Ultrasonic Pit Bull Road Rash

I ride my mountain bike on our street several days a week for exercise. There are three good hills that provide some aerobic exercise. If I ride the length of the street twice it is four miles total. Not a lot of exercise but better than nothing. I also get to see what is happening in the neighborhood. I like to count the number of rabbits that are visible.

One of my neighboors has a Yorkie terrier and a minature Schnauzer that like to chase me when I go by their house. They are small and don't concern me. Recently a pit bull puppy was added to the pack. He has learned to chase me from running with his pack. At first he just ran beside my front tire — his endurance was impressive. A few days later he started running beside my rotating foot. Last week he decided that biting my foot would be fun.

He's too small and young to deliver a bad bite, but when he grows up a bite could be serious. I decided it would be best to "nip it in the bud". So I started researching how to discourage an aggressive dog from a bike. Thoughtful friend David W. suggestion an ultrasonic dog repeller (a gadget producing a piercing ultrasonic tone that humans can’t detect but will discourage a dog from approaching). I ordered one from Amazon.

For several days after it arrived, the dogs weren't out. But on Thursday of last week, they were in the front yard as I rolled down the hill in front of their house. They set the ambush for my return. As I approached, the Yorkie ran out and I pointed the ultrasonic gadget at him and pushed the button as I rode by. He stopped and never came into the street (which could save his life, because the dogs don't look to see if a car is coming). The pit bull puppy didn't slow down when I pointed it at him. As I pumped up the hill, he moved in to bite my left foot. I pointed the gadget at him from two feet (I was pumping up the hill at the time). He backed off and ran around behind my bike to come up on the right side. I switched the gadget to my right hand and pointed it at him point blank.

He kept moving in and then pulled up and stopped. I rode on up the street, unchased, thinking about whether the gadget had worked. About 200 yards up the street, I noticed that the plastic slider that holds the battery in was missing. I checked my pocket and it was there. I pulled it out and started putting the rectangular piece back in place, without stopping.

As I was working with the gadget, my bike dipped to the right and I wasn't prepared to correct. I went down — hit the street hard. I had that sudden shock of realization that I had made a stupid move and was paying for it.  I'd forgotten how hard pavement is. As I got up, I was grateful that nothing was broken. My right knee made first contact and I had a big patch of road rash on it. My elbow and hand hit next — I like to think that Aikido training in the distant past had kicked in and helped me deflect some of the energy of the fall with a curved arm. More road rash…. Looking back, I was lucky I wasn't hurt badly. Now, a week later, the road rash has almost healed and the soreness is gone.

I'll continue to experiment with ultrasonic animal training and post more findings in the future. I'll also be more careful about paying attention to gadgets when I'm riding a bike or driving. Accidents happen quickly! Stupidity has a price.

Big Scare on Pine Log Mountain

Some surprises are not pleasant. On Sunday, March 28, 1999, Ann and I decided to drive to the Pine Log Wildlife Management for a mountain bike ride. In the springtime we often ride a rough, 8-mile logging road loop that winds through some interesting environments and includes two lung-busting climbs.

In the first two miles we passed several turkey hunters in camouflage in four-wheel drive vehicles. Soon we were riding beside Stamp Creek, a beautiful and pure stream that is clean and cold enough to support trout. Suddenly the beauty ended — we came upon dozens of acres of bare hillside where a forest had been only a few months ago. I hate to see trees reduced to logs and I pity the creatures that had been living in that forest.

On the first steep hill we met two people on horseback. The woman was impressed that we were riding up the hill and complimented us by saying … "she had never seen a fat mountain biker." The second steep climb is too steep to ride due to substantial outcroppings of rock, which prevent passage by almost any type of vehicle. We pushed our bikes up the hill and started the mostly downhill ride back to our vehicle. This section of the logging road is very rough, with many gullies and rocks. I was going slow due to some trouble with my clip-in pedals — Ann was about a quarter of a mile ahead of me.

I topped a small hill and saw a frightening sight. About 200 yards ahead, Ann and her bike were down and she was not moving. As I rode up she showed no signs of life. After I jumped off my bike and got close to her, I could hear some muffled breathing. I was afraid to move her due to possible spinal damage so I said her name over and over. No response.

I was really having a hard time believing this was happening. We were 3 miles from the nearest road and accessible only to rugged 4-wheel drive vehicles. I was fighting panic and shock.

As I tried to compose myself and get my adrenaline under control, I kept pondering what to do if she didn’t wake up: Do I leave her lying here alone in the dirt on an isolated logging road and go for help? Or, do I wait with her and hope someone comes by?

After about 5 minutes, I saw her hand twitch. I held her hand and felt some movement. I started tapping her on the cheek and saying her name. Very slowly she regained consciousness. When she was finally able to talk I could see that she was badly disoriented. She didn’t know where we were or what had happened. She was very surprised to wake up in a place not knowing how she got there. I started asking questions to assess how much she remembered. I mentioned the horses and the conversation with the riders. Ann thought it was in a dream. After about ten minutes I helped her get to her feet. Ann had landed head first on some hardpan with several large rocks embedded. Her right shoulder was badly hurt. A large knot was bulging above her right temple, just below the deep dent in her helmet. She started showing some symptoms of shock.

Ann’s shoulder wouldn’t permit her to ride her bike. The rear tire on her bike was flat and the rim dented. We decided that I would bike out, get the vehicle, and come back for her. She started walking out, pushing her bike — she didn’t want to ditch her bike. I left her behind, trying to hurry … carefully. I got to my minivan after about 20 minutes and loaded my bike. I drove as close to Pine Log Mountain as I could and started running back to meet Ann. We connected after about 30 minutes and walked to the minivan. She wasn’t able to pull the door shut when she got in the minivan.

At home, we iced the shoulder but the pain continued to escalate. We went to a small walk-in medical facility; as soon as they found out she had been unconscious, they insisted we go to a hospital. At the emergency room at Wellstar Kennestone, Ann was x-rayed and cat-scanned; we waited hours for the results. The good news: no brain damage. The bad news: a broken collarbone.

The accident happened at about 2:00 pm. We left the emergency room at 11:15 pm. A BAD day! Ann has no recollection of the accident and what caused it.

In my mind I keep reliving those awful few minutes when Ann was unconscious — ten minutes that I’ll never forget and Ann can’t remember.