Hound Haulin' on a Long Tail Cargo Bike
Dog parents who love to bike can truly relate to this conundrum: you want to head out on a velo adventure but you hate leaving puppers at home. Often times you have to pick one over the other - bike ride or pup time. Ashley here from the Support Team and I've got some good news, my friends. With a long tail cargo bike and a few items you likely already have laying around, YOU CAN DO BOTH! Thanks to the seemingly limitless versatility that Xtracycles bring to the table, there are numerous ways to turn your ride into a people, cargo AND hound hauler.
Now, heads up. This article is going to be longtail cargo bike specific but for more info on carrying a dog on a regular bike, check out this article over at The Bark.
These are the methods I personally have tested out and will go over:
- On the deck
- In the side bags or on the U-tubes
- In a trailer
1. On the deck:
If you have a Hooptie, this is a super easy way to carry your pooch. A rectangular laundry basket or storange bin fits perfectly in the Hooptie rails so just plop that baby in there and secure it to the Hooptie with straps so it doesn’t pop up or out. I like to load the basket up with blankets or a dog bed to make it super cushy for my fur babe. I personally don’t trust my dog to not jump out so I will usually wrap her up in a blanket as well and use a leash to tie her to the basket. Using a crate would remove any worries of puppers jumping over board but be sure to use a crate that opens from the top since the Hooptie side rails can prevent a side door from opening.
If you have a MagicCarpet on the deck, I’d recommend removing it since it can cause the crate to wobble on the deck. I would not recommend trying this without a Hooptie since even if you secure the basket with straps, it can still slide around.
Need space for a kiddo or gear? A half laundry basket works pretty well too!
2. In the side bags or on U-tubes:
Gear required: side bags (FreeLoaders, X1, X2, X3 CargoBay or SlingSet), laundry basket / bin / crate, straps, U-tubes
This is another super simple “use what ya got” method. How well you can trust your mutt to not jump off the bike will help you determine the best set up. If you only have bags (no U-tubes) and your pup is small enough, you can tote them in there. Try adding some blankets to make the ride more comfortable.
If your dog is too big to fit just in the bags or you’d rather them be more contained, the U-tubes can help support a crate or plastic storage big. Place the bin or crate on the U-tubes, then use straps (either those attached to your slings or seperate lash straps) to make sure the bin is firmly attached to the bike. As with the “on the deck method”, be sure your furry friend is securely contained with blankets and a leash if you are concerned about them jumping ship. Again, using a crate as opposed to a bin or basket would remove that concern from your ride.
If your pup is a little on the fluffy (aka: heavy) side, we sure to counterbalance the weight on the other side of the bike so you won’t have to lean too much to compensate.
3. In a trailer:
Gear required: a bike trailer you can modify, crate, straps
Have a dusty old baby trailer laying around, a dog crate and some cinch or ratchet straps? You have the ingredients for a low cost dog trailer on your hands! You will likely need to modify the trailer a little to make room for the crate so be sure this is a trailer you are ok with dedicating to being for a dog crate or cargo and you will no longer us it for hauling kiddos.
For the record: I tried hauling my pup in the baby trailer as is (not modified with a crate) on a 60 mile bikepacking trip and it was difficult. The fabric seat was hard for her to sit on and she was easily able to get out of the trailer all together. Modifying it with a crate fixed all of those issues!
To get my trailer crate-ready, I removed the fabric seats, the roof fabric and the rear fabric panel, leaving the fabric on the sides and bottom. (Keep in mind this might vary depending on the trailer and crate you have). I slid the crate in, making sure the door could be opened in the back. I then securely lashed the crate to the trailer frame in multiple places. The trailer attaches to the rear wheel of the EdgeRunner like it would to a normal bike. Load the crate up with a dog bed or blankets anr you are ready to roll! Be sure the door latch has a backup (i.e. a toe strap) to keep the door closed incase the latch comes loose while riding.
The thing I like most about this method is that it allows me to carry children and tons of gear while also bringing the pup along. It’s also super easy to pop the trailer on my bike and take off using the hitch mount.
Don’t want to DIY a trailer and just buy one? Here’s is a list of already made dog bike trailers.
With these 3 easy methods, you’re sure to keep your tail-waggers tail waggin’ next time you’re headed out for an adventure together. As with any new bike set up, be sure to take Fido for a little test spin around the neighborhood once you're all set up before heading out on a long journey. This way you can make any tweaks you might need to ensure you both have an enjoyable, stress-free ride.
Have a tried and true method you like to use? Let's hear 'em!