Riding your bike with your best furry friend should be done safely. You need to be willing to put in some time for training and invest in the proper gear.
A very important decision when getting into bicycling is to know how to choose the best bike for you based on the particular kind of riding you will be doing. There are two main types of cycling that most do: mountain biking or road biking. Mountain bikes are great when you want to experience back country trails made of dirt, gravel, or rough rocky terrain off-road. Road bikes are best for pavement. There are also comfort and hybrid bikes that work best for pavement and light off-roading, such as gravel & dirt roads. Mountain and hybrids are great bikes to choose if you will be cycling with dogs. They will allow you to ride in moer areas that allow dogs.
Biking with your dog is a fun way to enjoy the great outdoors and to get exercise at the same time. Cycling is a great activity to do with your family and with your dogs, especially if you love to ride. Here are a few of our dog biking tips for your next trek based on our experience:
Most small dogs cannot keep up to bicyclers. For dogs under 20 pounds, we recommend that you use dog bike basket, dog bike trailer, or dog carriers for your bike. The dog bike basket and dog carriers allow your pet to come along for the ride, get fresh air and enjoy bicycling adventures being in front of you or right behind your seat. The dog bike trailer is similar to a child bike trailer where you can pull your dog behind you with your bike.
Larger dog breeds are able to run along the side of your bike. However, your dog should be at least one year old and a minimum of 20 pounds to start biking with you. Veterinarians often suggest a dog should be closer to 18 months old. Ask your vet based on your specific dog breed. You want your dog’s bones to be finished growing to prevent injury.
For biking with your dog, you want to choose a breed that has the energy and stamina to keep up with you. Great breeds for biking are ones with lots of energy. Some breeds that are known to be awesome on the trail include pointing breeds (Wiemarieners, German Shorthaired Pointers, Vizslas), Heelers (cattle dogs), Boxers, Labradors and Border Collies. This is just a small list. There are many other dogs that will be fine running while you are biking. For those that have canines that can't run beside you, either due to age, health issues, or size, we recommend biking with a dog trailer if it is a larger dog or biking with bike basket or carrier if it is a small dog.
Start by exercising with your dog to help build up stamina slowly. This can be done by walking, jogging, running or hiking with your dog. When you switch to biking, you want your dog to be comfortable around your bike. Start by walking your bike with your dog on a specialty leash. Once they are at ease with your bicycle, begin riding at shorter distances and gradually increase the distance you ride. Know your dog and see how they react during and after the ride. If your dog starts to lag behind a lot, you may be pushing them too hard. Slow down or take a break. You never want to push your dog beyond their means. Remember, your dog will continue to run with you, even if they have hit their max. Also, ensure that your dog has breaks in between strenuous exercise days. Just like our muscles need days off to repair and rebuild, your dog’s body needs the same.
At Cross Peak Products, we carry biking gear for dogs and bike accessories. The right cycling gear for dogs ensures your best furry friend will be comfortable for the ride or have the maximum mobility and freedom to move when running with your bike.
If you are biking near traffic or busy areas, you will want to keep your dog on a leash. Using a specialized bike leash will help keep your dog out of harm's way by keeping a safe distance between your bike and your dog. This will help prevent the leash getting caught on your pedals or tires and ending in a tangled up disaster. In addition, specific leashes have shock absorbers that help take out the force of tugs by your dog- keeping you from veering off your path. The dog leash can be attached to your dog’s harness. We carry comfortable, breathable harnesses that do not inhibit your dog’s movements. Use a harness and do not just attach the specialized leash to a dog collar. Doing so could cause neck, shoulder or other injuries.
Pavement, sidewalks, and other rough terrain can tear up your dog’s pads when they are running. Dogs will continue to run even if they have an injured foot. Gradually working up to longer rides helps to build up the pads. However, the pads can still get worn from rough terrain. Check out our wide selection of dog boots for great paw protection. Dog boots also help protect against hot surfaces in the summer.
Remember dogs do not sweat like we do and can overheat quickly in hot weather. Bike during cooler parts of the day, such as early mornings or evenings. You may also want to take several breaks, take shorter rides, and go at a slower pace. Always ensure your dog has enough water to stay hydrated. Take an extra water bottle for your dog and a travel water bowl if there are not creeks, streams or other natural water sources along the trail. Cooling jackets and vests can help keep your dog’s body temperature down. We do not recommend you bike with your dog in extremely high temperatures. Also remember to make sure your dog is visible. Fluorescent and reflective dog vests provide high visibility to keep your dog seen.
There are lots of great places to ride bike with your dog all around you, whether you live in a city or out in the country. Biking with your dog along busy roads is dangerous and we do not recommend you do so. You may need to take a short drive, but it will be worth it. Find a park, rail trail, bike path or mountain biking trail near your home. Just be respectful wherever you choose to ride. If you are biking on a public trail, do not leave your dog loose (off-leash) if there are others on the trail. While we love dogs, there are many that do not share the same sentiments.
Make it easy if you need to drive to get to your destination. Utilize a car bike rack, cargo area in an SUV, or truck bed to transport your bike. Check out our dog seat covers and cargo mats that will protect your vehicle’s interior from bike grease, dirt, grime and mud. They also will keep your vehicle's interior protected from your dog.