Run and Ride: Walking Your Dog On a Bike.
I loved riding bikes since I was a kid. I went places with my bike, far places where the fun part was figuring out how to get back home. Recently, I bought a decent mountain bike so I can go to malls and places in five minutes compared to walking for almost half an hour. I also bought a back seat so that I can take my daughter with me on bike trips like small groceries, and just go around town for a spin.
What I haven't thought of, was taking Maui for a walk, while riding a bike. Now, I'm really good at biking slowly, to the point where I can ride at walking speed. It's also less tiring when I do this but I feel like it's going to be awkward when Maui decides to suddenly lead and to in front of me. Maybe I can use his strength as a way to pull the bike, so he can exert more energy, but I worry that he'll pull me too much, or somewhere where I'd crash the bike.
The bike came with that side handle bike attachment that sticks out to the left. I didn't know what this was at first until my wife figured it out. I thought it was some kind of seat height extender or even a bonus "self-defense" accessory. I can attach the leash there and since it's attached where my bike seat is, he won't be able to influence the bike's position since it's close to my center of gravity.
I'm also wondering if I'll be using the neck collar or the body harness. If I use the neck collar, Maui won't be able to pull properly, lessening the chances of him downright pulling me to a curb, however, if I'm the one who goes too fast, or ends up dragging him, he might choke on his collar and I don't want him to have a bad experience, so a harness it is.
I do hope this work, because whenever I leave home with my bike, Maui would whine, peeking down the gate and going as far as to gnaw on the metal grills. It was heartbreaking, but I couldn't take him where I usually go, but hopefully, by walking him with my bike, I can allow Maui to run and let out some of that pent-up shepherding energy he usually employs when he plays with the cats.
With the street relatively clear, and my basic biking gear set, it's time for a dry run. The idea is to go along the same walking path I and Maui go through and try to get a feel of his speed, then slowly ramp up until we are at a point where Maui's speed is the same as mine.
I took the bike out first, then Maui, who stared at the bike as if wondering what was going to happen. I attached the leash to the bike attachment and made my first mistake.
Do not put the dog on the bike without securing the bike. I don't know what went into Maui's head, but he tried to pull as soon as I attached the leash. My bike almost fell if I hadn't caught it in time.
Maui had the shock collar attached too, in case something happens and I need some long-distance recall. At this point, I make sure the shock collar is on him whenever we are heading outside. It's not tightly placed on his neck right now because all I really needs is the vibrate and the beep.
So, as I pushed down the pedal, we began what I hope are fun bike rides for Maui. We started slow and as close to the sidewalk as possible, placing a safe distance away from any potential cars. Maui pulled a lot. I commanded him to heel, but it took several verbal commands to even get his attention. He was focused on pulling, but I didn't want this to be like a carriage ride, so I picked up the speed, but as I did, Maui started speeding up as well. It looks like slow rides will be a later thing as Maui has a need, the need for speed.
The street we always walk is nearly devoid of passing cars not because it's empty, but because it's practically a parking lot because most of the homeowners here don't have any garage space, but still buy cars. The only cars that pass here are literally the only cars that park here. Any other car would pick the adjacent street unless they want to snake through the parked cars for about 2 blocks.
With this amount of space, it's time to see what Maui's maximum speed is. This street still has a speed limit though, but it's a speed I can't maintain with a bike, and even sadder is that even if I do exceed the speed limit, nobody would care. No authority even cared about all the parked cars and what little traffic law our neighborhood has.
If only I had a speedometer on the bike, I'd know what Maui's running speed is, but I'd say he was running at half his full sprinting speed and is faster than I could run, and I'm average built, so I'd say we're running pretty fast. We should be running slow since this is technically still training Maui, but it's going swimmingly well. Maui was pulling at first, and now Maui is just running with me. He's not even going to one side to mark territory or two, he just wants to run.
At the end of the very long street, I slowed down and came to a stop. Maui was still pulling, but I had to turn back because after this street is heavy traffic and I'm just not ready for that. I turned and decided to head back the same route, then back home. Maui was heavily panting and I realized I should have carried a water bottle with me. He does have plenty of water at home, so I hope he's willing to run the gauntlet again for it.
I slowly pedaled and it took Maui a few moments to understand that we were going in a different direction. He went in the same direction and started to run, enough to pull, so I sped up.
Maui kept running but halfway through the street, Maui ran faster than me, and the leash suddenly got detached. Maui didn't seem fazed though and was focused on running beside me. I remember that one time when it was raining so hard when we were outside and Maui was happy to run beside me as I dashed back home.
What was neater was Maui turned around the corner as I did, and since our home is just a small sprint away, I kept on biking and hoped upon hope that Maui would stop by our gate and not just keep on sprinting forward. I pedaled faster to see how fast Maui could run and as we reached home, what I expected came to be.
I turned to the gate but Maui just kept on trucking forward, running at top speed. This was why I had the shock collar with me. One thing I still praise about this is how insane the range is. I can imagine drone remote controls have better range, but for something so small, it's so good.
I pressed the beep. It took a few seconds but eventually, he slowed down, then turned, then bolted toward me. He probably had the zoomies. I praised him, took the leash, and took him inside first. He dashed for the outside water bowl and practically breathed it in. If we're going farther than this, I should bring water.
This was short, but this was quite fun. From the 7-10 minutes we ran, I learned a bunch of things.
First, unless you have a smaller bike than an adult-size bike, I don't think it's a good idea to try this with smaller dogs. I suppose that's fine one of those high-energy dogs that get zoomies a lot, like Huskies, shepherding dogs like border collies, or greyhounds. I could argue any medium-sized dog would have relatively high energy.
Small dogs may have more dog-energy-per-pound but I doubt they can go fast given how short their legs are. If I really want to take a small dog on bike rides, I'd place them in one of those deep bike baskets or a bike trailer, which I'm considering getting for groceries, since I have plans to buy one of those cool electric mountain bikes.
Considering safety issues, I also speculate that if my biking partner is a medium to large dog, I would not want to hold their leash on my hand. Unless you're really experienced or know how your bike handles, steering with one hand is hard, even more so if you're trying to control something else that wants to go in another direction. Even worse, I think, is holding the leash while holding one of the handles, as one strong tug could make you steer in the wrong direction, or cause the bike to whip around. I'd argue that it's better to put the bike leash closer to the back wheel if you don't have a bike leash attachment, and only have a regular leash. Unless you have a dog whose weight is about half of you and the bike combined, which I'd say don't even try.
I tried to start at a slow pace, but that failed. I guess Maui quickly understood that bike = speed, so it really depends on your dog. This was supposed to be a practice session, but it seems like we'll be doing the same thing every now and then. Maui's comfortable pace is a downright sprint, and I'm sure he'll prefer a lower speed from time to time, especially when he smells the scent of a female dog.