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Bike Rides 128
A Doggone Funny Story

I took a Sunday evening bike ride recently with my neighbor Hank. We like to squeeze a last one in when we can, just before Monday hits and the seemingly endless cycle of working life starts all over again.

Our destination was a familiar, quiet country highway that rarely plays host to traffic beyond locals randomly rolling by. However, there is the problem of overly territorial, residential dogs giving aggressive chase to stray bikers, who are otherwise innocently minding their own business on a public roadway, as one would expect to do in a free country.

For these occasions I usually carry a fresh can of pepper spray sold at Rydjor Bike Shop.  It’s mostly for dogs but I have to admit at times I’ve considered dousing Hank’s harry little snout when he gets wise, although, it hasn’t come to that yet.

It was a last second notion to shove the little bottle into my pocket on my way out the door. I’ve easily gone a full year without ever discharging a can on a psychotic canine. But on this ride I had the occasion not to use it once but twice.

The nozzle was positioned offline a little after hastily extracting the weapon from my shorts and much of the offensive concoction consequently ran down my hand but I got enough of a shot off to halt both pursuers, which is all that is necessary I guess.

Five miles from town and momentarily safe from animal attacks, we stopped to rest and regroup. Plus I’d been hitting the Gatorade a little heavily and needed to, ahem… release you might say. It’s occasionally necessary to take care of personal business the old fashioned way while biking. Because I am a man and bear all the responsibilities in life associated with being such, I also enjoy the benefits, so I let loose in a ditch before saddling up again. I tell you this not because I’m a real toilet talker (or writer in this case) but because it’s pertinent to the story.

I was still feeling pretty smug about our small victory over the dogs on the return ride as Hank and I reflected. It wasn’t long, however, before the euphoria gave way to mild discomfort, followed shortly by an excruciating burn.

I didn’t say anything to Hank because I wasn’t sure what the problem was at first, but quickly it became clear something was wrong.  It was the pepper spray that trickled down my hand earlier which had made its way to a very sensitive region via contact during the, err…“release,” back in the ditch. Of course, once this revelation was made, Hank got a great kick out of it, as each crank of the pedal produced a pained smile from me.

The next three miles passed slowly. At home I certainly didn’t waste any time getting from the driveway to shower for instant, soothing relief.

Toweling off it occurred to me that it was quite likely at that very moment there was a black Labrador someplace in the countryside smiling smugly over his dish, through red, watery eyes, as was Hank I presume.

A final note - Everyone should consider attending Austin’s annual Art Works Festival at the end of the summer. In its freshman year it was very successful for a first timer. Art Works is a family fun event and just one example of great things to come from the Vision 2020 project.

I’ll be a featured author at this year’s Festival. It makes me a little nervous to be in the company of real writers. No doubt I’ll be humbled and feel rather insignificant. Stop out and say hello.  Bike Rides will be appropriately scheduled for last call, Sunday afternoon, August 25 at 3:30; the only author in the “Bike Riding,” category I guess. Go figure.

Thanks for riding along.

Traffic Tip: In the summer, freeze a half bottle of Gatorade and top it off just before leaving. This will provide cool refreshment lasting long into the ride.

See more “Bike Rides” at dansbikerides.com
Hear Bike Rides Fridays on KMSK, 91.3 FM at 1:00 pm


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