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Dog Sports - What Is Bikejoring?

A Good Use For That Mountain Bike

Bikejoring by definition is a dry land activity that is similar to scootering or carting with your dog, however, is widely used to train sled dogs in the off season. This is another form of exercising involving mostly arctic breeds such as malamutes but can really encompass many different breeds of dog.

The exercise and the running is great. The dogs are taught some basic mushing commands and you are off "to the races". This sport involves having a harness on your dogs and a towline that connects them to the bicycle while you ride it. They run ahead of you connected to the towline and you pedal the bike. The outlay for equipment would be the bicycle (and most definitely a helmet and some elbow and knee pads (if not a full rubber suit or perhaps a bubble).

You also need the harness(es) and towline that you can purchase on-line under sledding equipment or bikejoring if you would like very professional ones. It is a great way to exercise malamutes or any high energy dogs; however, the athletic agility that is required is something to keep in mind. It can be a wonderful way to run your dog but it can also be a very dangerous one because the risk of falling to the human involved is great! Again though for someone very athletic, this is a great form of exercise not only for the human counterpart but for the dog as well!

In bikejoring, the most important points would be to know the area that you are planning to exercise in, i.e. the terrain, knowing the amount of traffic at the time you plan to exercise with your dogs and keeping your exercising to times when there are less people/less dogs - at least to start out with. Running on paved surfaces for long periods of time is not advisable because it can stress the dogs in terms of pads and limbs.

Training the dog(s) beforehand also is paramount to a good experience and especially learning the most important word - "whoa" or "stop" in some form. Oftentimes when there is a fall, the dog or dogs do not even know that their rider is missing or has fallen. They will usually keep running, usually with the bike in tow.

It would be best as well to start with one dog and work up to adding others until expertise at controlling one dog is assured. Once a malamute knows that there is pulling involved, he or she will literally rise to the occasion and seek to pull you as quickly and for as long as possible.

A good way to teach a malamute to pull a bike before you attempt it with them running full tilt is to have the dog harnessed and on the towline, then WALK the bike behind them teaching them a little at a time in terms of commands. Make clear what you expect. Standard mushing commands can be used or commands that you and the dog understand between you. It does not take long at all for them to master it. Again though, most important command - WHOA.

It can be a great form of exercise but the preparation and training beforehand is essential to a positive experience. The malamute will almost always have a positive experience, however, the training ensures that the human will also! It is a great sport only given the breed, speed and their total involvement, it can become quickly overwhelming for the novice especially if you fall and are covered in road rash. Always remember that there is roughly at least 100 pounds of torque PER DOG pulling you through space and have a healthy respect for that!


Photo: Wikipedia Bikejoring MWarnecke 

Bikejoring Points To Remember

  • Train your dog first by walking behind them with the bike and teach them commands
  • Purchase the best safety helmet you can afford and wear it at all times
  • Make sure your health insurance policy is up to date
  • Check your bike to make sure that it is in sound repair
  • Make sure you have purchased proper harnesses and towline for the sport
  • Wear clothing such as designed for biking to keep from tangling in the wheels
  • Teach basic commands to your dog(s) and make sure that they are capable of obeying
  • Never attach the towline to the handlebars
  • Do not run dogs for great lengths of time over paved surfaces
  • Give your dog(s) frequent water and potty breaks
  • Clean up after said potty breaks if necessary
  • Research this sport as any other before attempting
  • Carry a first-aid kit with you
  • Always let someone know where you are or have someone with you who can assist in the event of a crash or get help
  • Carry a cell phone

What A Ride!

Other Ideas

Resources and Equipment

Skijoring - The Winter Counterpart To This

Equipment On-Line

There Are Some Brave Folks Out There


Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on November 13, 2012:

Kaycie--It is easily taught--BUT you have to do the time mastering the commands first before I would suggest you go out and let the dog have its head. That is how people crash and burn--myself included. It's really important to start out with the dog in harness, teaching him or her the commands while walking the bike behind them--seeing how they respond/listen--and then when you feel that the dog is actually listening to can do it to your heart's content. I would guess that it would not take a husky more than a couple of outings walking behind the bike to "get" what you want. Good luck!

Kaycie on November 13, 2012:

I have a one and a half year old Husky mix who loves to run. Is this something that can be easily taught, or should I plan a few weeks of training before going out and attempting this?

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Kris Britt on February 29, 2012:

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Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on October 20, 2010:

Thanks, Caroline! It is a great sport.

Caroline on October 20, 2010:

Hi I read your page and found it very interesting, so much so I linked to it from my Squidoo page!

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on August 05, 2010:

Thanks so much for visiting, Wayne. This is unfortunately one of the only things I haven't tried with my mals as I'm a little worried I would be going sideways on the road WITHOUT the tires being upright and it would be an awfully ugly mess. Your dogs would no doubt do well with a little wagon and no rider - Cash Money pulling and Callie riding!

My older mal, Denaya actually would prefer to trot along and spend her time princess waving but unfortunately, once she is in harness, she has no choice really in the matter but to fly like the wind because the males have always outstripped her in size and length of stride! We actually have to hold Griffin back because he is too young yet to put full weight on him and I have a feeling she will be cursing us to the 9's when he finally gets to run full out this fall.

It is a wonderful sport - I seem to be a little enthusiastic about it - but any urban mushing really is a kick and a half....especially when you can keep from killing yourself as I have tried to do several times! My next purchase is a kick sled for this winter. I can't wait to try it out although I have a feeling there will be more humor hubs than serious!

Wayne Brown from Texas on August 05, 2010:

This was a really interesting article. I will probably have to be a spectator as my Yorkie, "Cash Money" thinks he is the size of a Malamut but pulling me around on the bike might change his mind. Oh, and it would not be just me, our Shih Tzu, "Callie", would be there in my arms. She would rather ride than walk...short legs! LOL. But, you drew a very clear picture of how to go about it in an orderly and safe fashion. And, you made me feel the excitement of doing it at the same time. Good write! WB

Audrey Kirchner (author) from Washington on November 03, 2009:

I checked out Oregon Bikejoring - I don't plan on DOING it but AWESOME! I've got a sequel coming up on what I plan on doing - I'm an old lady so have to play it safe(r).

Sly on November 03, 2009:

Google Oregon Bikejoring..

Carmen Borthwick from Maple Ridge, B.C. on October 29, 2009:

Interesting... I had never heard of this before today. Good hub and congrats on the nomination!

rmcrayne from San Antonio Texas on October 28, 2009:

Interesting, I'll give you that. I had a Mt bike accident that sidelined me for a year, and did it all by myself, so no thanks on dog-assist! This sport reminds me of a show I used to watch in when I was in Germany. I can't spell it, but phonetically it was something like Ah-shwhy-a, but I called it "Stupid and Suicidal Sports". Guess I'm not very adventurous! Congrats on your HubNuggets nomination.

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on October 25, 2009:

News Flash! This hub is a Hubnugget Wannabe! Click this link to see what the Hubnuggets Team has in store for you... Enjoy the Hubnuggets!

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