Many cyclists look for ways to include their dog in their bike experience. For some with small dogs, it's carrying them along. We have seen people use a pannier, a crate, a wagon, a basket, a trailer, and even build an entire bike specifically for dog portage.
For others with large dogs the hope is to provide a way for man and man's best friend to enjoy the experience together. Some have mixed feelings about what is referred to as bikejoring, however dogs engaged in such activity typically look extraordinarily happy. Two products we have covered in the past for the more recreational minded were the WalkyDog and the Springer. One reader submitted their own DIY version of such a manufactured product as well.
The latest submission of such a product seems to be a mix of what we have seen to date. The TugNTow appears to be a product that mixes bikejoring and a leisurely ride together. We received the following submission and picture. Reader comments, rants, user experience, thoughts are welcome. I know there are some out there who think attaching a dog to a bike is abusive and/or dangerous, others think it is the greatest thing ever.
Me? As long as a dog is on a leash when I am on a bike path, I am happy. Just the other day a pedestrian had no leash on her dog and in the span of a few seconds two bike accidents almost occurred in which both the dog and cyclist would not have escaped without harm. The pedestrian had her headphones on and was obliviously walking along with the dog-less leash just dangling from her hand. I am sure she thought she was doing right for her dog, but she most definitely was selfish and ignorant. But I'll try to hide my true feelings =)
I will say I have a few scars on my body due to having my 100 pound, extremely energetic Labrador Retriever pull me on a skateboard when I was a kid. And no, in those days we did not wear helmets and most parents just shrugged and said we were kids being kids as we dog skitched down the street.
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The TugNTow is high strength recoiling leash for your bike. It allows your dog the freedom to run with you on a 7ft leash while keeping the line out of your bike tire.
It provides graduated resistance (the line gets harder to pull as more line is pulled out). This allows the rider to balance with their dog in a fluid way where the are no supprise jerks at the line.
The TugNTow also makes a slight noise and vibration as the line goes in or out to keep the rider aware of the line at all times. In addition the line can be changed so there is no need to buy another unit when the line wears out.
I grew up with a Golden Lab who loved to go for car rides. I am sure she would have enjoyed this set up, sent to us by reader Stephen.
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I was able to rig a modern trailer to an old English bike to toe my dog in. The trailer didn't fit an old bike so I had to alter the hitch. These are pictures of Me and my mini schnauzer Jack.
The bike I am riding is one of my vintage three speeds. It is a 1963 Phillips with the original generator driven by the rear tire. Someone didn't know what they had and donated it to the Salvation army in mint condition. A friend of mine noticed it and rescued it for me.
Reader Jorge contacted us and stated that he likes to write and has a bike. He built his bike from scratch and writes about his rationale in choosing his build and shares some of his hacks. Enjoy!
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Hi. This is my bicycle. It rocks. I'll tell you some of the reasons why... and share a handful of my very own bike-hacks.
First. Well, it's a bicycle, right? If you are reading this you already know... I hardly need mention that a bike can be an object of respect and lust; both sexy and utilitarian, sleek and rugged, and above all, it can be a tool that bestows on its user many great powers… powers that are just a few watts shy of super-powers. We may not fly. But we can bunny-hop. We may not be able to dead-lift one car to save a baby. But we can pass a dozen as they slog toward a traffic light. And while we are at it, we can make funny faces at the occasional back-facing baby.
I built my bike from scratch and christened her Golondrina. It’s Spanish for swallow (the bird, not the verb)… It comes from this famous old Mexican song in which the author considers the little black migratory bird and wonders longingly “where could she be heading, so fast and exhausted?” That seemed like a good motto for my new bike… and I upon it. They know not where, but go fast and exhausted!
When I moved to California last year, I found myself temporarily in urgent need of a means to commute 6 miles to work until my truck and motorcycle arrived from Rhode Island. A bicycle might do the trick. Since I already owned two bicycles (also, for the time being, on the wrong coast) I wanted to keep my investment cheap bordering on disposable while hoping to avoid the Walmart look. For $150 I got my hands on a used fixie.... It came with cyclo-crossish tires, which urged me to venture out on the dirt, and soon I was loving all the new found trails, and my new found lungs... and the cheaply made crank-set was falling apart, and the wheels were showing signs of irreparable damage. So I decided that I would build myself a new bike.
This would be the first time I built a bicycle, and I decided it should be the last. What I mean is that when you get to select every bit of bike... from stem to rear hub, from spokes to handlebar tape, you have time to think… what is it that matters to you?
My own answer was easy: durability… toughness, resilience, permanence, if at all possible (without going into Titanic territory) indestructibility. My new bike – I decided before I tightened the first nut – should be built to be my last bike.
