Dog on a Ride
The club’s Winter Ride Program was launched January 1 and continues until March 31. Full details are in an accompanying article, but what is not mentioned is the unidentified dog who joined a group of Winter Riders. He kept up with the riders and often stayed ahead of them.
It’s not news when a dog runs up to you and may even chase you for a while. However, this particular dog belonged to one of the riders and was entered in the Challenge. Turns out this member has a family membership, and entered his dog as a family member, and is claiming the dog is therefore eligible. We set up some basic rules for the Challenge, but failed to anticipate a dog.
This is a problem on a number of levels. First if the dog qualifies for a T-shirt, what do we do. They don’t offer dog shirts. Then there is the safety issue. Some dogs are very fast and can keep up with cyclists, but are unlikely to have road manners like staying in line, stopping for traffic signals, and not sprinting in and out of riders.
One of our club officers was on this "social distance" ride, and tried to intercede. However the dog’s owner was adamant that his dog belonged, and the dog itself was not deterred by participating in the ride, and in fact tried to stay ahead of the riders to prove its fitness. It would not be scared off.
This is a controversy we did not anticipate, and hope to resolve it before the dog causes any crashes. Not all dogs are meant to run alongside cyclists, but those that are capable need training, and must also be socialized. We are a bike club, and don’t have the expertise to deal with dog training and regret we have to cancel the dog’s participation in a club event, and even its club membership. Sorry it's come to this as we feel a dog may be "man's best friend".
Finally, we note that at CRW stories are sometimes told as if they were true but contain exaggerated or fictitious parts. This is one of those fictitious stories.
I thank Jack Donohue for his assistance with this article. Jack and I both grew up on the streets of New York and share an absurd sense of humor.