Cool products for four-legged cyclists

Bike Tow Leash

By Matt Kasprzyk

There are a handful of products on the market that help facilitate riding with your four-legged friend. However, most cycling dog leashes create several potential risks for you and your companion while riding—tipping or crashing, jerking, tangling, interference with pedals, and the risk of running over the dog. There’s also the problem of installation.

Upon receiving the $146 Bike Tow Leash, I was pretty skeptical. My dog is on the lower side of the 20-185lb. recommended size range (Royal Zero the Zombie Killer is a 1-1/2-year-old, 25lb. Shiba Inu), and having no experience riding with him yet, I wasn’t sure if this was a good idea. But it seemed like a good gateway since I have aspirations of eventually mountain biking with him. Unlike other popular bike dog leashes, the Bike Tow Leash mounts near your rear axle and dropouts. This low mounting point helps prevent tipping or lateral pulling from the dog. I noticed no tugging while riding, but results may vary given a larger dog and/or smaller rider. The leash installed easily without tools on almost all of the bikes taking over my dining room, including hardtail mountain bikes, road and cyclocross bikes. Full suspension mountain bikes are the only ones that created any conflict.

What I found most impressive is the ability of the leash to keep the dog away from the bike, with enough flexibility to avoid small obstacles and adjust position. There’s a flexible joint between the mounting bracket and the rigid arm. The arm extends away from the bike far enough to prevent the dog from getting tangled, both to the side and rear. The leash end is a few inches of braided nylon, and combined with the flexible joint, allowed enough pliancy to adjust to my dog’s height. Using a wide cinchstyle training collar, the leash worked just as intended. It safely kept my dog in a proper heel position to the side of the bike. I was able to easily observe his condition and position while riding, and even after Zero abruptly stopped a few times to relieve himself, he didn’t get tangled with the bike or injured. With a larger dog you may even notice some pedal assist. Most importantly, my dog loves it. I have safely used the Bike Tow Leash on a variety of bike paths, cinder trails, and wide gravel roads, but I can’t recommend it for narrow singletrack trails. For your safety and your dog’s, use discretion. Made in U.S.A.

Cycle Dog Latch Lock Collar

By Josh Patterson

Cycle Dog is the brainchild of Lanette Fidrych and her two yellow labs. As a cyclist, Fidrych was looking for ways to reuse old inner tubes. She found a second life for them as leashes and collars. Since rubber stretches, and tubes only come in boring black, a colorful non-stretch nylon is sewn on the outside. As the name implies, the $25 Latch-Lock collar uses an easy-to-use airline-style buckle. It comes in medium and large sizes; the medium is adjustable from 12” to 21” and the large from 17” to 27”. (Sorry, no option for pocket-sized pooches.) The medium was a perfect fit for Toby, my 50lb. border collie/pointer mix. In addition to keeping inner tubes out of landfills, the rubber construction keeps odor to a minimum. On top of that, this is the only collar my dog will happily wear and not scratch at. But the pièce de résistance is the D-ring for attaching the leash and tags. It doubles as a bottle opener! Pretty nifty. Now if I could teach him to fetch me a beer… Handmade in Portland, Oregon by a lady who loves dogs and bikes.
 

 

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