Biking with a V - Hungarian Vizsla Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-29-2010, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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Biking with a V

For those of us who love riding a bike, it's the best exercise out there for your V (and you)! I started doing it with my last dog, a chocolate lab mix, when she was a puppy. I tried one of those bike attachments, but didn't feel I had enough control, so I much prefer holding a leash. I did learn the hard way with my lab and took a couple of nasty spills, which taught me two lessons:
1) Don't get too close to any object, ie. street lights - you may find your V skirting around the back of your bike and pulling you down - HARD!
2) Watch her closely - is she looking for kitty cats? (She'll know where every cat lives after awhile and will watch for them). Hannah always wants to go with other cyclists that pass us :'( So, as soon as you see your dog's attention anywhere but straight ahead, give a command ("TCH," or "no cats" or whatever).
I trot/run Hannah everyday for about 2 miles, usually the same route (familiarity helps keep her on track). She's worn out when she gets home!
Hannah was 3 when we adopted her last Fall, and I started biking her very soon after. For safety, I started biking very slowly with her walking until she got used to it, then increased my speed as I felt I could trust her. Now she trots/runs between 8 and 12 mph. I use a Haltie for better control, and keep her to my left, slightly behind the front wheel of my bike. I've started using the command "place" to help keep her back so she doesn't get in the way of the front tire.
Regarding running on pavement, it's been no problem with Hannah - I guess her feet toughened up after awhile. My bike is a Trek hybrid, a cross between a road bike and a mtn. bike with straight handlebars. I love it because I can ride on and off road, but for Hannah, I stick to the streets. Anybody else bike your V? I'd love to hear your experiences.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-29-2010, 05:31 PM
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Re: Biking with a V

i started thread with similar title some months ago. i love mountain biking and couldnt wait to take Lulu with me. she is 1 year old and here are mine experiences from riding with her.
no leash, it could be dangerous for both, dog and rider. without leash, she keeps her own tempo and can go on forever, when i had her on leash, she would get uncomfortable and tried to slow down after a while. not saying that i was very uncomfortable too. i take her biking from our house to ball field almost every evening, through the neighborhood, she is very good at staying close to the bike, even when other dogs and birds are present. cant say she was like this from the beginning, but we worked on this and she id doing great now. when on mtb trail, she can not run along me because of narrow single track, and i am not forcing her to do so either. she keeps with me within 50' radius, runs back and forth and has her own kind of fun. it is good because on tech sections you dont really want to have dog anywhere close to the bike.
ah and yes, dont worry about her getting in your way, first couple of rubs against the wheel will tech them to stay away.

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-29-2010, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Biking with a V

I would SO love to bike Hannah off leash, but we live in the suburbs of Northern CA with strict leash laws, busy streets and an unreliable V at this point who prefers to follow her nose and/or chase whatever :. Someday...
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-29-2010, 06:17 PM
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Re: Biking with a V

dont give up, i was in the same position not too long ago, when lulu would chase anything that moves, even piece of paper blown by wind. right now she is not perfect as i would wish but much, much improved. concerning leash law, i pick less frequent trails when i go bike with her, or i go early in the morning.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-30-2010, 03:09 AM
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Re: Biking with a V

I also love to cycle! Cycle to work (32 miles RT) everyday. So... I also thought this would be a great way to exercise my V. So I invested in a bike leash for my 29er mountain bike that attaches close to the rear tire axle. It is very stable and I have had full control over "Bodhi" my very energetic V.



He is only 1.25 years old so I don't take him out often as I like his joints to mature. But we have been out on a few "test" runs and the bike leash has performed well.

Here is a link of a movie of us riding...

web browser quicktime format: http://www.ophale.com/bicycle/bike_leash.mov

iPad & iPhone format: http://www.ophale.com/bicycle/bike_leash.m4v


Perhaps one day Bodhi will become a "roadie". I'm positive he will be able to keep up, and probably "Drop" me. Until then, he just gets to watch me gear up and ride off.



_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/

Bodhi's Blog

http://www.ophale.com/bodhi_tales/

Vacation with Vizslas in Hawaii
http://www.ophale.com/

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-30-2010, 10:33 AM
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Re: Biking with a V

I'm intrigued by the bike leash. We also live in the suburbs with strict leash laws. Because she is such a good walker (with a harness) it wasn't hard to teach her to go along with the bike. The times we've gone we have stuck to the streets, however we have a fantastic, and popular, bike bath through the forest preserve by our house. I've hesitated taking her on it because she is trained to be always on my left side and that would put her close the middle of the path with bikers speeding by going the other direction. Seems risky.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-04-2010, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Biking with a V

Just wondering, Bodhi, is there a quick release on your bike leash setup? Did the harness come with it?
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-05-2010, 03:35 AM
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Re: Biking with a V

Short answer...

