Walking a Dog While Riding a Bike
If your asking yourself, can you walk a dog while riding a bike the answer is yes you can. It is of course possible to ride a bike whilst walking your dog however depending on your dog and how they act on their walkies you may need to approach the task with caution. In this article we give you some good tips and the knowledge to safely ride a bike while walking your dog.
Should you go biking with your dog
There are many positives and negatives to riding a bike with your dog and most of them come down to common sense. Of course it is not bad to bike with your dog unless your dog is not up to the challenge. Smaller dogs or dogs that have health issues will struggle with the stamina required to keep up with a bike. You should always remember that despite this activity being great exercise for both you and your dog it is going to be more difficult for your pooch as you will probably cover a much larger distance due to it being quicker and easier cycling than walking.
I would certainly recommend walking your dog while riding a bike if you have an energetic breed such as a Springer Spaniel or Boarder Collie, this way they will get some really good exercise and if your not able to walk great distances with your dog riding a bike on flatter ground will help you to give them a good walk. You shouldn’t feel that if you have a smaller dog you have to leave them out of this activity, riding a bike is a sociable thing to do with your dog and getting them out and about is always going to be good for them mentally. There are plenty of baskets you can attach to your bike or even purchase a small trailer to toe, there are specific ones made for dogs.
However you wish to enjoy biking with your dog remember to take your time and enjoy the freedom that cycling gives you.
Is it illegal to ride your bike with a dog
This is certainly a difficult question and one that has caused lots of debate online due to a difference in circumstances. If it comes down to walking your dog while riding your bike on the road then it maybe considered illegal and in my own opinion if you were to crash there is a fairly obvious way you could be prosecuted. In terms of UK law the highway code section 68 states that cyclists must not cycle in a careless, dangerous or inconsiderate manner and section 66 mentions not carrying anything that could affect your balance or get tangled up in your wheels or chain. Lots of people don’t consider these sections to be relevant when riding a bike with their dog however if you were to have a crash and cause an accident its probably certain they will come up. Take a closer look at the highway code for cyclists here. “Highway Code Link”
If your riding your bike while walking your dog in the park or a woodland trail for example you should be OK and less likely to cause a serious accident. As there is no specific law that states you cant ride a bike with your dog its down to you to analyse the situation in which your cycling and consider the consequences if the worst was to happen.
To help you cycle safely with a dog you can purchase specially designed attachments for your bike which allow your dog to run by your side. With products such as these being sold to solve a specific problem its obvious there is a market for riding your bike with your dog and something that people should be able to do safely.
As mentioned previously most of the negatives to riding a bike with your dog come down to common sense. Unfortunately there are certain things that can be harder to control such as a dogs free will. Your dog maybe the best trained dog in the world however they are still not 100% predictable and therefore common sense should be observed. If your dog is able to run off lead whilst heeling next to you then this could be considered a safer option however in my own interpretation of the highway code you should probably not ride your bike with your dog on a road. Check out our article on “walking your dog off lead”.
How to train a dog to run alongside a bike
If your considering riding a bike with your dog you need to properly train your dog to run alongside you as this will keep you and your dog safe during the ride. Below are some tips to help you with training your dog –
Tip 1: Before starting any intense training with your dog you need to ensure they are used to being around a bike. Many dogs can be apprehensive when around bikes and its important to slowly associate your bike with your dog. Start off by walking your bike around a clear area with your dog on the lead, this way they can get used to walking next to your bike. Try making sharp turns with your bike ensuring your dog does not end up in front or behind the bike. At this stage it is important to let your dog get used to being close and understands where they should be positioning themselves.
Tip 2: Now you can begin to ride the bike with your dog attached to it. There are many different lead attachments for bicycles which help to keep your dog at an appropriate distance from the bike but also not too far away. Even if you are thinking about having your dog off lead whilst riding a bike it may be a good idea to train them with an attachment so they understand they have to run alongside the bike. It is also good to have them on a harness rather than a collar as this is more comfortable for the dog and you have more control over where they go. Try cycling with them slowly so they can get used to being close to the bike, turning as you go.
Tip 3: As with any sort of dog training you need to associate the activity with positive reinforcement. Its highly recommended that you give your dog a treat whilst getting them used to being around the bike through to actually riding with them attached. By doing this you can speed up the training and have a higher potential of being successful.