I’m not that original. I got the idea for my project from reading the book “It’s all about the Bike” (http://www.robpenn.net) in which the author lovingly describes the process of building his dream bike. By the way, I am in no way affiliated with him. But as a fellow lover of the bicycle, I wish him well. May he sell lots of books! At any rate, I suspect other self-described bike-hackers will probably enjoy the read as much as I did.
Anyway, as I was saying: durability. This to me meant two things.
Number one. Stainless steel. Wherever possible. Frame. Crank-set. Chain-ring. Cog. Spokes. Hubs. Even my water bottle is stainless. But it’s not a perfect world so, if something must be aluminum (rims and handlebar), then double walled, reinforced, and extra thick, if you please.
My stainless steel frame is a Surly 1x1. So, you never heard of a Surly? Well, a year ago, neither had I. But once I heard about them, I started hearing more… like, check this one out, a Surly on its way to the South Pole.
Number two. Simplicity. Simplicity is awesome. Simplicity means there are few things that can break. Simplicity means that, should you somehow contrive to break one of them things anyway (because, like, you were careless, and dropped your bike from the third floor window) you can probably fix it with a crescent wrench and a hammer.
And what – dear reader – is simpler than a fixed gear bike? (except perhaps a unicycle) No gears. No derailleurs. No brakes (optional). And thus, no cables. Not even a freewheeling rear hub!
So, you say a fixie is not your cup of tea? Fine. But I'll tell you something, I have ridden bikes for 30 years. I rode my first fixie only this year... and I’m never going back to gears. Maybe it’s a midlife crisis thing… trying to hipsterify myself at 40. But whatever the cause, it got me to fall in love with pedaling, all over again. I can't quite explain it, but if you are fixie-curious, just give it a shot... you'll see what I mean.
Fine, you say, a fixie may be good enough if you intend out of it nothing more consequential than strolling harmlessly about the neighborhood. Or even (if you dare), doing crazy brake-less street tricks. But a single gear is not for serious long-distance bicycling. Ah. Yes. Well. They forgot to tell this guy riding to Everest on a single speed.
It took me a few months to build Golondrina: the bike that is good for everything, if you intend everything to be hard. On any kind of a long descent, my legs turn to blenders. On any respectable climb, I find myself standing, cursing, vein-a-popping, grunting, snarling, and inexorably, walking.
And yet somehow... I've never once missed my old gears! Especially when I'm pedaling alongside my wife... her steed clinking and clanking and chain-skipping, while Golondrina hums along in perfect stealth silence.
Ah. But is seems I've gone astray and written way long, and I haven't mentioned a single hack. So let me... um, change gears, and share with you my humble contributions to the universe of bike-hacking.
Browsing through the bike isle at REI I came upon my answer. A little (stainless steel) “incredibell”. It fit perfectly (well, kind off) in the hollow space where the rear-brake lever used to be. And there was even (arguably), a certain logic to the unusual arrangement: should I find myself about to rear-end some unfortunate pedestrian, I have two options: a) slam the front brake and probably flip rear-hub-over-head, or b) give them a courtesy “ding-ding!”
2. I don’t know why, but the mounts that came with my fenders, did not hold the fender close enough to the tire. This looks goofy, and probably defeats the point. So, I provided a solid but flexible mounting point for my rear fender using a wine-cork, 2 zip-ties, and an appropriately sized doohikie (I used a plastic dry-wall anchor, I’m sure a pen-cap would work fine). See Figure A for a better explanation.
3 & 4. I provided additional solid but flexible mounting points for my front and rear fender using pieces of braid-reinforced hydraulic hose like the one shown in Figure B. I simply bolts (stainless steel) with nuts and washers to attach the fender to a cut-to-fit length of hose.
5. I mounted my trailer hitch (for towing two hooting monkeys… aka my offspring) onto the rear disc-brake mount (where, as previously discussed, no brakes will ever live). My axle bolt was not long enough to engage all the threads of the trailer hitch nut… and I’d be damned if I was going to mess with that rear wheel after I spent several hours lovingly threading each spoke myself!
6. After a brief and terrifying experience wherein my right shoelaces were chewed in one side of the chain ring and spat out the other (while my ankle bent in an unusual direction)… I came up with this one. Both ends of my shoe-laces now come out on the “outboard” side of my shoes. When thus tied, my shoelaces are less inclined to ever want to kill me again.
7. A few yards of camouflage gorilla tape, wrapped around my top-tube… Why? Because you never know when the zombie apocalypse is going to hit… and if you don’t have some duct tape handy, your chances of survival are significantly reduced!
8. Presta or Schrader? Yes. Figure C shows a Presta valve with a Schrader adaptor. This way I get all the pros (Presta is easier to hand-pump and the small diameter penetration through the rim means… you got it, durability. But of course, Schrader is in every gas station, ready to do my bidding) none of the cons (All my life, I kept breaking the stupid lock-nut doohikies on Presta valves… maybe I’m a slow learner).
My bike rocks.
And so (I’m sure) does yours.
