The best part of biking with a dog is the smiles you cause while pedaling down the street. Bike camping with a dog is not as hard as it sounds, but it does take work to plan ahead and pedal that extra weight. I love to bike camp, and this year I added a trailer to my bike so my dog O’Riley can join me.
Shorter trips make this easier, so we tend to ride no more than 25 miles one way. For O’Riley, who loves the adventure, riding in the trailer is like riding with all the windows down. When we reach the woods I let him out to run alongside me on the trails.
O’Riley is voice-command trained dog, which means he’s really responsive to words. This doesn't work for all dogs (some need visuals to understand what you’re talking about), but years of work and partnership with O’Riley have created a great communicative bond between us.
If you’re just starting out, I recommend starting with dog trailers that can be fully closed up, just in case your pup decides to leap out mid-ride. Take some time riding around familiar places, adding distance each time to help your dog become accustomed to the trailer before you do a long trip.
As for gear, in this set of photos I am testing out a new bike camping set up: the Xtracycle Edgerunner with Bosch* electric assist. The bike is a longtail cargo, which is great for towing dogs and children, and the electric assist makes life much easier. The best part is that we arrived to camp and I wasn't dead dog tired!
For bike camping we always pack a tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and blanket. It’s easy to overpack a bike, so we watch the weight, as all these together can add up. For an overnight I pack dog food in O’Riley’s collapsible water and food dishes. Making sure to distribute the weight equally on the bike will make for balanced smooth pedal without wobbles. Once packed, it’s time to hit the open road!
With a little practice, bike camping with dog can make the whole experience more fun and fulfilling. There are few things better than taking off for the weekend on your bike, accompanied by your best four-legged friend. We'll see you out there!
Author: Jillian Betterly
Jillian Betterly is a photographer in the bay area of northern California. She runs here business by bike, biking and only using public transit to get to jobs. On her free time you can find her out riding and camping in the woods. She loves to tell stories that encourage others to try something new!