* No emergency quick release on the bike leash but it does have an easy to use solid brass snap hook quick release similar to what is on most dog leashes.

* The harness was purchased separately.

Long answer...

I researched the bike leashes available on the market (three types) and they all have their pluses and minuses. One type of bike leash (least expensive) attaches to the seat post and has an elastic cord to connect to the dog collar/harness. I liked the price but from an engineering point of view (I'm an engineer) the most stable location of the bike is a point close to the rear wheel where most of your weight will be when riding. I viewed having the bike leash attached the bikes high point (seat post) has the potential of making the ride very interesting with a strong dog breed like a Vizsla. Although this design would be orders of magnitude better than holding the leash in your hand while riding.

The second type of bike leash also attaches to the seat post or lower and has a U shape and a spring. This seams to be a smarter design. I like the idea of the emergency detachment safety feature but wondered if strong dog would break it if it was distracted by a mongoose (we have plenty of these in Hawaii).

The third design was the one I decided to purchase. This leash is made with a stiff tube with two flexible ends that attaches to a low point on the bike. I was sold on the low attachment point by the rear wheel. I also like the design feature of having a stiff PVC type tube between my rotating feet and the dog. The PVC tube is attached to flexible material which allows the dog to duck behind the bike if necessary but always keeping him at a safe distance from the bike. The bike leash needs to be attached to the left side (due to the chain and gears being on the right side, but if you can make it fit I can't see why you couldn't put it on the right side) which is nice to have the dog in the heal position, but it puts the dog in the middle of the bike path/road.

After using a bike leash for a bit with Bodhi, I'm glad I chose the third style of bike leash as it delivered on my perceived view of being stable while riding with him (or for that matter, talking to tons of people who are very interested in the concept while on the bike path, and being able to keep him from running off with the bike). However, I have never tried the other two designs, so I don't have any experience if my perceived views of those leashes would be correct in the field. In reality I don't think the emergency release is that big of a deal as we do navigate pass a few bollards but I cruise by slowly and Bodhi is very smart to not bolt on the other side of the obstacle.

Regardless of which bike leash you decide to invest in, you will make a lot of people smile and wave. It is such a novelty here that I can't seem to go very far without cars, bikers, or pedestrians wanting to ask me questions. Of course we also get lots "what a beautiful dog" comments too.

Finally, the bike leash you decide on getting may end up being driven by the bike you have. Some of the leashes may be problematic with the geometry of your bike and style of attachment clamp. So research carefully and consider your bike geometry and leash attachment point before buying.

Bike leashes:

WalkyDog http://www.thedogoutdoors.com/walkyd...ike-leash.html

Springer http://www.dog-training.com/springer.htm

1-Running-Dog Bike Leash http://www.thedogoutdoors.com/dog-bike-leash.html

Harness:

I really like the EzyDog Dog Harnesses. Its a great design and comes with a seat belt harness (which I ordered a second one to put in my other vehicle because it works so well). I use the harness to jog with in conjunction with the cujo leash (the cujo leash has shock absorbing stretch to minimize Bodhi from pulling my arm off when running past his girl friend Weimaraner). Anyway, you got to love a company who feature "V"s on their web site!

EzyDog http://www.ezydog.com

Quick note, I also purchased their DogStar Flying Disc and this is the first frisbee Bodhi has NOT been able to destroy in less than 24 hours (we have had it for approximately 4 months and it is as good as new, minus the dirty appearance) and it is his favorite toy to prance around the yard or have other dogs chase him at the park (including a few games of canine tough of war...)

I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any additional questions.


Lastly, I do not own stock or affiliated with any of the companies mentioned in this post, I'm just a satisfied customer.

_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/

Bodhi's Blog

http://www.ophale.com/bodhi_tales/

Vacation with Vizslas in Hawaii
http://www.ophale.com/

_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-05-2010, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Biking with a V

Thanks for all the info, Bodhi. Just want to mention how much I liked your blog with all the pix and movies of your V. Nice photography!
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 04-20-2011, 11:47 PM
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Re: Biking with a V

Thanks to this forum, I was able to research what I needed about biking with my Vizsla.

Moscow is five years old, and his primary exercise is from long distance hiking every weekend. After obtaining some pretty severe injuries, illnesses, and surgeries, my doctors recommended biking as therapy. The problem is that I couldn't justify any form of exercise that didn't involve Moscow. Thanks to your extremely informative post Bodhi, I was able to research the various attachments and the local bicycle shop helped me with my decision.

I went with the Springer attachment which I ordered off of Backcountry K-9 since they were the only ones with it in stock at the time. I also ordered a harness from them, and I can't seem to get it to fit Moscow properly.

Since this forum was so helpful to me with my research, I am going to post about my experiences with the Springer attachment, in case it can be of use to anyone else out there.

