It’s not the sort of multitasking that will appeal to everyone, but there are some cyclists who like the idea of riding their bike and walking their dog at the same time. It sounds foolhardy, perhaps even a little dangerous, but there are products on the market that make it entirely feasible and perfectly safe.
The pick of these products is a universal dog lead that can be attached to any bike. These are available for less than £25 and will allow the cyclist and his dog to stay fit together. Look for one that is light and can be fitted to and detached from the bike quickly and easily.
Such a lead will allow a cyclist to keep hands free and ride as usual, but in the event of an accident the lead will stay attached to the bike and therefore ensure the dog does not wander off into traffic. The lead can be used as a conventional leash too, should the cyclist decide to take a break.
A straightforward and inexpensive variation is a cycling lead that attaches not to the bike, but to the rider. Available for under £10, this lead can be worn around the rider’s chest or waist and expands so that any sudden tugs by the dog are softened.
Owners of smaller dogs, such as a Yorkshire terrier or Jack Russell, may want to consider a bicycle box dog carrier. A front box, suitable for dogs weighing up to about seven kilograms, will cost around £40.
Look for one with a sturdy frame and plenty of padding to keep the dog comfortable. It should also have an integrated lead that will prevent the dog jumping out of the box.
Many of these boxes will have extra pockets for holding doggy treats, keys or drinks bottles and the better ones will have a quick release system and straps that allow the box to be converted to a hand or shoulder carrier.
For slightly heavier pets, of up to about eight kilograms, a bike pannier dog carrier is an option. This should be cheaper, at under £20, but needs a rear pannier frame to be fitted to the bike.
A more expensive way to get about town with a dog in tow is a bike trailer, which will cost in excess of £150.
Although more money, most of these trailers are versatile and can be easily converted to a training crate, car transporter, jogger, stroller or even a tent on camping trips. Look for one that is lightweight, has a low centre of gravity – as this will increase stability – and folds away easily for storage.
All these options should work well on almost any terrain and the most suitable will depend on the breed of dog and the intention of the owner. If the plan is to exercise the dog, opt for one of the dog leads, but if the aim is to transport the dog by bike, consider a carrier or trailer.