Out of The Netherlands comes the Feetz TriBike. This cycle was created by Dutch designer Lennart Vissern with one idea in mind: shopping on a bike with a child. With a quick and smooth fold it transforms from a regular bike to a shopping cart. It also has 5 gears and weighs 62lbs (28kg) and comes with a 5 year warranty.
It can also transform into a baby carriage! This cycle offers the same benefits as the Taga, but with a different design.
Photo credit goes to Feetz
The Netherlands is the dizzle.
Reader Joyce sent some haiku for our Fix it Sticks contest, and out of our exchange came a great hack for kids, what she calls the Pony Bike. Full credit to Joyce for text and pictures. Yeeeeehawwwww!
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The pony bike came from a sweet early 90's Cannondale MTB that we picked up on Craigslist specifically to become an Xtracycle. We installed the Xtracycle Free Radical attachment to make it longer, and then made the pony top out of wood (plywood and an old 2x12 scrap for the head and rump) and foot rests out of copper pipe. The handles on the front back rest are cabinet hardware. We learned brazing copper on that project, so then we could use our skills in installing a solar hot water heater the next year. :D
My kids (now 8), helped more with the Yuba, which I bought last summer; they painted the monarch wings from a picture and helped make the butterfly body out of plywood and another 2x12 scrap. :)
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Reader LuMax has at least three things going for him -
1) He likes to sip frosty beverages outside
2) He cruises on his bike to places where he can sip said beverages
3) He is a very patient person
Evidence of #3 can be found in the fact that LuMax sent his hack along to me some time ago, and it got buried under my life. However, he patiently waited and sent me a follow up email. After feeling guilty for a little while, I soothed the emotional pain with a frosty beverage and then got to posting.
Some of the best hacks are when you can take a product and modify it, while keeping somewhat true to the original intent. LuMax took this used Burley he found on Craig's List . . .
. . . and turned it into this bad ass beer hauling trailer.
Dogs and biking also go well together as evidenced by the sheer joy of the dogs in the hand crafted basket.
The whole themed set up is super sweet, and as noted, the basket was made from scratch, and even has an 8 ball light on the front.
All the steps and gory details can be found in a series of awesome entries LuMax posted on BikeForums.net. Thanks LuMax! And for others who have submitted ideas that have yet to get posted, keep hope alive, and bug me if you feel like it =)
Back in July of 2011 reader Juan Pablo from Buenos Aires sent us a bunch of great photos of a bike sidecar he developed. He has sought to improve his original idea and has a whole web page dedicated to his efforts. Here is a sweet diagram he posted -
And the pictures of the final product are a thing of beauty.
Biking is sometimes so much fun it simply cannot be contained one person. Reader Emily wanted to transport her boys via bike and with some BikeHacks.com inspiration came up with her own passenger hack. All pictures and text credited to Emily.
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This hack was set into motion after I came across a picture of a Yuba cargo bike and instantly fell in love. I really liked the idea of the seat on the cargo rack and thought it would be perfect solution for taking my youngest son to and from preschool, which is less than a mile away. Unfortunately, the price of the Yuba was a bit too much, so I went to work on a cheap alternative. After digging through through the Bike Hacks archives I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted our junior bike seat to look.
I ordered a bike rack rated for 100lbs+ and once my husband made sure it fit (sadly, it didn't fit my bike, but luckily it fit his), I set to work on the cushion. The cushion was made entirely of items found around the house: a cutting board from the boat we no longer own, foam padding from an old life jacket, straps & buckles from an old sleeping bag (which secure the seat to the rack and create a handle), and a scrap of vinyl from my sewing stash.
Saddle up for a BikeHacks.com classic written, and performed, by Brendon.
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I've been disenchanted with our old generic bike trailer's hitch. It's a clamp-style hitch that's a total PITA to get tight. I was ogling used Burley trailers when I started wondering whether I could hack my own Burley-style hitch onto my old generic trailer.
The way the trailer hitched onto a bike always bugged me. The clamp tends to slip if you don't really crank on it. I actually wear gloves when turning the crank handle, just to get it on there so it doesn't move. It moved once on me while I was riding and one of the clamps slid into my disc brake. The brake cut through the rubber, and into the aluminum of the clamp. Ouch. I've kinda been done with that clamp since then.
The other day I was browsing Craigslist and ogling some Burley trailers. Nice trailers. As I stared at them, I thought the trailer body tubing looked familiar. So I started digging around the web, looking for how Burley hitches work. What I learned led me to this little bike trailer hack.
Rather than spending a couple hundred bucks on another used trailer, I spent $20 on a couple of parts and hacked a new hitch for the trailer (okay, in truth I spent $60 because my bike has breezer-style dropouts and I needed some special doo-dad to accommodate 'em.
Anyway, instead of pictures, this time I made a little video that shows the hitch bits and, I think, adequately demonstrates my dorkiness. Enjoy.