live in Delaware so dogs and deer are the only animals I have to worry about. I had to out pace a German Shepherd but once he got to the end of the property he stopped. We were doing a bike tour in West Virginia and encountered about 10 chiwawa’s (excuse the spelling) They tried to jump up on our feet but were too little. We laughed our butts off. Good advice Chris, thanks.

  20. I read your take on it, but Pepper Spray, it’s in my jersey pocket on every ride.
    30+ years of riding, been attacked by 3 dogs and surprised a few Bears and a even a couple Mtn Lions (fortunately they were not a threat, but it was sure nice having Pepper Spray at my disposal).
    Although it did take a little time to get out of my jersey pocket when I was attacked by the dogs, it worked like a charm every time, a little shot and all the dogs stopped immediately, even when clamped to my ankle and thrashing about. Like most of us I’m an animal lover, Peppery Spray is cheap protection, immediately stopped the attacks in my case, does no lasting harm to the animal and might even condition them not to attack a rider again. A small Peppery Spray in my jersey pocket is barley noticeable and worth the piece of mind if nothing else, then again it might even save your life.
    I just keep it in my helmet, so when I put it on, there’s the canister is straight into my pocket. Why not…
    Hope you heal up quickly!

  21. I was bitten by a dog last year on a public street where two dogs always came out to bark at me when passing. This time one of them bit me. I called 911 to ask for a deputy and then sought to stop the bleeding. I went to the ER afterwards. You must do this to avoid possible infection, wound cleaning, update shots, etc.

    A police report was filed and the dog was put in quarantine for 10 days. The owner said I must have tried to kick the dog. No, I was trying to ride by (unsafely on the other side of street) and avoid the dogs that always run into the street and spike my adrenaline. I told the owner next time the dog will get a mouth full of Mace. The deputy told her that yes, I have every right to protect myself on the public street. I’m sure the owner worried for a year an attorney would show up on her porch but my medical was covered so I let it go. That’s punishment enough.

    I’m just tired of bad mannered dogs and their owners not keeping them on property but such it is for endurance riding. I have sprayed several dogs and they remember. I just point at them and make a sound and they skid to a stop.

    1. L Morgan: good note. As the dog owners tried to pin this on me…because I was riding my bike it aroused the dogs to attack me…talk about twisted logic?!@#$% So stupid.

      I won the legal case but it seems like many times the dog owners fail to accept responsibility.
      Best of luck!

  22. Great article. Overall exercising common sense and being alert are basic when riding.

    Just last month, I ended riding in between a bear and her cub, I knew this was not going to be nice. Knowing my position, and that I had a clear descent in front of me, I opted to pedal fast, hoping that the bear was not going to go after me after I had passed the cub, and so it happened. The bear charged for a few meters, but left me after she realized I was no threat. Had I had been in a different position, I would’ve chosen to do what I recommend to those I lead when riding, get off the bike and start walking backwards and away, if necessary carrying your bike in front of you. It worked for me a couple of years ago during another encounter.

    1. Pablo:
      I see lot so bears here in Colorado. These are black bears and generally are small and run away as soon as they see me. I have never ridden in Grizzly country but they are very different and can be very, very aggressive.

  23. Thank you Chris. Years ago I learned to make a barking sound. I started it as a way to tease dogs. When I lived in Costa Rica, there were Dogs in the streets and you could never know if they were friendly or not. So I perfected the barking and it is good enough to make the dogs to stop.
    I’ve run into Mountain Lions, Bobcats, Foxes and Rattlesnakes. The one that scares me the most are Rattlesnakes, because they can ce so camouflaged. I don’t ride trails, only the street and your advice is spot on.

  24. To comment on Clint’s, yes bear spray does work on big cats. A general spray towards them usually works to scare them off (be mindful of wind for yourself though, doing a small practice spray in an open field without wind isn’t a bad idea so you know how to properly operate and what to expect). If an animal already has a hold of something/someone, a general spray will not always be good enough of a deterrent (usually still works but not always). In this case, direct the spray towards their nose/mouth not their eyes. This forces them to let go in order to breathe vs just closing their eyes.

