25 Oct 2017

MY NEW RIDING BUDDY

WORDS & PHOTOS x Johny Cook

A lot of my friends are having kids, which, for obvious reasons, can make riding with them a bit difficult. This combined with winter coming and lack of daylight doesn’t make it easier. Luckily I have a new riding buddy.

My dog, Alfie, stands at just over one foot tall and weighs 7.5kg. – a small dog that turns out to love chasing my bike down the trail. Initially it was about taking him for a walk. I would ride slowly, but after getting bored of the walking path I would venture down a trail. And that is when his turbo kicked in.

It’s easy to become lazy during the colder and darker months. Every now and then Alfie’s head pops around the computer as if to remind me that daylight is burning and we should get out. Picking up my helmet is just as good as picking up the lead for him. Ask him, “Do you want to ride the bike?” and his head tilts while an excited whimper comes out. Instead of a friend messaging for a ride I have Alfie making sure we get out.

Usually he runs behind me but our daily rides have caused his confidence to grow. He now waits in front of me and wants to lead the way. This can cause issues with him being slower and/or deciding to stop suddenly to check I am still behind him. Sometimes he gets distracted by a stick or goes completely off trail to mark his territory. We are working on this but at the end of the day, he is a dog and needs some time to explore.

Despite the frustration of keeping him on track, he loves getting out for a ride. It’s nice to know he’s there and especially those times after a hard crash, and I am lying on the ground, when he comes over to be with me. He might just think it’s time for a rest but either way it’s comforting. Our rides have gotten longer and he’s still keen to keep going, even after 12km and the millions of times his little belly has scuffed over the roots and rocks. He seems to be in his element as every stick needs to be thrown and every puddle is an opportunity for a paddle.

A riding buddy and trail dog in the making.

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