I first got the idea to ride my bike with Drake after seeing a man riding with his lab in the mornings. How wonderful, I thought, it would be to burn some of Drake’s energy in the morning, without me totally breaking a sweat before I leave for work. I had mastered cruising on my rollerblades with Drake, so how hard could it possibly be?
The answer is hard . Very hard.
Long story short, after countless fails and falls, I’m hoping that you can learn from my mistakes! Here are some tips before you start pedaling those wheels with your pup!
Introducing your pup to the bike
I know this sounds silly, but some dogs (not all) are afraid of bikes. Not just seeing it, but running alongside of it. Imagine you running next to a big eighteen wheeler. Kind of scary, right? Trust me, I learned this the hard way. I tried to immediately jump on the bike and start cruising with Drake… Well, you can guess what happened.
So, a few bruises later, I backed up a few steps and started walking with the bike and Drake. I had the bike on my right side, me in the middle and Drake on the left side.
Getting ready for your first ride
First things first, find a good open area. A place that is not too busy with traffic or with other people and dogs. I chose a park with a wide bike trail on a gloomy day (knowing that very few people would be out).
Loose leash- I have learned through trial and error that it is best to hold the leash in your hand, rather than wrapped around your wrist (see picture below). Although you hope that your dog doesn’t become distracted by surrounding things, like squirrels, it will save you from a painful fall when you have to suddenly release him because he has decided to chase after something.
**Note: obviously it is worth the fall if you are near busy traffic and your dog could be in danger if let loose. However, this is why I really stress being in a GOOD open area!
Left side- This is definitely a preference from the rider, but I ride with Drake on my left side so that my right hand can be holding onto the right handlebar (which controls the back breaks). I find to be more in control by stopping from the back, rather than the front of the bike. But again, this is up to the rider.
Riding with your fur ball
As you feel your pup is comfortable, or at least familiar with the bike, then it’s time to give it go!
Ease in- When you first begin, keep in mind that although you do not feel out of breath or that you are exerting yourself, your dog is! He is running, constantly, without pause at a faster pace than when you run with him. You need to ease your dog into the routine, don’t over do it in distance OR speed (you can’t be out to beat any bike marathon records). If you notice them slowing down, or any other signs of exhaustion, stop. Give them a break. You want your dog to see this as a fun activity that makes their tail wag, NOT something negative.
**Note: I never ride with Drake for no longer than 30 minutes, unless we take lots of pit stops.
Be aware- Like I said before, make sure you are in a GOOD area. Check the ground that you are riding on. Typically an area with smooth (not too hot) cement or grass is best. Dog’s paw pads can blister upon hard impact just like your own feet can. Not to mention that dog’s have a very high pain tolerance, so they may not give you any signs of discomfort. Be sure to check your pups paws occasionally during, and at the conclusion of your ride.
Riding my bike with Drake is one of my favorite things to do!
I’m not going to lie, it took some time before we got the hang of it. However, if you’re determined, it really is perfect for a quick exercise when you’re in a time crunch or if you’re just looking for something to shake up your typical daily walk. If you follow these steps, I can’t guarantee that you won’t ever fall, but hopefully I will have saved you from as many as I’ve had!