I try and ride my bike everywhere. Mostly, this is because I cannot stand sitting around in traffic, I am cheap and don't like paying for gasoline and car maintenance, and I want to have enough time to do lots of cardiovascular exercise each day, since I have a super sedentary occupation. The only way I found that I have enough time in the day to get exercise as I'd like is if I replace all commuting time with cardio time.
Normally, this is a pretty good trade, or I think I come out ahead. For example, it takes me about ten minutes to drive to my gym with traffic. On average, I bike there in twenty minutes. So, I spend forty minutes biking (round trip) to avoid twenty minutes of diving and get forty minutes of cardio in. This allows me to avoid doing 30-40 minutes of cardio at the gym, since I'm doing it on my commute to the gym. So I can focus on strength, flexibility through yoga, or playing handball. That seems like a good trade off to me, especially since it's way cheaper to maintain my bicycle than my car. There are other factors to weigh in and balance when making this decision (such as your relative likeness to die from a bicycle related risk, as opposed to morbid obesity...) One of these factors is the presence of coyotes.
One thing that I have start considering are coyote risks. In the past few months, I'm positive I saw coyotes twice, and I think I may have seen them two other times but I'm not sure. I've been riding my bicycle to a client's office, far on the north part of Albuquerque. Here is the route I take. It's about a ten mile ride, and runs north / south along Albuquerque. I saw individual coyotes twice, running along the channel. Both times they were a bit south of Montgomery street.
The last time I saw a coyote, a domesticated dog was trying to kill it. The dog was chasing the coyote up and down the channel trail. I am positive the dog was domesticated because it had a lease trailing behind it, as though someone was taking it for a walk, and it saw the coyote, escaped to freedom and made an attempt at carnage. Unfortunately, the dog was considerably slower than the coyote. The dog was also a LOT bigger, maybe clocking in at 40-50 lbs while the coyote was around 20-30 lbs.
Just like homeless people, one out-of-control coyote wouldn't be that dangerous. I think I wouldn't be afraid until there were three or more of them, and behaving aggressively. Due to my extreme weight restrictions while on a bicycle, and Albuquerque laws against publicly discharging firearms, I don't think that packing iron is a good potential solution. I'm leaning more and more towards getting a very lightweight ceramic knife, and a nice sheath. Since I have no idea how to actually use a knife in a fight, I'm not sure if I wouldn't be better off with, or without one. I'll likely ask my friend Jeremy (very into defense) his opinion, and consider taking a knife fighting class with these guys. That would be a fun thing to do with a friend. "What did you do this weekend?" "My friend Brian and I took a knife fighting class together."