Sunday, January 03, 2010

self fulfilling prophecy

Most cyclists in the Pittsburgh area know frick park. It is a huge city park with lots of mountain bike trails. It is in the east end (where most of the hip kids live), and is generally pretty rad. It is a standard ride for me to ride there, ride most or all of the trails, then ride home and get about 2 hours in.

That was today's simple plan. That coupled with the the possibility of a Schenley Park bonus loop if my feet were not too cold. As a non engineer, non crafty person, I came up with a pretty simple idea to try and keep my feet a bit warmer. Today was like 7 degrees when I left, with an 18mph wind.
I cut some tarps up, doubled them over and screwed bolts into the holes for the toe spikes. I figured this would seal them up well enough to block some snow and wind. It would also create a non breathable layer to help my feet stay warm.

Photos of my rig job.

So anyway, I get there a bit late and pedal around looking for Mayhew, Rowley and Hoffman. I am on my crossbike and they are on their mountain bikes. I didnt know how long I would even be able to ride with them, and I was running late. I rode up to where they were parked and thought about where they would go after that trail. I ended up on the ridge trail behind the new Environmnetal Charter School.

I was riding along when I came across a typical East End guy. He was wearing North Face gear, had a dog and was exercising. As I approached he verbally tried slowing his running dog down. This is a typical thing dog walkers who are pretending to care about anybody else do. Its like when you know somebody is going to get up and grab something, but you fake starting to get up and are like "oh you got it? cool."

Anyway, his dog blows past him and runs at me. I just keep pedaling and smile at him when I realize his dog has turned around and started chasing me. As weird as this might sound to some, it is totally standard to get chased in Frick by dogs. It is a part of riding there, despite there being signs everywhere threatening fines for doing otherwise.

So I have to admit that I ride with people who bring their dogs along. My brother takes his dog to Frick all the time. The google link above has a video of a friend's now deceased dog, and a link to the DirtRag editor's photo of 2 dogs. None on leashes. I generally dont mind, as I think MOST people are reasonable and they know their dogs well enough to judge their behavior.

On the flip side, when a dog walker gives me attitude for not slowing down at a dog that charges me, or when I get chased and nipped at, I try to convey to the owners that they are breaking the law and should really put the dogs on leashes.

Mayhew and I have gotten into debates over what is cool and what is not regarding dogs. He has 2 big dogs that I have never had a problem with, and I dont think they have ever caused any problems. My points are basically that it is racist to think that white yuppies should be allowed to disobey the law and you should not fear their dogs, however if a bunch of black dudes from Homewood started walking pit bulls around Frick without leashes, I think the law would quickly be enforced. Also my little Somali buddies are forbidden by their religion to be touched by dogs, and I am sure as East End liberal yuppies, most dog walkers would want to be culturally sensitive while walking dog, before driving their Volvos the 3 blocks from Frick to the food coop

I have gotten into a few verbal matches with people that pretty much boil down to me saying "you are breaking the law, if I kill your dog because it runs in front of me while I am bombing down single track... it is going to be a double whammy when I sue you because I mess up my bike or my body while killing your dog."

Sorry, back to the story again... today I am riding along and in a great mood. It is 7 degrees, I am riding, the conditions are great, I am not cold. I look over at this dude's happy dog that is chasing me, and say "my brothers dog is so much faster than you" in the voice that you use talking to an infant or a dog. I look up and keep pedaling until I feel this giant dog bite into my thigh.

He didnt nip at it. He didnt just hit me with his nose. I have had a puncture wound before and I know what it feels like. I stop and turn around, screaming at the owner that his dog just bit me. The owner says "dude" and "sorry" like 500 times. I have about 30 seconds to decide this dog's fate. I tell the guy that I think if I call animal control the dog will be destroyed (I used the F word like 30 times and may have told him that it should have been destroyed)...

I pulled down my pants and realize that I do a pretty poor job shaving my legs in the winter, and that the dog indeed broke my skin and that I was bleeding and already bruised.

