So the Dalmatians started for Suffolk, one hundred and one strong. They all sat up in the motor-coach seats, looking out the window, and many people who saw them pass, cheered—for there had been so much about them in the papers that they were now quite famous. And many, many dogs lined the route, as word of the journey had gone out by Twilight Barking. The waiting dogs barked their good wishes and the Dalmatians barked their thanks, so it was rather noisy in the motor-coach. The Dearly’s didn’t mind. They thought happy barking was a pleasant noise.
Initially, it went quite exactly as Horrie had predicted. There was a momentary wavering, a few darts this way and that on the part of the handlebars, but quickly momentum was gathered and when I nervously lifted my skimming feet onto the pedals, all remained more or less in an upright position. I was thrilled for just one second, before problems began to develop that even my father could not have foreseen. The first was the Adamson’s mongrel dog which, as was its habit with any passing vehicle on the hill, rushed out of the gate and began pursuit, yapping excitedly and snapping frenetically at my speeding heels. Now this was important! The Adamson dog, never interested in pedestrians, could be viewed as a true symbol of success. I was considered, by the dog at least, as the worthy controller of a wheeled vehicle. Eureka!
My jubilance was short-lived. In order to keep the dog’s teeth out of my heels, I was obliged to push all the more rapidly on the pedals but I quickly became aware that this action was entirely for the purpose of preservation of my socks since the bicycle was already going faster than I ever could have pedalled. With the speed that I gathered as I rushed down the hill, I soon outdistanced the dog, but that in turn gave rise to a new problem. I was going altogether too fast!