  25. Great stuff Chris! Living in SoCal, I know what you mean!

    4 additional things I recommend, with the first we hear stories of saving riders lives:

    1. Riding in known areas of bears, carry “bear” spray. I’ve heard some say it works on the big cats too. Don’t know and don’t want to find out.
    2. Riding off-road or isolated areas, ride with a partner(s) if possible.
    3. Let love ones know where you’ll be riding. I also use my Road ID tracking app with stationary alert, so they can track me.
    4. If riding an e-bike or eMTB, turn the eAssist OFF when approaching animals (esp. horses as it can spook them).

    Hope this helps as well.

    Be Safe out there everyone!

    1. RE: Tip #3 – I know it may seem silly, but coming from Chicago, I never used to run with my cell phone on me because I worried someone would try to jump me and take it. I was attacked by an elk when I was running in Banff, and hadn’t told my roommate where I’d be running/didn’t have my phone on me. Luckily, after 30 minutes of having to fend the animal off, another runner came upon us and helped scare it off, so I escaped with bruises and cuts. I’ve kept a fully charged phone on me ever since.

  26. Chris,

    Thanks — as always — for your insight and experience. As I have participated in the Tucson MTB camp a couple of times, what are your thoughts about dealing with Rattlers? A much smaller cohort than the above, but equally scary — particularly in remote areas.

    1. Chuck: Okay let me get this straight you yell “get off the couch” and it works? Hahahaha…how in the world did you come up with “get off the couch”? It is awesome but there must be a story behind this…do tell?

      1. I once yelled out “Get off the couch” at a couple of aggressive dogs chasing the small group I was in. In that case, the dogs broke off pursuit, but if they hadn’t, my riding partners were laughing so hard they slowed down and I could’ve easily been the fastest thing on the road. Remember the old joke, you don’t need to outrun the bear, you only need to outrun your buddies 🙂


        1. PS I don’t remember where I picked up “Get off the couch” as i learned it decades ago, but most likely a tip from Bicycling magazine or maybe Coach John Hughes via Ultracycling Magazine. Those were my two main sources of cycling info back in the day. The idea is to yell something their owners might yell at them.


  27. Or ride with your dogs. I was riding in the Bennet Mnts outside of Boise when I came upon a momma bear and her cub. My 2 labs started barking and the bears were off like a shot. We turned around and went back down the trail (quickly I should add) and nobody got hurt

  28. Good article. With dogs over my 50+ year history, the universal deterrent I have found is to simply to yell “No” and “bad dog.” I occasionally carry bear spray if I am alone around a repeat offender as that snoot full trains that dog only once. However, it is always way better to keep ones hands on the handlebars.

  29. My wife does a ton of trail running here in northern Ontario where we have LOTS of bears and deer. On long deep forest runs she wears a ‘bear bell’ – a metal bell that attaches with velcro to her hydration pack. The constant tinkling alerts bears of her approach. Without it she has come around corners and surprised a couple of bears (thankfully not mothers with cubs.) With it, she has never had an encounter. The $3 investment seems worthwhile! 🙂

  30. A 3-dog attack knocked me out of the Trans-Portugal three weeks before the 2017 race, and eventually cost me $5k in medical bills. When dogs bluff me now, I’m immediately on my feet with the bike between me and them. Never take the intention of dogs for granted.

  31. Chris, Excellent article. Riding in the hills west of Boulder I often think of these threats. The one point I would add – if possible try to ride or run with a partner. A lone animal stands less chance against two or more athletes versus one. Its not always possible but particularly for long MTB endurance rides I feel more comfortable.

    1. Mike:
      Yes having a trainer partner is a great idea and perhaps the best deterrent out there. Thanks for the tip!

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