Wild dogs ↑ all posts

Wild dogs

Back on the bike for the final push: just a few more days to the Turkish border and then Istanbul. The steep streets of Thessaloniki’s old town continue upwards much further than I’d expected. Crossing the ring-road and heading out into the hills and the climbing still hasn’t stopped! Quite draining in the early morning heat.

Five or six miles outside of the city I finally get attacked by wild dogs! A couple of them were lounging around at the roadside as I passed through some woodlands, and their barking brought the rest of the gang racing out of the trees when they saw me. Eight dogs in total, all snarling and barking and running alongside the bike snapping at my heels. There was no way I was going to outrun them so I leapt off and pushed my bike for a while trying to keep it between me and the dogs. Luckily these dogs weren’t as brave as they appeared - lunging towards them and barking back loudly (this was quite fun) made them retreat, and finally they skulked back into the forest.

I cycled onwards, a bit shaken by my encounter with the dogs. Having wild animals chasing you with bared teeth is not a hugely fun experience. Reading about other people’s experiences I think it’s rare to actually be bitten but it does happen and some people carry all sorts of weapons to protect themselves: from big sticks to pepper spray.

The long climb came to an end with a view north over two huge lakes, partially dried out by the summer heat. The road was empty and this resulted in a long and fast descent to the lakeside. I wanted to do 100 miles with a target of the coastal town of Kavala. With Istanbul tantalisingly close I just wanted to get there and on a bike there aren’t any shortcuts - just long days in the saddle. In the midday sun the remaining 80 miles seemed impossible. I pushed on, telling myself I could stop at the next tree, or to just make it round the next corner then I could have a rest. The miles passed excruciatingly slowly and I arrived at the Kavala campsite well after sunset.