A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Update on Riding a Bike with a Dog

It was a cool Saturday morning, with dew on the grass. Ilsa had been waiting several days to go for a ride, watching mournfully as I rolled the commuter bike out on the porch each morning to ride to work. Ilsa at SpeedThis morning though, was her's. She lept into her training vest as soon as I removed it from the hook beside the door, jerking it out of my hands in the process. "Settle down girl," I told her, "We're going to ride......." The word ride just made her tail beat the floor more vigorously.

Ilsa is a large exuberant dog now, and the possibility of disaster increases with every day she doesn't get her ride. I also wanted to take photos this morning, so I was looking for a safer way to manage Ilsa's enthusiasm than simply holding the leash in my right hand on the handlebars with the loop around my bicep. After some experimentation, I found that I could run the leash from my bicep to my right hand, then around the bike's handlebar stem, and finally to Ilsa. This arrangement gave me the mechanical advantage I needed to to better control the dog while using the camera. New Leash RoutingI have decided to use this arrangement at all times now, and I have wrapped the quill of the Raleigh cruiser with electrical tape to prevent the leather leash from chaffing the black finish of the handlebar stem.

Here are a few more pointers I have learned along the way. Remember your riding buddy is running barefoot. Avoid taking your dog biking when the pavement is hot. Monitor your buddy's feet. The pads of a dog's feet wear down at a faster rate on pavement. Be aware of glass and other sharp objects in your path not only for your tires but also for your dog.

Your canine is going to get thirsty. They will become thirsty faster and to a greater extent than yourself. They are running in a fur coat. You are riding in comfortable clothing. Take an extra bottle of water for your dog, as well as a collapsible dog dish.

All of the other advice about training and using a cruiser bike with a coaster brake still applies. Make the ride fun. Let your dog set the pace, you set the direction. Take treats. Play some games at your destination. Enjoy the ride. Your canine certainly will.

Read the original post on Bicycling with a Dog.

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Blogger Jonathan said...

I'm not really a dog person (I like greyhounds, though), or a bike person (yet), but I do enjoy these posts.

6:59 PM  
Blogger Mauser*Girl said...

If you're frequently running on cement / asphalt surfaces, and are running in an urban area where there may be glass or other dangerous objects in the road, a good pair of dog boots might help. (For SAR, too.) RuffWear's Grip Trex boots are a really good design.

3:19 PM  
Blogger stbaguley said...

First, thanks for the thoughtful essays. Informative and entertaining. My Nicholas appreciates Ilsa's thoughts on ring tailed boogie cat's as well. That said I spent 6-8 weeks with an external fixator on my left wrist about a decade ago after meeting pavement at speed with my two Golden Retrievers. I had been on rollerblades, but there was a hill and another pooch they wanted to see... We were moving pretty fast and it hurt. I have friend with an Austrailian Shepherd that he bikes with using a spring standoff device from his rear axle, like a very heavy duty 1950's autobobile curb feeler (if you have any idea what that was) It was marketed for the purpose of tieing dog to bike and was a good design but probably got sued out of existance when somebody came to grief anyway. He reports good control and a lower center of effort or torque if his buddy tries to change course without permission. That pulling from the bicep sounds like it would work,,,until it suddenly didn't. Ride safe. It is tough to type with one hand.

8:35 AM  

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