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Bikejoring With Dogs 101: What Is It, Gear & FAQ

Written by: Kerry-Ann Kerr

Last Updated on May 21, 2024 by Dogster Team

Bikejoring with Husky dogs

Bikejoring With Dogs 101: What Is It, Gear & FAQ

If you and your dog are fit, adventurous, love to run, and are searching for a new activity to enjoy together, bikejoring might be the thing for you. But what is it exactly? Bikejoring is a sport designed for medium to large dogs where they pull a bike attached to bikejoring lines. In its infancy, sled dog racers created it because they needed a way to maintain and keep up their dog’s training outside of the snowy winter months. It’s well-established in Europe and is growing in popularity in the United States. But let’s take a look at it in more detail so you can decide if this is the next big adventure you will share with your dog.

divider-pawHow Does It Work?

A team in the bikejoring world consists of a rider along with one or two dogs that will pull in front of the bike. They are attached to the mountain bike using bikejoring lines and a bike attachment. These competitions generally take place off-road on soft dirt trails that are free of problematic obstacles. To allow the competitors to navigate the course without worrying about anyone being in their way, most of the races involve individual time trials.

You will need to invest in the proper equipment for this activity because your dog can’t wear a traditional collar or harness. A special bikejoring harness will allow your dog to breathe freely while also pulling the bike comfortably. The bikejoring lines will also be necessary to prevent sharp tugs that could cause you or your dog discomfort.

Dog Bike
Image By: JumpStory

What Gear Will You Need?

Most obviously, you’ll need a mountain bike, and it doesn’t need to be anything flashy as long as it has a solid frame and reliable brakes. Your dog will need the bikejoring harness we mentioned to ensure they don’t get injured because it distributes the weight more effectively than a standard harness. When you cycle or even run with your dog, you should never attach the leash directly to their collar because it will put a lot of pressure on their throats. Lastly, you’ll need a rigid attachment for your bike, which will prevent the leash from tangling in the bike’s wheels.

You’ll also need to take the time to find a trail that works for you. Remember, you won’t be the only one on this trail, so you’ll need to be considerate of other trail users, and your dog will need to be under control at all times and well-mannered.

divider-dog pawThe 4 Traits to Look For in Your Dog if You Want to Start Bikejoring

Dogs that are fit, powerful, confident, and love to run make the perfect bikejoring athletes. If your dog is reactive and nervous, it could be a recipe for disaster. When picking a partner for bikejoring, look for these traits.

1. Strength

Pulling the weight of a bicycle and rider, even if it’s for short periods, will tire out light, small, unfit dogs. Dogs considered to be fit for bikejoring are naturally on the larger side but, at the same time, have lean as opposed to bulky muscles.

doberman and german shepherd running
Image By: Best dog photo, Shutterstock

2. Agility

Being outside is unpredictable. If you’re on forest tracks or dirt trails, you and your dog must be adept at navigating rough, uneven terrain at speed. So, your dog will need to be quick and agile to keep up with the landscape.


3. Endurance

Your dog will need the stamina to finish, and at the very least, it will need to be able to cover challenging terrain without injuring itself. A breed that can do this with less rest time or exertion is ideal.

happy dog running in the park
Image By: JumpStory

4. Health

Bikejoring is impractical if your dog isn’t healthy; it shouldn’t have any conditions that increase the chance of injuries during extended periods of exertion. Bikejoring is inappropriate for young dogs, smaller breeds, or seniors with mobility problems. A visit with your veterinarian before you start is a sensible approach.

Examples of good breeds to use for bikejoring are:

divider-dog paw

Advantages of Bikejoring

Bikejoring is a wonderful way to get out and bond with your dog. It will improve your health and your dog’s—mentally and physically. Dogs that don’t get out enough and exercise are prone to putting on weight.

And after a good, hard day out together, you’re both going to sleep well that night! You can also both enter competitions, which is fun and a good way to get out and meet like-minded people.

Dog Bike
Image By: JumpStory

Disadvantages of Bikejoring

Many disadvantages to taking your dog bikejoring center around how prepared you are. Not only will you need to buy equipment, which is expensive, but you will also need to take the time to learn how to use it, and you will need to put in some training time with your dog beforehand. If you take on this activity and aren’t prepared, you could cause injury to yourself, your dog, or other people using the trail.

divider-dog pawFrequently Asked Questions

Can I Bring My Kid Along?

Bikejoring is safer than having your dog run alongside you because if the dog gets distracted and goes in a different direction, you could lose your grip on the leash or end up being flung from your bike, which could injure your child. Bikejoring is entirely safe if your dog is fully trained. It is also safe for children of a responsible age, but it’s recommended that you start your kid with a scooter to see how equipped they are to give your dog firm, clear commands and steer simultaneously.

I’d Like to Try Bikejoring, How Do I Get Started?

A good place to start is to find a local club where you can get guidance and support from experienced bikejoring enthusiasts. However, as it is a growing sport, you might not be lucky enough to find a club nearby. However, you can connect with other riders through social media. You can also learn about the competitive side of bikejoring through the United States Federation of Sleddog Sports.

divider-pawIn Conclusion

Bikejoring is an excellent sport if you have a high-energy dog and want to provide more exercise. It’s designed for medium to large dogs that are healthy and fit enough to pull a bike. Make sure you take the time to prepare before going out and speak with your vet first to make sure your dog will be up for this. And if this is something you both enjoy, you might even consider entering a competition to show off your dog’s skills!


Featured Image Credit: travelarium.ph, Shutterstock

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