Recumbent tricycling – with dog!

Long-time readers of my blog will notice a fair few photographs where my dog is in shot – she’s always curious as to what’s going on and finds the trike seat very comfortable.

In a Facebook discussion on ICE Trikes’ page someone asked me about the dog basket I have on my trike for Poppy and I thought it worth a short blog post so people can see one option that is available.

I bought the basket before I got the puppy! This was because I was in Germany just before Poppy the cockapoo came to live with us and it’s a very common sight in Germany to see people with their dogs in a basket, trailer or running alongside. I’ve seen dogs in trailers made of a beer crate with some wheels affixed – entirely unrestrained but sitting there very happily. Baskets are much easier to get hold of in Germany and significantly cheaper. The one I bought was rated for up to 12kg but we expected Poppy to end up much larger than the basket would comfortably carry (we were wrong!) I think it cost about 45 Euros.

Anyway, the day we got Poppy (when she was eight weeks old) we tried her out in the bike basket so she could get used to it.

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This basket was a standard German cycle basket for rear rack (Hundefahrradkorb) but we had to do a bit of fettling to get it to fit on the asymmetric rack on the Trice Q.

We had also bought a trailer which we hoped our ageing Weimaraner might like to go in (she wouldn’t). As you can see, it dwarfs Poppy.
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We haven’t ended up using the trailer for Poppy. Partly because she still fits in the basket (and it’s much simpler to manoeuvre the trike with a basket rather than a trailer) but also because in the trailer she’s quite a long way away from me and she’s less keen on that – she scrabbles at the front window and barks rather a lot. The trailer is used for shopping and other stuff (although I can’t trail it from my ICE Sprint anyway as it has a hub gear and the trailer requires a standard rear axle).

Very early on we discovered Poppy considered the most comfortable place to be was on the trike seat, rather than in the basket! Here she is at fifteen weeks old in her favourite spot.
Poppy at 16 weeks on trike 2

And again.
Poppy at 21 weeks on trike 1

Even as a rather gangly teenager she still fitted in the basket.
Poppy at 24 weeks in bike basket 1

And when it’s snowy outside, a trike seat is the most comfortable place to be

When full grown at nine months old, she definitely had a sense of entitlement about where she should sit.
Poppy on Trice Q 9

Poppy on Trice Q 3

Poppy on Trice Q 5

Here is Poppy, in her third week with us, taking her first mile-long trike journey.
Poppy at 10 weeks on trike

She initially squeaked and whined a bit whilst in the basket and this has actually continued – but now the squeaks and whines are with excitement.

As you can tell from this video, her head is remarkably close to my head when riding (the headrest gives a clue). This is fine except when you pass another dog, at which point Poppy likes to bark fiercely. She’s so small (only 7.5kg) that normally she has to be submissive to other dogs, but when up in the basket she’s taller than a labrador. This makes for a fair amount of woofing which is pretty loud when it’s about 10cm from your ear.

I’ve tried to train her out of this but it’s proving impossible and I’ve just learned to live with it. She’s noisier in familiar environments (if she knows that a dog lives in a particular house she will bark as we approach it) but when off cycling somewhere new she’s just squeaks with excitement and does the odd whine rather than barking, which is a relief.

She loves going in the basket, as can be evidenced by this video taken when she was about four months old (sorry about the pink crocs):

Even if the basket is in the hallway, she likes to get in it to give us a bit of a hint.

Can I go for a cycle ride now please?

She tends to wear high-vis in the basket – this is also to keep her warm in the cooler weather. She is in the full blast of the wind as she’s higher than me on the trike.

We had to initially put cable ties diagonally across the gaps in the metal cage so she couldn’t get out but she proved incredibly efficient at cutting cable ties with her teeth. Fortunately she never tried to get out properly – but she does like to stick her head through the basket, as you can see from this video.

And here she is, patiently waiting for me to change from cycling shoes into walking boots so we can go for a hike across the fields.

This is something I hadn’t considered before trying to take the dog for walks on the trike – the requirement for a change of shoes. If it’s a muddy walk then you need to somehow stuff your muddy wellies in the panniers after the walk – not great. And you have to carry your panniers with you on the walk too, which means you need to travel light (not something I’m good at). What I tend to do now is cycle with Poppy to meet a friend for a walk and stick my bags in her car while we’re walking.

She likes running alongside the bike as well

And, as you can see, her tendency to sit on my bike seat has been immortalised in watercolour (a friend commissioned this for me for my birthday – isn’t it wonderful!)
Poppy On Trike Drawing

Of course, Poppy was very excited when the new ICE Sprint arrived!

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The standard format rear rack on the Sprint means that the dog basket can be fitted and removed in less than a minute, which is very handy if I decide at the last minute to take Poppy somewhere with me. On the Trice Q we had to bolt the basket to a wooden frame we had built onto the rack and it took about ten minutes to get it all in place.

Here is Poppy in front of a field of flowers that are her namesake, this time on Alfie the ICE Sprint.

When I’m out riding Poppy shifts about a fair bit, turning round in the basket to look at the scenery. She’s never been on a normal upright bike in the basket – I wonder if the poor rider would get thrown off because of Poppy not understanding about balancing. And I wonder how it would work when you wanted to dismount from a normal bike – holding up 7.5kg of dog and about 4-5kg of basket wouldn’t be easy. The nice, stable platform of the trike is a real bonus.

Poppy has (to date – 4 March 2013) gone out on 80 rides with me and done a total of 511.11 miles. I just wish her feet reached the pedals! If you want to see a list of all her rides you can find it on MyCyclingLog.

And in case you’re worrying that we don’t give the dog enough variety in her hobbies, she also goes sailing with my husband. Here she is, 13 weeks old, on the boat with him.
Poppy at 13 weeks sailing 3

Ship’s dog

Looking out at the marina.
Poppy at 12 weeks on Mellas 2

(Please excuse the shocking excuse of a blog post to put up lots of pictures of our wonderful little doggie!)

4 Comments

Filed under Alfie the Trike, Cycling in England, Trikes & Velomobiles

4 Responses to Recumbent tricycling – with dog!

  1. John

    Nice to see another trike riding dog, I built my partner a streetfox trike and added a laundry basket for Lottie her smooth fox terrier.It has been a great addition to the trike

  2. sally brownridge

    I ride an Australian MR recumbent with a very active Kelpie, she won’t sit in a basket but tries to pull the trike from the side attached to the rack. It’s a great way to give her a good run and she loves it.

  3. Keith

    Hi,
    Any chance of some pictures of the wooden bracket you made for the Trice QNT?
    I have a Shi-Tzu and she pines whenever I go out.

    • Sorry, the bracket is long gone. It was a reasonable solution but I have since bought a proper basket bracket for my ICE sprint whose rack is parallel so easy to fit standard basket parts. The Trice Q is no longer in use by me.

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