Two Aussie cyclists attacked by coyote

This sort of headline usually makes interesting reading and happens to people you don’t know but the two Aussie cyclist making this headline was us. We are laughing about it now and the adrenaline is still pumping as we write this.

We were heading south with a big tail wind doing about 35km/hr on the main highway between Saskatoon and Regina. I was in the front and John behind when a coyote came running out from the median strip of the dual highway clearly intent on trying to bring John down.

I look over my shoulder as John is shouting for me to “go faster”, “don’t stop” and I didn’t need much encouragement. Even at 35-40km/hr the coyote was right at John’s side nipping at his left shoe as he was trying to kick it away. This was pretty frightening stuff as it wasn’t like a dog chasing you in the street that gives up after a few barks. This animal had real intent, quite calm and we were amazed that we couldn’t make any reasonable distance on it. This was particularly hard for John as was also trying to kick the coyote away, managing to connect with its head a few times as he was swerving all over the road. John was shouting at it in a desperate attempt to scare it away but this also made little difference.

This was heart pumping stuff and our legs were tiring. We had gone about 2km and we still couldn’t shake it. When will this end? How can a coyote run this far at such a speed?

We started to take up more room on the dual highway as a means to slow cars down in a vain attempt for a motorist to assist us. John was trying to get the cars to run it down…you could hear the fear in his voice as his energy levels were flagging. (In his own words “I was rooted”). Eventually a big truck worked out what was going on and provided us with some cover by sitting a few meters back off John’s wheel, enough to scare the coyote back onto the grassed area.

We kept hammering for a while, might as well put all that adrenaline to good use. We actually rode the 42km in 1hr 15min which is a great pace for these heavy touring bikes. (wind and coyote assisted).

Thank goodness we had a tail wind otherwise I doubt we could muster and sustain the speed to make it harder for the coyote to get a decent hold.

Funnily enough we don’t have any photos, yes I had the camera but there was no way I was stopping or even slowing down.

Before leaving Australia, people jokingly told us to watch out for the bears etc and my standard reply was that I can ride faster than John, working on the theory they will always go for the person at the back, never of course thinking we would ever be threatened.

There was some speculation by the locals here at Craik that the coyote may have been rabid but we are not so sure. Not that we know what a rabid coyote looks like, we just got the impression this animal knew exactly what it was doing and had the presence of mind to get off the road when it heard approaching cars.

In a short while we will include a video taken by Annie today (pre Coyote) to give you an idea of the strength of the wind. Most of the time the wind was on our right shoulder but on this small section it was a cross wind.

I think that is enough excitement for one day and I guess we will be dining out on this for some time. You can sit on my wheel anytime John.

Tomorrow we head for Regina, keeping a vigilant eye on the road side.

21 thoughts on “Two Aussie cyclists attacked by coyote

  1. OH MY GOODNESS, wejust sat down as a family and read this post and we are all in awe, unbeleiveble! Thank god no one was hurt. I am speechless.

  2. Scared to sleep in your tent tonight? More then welcome to come back here! Haha
    Tell john he shouldnt of been in such a panic to leave this morning! Haha
    Bobbijo misses the guys already and is wondering when you are coming back, she sadly said that john reminds her of her PaPa….

    • Hi Joann. I must admit we were pretty scared at the time. I rode to Regina frm Craik today and I was quite anxious for the first 50km or so. Every bird that flew out of the grass next to the highway gave me a fright. I was on full alert. Off to get some pepper spray as suggested by a few people.

  3. Great Story Al, I was getting a little exicited just reading about it. I’ve experienced a dog chasing me on my Mountain bike — not a great feeling. He didn’t like being squirted with the water bottle. I am enjoying the photos — keep safe and keep peddaling, cheers —Kevin

  4. Maybe carry a small can of pepper and have it ready and throw the contents of the can in the dog’s face. I had similar experience with wild dogs in the mountains in Portugal and yes it can be a terrifying experience.

  5. Bloomin’ heck! What an adventure….my heart is racing just from reading your account Al. I hope you don’t have too many more nasty encounters with the wild life. Keeps safe. Love Em

  6. Nice try Alistair to get your ratings up – but frankly, without a picture, I can’t possibly believe that this really happened!

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the motorists that witnesed it from the comfort of their cars took video on their phone, loaded it onto YouTube and it’s going viral. Would have made good viewing. I can assure you it is an experience we could without. On my way into Regina this morning I counted 5 dead Coyotes on the side of the Highway so plenty of them about.

  7. Al. I pretty disappointed. It sounds like the tour has all gone pear shaped after I have left. I was the one that was somewhat scared of the Canadian Wildlife. Well, I was a little scared of Black Bears, A bit more scared of Grizzlies, a whole lot more scared of Mountain Lions. But I never figured that I should have been scared of Coyotes!!.
    I am glad I am home in Bendigo where it s a very chilly 12 degrees and very windy.
    Obviously you two are not pedaling fast enough … so a little more action please.
    Trev

  8. What an amazing story!! You’ll dine out on this one for years. I had visions of the Roadrunner and Coyote cartoon as I pictured the ACME truck gunning for the critter – and the coyote never scored then either. Relieved to hear you both came through this ok.

  9. John, Alistair. The persistence of the coyote intrigues me (safe in my kitchen). If you meet a zoologist, especially an expert on coyote or similar predators, ask about the profile, and possible scent you presented. I’m amazed a pack animal hunted you individually like this, leaving its companions. It’s bizarre and once over the drama, I hope you can find out more about this. Does it happen to other cyclists. Was this a one off? An eccentric event? Is there something about you, your bicycle, your clothes that proved a red rag. What would have happened if you stopped, which is my normal way of coping with vexatious dogs, knowing that trying to pedal away is often a challenge or indicates fear and flight, so encouraging pursuit. Sorry if I sound detached. it must have been seriously scary, but then an encounter and an adventure that would never have happened if you were in a car. X Simon and Lin

  10. You may have missed your calling Al. Great story, very well written, and so pleased the Professor is okay. Have read up on the subject of coyotes attacking cyclists and must ask: Are you sure the coyote was not just looking to draft behind John?
    Seriously, stay safe and enjoy the ride. Sounds like the trip of a lifetime.
    How about writing us a piece between you both for the Bendigo Weekly? WOuld also need a few decent size pics to accompany the article, but I would love to run something in the Bendigo Weekly…

    Peter Kennedy
    pk@bendigoweekly.com.au

    • Hi Brian, good to hear from you. Yes has a similar ring to “a dingo has got my baby”. I now have dog spray attached to my bike just in case we have another encounter.

  11. It is great to hear these insights from you Alistair and obviously this one will be something you will remember for a long, long time. Rob gave this a run in this weeks Lets Talk Friday and hence no doubt many at Rural Finance will read. Keep enjoying your trip and posting the updates – they are great to read. Regards, Browny.

    • Thanks Browny, yes building up a bank of greAt memories. Currently underneath a thunderstorm at 11.35pm in my tent. Managing to keep dry which is good. Thanks for the feedback. Alistair

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