I’m always on the lookout for new and exciting ways to exercise Bodhi and Sierra. We already do urban mushing, which is big fun, but I was hoping to find something that would give me a bit more exercise than just balancing on a scooter as the dogs pull me.
I like the idea of having one of the dogs running alongside as I ride a bicycle, but there’s no way I’d allow either of them to do that off-leash. Holding on to a leash as I ride isn’t an option, as both dogs are strong and easily distracted, and eating dirt is not one of my life goals. So I’ve been looking for the right bicycle attachment.
I’d previously tried a product that I’d had high hopes for but ultimately found problematic because it placed the dog fairly close to the side of the bicycle. Each of my dogs had been uncomfortable with this arrangement and so each, had leaned their body weight away, which put me in danger of being pulled over. When my friend Kathy (who owns Niko the Very Handsome Husky) told me about a new product called the Bike Tow Leash®, I was excited to try it out.
The product features a metal clamp that attaches to the rear wheel mount or bike frame close to the rear axle, from which extends a heavy-duty coated, solid yet flexible “arm” that ends in a metal clip. It is suggested that the clip be attached to a wide collar, although a front-clip body harness is acceptable as well. Because Bodhi has issues with any type of collar around his neck (he begins coughing if he even pulls slightly), we used his Premier® EasyWalk™ front-clip body harness.
Kathy let me test Sierra’s reaction to her Bike Tow Leash® a few days ago. After our morning park walk together with our fur-kids I followed Kathy back to her house, where she rode her bike (which is too big for me) with Sierra attached. (Click here for video of the “test drive.”) I was surprised to see that Sierra showed none of the apprehension that she had with the other bike leash. This may have well been due to her being a greater distance from the bike. Still, I wondered, would I be able to ride without feeling like I was in danger of being pulled over? It was hard to imagine.
This morning I borrowed Kathy’s Bike Tow Leash® to try out with Bodhi. My husband and I were able to attach it to my bicycle in under a minute. I was surprised—the clamp went on and tightened easily, with no tools involved. Easy is good! The manufacturer recommends that the leash be positioned at the height of the dog’s shoulder, so I measured from Bodhi’s shoulder to the ground, and then made a quick adjustment on the clamp that placed the clip at the proper height. We headed to the park.
There were a few seconds of apprehension on Bodhi’s part at the very start—possibly due to his previous experience of being attached to the bike—which quickly disappeared. Because the metal arm positions the dog on the left side of the bike, after going in a straight line for a bit, I tried a wide left turn, which would be more difficult to execute than a right turn. It was surprisingly easy! Here’s video of that initial trial. I then took Bodhi for a spin around the large, circular dirt track where we often do urban mushing. He appeared relaxed and comfortable, and seemed to enjoy himself for the entire run. He moved along at a fast trot and I felt very steady on the bike. When Bodhi decided he wanted to drift toward the grass to check something out I was able to keep him on track, literally, and could easily maintain my balance. (According to the manufacturer, “With weight on the bike, a single finger on the seat can keep the bike upright during dog side pulls.”)
So, as you can probably tell, I am a fan of The Bike Tow Leash®. It isn’t cheap, but I figure it’s an investment. If it helps me to give my dogs proper exercise and tire them out, it’s worth every penny. I’ve got to return Kathy’s to her, but I just received my own in the mail. Soon we’ll be taking our dogs out for rides together. I can’t wait!