“Leash” as a verb (with negative connotations)

Have you ever been “doored”?

You know exactly what I mean, even though the word door isn’t usually considered a verb in the English language. But it has a very accessible meaning to every cyclist.

Now when I ask you, have you ever been leashed ?, perhaps the idea fails to communicate. Perhaps, you’re thinking of some naughty hijinks behind closed doors. But if I first ask you as a cyclist about ever being doored, and then follow it up with a question about being leashed…you are primed to consider the negative possibilities.

So tonight on the way to return some videos, I got “leashed” and I nearly encountered some severely negative possibilities.

I’m riding my Orbea track bike at night, hurdling into an intersection with a green light for me and no cars anywhere. Just then some lady enters the crosswalk (against the light!) perpendicular from the right, with a 60 lb collie running ahead of her.

I can’t see a leash, but spidey sense tingling!

I know it’s there in the dark space between the dog and the owner: one of those spooling leashes that are so popular among brainless dog owners. I hit the brake, but I’m in the crosswalk in the next fraction of a second. Then the lady lifts up the leash so that I catch it at the throat rather than the handlebar. Thanks!

I’m in rear skid mode, front brake deployed, and the phenomenon known as time-slowdown occurs…that moment of clarity when you realize that you are on a ballistic path fraught with peril.

I’m thinking, shit, I’m surprised this didn’t happen to me before, but somehow I always thought it would be on a sidewalk with some errant yorkshire terrier. I figured that if I caught some lapdog at the end of the leash, that might actually be funny in a very macabre, non-PETA friendly way. But a full-size collie is bad news for a guy my size.

So what happened? Well I stayed upright and stopped before my own momentum took me down faster than a quarterback sack. Did I get an apology? No, not a single word. Yeah, have a goodnight to you too, lady.

At this point, some of the readers are asking what happened to the collie?

Ugh, dog people….



14 Comments

> At this point, some of the readers are asking what happened to the collie?

It’s not the dog’s fault its owner is an idiot.

(The Google ad at the bottom of the page right now is “Buy Retractable Dog Leash”.)

You were riding cyclocross on a paved street on a track bike? Unless of course you actually mean “hurtled”.

Also, while you didn’t get a single word of apology, that’s no reason to overcompensate by making the phrase “good night” a single word.

I saw this happen, at very slow speed, back in march- nasty. I wrote about it here:

http://re-turn.blogspot.com/2008/03/situational-awareness.html

I put that loud air horn on Bettie and a bell on my rain bike for Roller Bladers who I find the most ignorant of cyclists presence—they also take up much room with their long, wide strokes and when they skate backwards the get a longer horn blast. Have got leashed, but I can see that happened and Pam one time got “boarded” by a skateboarder flipping his board right into her front wheel.

Leashing - Something I, too, worry about a bit.

How ‘bout your neck? Did it leave a bruise or was the leash still spooling out? If it left a mark I might have reported this to the police.

Do you need to work on your emergency braking technique? If your rear is skidding you probably aren’t using the front brake enough. The rear brake is almost useless for quickly stopping a bike - it’s all in the front brake. The trick is to use the front brake to just the point that your rear wheel might lift up.

@cyclepete

the front brake was maxed and there was no rear brake. 
usually in a panic stop on a fixie, i’ll push my weight behind the saddle and just work it all out with the front brake.  if you try to pedal to maintain rear tire adhesion, your center of gravity it too high and forward to make best use of the front brake.  trust me, i’ve been riding fixies with front brakes for 15 years.

my jacket collar prevented any mark, and the leash still spooling.

You were riding at night - were you wearing bright colors and using a headlight?

Glad you’re okay.

People generally want to know that the innocent parties (in this case you and the dog) are okay. No harm in that. If it makes you feel any better, notice that nobody asked if the woman was okay.

Nobody cares.

I mean, anybody who allows their dog to cross the street against the light without head-checking is going to get poor fido killed one day - not to mention cyclists.

Personally I would have given her two earfuls. I’d sooner someone learn through the adrenaline fueled tirade of an almost dead cyclists than through fatality (human or canine).

I almost got leashed once. Maybe i should have chosen to.
I was riding down a bike path in boulder and alerted the the owner and dog i was coming up on the left.  they moved over but at the last second the dog jumped out and rather than getting decapited i veered off the path and flew into the brush and ended up chipping my front tooth and and splitting my chin open.

I just picked up the bike and rode home i didnt even look at the women i was so pissed.

Almost got leashed on one of the local trails out here in DC a while back - http://www.528k.com/2005/04/cct-is-crowdeeeeedddd.html - I had visions of sucking a small doggie into my spokes.  This would have definitely ruined my ride.  Another good reason to stay off the trails.

“Another good reason to stay off the trails”

couldn’t agree more - and yet as local governments try to encourage cycling as transportation - trails seems to be a large part of what they think they need to do for us.

Lately there’s been some press coverage of bike route work for Marginal Way and Fauntleroy - give that at least one of the Huggers is also a West-Seattleite, I’ve been surprised not to see a posting on that.

Personally I think the number one factor in a good bike route is road surface quality (and marginal Way and the West Seattle Bridge Trail (as i noticed this morning the brand new signage now calls it) it post-appocalyptically bad)  Grade Separation - like that patch under the Alaskan Way Viaduct?  that just makes it a good place to walk your dog or go roller blading or a touristy stroll while wearing your iPod. (Yay!)

As for removing a lane of auto travel in each direction on Fauntleroy (while maintaining parking on both sides of the street) and adding a bike lane in each direction?  Ay Carumba!  the Motorists seem to think they have enough reason to hate us as it is!

I’m a dog person… and I hate those retractable leashes as much as most non-dog people.  They’re basically for people who don’t want to train their dogs to walk properly, and they’re dangerous (as you’ve pointed out - not only for the dog but for everyone around them) because the owner doesn’t have the control over the dog that they should have. 

I haven’t encountered one of these while cycling yet, though… thanks for the heads-up!

Retractable leashes are illegal in most cities, they violate standards on max length, which is usually around 6ft. I know for a fact they are illegal in Seattle.

In a situation like the one described, I just aim for the human. They made the decisions and I need something to break my fall.

This also goes for people riding on three foot bike paths with blinding lights aimed up from the handlebars into my eyes.

Good point. I hadn’t thought of that. Retractable leads (as we call them) aren’t that popular here, and most people have a decen control of theor dogs. Our main problem is herds of Nordic Walkers.

@Meanie: Interesting solution. I can see the logic behind it though.

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