Moscow is used to being off leash on hikes, and he is a puller (shame on me for never being consistent with him about that), so the thought of biking with him leashed to my bike was very frightening. He also has no recall skills. :-[ The other thing I should mention is that Moscow is on the large end of the Vizsla size scale. In addition to hiking, he fetches logs that weigh over 40 lbs from fast moving water for fun. He has a lot of upper body strength which equates to extremely powerful pulling.

The Springer for the most part works very well. It attaches to the seat post, and loops down to connect to a very heavy duty spring. The spring holds a plastic piece that you loop and tie a rope through. The other end of the rope has a plastic hook that you connect to the harness. The first thing that worried me was the plastic on two very crucial parts of the contraption. Because I live in the city, and even parks are too close to roads, I really feared Moscow breaking loose because of the "safety" plastic. Having used the attachment for some time, I can confidently say that Moscow's weight and pulling alone will not stress either. Other parts seem to give before the plastic when experiencing heavy pulling. That said, I can totally see how each plastic piece would work in the event he whipped around a pole and needed to be loose quickly. This has never happened to me, as Moscow has understands the concept of poles and direction.

The attachment can go either on the right or the left depending on how you install it. I have mine on the right to keep him away from oncoming bikes. Passing becomes a problem if the person(s) in front of you don't know you have company. Because of this, I tend to call "Wide pass on left!" before passing. Small issue, but worth mentioning.

For the first ride, I really thought this was going to be impossible. I hadn't mounted the bike before attaching him, and he kept jumping the back wheel of the bike and going on the wrong side without a way to get back. With every pull, he was able to completely twist the bike. It wasn't until I pulled him (for the umpteenth time) to the right side again, that I mounted the bike, and then the stability was no longer an issue.

Once mounted and rolling, it took all of 30 seconds for him to get the point. He started going parallel to the bike at a slow and steady pace. It wasn't long before I felt comfortable enough to pick up the speed, and of course THAT'S when he decided to make for a sign post to pee on it. He yanked so hard outward that it twisted my seat about an inch to the right. The fast application of the brakes and the heavy yank on his harness was enough to make him yelp out and develop a healthy fear of wandering off. The bike seat is very tight, so I had to undo the seat clamp to put it back in position. It's hard to express how much force goes into his pulls. I have to say that despite that, I have not once felt like the bike was going to give or fall, or lose balance. Once again, with this attachment, there are a lot of places that give before you completely crash.

After that things went well again. We passed several signposts, and then another dog. The other dog was another challenge. This time, he hopped the back wheel again, causing him to drag a couple feet before I completely stopped. No yelping that time, and no visible injury. That was enough to teach him not to do that again. The real test came when a deer darted out in front of us. He LOVES to chase anything from squirrels to bears, so I nearly had a heart attack when I saw the deer. Fortunately he didn't see it that time, and the rest of the trip was a success. On subsequent trips he HAS seen the deer, and with verbal guidance, he continued at the regular pace. Somewhat counter-intuitive, I've found that speeding up when he sees something he wants to go after works much better than slowing down. It forces him to focus on keeping the pace.

Now that I've been using the Springer for a month, I can definitely say it works well. I don't have anything to compare to, but overall, I'm quite satisfied. The seat issue rarely happens now that he understands what happens when biking. Unfortunately for me, biking with Moscow is not improving my own training because he feels obligated to pull the bike forward. I find myself using the pedals infrequently. The best part about the whole thing is how much it wears him out. Biking for 20 minutes is worth 2 hours of jogging in worn out Vizsla currency. As I type this, he's passed at my feet. I'm looking at getting the EzyDog harness mentioned in Bodhi's post.

To summarize, here are the pros and cons (in general, not in comparison to other attachments):

Pros:
  • [li]Stability - I've never once felt like I was going to lose control of the bike despite even the most intense pulls.[/li]
    [li]Versatility - I can easily remove the attachment when I'm not using it. The clamp stays.[/li]
Cons:
  • [li]Risk of Injury to dog - With the Springer it is both possible for the dog to find a paw under the front wheel (hasn't happened to me yet - knock on wood) as well as behind the back wheel. [/li]
    [li]Seat movement - Extremely heavy pulling rotates the seat enough to be annoying when it happens.[/li]

And finally as a word of caution to any V owners out there hoping to start biking with their dog: DO NOT BIKE WITH A DOG UNDER THE AGE OF TWO. This method of exercise is extremely tiring to young developing joints. I was cautioned against simple basic jogging. Biking even at the lowest speeds is much more intense than jogging. It is probably okay for training in short sessions, but please resist the temptation to bike with a developing dog for any real length of time. My favorite method of exercise for V from puppyhood until two years old is swimming. It wears them out and puts very little stress on their joints.
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