We’d never recommend packing a gun for a bike tour, but back in the early days of bike touring a pistol was commonly carried by adventurous cyclists such as the McIlraths.
Today (thanks to an article from the Fietsersbond) we stumbled across an advertisement from 1913, promoting a gun built especially for cyclists.
The advertisement is for a cork pistol, costing just 45 cents. The main use of the pistol, according to the ad, is to scare away aggressive dogs.
Thankfully we have other ways to deal with dogs, and don’t have to carry guns anymore!