If you happen to a be dog owner whose pet is fast, smart and well-trained enough to run beside your bicycle off-leash while you’re out for a spin, I applaud you. My dog is slow, dim and easily distracted — stopping frequently to sniff other dogs, discarted food or, occasionally, nothing at all. So for summer bike trips my terrier is plunked into a bike seat and given a firsthand view of the ride. With a stop off at the dog park, of course.
Here’s a look at some of the best bike seats to take your dog along for your next ride. Enjoy!
I did a product review two years ago with CTV News on this B.C.-made bicycle seat made specifically for smaller dogs. The ad looked hilarious and the inventor, a volunteer fire chief on Vancouver Island, was about to pitch the product on CBC Dragon’s Den in hopes of getting some big name backing — and money — to launch the product. They didn’t take his pitch but his business has been booming. The Buddyrider is now being distributed in the US, UK, Finland and will soon be in Australia and New Zealand.
Unlike other bike seats for dogs, the Buddyrider attaches on the centre bar between the seat and the handlebars — keeping the centre of gravity and the extra weight between the wheels. It also means it’s stable and easy to control, much more than a basket that’s attached to the handlebars. It has two sets of buckles to make sure your dog doesn’t jump out. Plus, it’s totally awesome. I’ve been using the Buddyrider to take my 17-pound dog for bike rides for two years and literally every time I’m on my bike someone stops me to ask about it.
Yours truly cruising on the Buddyrider with my dog Murph (Image: Fur Portraits)
You can buy the Buddyrider online, and it’s also available through the fabulous Bone & Bowl pet shop in Olympic Village. Perfect for dogs up to 26 pounds. It also has an padded insert if your dog is very small.
While the Buddyrider caters to smaller dogs, there’s no size limit on dogs you can put into a trailer. Simon’s Bike Shop on Robson Street carries an assortment of Burley trailers that will still let you enjoy your ride, no matter how much weight you’re hauling.
These trailers aren’t cheap — some are $500 — but they’re sturdy. One of the best is the Burley Tail Wagon, which can be adjusted depending on the size of your dog. It features a flip-down tailgate for quick loading and a suspended, removable floor for easy cleaning. There are rollaway vinyl windows so your dog can see out, and lots of venting to keep them cool.
The Burley Tail Wagon in action
The trailer has a hitch to hook to the back of your bike. It doesn’t affect the handling behind the wheel, but the added weight is going to hurt your acceleration, depending on the size of your dog. And, just like pulling a trailer behind your car, you need to have a wider berth when it comes to turns. To be honest, you can find a cheaper product on the market, but the reviews won’t be as good. In this case, I think you really get what you pay for.
Simon’s Bike Shop: 608 Robson Street
Front and rear baskets
Obviously, bike baskets are meant for smaller dogs. A front loader will fit dogs up to about 15 pounds, while rear baskets can fit a much larger dog — up to about 30 to 40 pounds (although I think 40 would be pushing it a little).
JV Bike has a bunch of great baskets. Some even have covers in place so that your dog will stay in the seat and won’t jump out. They also have quick release springs on either side. Staff tell me that front bike seats are more stable than the ones that mount on the rear, although if you have a jumpy or hyper dog be sure to keep a firm hold on those handlebars.
The QR dual-function premium pet basket
One of the most popular ones is the QR dual-function premium pet basket. It’s strong — made of reinforced steel —and will hold up in the elements. It can be mounted on either the handlebar or a pannier rack — and has an adjustable tether leash to prevent jumping. Plus, it looks cool.
JV Bike: 955 Expo Blvd. Vancouver