An Inexpensive and Safer Bike Doggy Walker
This short instructable includes an introductory description of my bike walker, a list of materials used, steps for construction, a link to 'how to solder' and finally how to attach the walker and safely enjoy biking with your dog.
Why this walker is Different
I decided to redesign my Bike Dog Walker, sometimes referred to commercially as a bike tow leash or a ‘walky’ dog leash, in order to improve upon the safety of using this device to bike walk my pet. I am uncomfortable using some of the models out there as many of them are not designed to keep the dog from walking in front of the bike or the pedals. Our Woodle ( Wheaton X Standard Poodle) is full of energy and loves to walk, run and travel in the car. He would do it all day long if given the opportunity. His energy levels exceed mine several fold. Hence the experiment with walking him, while slowly riding a bike.
He is a well-trained dog while on a walk and rarely walks ahead or bolts in front of me, especially if he is wearing a ‘Halti’. The halti, combined with a loose hanging leash, makes for pleasant and controlled exercise for both of us. I decided to design a bike walker that would pivot freely from where it was attached to the seat post, yet when it swings ahead it would bump up against my right leg, thereby holding it from moving past my body and keeping the dog off to the side of the bike and a few inches behind me. This keeps him safe by preventing him from moving in front of me or the bike and away from the pedals and wheels. By using a bungee cord with just enough slack, it hangs from his collar just like when we walk and also has enough spring in the elastic to prevent any jerking pull on the bicycle. In addition my design allows for quick removal of the walker by simply pulling out the clevis pin.
I would never recommend holding a leash in one hand while riding a bike. Far too many things can go wrong, endangering your pet and perhaps causing you to fall.
Secondly, dogs need to be dogs … do their business and sniff and investigate. Make sure he has had a chance to go, has sniffed the grasses and shrubs and has had a good drink. Ride for only 5 to 10 minutes. Dismount and give him a rest. Our Woodle likes to bike walk for roughly 20 minutes with a rest in between.
This design is 100% mine and, although there are similarities to other commercially available walkers, I am pleased with how this has developed. All of the materials are available from your local hardware store. You will need to do small amount of soldering and perhaps make an adjustment for your particular seat or bike saddle.
Cost: Approximately $15
Step 1: What You Will Need
What You Will Need
See the pictures and diagram above. You will need the following copper pipe fittings.
1” Copper Tee
½” end cap
45 degree elbow
¾” X ½” coupler
1” X ¾” coupler
8” of ½” copper pipe
- 30" of Bungee Cord
- 1 dog clip (new or one from a chewed leash)
- 1" Clevis pin and/or a small hair clip pin
- Copper pipe cutter or hack saw
- Sand paper or emery cloth
- Propane Torch
- Solder and flux paste
- Drill and 2 drill bits (5/16" and7/16")
Step 2: Preparation
Assembling the copper will require cutting the pipe, prepping each of the connections and the fittings and then soldering. This is not a plumbing project and so a perfect soldering technique is not required. None the less, do as well as you can. Begin by cutting the copper pipe to length. See the diagram in step 1 for the suggested lengths (one 7" and one 1" piece). Next, prepare each of the copper pieces by roughing up a half inch at each end of the copper pipe with emery cloth as well as the inside surface of the fittings. The solder may not adhere if you skip this step. The copper end cap will need a 7/16" hole drilled through the end so that bungee cord can pass through it.
Step 3: Assembly
Assemble using Solder
It is a good idea to dry fit the pieces prior to soldering. Again, see the diagram under step 1. Be sure not to solder the 1" X 3/4" reducer to the 3/4" X 1/2" reducer. These two fittings are held together by the clevis pin so that the walker can be quickly removed from the bike.
If you have not soldered before here is a link with simple clear instructions. http://www.familyhandyman.com/plumbing/how-to-solder
If you wish to keep the copper looking shiny refer to this link of an earlier posting on Instructables.
The finished product should look like this.
Step 4: Drill the Holes for the Clevis Pin and Attach Bungee
Drill the holes for the Clevis Pin and Attach Bungee
These holes will join the 2 pieces together. They need to be perfectly aligned so that the pin will slide in easily. I suggest you drill the larger piece first, then slide the 2 parts together and using the outer hole as a guide drill the next 2 holes through the inner, smaller fitting. I used a 1/4" clevis pin and drilled a 5/16" hole.
If you are using a bungee cord with hooks, you will need approximately 25 - 30". Cut off one hook and bend the other so that it holds the swivel dog clip. Slide the cut end through the 7/16" hole you drilled in the end cap until it pops out the other side. Wrap the cut end with a bit of black tape and twist a small piece of wire around the tape to pinch it onto the cord. This will create a bit of a knob so that the cord cannot be pulled back through the copper tubing.
Step 5: Attachment to Bike
Attachment to Bike
Remove the bike seat. Slide the 1" copper tee part over the seat post. It should swivel easily with the seat reattached. If it binds at the top you may need to remove a quarter inch of copper from the tee using a pipe cutter or hack saw. Reinstall the bike seat.
Attach the leash end of the walker and secure it in place using a clevis pin and hair clip pin. The clevis pin should slide into the aligned holes.
Step 6: Using the Walker
Using the Walker
Attach the dog clip at the end of the bungee cord to the clip on your dog's halti. Be sure that there is sufficient length and slack for your dog to move his head freely without contacting the walker or your bike. You may need to use a longer bungee lead if your dog is smaller.
Ride slowly and generally no faster than what you would do if you were walking briskly.
Cost approximately $15.