Is Bikejoring Right for You and Your Dog
If you have an active dog and are thinking of new and exciting adventures you can share with them, then bikejoring might be right up your alley. This dog sport originated in Europe and was developed to keep sled dogs in shape when there was no snow. Sled dog owners used bicycles and got their dogs to pull and train during warmer months.
The sport gained popularity and wasn’t only a way to keep sled dogs sharp. Eventually, the sport was named bikejoring. Not only is it popular in Europe, but the US competitors started developing interest in this sport. In the past 10 years, it grew and produced several impressive dog-human teams. Here is what you need to know about bikejoring.
How does this sport work?
This is not a sport for everybody. You have to be a daredevil and somewhat brave. The teams are made of one human and one or two dogs. Dogs are pulling the bicycle along a dirt road, and each individual time is measured.
The time measuring component is practical. Dogs don’t have to run next to each other, and the risk of injuries is a lot lower. The track is usually relatively flat, and there should be no obstacles dogs or riders should avoid. It is a pretty fast-moving sport, and not every dog owner will feel at home doing it.
What dogs or dog breeds can participate in bikejoring?
Dogs that love running will be ideal participants in bikejoring. They need to be athletic and powerful enough to pull a rider and a bike behind them. Sled dogs make excellent bikejoring competitors. They are focused, energetic, and used to pulling heavy loads.
One of the most important things is confidence. Dogs need to be confident and trust the rider completely. If you strap a nervous dog to a large bike, accidents can, and most likely will happen. Make sure your dog is comfortable enough to have you riding behind them on a large bike before you decide to join this exciting sport.
Sled or mushing dogs make outstanding bikejoring competitors. Here are some of the best bikejoring dog breeds;
- Siberian Husky
- Yakutian Laika
- Alaskan Malamute
- Canadian Eskimo Dog
- Karelian Bear Dog
Your dog doesn’t have to be a trained sled dog to be an active bikejoring competitor; any active breed strong enough to pull a rider on a bike can do it. Some dogs used for this sport that are non-sledding breeds are;
- Border Collies
What equipment will I need for bikejoring?
Most sports that include dogs will require quite a bit of equipment. Bikejoring is no exception. The first thing you will need is a mountain bike. That is what you will be riding while the dogs are pulling you down the bikejoring course. The second thing is a dog harness suitable for bikejoring. You’d want to avoid traditional collars and leashes because they put too much pressure on the dog’s throat, and the leash can quickly get tangled. The third thing you will need is a rigid attachment to the bike.
The last thing you will need is patience. There aren’t many suitable tracks where both dogs and bikes can run at a fast pace. Most trails are multi-purpose, so you will need patience and understanding towards other people on the trail. This is a sport that will require plenty of planning and quite a bit of equipment.
Where can I get started?
The best way to start is to do an online search for your local bikejoring clubs. There can be some close to you, which is probably an excellent way to learn the basics and ask for advice. However, this is a developing sport, so it is more likely you will not find a well-established club close to you. You can get on social media and start looking for people already involved in this sport.
For more information on the sport’s competitive side, you can go to the United States Federation of Sleddog Sports. Some associations like the Pacific Crest Trail Association or the Trail Dog Association of Arizona have bikejoring programs. It is the best way to start and look for further information about this developing sport.
World Dog Finder team