A few years ago, on one of longer trips we made in northern Greece, we were rolling carefree talking about random stuff on one of the beautiful provincial roads of the Grevena area.
Coincidentally at one point, on my right I spotted a white dot appearing to be descending the mountain at a crazy speed. I did not pay much attention, because it was so far away from us that it was impossible to see with the naked eye whether this thing was a white horse or a car or whatever else. But soon enough I realised that the strange creature seen from afar was a huge sheepdog running amok towards us. It had managed to cover the big distance that separated in an almost unbelievably short time.
The look of that huge angry dog was so frightening that even to this day I am not absolutely certain whether its demonic eyes were really flaming red or it was just a figment of my imagination. On its muscular neck he wore a thick leather collar full of large sharp spikes to protect his neck from wolf bites. It was breathtakingly tall and long with a very strong body and a supernaturally large head. I will never forget the sheer terror a beast like that can cause you when you hear its growls and muffles behind you while you’re trying to pedal as hard as you can.
Fortunately, due to the downhill slope and our frantic peddling, we manage to escape it. But what if we had a steep uphill or a rough enduro kind of trail in front of us? I have stumbled upon sheepdogs countless times on my trips on the mountains of Greece (which is full of them) and the answer to anything concerning shepherd dogs and dogs in general cannot be absolute. Every dog is different as well as every cyclist and his reactions. But what I can say with certainty judging for my experiences, is that these dogs are misunderstood, the unexpected encounter with them can cause panic and to some extent can become very dangerous, but in most cases a calm and proper reaction can resolve the conflict peacefully and both parties go home safe and sound.
My name is Nikos Mavrikakis, and I was born in a mountainous country called Greece 35 years ago. My love for traveling by bike started many years ago when I started using my bike to visit and sleep on mountains around my hometown. Since then I’ve made many trips around Greece with friends or by myself. Cycling and camping in the beautiful outdoors will always be my biggest passion in life. Hopefully, one day I will be able to move out of the concrete jungle and live peacefully close to nature.