I should have taken his information and made him give me like millions of dollars cash while threatening to have his dog killed. Or at least take his fancy 600 dollar snow outfit. Instead, I rode off as he apologized a bunch more.

While riding out I passed a half dozen dog owners letting their dogs run the main trail off-leash. I actually got nervous for a second. When leaving the park, I saw Rowley and Hofman, they said that MAYHEW GOT BIT TOO!!!!!!! Different dog though.

I got home, scrubbed the cut with antibacterial soap for 10 minutes then dumped alcohol and peroxide into it.

Yes this is my thigh.

This is the maddest I have been in awhile.


Jernigan said...

Dude I heard about Mayhew getting bit, but I didn't hear anything about your incident...thats aweful! You totally should have taken his information, made him drive you then and there to the ER (where you'd ask for Dr. Ladenburger of course), and made him pay for your visit. People are dumb, people with dogs are equally as dumb but more dangerous b/c of the dog. I've never been chased while riding in frick...what a bummer. If it starts looking bad or gets infected you're welcome to ride over to my place and have the good doctor look at it. If you don't know where I live its right by Frick:)
- Jernigan

Chris Mayhew said...

The dog won't be destroyed on the first complaint. I am told it takes three. The officers today said they would just impound the dog which is what I've generally been told.

I can't believe both of us failed to get info.

Gary Bywaters said...

Well that just sucks!
I hope you are AOK.
No frothing from the mouth yet?

Gary Bywaters
USA Cycling Official

Yoni said...

F that dog. I love Frick Park and grew up on the street next to it, but the people who walk their dogs act liek they own the park. I have ridden there with my brother and seen him say "If your dog comes near me I will kick it as hard as I can".

Also, the new Frick Park is whack. Used to be way cooler with the wooden superpark and the chain wall. This new zipline and rubber stuff is whack.

That is all

Alan said...

Wow. That's just messed up.

So, umm... did your feet stay warm?

Miss. Bea Havin said...

I love when a dog is charging me and the owner says, "he is really gentle"... If a dog is in public, it should be on a leash I dont' care if it is friendly or not.

PolishPostal said...

You need some of this, Halt II.

I never leave for a ride with out it. It is awesome.

justin said...

Sounds like you need to start riding Frick with Nugget along your side for protection. She can fight off the other dogs while getting exercise.

David said...

dude, that blows. as a dog owner, a bike rider, a frick park dweller, a dog bite recipient, and someone that has sued someone for getting bit by a dog, I've seen it from all sides. interesting thing was that it used to be illegal to ride bikes on the trails in city parks. i don't know if that changed, but i can't see them enforcing that any more than the off leash stuff.

I would certainly get the info from the owner. if your leg falls off, it's his homeowners policy that should pay your medical bills.

(and i sued the guy b/c his dog bit me, completly unprevoked when i walk by and they had him tied to a tree while they were rock climbing. when they walk out, they had a muzzle on the dog. only people who muzzle there dogs are people who have dogs that bite. that guy was a jackass)

bmj said...

Based on signs, the only trail that where bikes are prohibited is the upper loop around the Nature Center. The Frick website ( lists mountain biking as a "Thing to Do," whereas the rules say "Dogs must be on a leash and under control." Sounds like steevo's new buddy failed on both accounts.

Ex-pgh'er JG said...

Steevo, you are just making up an elaborate story to cover the fact that you got bit by a Vampire. Check out the bite marks, everyone. It's plain as the hair on my legs.

Anonymous said...

That's weird, I didn't think dogs ate tofu or other soy products like that...


dhd said...

just put plastic grocery bags on your feet *inside* (yes, inside) your socks. your feet will be warm, although kind of wet. it's called a vapor barrier...

TerribleTerry said...

Dog was probably from Cleveland....we train them to chomp on your damn Steelers.

geronimok said...

I hope you're ok.
You have a new nickname:

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Anonymous said...

I'm guessing you are a cat guy. thx