Tip 4: As mentioned earlier you cannot 100% predict what your dog will do, so its important to make sure they don’t make any sudden stops unless you are prepared for it. Toilet breaks are one issue you may have to contend with, so its a good idea to try and get them to go to the toilet before riding your bike. Its not always ideal but if you haven’t been able to make them go before riding you should take a couple of breaks during your ride to allow them to go to the toilet. If you don’t let them go to the toilet you may cause them to change direction when they suddenly sniff out that perfect toilet patch.
Tip 5: By biking with your dog you will soon discover yourself going further than you usually would when walking. Your dog is most likely going to be able to travel long distances depending on breed and a dogs endurance is a lot more advanced than our own. Despite your pooch being able to match the distance your travelling its important to keep them hydrated especially on a warm day. Try taking a collapsible drinking bowl and a large bottle of water, you can get bags that attach to your bike allowing you to carry more supplies with you.
Tip 6: As long as you and your dog understand each other you can successfully ride your bike safely. Teaching your dog to heel or slow down can be very helpful when riding your bike with your dog. The leave command can also help you in a situation when your dog looks like they want to go and say hello to someone, lets face it the last thing you need is your dog pulling you sideways whilst biking. Reading your dogs energy levels is one of the most important parts of cycling with a dog, it allows you to slow yourself down or head home if your dog is looking tired, remember its as much an activity for them as it is for you. If you unsure about how much exercise you should be giving your pooch then take a look at out post on “How much exercise does a dog need”
What to use when biking with a dog
As you can imagine from reading this post there are many things to consider and one thing in particular is the equipment your using. Making sure you choose the right equipment for you and your dog is important for keeping you both safe while biking.
- Something important to consider when biking with your dog is your weight comparison. Larger dogs will weigh a fair amount and any side motion can cause your bike to deviate from the path potentially harming both you and your dog. The amount of difference in weight will be a judgement call for yourself to make but having a significant amount of weight compared to your dog will give you lots more control while biking. Its possible to use something like biking bags to counter act your dogs weight, in the event they do deviate slightly.
- Using a sturdy leash built for the size of dog you are riding with and a good quality harness to keep your dog comfortable and yourself in full control of your pooch. “WalkyDog” are a well known brand for bike dog leash attachments. They are designed so that you can keep both hands on the handlebars and are easy to install onto every kind of bike. A strong harness made for hiking, that offers support to you dog is vital if your planning on travelling far. The best kind of harness will have a ring attachment on the back and is the only safe way to attach your dog while riding a bike. Take a look at this post on some of the best dog harnesses for hiking.
- Using the right kind of bike can help you to enjoy the experience of biking with a dog. Its best to use a mountain bike or one with a large tyre as slight side motion on road bikes can easily cause a crash due to their thinner tyres. Road bikes are built for speed and this is something you should probably be avoiding as it increases the chances of injuring your dog.
- Wear a helmet!!! this is so important and something so many people forget to do, or just don’t seem to want to. If your thinking of going biking with your dog and not wearing helmet then think about what would happen to your dog if you come off your bike and knock yourself out. Helmets are fairly inexpensive for the job they do, i mean i wonder how much you would pay to save your life.
- Hydration is another subject people often forget and especially when biking with your dog. You have to remember that although you are still exercising and will need a drink your dog is actually running the whole way so the amount of water they will need is a lot more than your own. Buy a collapsible water bowl and a good quality bottle to fill up.
- If you don’t want to have your dog running next to you or your pooch is not built for that kind of activity don’t despair. Purchasing a good quality dog trailer is something you can dog or even a basket that can attach to the front of your bike.
So there you have it some advice on how to go biking with your dog. Lots of this subject seems like common sense but in the moment people can tend to forget about safety. Its always best to start something like riding a bike with your dog, slowly and ease them in, the more associated they are with the bike the safer it will be to go riding together. Practice makes perfect but its also about enjoying the activity otherwise what is the point in doing it. Dogs love to run a biking is a great way for people to get out and about with their dog. If you have enjoyed this post check out our website for some more great content on walking your dog and getting outdoors with them.