How to start bikejoring?

As you may have seen on social media, we recently added a new sport to our activity board: bikejoring. 

Bikejoring is a dryland mushing sport. It is like mushing, but on a bike. Like canicross, but on a bike. The most common form is bikejoring 1 or 2 dogs. But again, as there is a difference between jogging with your dog and canicross, there is a difference with biking with your dog and bikejoring.

Biking with your dog, you would have a dog attachment to your bike on the side. Bikejoring, the dog would be pulling the bike up front, and needs a specific mushing harness.

Equipment

To start bikejoring, you would need a bit of specific equipment. But once the initial investment done, you are ready for years of fun!

Bike: well that makes sense, you need a bike. However, I highly recommend a good mountain bike. Bikejoring is a sport that you would practice on trails. Just as I don’t recommend canicross on the asphalt for your dog’s paws and joints, bikejoring makes no exception. As you will bike on trails, there will be roots and rocks and branches on the ground, the trails may be muddy, so you will need good shocks and great brakes. That’s why I recommend a good mountain bike for bikejoring. 

Bikejoring support: you will then need a bikejoring support, which is the attachment to your bike. Some pros do it without, but as a beginner I highly recommend it. This is to prevent the bungee like to get tangled in your front wheel. Believe me, it happened to me once and I never ever want to go out without my bikejoring support ever again!

Harness: you need a specific harness for your dog, as he will be pulling the bike (with your help of course, don’t think you will have nothing to pedal). So your dog will need a mushing harness, which is the same as canicross, scooter, skijoring, and all kind of joring/mushing sports. The good news is that it is the same harness for all these sports, so once you get one, your dog is equipped for all of these activities!

Bungee line: you will need a different bungee line than for canicross, because this will be a longer one. For canicross you want your dog to be not too far from you. For bikejoring you want your dog to be far enough that you don’t hit him with your front wheel all the time. Ours is from Nahak Sports and is 2m long: https://www.nahaksports.com/en/produit/pro-bungee-line/

Backpack: this is just a recommendation, not mandatory. But I recommend to get a small biking backpack. It is light and compact, but allows you to keep your wallet, phone, keys with you. And you can also add a retractable dog bowl and a small bottle of water for your dog. Keeping your dog hydrated is really important, so you gotta make sure to have 2 bottles of water. One for you and one for your dog. So if you have one on your bike mount, you can carry an extra one in your backpack. 

How to start: Dog

It is very important that your dogs knows his mushing commands before starting bikejoring. When you canicross, it is easy to correct the dog with your hand, grab the bungee leash and put the dog back in the right direction, get him closer to you if any danger, or stop him. When you are on the bike, you will find it much more difficult to manoeuvre (I am speaking from experience).

Your dog will be further away from you, and it will not be easy to bend over your bike and grab the leash when needed. However, if your dog is solid on his mushing commands, it will be much more easier to enjoy safely. If you don’t like to run and don’t want to start with bikejoring, you can teach your dog the commands walking. Once your dog has strong mushing commands you can transition to bikejoring. 

How to start: Human

To do bikejoring, I highly recommend to be good at mountain bike. Not just bike, mountain bike. Again, I am speaking from experience. I chose to try bikejoring because of my knee injury. Biking would be easier on my knee than running. I used to be an average biker, haven’t done mountain bike since I was a kid but that’s okay. Well it’s harder than you think 🙂 if you aren’t 100% confident in the bike, it is hard to handle the dog at the same time. Bikejoring means that your dog does not want you to be scared of roots or hills. When we first went out bikejoring, Luna would do whatever she wants and I would follow as I was unable to handle her, because I was trying not to keep up on the bike. She would drag me wherever she wants, I came back home with many bruises. So I will be honest, and realize I am far from being good at mountain bike. Since it is the summer season now, we won’t do much with Luna because it is too hot anyway. Or if we do go out, JC would take her bikejoring, because he is much more confident at bike than me (again, himself admitted it is harder with the dog!). But I am willing and eager to learn. I chose bikejoring as I want to be able to share an activity with my dog despite my knee issues. I want to be able to go out with Luna and have an amazing time with her. So I will take this summer to learn how to mountain bike, and make sure to be confident enough to be able to handle Luna. I am actually participating in a mountain bike course organized by our local conservation area next weekend!

That’s pretty much all you need to know about bikejoring! Do you have any questions? Anything we did not talk about in this post that you would like to know more about? The most important to keep in mind, is that you don’t need to be a pro to start bikejoring. As everything, it comes with training, and if you have the motivation, you will succeed! It’s all about having fun with our pups!! And getting them tired enough so they sleep the rest of the day, let’s be honest 🙂

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