Joey, my 12 year old miniature schnauzer, has been riding on my
with me since her first summer. When seated in the basket of my bicycle
(or on a table or a chair) she is a real lady. "It's the cutest thing."
is the phrase heard most often. This year is was "awesome."
I have made many bike helmets for Joey and the back of the basket in which she rides has a sign reading "Joey wears her helmet because anybody who rides on a bike should wear a helmet. Do you?" we hope to get this message to humans to convince them that it's the right thing to do. So we travel a lot. Not only is it fun, but we are campaigning for cycling safety. The helmet she wears is NOT a safety device. I don't know how to make one that is. Two commercial firms have made helmets but they don't fit Joey's head. And they do not claim to be safety devices, either.
Since 1999, every year Joey and I have ridden our Bike Friday folding bike across Iowa with 10,000 riders in the Register Annual Great Bike Ride across Iowa (RAGBRAI) Joey was on 3 television stations, pictured in the Des Moines Register and photographed by one out of every 100 riders (mostly while riding). She really loves all the attention. And she didn't mind sleeping in seven different beds in private homes across the State of Iowa. We have a slide show of Ragbrai to share with bicycle clubs and others in the Chicagoland area.
We also flew to Ottawa, Canada in August of 1999 to ride with just eight other riders on the Big Wheel Bike Tour called "Capital to Capital" ending up in Washington, D.C. We covered over 700 miles in 12 days and stayed in 10 dogs-allowed motels in New York and Pennsylvania and one first class downtown hotel in Ottawa. On the one night that no dogs-allowed motel was provided, the outlaw Joey slept in her Sherpa bag.
The bike tour leader, Evan Trubee, was most accommodating, changing some of the motels so that Joey and I could come along. He let Joey ride in the van when the weather was too wet for her or the hills were too much for her cycling Mom to negotiate with the extra 18 lbs. on the back of the bike. He made us feel totally welcome and even called Joey the ride's mascot.
We're looking for more leaders of overnight bike tours who will accommodate us the way Evan did. If you know of any bike ride organizers who would welcome us, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to 1113 W. Webster Ave., Chicago, IL 60614.
In October of 2000 we participated in a week-long tour of Provence, France. Joey was allowed in restaurants. Joey charmed everybody we encountered. We have a darling picture of Joey in front of the Eiffel Tower. It can be seen on our page of photos at http://www.kangarooconnection.com/kathys_new_personal_page.htm
If you'd like to carry your small dog on your bike, here is a descriiption of Joey's basket. It's like those found in the grocery store, measuring 13" x 20" and 9" high with two handles. It is screwed to a platform of plywood or aluminum to strenghthen the bottom, and then to the rear rack which has been firmly screwed to the bicycle frame in at least four places. Be sure to lock-tite the screws. This is very important because you don't want the rack to fall off with your precious darling in the basket.
Inside the basket, I suggest a bath towel folded up. It makes a nice cushion for the dog and also comes in handy when you need a towel. It's easier to wash than a pillow. For short rides, we just use a piece of washable carpet.
Joey is fastened securely into the basket with two stretch cords. One comes from the rear of the basket and fastens into her harness on the metal ring. The other comes from the front and fastens to any part of the harness, not to her collar. That way, she can't jump out - even if we fall. She would surely run into traffic if she could get away. Somehow she has always landed on her feet when we fall.
A very short leash is recommended because a long one can get tangled in your spokes or derailleur if you forget to put it all inside the basket.
Another useful item is a small umbrella for the sun and rain. A child's umbrella with most of the plastic handle removed can be pushed through a hole you drill in the edge of the basket. Then use the female part of a metal barrel bolt to receive the metal tube and help it stand upright. Use the smallest size stretch cord to keep the umbrella in place.
Don't forget a squirt bottle to cool your dog, and a water bowl and tennis ball for the dog to use! Or try the Cool Pooch Water Bottle with Bowl on top - available from pet stores, sports stores and www.coolpooch.com. It's important to keep your dog and yourself well hydrated.
Recommendations from my veterinarian include carrying a dog first aid kit and getting a microchip identification for your dog. Actually, a human first aid kit and a form of identification like the MedicAlert that will stay with your body is also recommended.
Last but not least - don't take your dog on your bike in cold weather. Remember - he/she isn't pedalling - just sitting - and that shaking isn't from excitement but cold!
Here are some bits of advice from Todd Allen who rides with larger dogs in his trailer.
For a 45 to 50 lb dog a bike trailer for kids is a great way to go.
Very small dogs can be carried in a handle bar basket. Dogs up to
about 20 lbs can be carried in a basket on a typical rear rack. A serious
cargo bike like Alex Wilson's red ass might handle your dog in its
cantilevered frame mounted front basket.
But most any trailer designed for a kid should be good for your dog and
many basic cargo trailers will be fine too. I would skip the single
wheeled trailers. The shifting weight of an exicited dog barking at a
squirrel could be too much for one.
