Thursday, July 11, 2013

Have Hound, Will Travel

One of the things that can be....limiting about cycling around the U.S. is the ever-persistent attitude that bikes are largely for sporting purposes. Bikes designed for major cargo carrying purposes have only been appearing in the U.S. market in the last 10 years and our infrastructure has yet to catch up. So when it comes time to move things like kids, pets, and all their stuff, the options available can be limited.

Case in point - a while back I got a small dog, a now-16 lb Rat Terrier named Shiner.  I specifically wanted a smaller dog so he could accompany me on biking adventures.  But finding a suitable cargo solution has proved challenging.  Most of the options available, including the SleepyPod, dedicated dog baskets made by companies like Nantucket, and so on are really intended for pretty teeny dogs, not a small-but-stout little fellow like Shiner. The other usual choice is a trailer, however while I the Netherlands I had seen people simply throwing their dogs into large crates or baskets and didn't see a reason I couldn't reproduce that here.

Our glamorous volunteer.
So, this week, flush with a bit of extra spending money, I coughed up for a Lupine dog harness, and a good sized wicker basket from Linus Bikes. It all arrived in the mail this week, and excited, I've spent all afternoon getting basket attached to bike and dog into basket. I definitely will modify the setup as we go - for one thing, the generous size of my ass means Shiner is catching it right in the face when I hop on. He also catches no breeze in the back. So I'd really like to attach a front rack and move him up front. But for starters we're not bad, not bad indeed.

Here's our second attempt!  The first try, he jumped out of the basket and as he hung there, I could see the instant regret in his face. ".......Shit," he seemed to say. I put him back in the basket, told him to sit, and pedaled home. Our second try wasn't too bad, as you can see! All video-ing credit goes to the roommate. All in all, we're going to take short rides, right up until they become longer, and longer rides. We'll make adjustments as we go, but I cannot overstate my excitement at being able to take my little dog-bro for bike rides!  Hooray!

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