Oct 24 2009
It’s an unfortunate fact that throughout the area where I live, the risk of being attacked and injured by free-ranging dogs is significant. Opinions vary among cyclists about what to do when attacked by dogs, but I’ve found that the only effective way is to give the animal a dose of HALT! spray. It’s not 100-percent effective—some of the meanest dogs seem to be resistant to the irritating pepper juice—but most of the time it forces the dog to slow down and turn his attention elsewhere. Some of the dogs that have attacked me more than once found the first experience so unpleasant that they back off as soon as I raise my arm as if ready to fire. The stream of HALT! is not very long, so you’re not likely to hit a dog which isn’t within about 10 feet. I don’t bother removing the canister from its handlebar bracket until the animal shows determined intent to get close.
I like having the HALT! right there on my handlebar, where it’s accessible but out of the way—see the picture to the right above. By placing the bracket so that the HALT! is between the handlebars and the ‘bar bag I’m less likely to knock it with my knee or arm when getting off and on the bike. The bracket holds the canister snugly, but not always tightly enough. Hit a bump hard, or knock it with your body, and the canister can pop off and fall to the road. I rarely have that problem, but there is a way to be absolutely sure that the canister stays in place even, and that’s to lash it to the handlebars. A hefty rubber band will do the trick. See the sequence of photos below:
In this case, I’ve placed the canister of HALT! on the aft side of the handlebars. Loop a rubber band over the top of the canister, pass the rubber band around the front of the handlebar, then pull the bottom of the loop up over the bottom of the canister. If you pick just the right rubber band, the canister is held snugly in place but can still be pulled free when it’s needed. Best of all, this HALT! retention system is free.