I have a large cargo trailer and frequently hauled 3 dogs at once in
it, 80lbs, 50lbs, and 25lbs. All of my dogs - like I expect most dogs -
absolutely love trailer rides. So much so that they go nuts when I
take the trailer out but leave them at home. If your goal is just to take
your dog to the vet, take her to a park a couple times by trailer just
so she forms a happier association with the trailer first. You'll
likely find you enjoy taking her out to a much wider variety of parks
in the future. A Sunday morning tour of parks with your dog can be a lot
of fun. In the bigger parks you can let her out and race her on your
I prefer to put a chest harness on my dogs and then either attach them
to a short loop of cord from the center of the floor or from an
overhead centered bar if your trailer has one. Make sure you have some sort of
guard in place to keep your dog from getting her nose or tail into the
wheel spokes. If your trailer doesn't have tall sides, discs cut from
cardboard or plastic tied to the inside of the trailer wheels should be
adequate to keep your dog out of the spokes. A mirror that you can
position to watch your dog while riding is also a good idea, especially
at first while your dog is still getting used to riding.
I think bike trailers are one of the best things for a serious
transportation oriented cyclist. In addition to hauling your dog
you'll likely find it convenient for a lot of other uses such as grocery
shopping and most other typical errands involving more cargo than you
can fit in a backpack or panniers. Once you can haul stuff the
possibilities of what you can do with your bike really expand. It was
after I got my trailer that I finally realized I didn't need a car at
all and was able to stop driving.
If space is at a premium, some models have removeable wheels and fold or
collapse for compact storage. Wheels with single sided axles make flats
very simple to fix. Wheels supported on both sides are better for heavy
loads, ie over 100 lbs. Smaller wheels tend to be stronger but will
ride a bit rougher. I think 20" wheels are a good compromise for
strength, compactness and smoothness of ride.
There's lots of different trailers, check some out here
And here's plans for a trailer that you can build yourself from an old
junk bike. Get a reject bike from Working Bikes Cooperative (or the alley) and some rat bikers to help you build it and you can have a serious trailer for next to nothing.
here are some bits of advice from Robert Lobitz that I thought you'd
Keeping the Urban Canine
If you are both a dog lover and a landlord, you will eventually come to terms with one reality -- a lot of people who keep dogs in apartments really do not have a very good handle on what they're doing. Some folks seem to think all they need are one of the nicest beds for dogson the market and a rhinestone collar and they are good to go. Not so. But if you want the nicest beds for dogs on the market, try this: http://www.dogbedswarehouse.com
The fact of the matter is that, for a lot of busy people, the best dog is a cat...or maybe a goldfish. Dogs require a great deal more attention than other pets and, aside from the fact that they need regular walks to answer nature's call and get a little exercise, they are also deeply social animals who are highly susceptible to loneliness.
Assuming you've taken care of the issue of ensuring that your canine buddy gets enough companionship and frequent walks, you also need to consider the size of your dwelling relative to the size and energy level of your dog. We've seen too many people trying to keep enormous, rambunctious dogs in tiny bachelor apartments with predictably nasty results. If you have a puppy, remember that your dog is going to grow up much sooner than you realize.
Of course, for medium size or small dogs, especially those with relatively calm dispositions and attentive caretakers, a modestly sized apartment can work out beautifully. Of course, even then it's important to make sure your dog is getting enough exercise. Most breeds were bred to perform some sort of task or activity and even a dog who seems mostly well behaved and placid could probably use a little more exercise. Fido and Fifi shouldn't be spending all of their time on beds for dogs and you could use a reason to get off of that couch, too.
If you want to make a dog helmet, here are my instructions. These are not actually safety devices. They just give the appearance of a helmet and a reason to talk about how important helmets are for humans.
1 Pick a suitable size round styrofoam ball (from craft or floral supply shops) that looks right for your dog's head.
2 Cut off half and there's enough for two helmets.
3 Scoop out the middle until it rests on his/her head, leaving about a half inch of styrofoam throughout.
4 Cut out wedges for the ears as the helmet just sits between the ears and doesn't cover them.
5 Cut slits for air circulation and for passing through elastic which becomes the straps. You'll need four slits, two in front and two in back.
6 Pull the elastic through and bring all four ends together, overlapping the ends and pinning with a safety pin.
7 Apply rubber cement to the top and the half inch edge of the helmet and cover it with a piece of nylon fabric (old running shorts or a slip do nicely).
8. Pull the nylon over the half inch edge of the helmet and continue on the underside.
9. Use straight pins to hold it until the cement dries.
10. Trim the nylon, leaving about 3/8" of fabric on the underside.
11. Fasten the 3/8" of nylon on the underside with 3/4" wide filament tape. Pull out the straight pins.
12. Color the nylon with indelible markers to match your own helmet (you do wear one, don't you?) and that's it.
13. Put it on your dog's head, adjust the elastic until it will stay on and centered between the ears even when your dog shakes his/her head.
It's a good example for humans to follow. But remember, it's not an ASTM/Snell approved safety device, just a statement about the need for humans to follow suit and wear a helmet! And have fun going places with your dog!