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Best Dog Leashes for Biking: Keeping Fido In Tow

Whether you’re on the hunt for new ways to exhaust your high-energy pooch or you simply love to ride a bicycle, you may have considered taking your dog out with you while you bike on the road.

But this is easier said than done: You certainly don’t want to take your dog out without a leash, but standard leashes are not at all appropriate for bike riding alongside your dog.

Fortunately, there are a number of leashes on the market that are specifically designed for biking with your pup. We’ll discuss some of the top models and how to best use them below.

How Do Bike Leashes Work for Dogs?

Trying to ride alongside your pooch presents a few unique challenges, so bike leashes are a little different from leashes designed for walking or running with your pup.

For example, you must be sure your dog doesn’t bump into your bike while you are riding. This could cause you to fall, and it may lead to injuries for your four-footer. A flexible leash may not allow your dog to venture very far away, but it won’t do anything to keep your dog from getting too close.

To help work around this problem, most bike leashes consist of a rigid arm (usually made from a metal) that is mounted on your bike. The arm sticks out to the side of your bike, and a flexible leash is attached to the end of it. This way, your dog can still run about, but it will keep him from getting too close to the bike.

Most bike leashes are designed to mount near your bike’s seat post. However, a few products (including one reviewed below) feature a frame that extends over the back wheel. The leash arm on these models extends from above the rear axle, rather than the seat post.

This provides a slightly different balance point than seat-post-mounted models do, which appeals to some riders and feels strange to others.

Biker owners may also want to consider the urban mushing sport of bikejoring – the major difference here being that your dog actually runs ahead and beside you, even pulling you along on the bike. It’s a team sport where dog and owner work together!

Bikejoring does require some training, but once you get your dog into the groove, it can be immensely fun!

Is Your Dog Suited for a Bike Leash?

Many dogs love running alongside their owner’s bike, but others are not cut out for the activity.

Before deciding to strap your dog to your bike, you’ll want to make sure your dog is well-suited for the task and meets the following criteria:

Medium to Large Size Bike leashes don’t work very well for small dogs. Most leashes don’t reach down far enough to be safe for tiny dogs, and your little pup’s legs will tire pretty quickly anyway, negating much of the point of riding alongside him. You should also use caution when trying to use a leash with a very large dog, as he may be strong enough to pull you around and cause you to fall.

Generally Healthy Running alongside a moving bicycle is hard work, and it is only suitable for dogs that are in good physical condition. It is a good idea to get your vet’s blessing before deciding to bike alongside your dog.

Trained to Walk on a Leash – If your dog doesn’t walk on a leash well, he probably lacks the discipline to be a good bicycling companion. At the very least, your dog should be good about walking in the heel position and stopping when you tell him to, before hooking him up to your bike.

Confidence – Insecure dogs may find the prospect of running beside your bike intimidating, which may make them hate the activity. Many dogs will need a bit of encouragement and reassurance at the outset, but confident canines will generally love running alongside you after they get used to the activity.

dog_leash_bike

Characteristics to Seek Out in a Dog Bicycle Leash

Although most of the bike leashes on the market are relatively well-made, there are clearly differences between the best and worst options. Keep the following characteristics in mind when seeking a bike leash for your dog:

1. Keeps Your Dog at an Appropriate Distance from the Bike

One of the most important things for the comfort and safety of both you and your dog is the distance between your dog and the bike.

If your dog is too close, he’ll likely bump into your bike, and if he is able to wander too far from your bike, he could become injured from running into things. There is no hard-and-fast rule about the proper distance to maintain, and it will vary based on your dog’s size and behavior, as well as your riding style.

The best bike leashes have adjustable lengths, which help to provide some flexibility in this regard.

2. Compatibility with Your Bike

If the leash won’t fit your bike properly, it won’t do you any good, so be sure that the leash you choose will fit your bike before making your purchase. Most of the bike leashes reviewed above attach to the seat post of your bike; because seat posts are relatively consistent from bike to the next, the leashes described above will likely sidestep most compatibility problems.

3. Robust and Durable Construction

A bike leash won’t do you much good if it doesn’t keep your dog securely attached to you, so always look for leashes made from high-quality materials. Some of the best units are made from steel; others are made from aluminum, which, while lighter, isn’t quite as strong.

4. Left- or Right-Side Functionality

While most of the leashes we reviewed can be used on either the left or right side of your bike, a few models only work on one side. This may not be a deal breaker if you like everything else about the leash, but most owners will appreciate being able to mount the leash on either side of the bike.

5. Easy to Install

Some bike leashes are easier to mount on your bike than others, so be sure to avoid those that require many tools or steps if you aren’t mechanically inclined.

Nevertheless, most modern bike leashes attach to the seat post via a clamp mechanism, which most owners should be able to handle.

5 Best Bike Leashes for Dogs

The following five leashes are some of the best options available for bike-riding owners. Be sure that the one you select will work with your bike and suit your dog when making your choice.

1. Walky Dog Plus Hands-Free Bicycle Leash

Walky Dog Plus Hands Free Dog Bicycle Exerciser Leash Newest Model with 550-lbs pull strength Paracord Leash Military Grade

About: The Walky Dog Bike Leash is a straight-arm leash designed to attach to the seat post of your bike. The Walky Bike Leash features a shock-absorbing system to help reduce the impact of your dog’s tugs and turns while you are riding your bike.

Price: $$
Our Rating:

Features:

  • Constructed of high-carbon stainless steel for maximum strength and durability
  • Leash made from military-grade, 550-pound-test paracord
  • Quick-release design makes it easy to release your dog upon reaching your destination
  • Made in Germany

PROS: Most owners who tried the Walky Dog were very pleased with the way it performed. Most found that it was easy to install and worked well with their dog. Many owners also appreciated the ability to use the leash on either side of the bike.

CONS: While the majority of owners who tried the Walky Dog were happy with it, a number of owners complained that the seat post clamp would not tighten down sufficiently or required frequent re-tightening. A few owners also explained that they felt like their dog was too close to the bike while using the Walky Dog.

2. Petego Cycleash Universal Dog Bike Leash

Petego Cycleash Universal Dog Bike Leash

About: The Petego Cycleash is a bent-arm bike leash that attaches to your seat post via a two-sided attachment clamp mechanism. Because the clamp is two-sided, you can ride with your dog on either side of the bike, or you can even ride with two dogs at a time (chariot-style).

Price: $$
Our Rating:

Features:

  • Alloy construction is very light and won’t alter your balance as much as heavier models will
  • Ergonomic clamp design fits around any round seat post
  • The leash arm features an EVA safe-grip handle and can be removed and used as a leash
  • Made with shockless TPR technology for a smooth ride

PROS: Most owners liked the Petego Cycleash, and reported that it was easy to install and use. Many praised the product’s design, explaining that it kept their dog in a good position during bike rides and was easy to switch from one side to the other when necessary.

CONS: While many owners found the Petego Cycleash to work well, a decent number of owners complained about the product’s poor strength and lack of durability. Most such problems involved a broken seat clamp, although more than one owner reported that the bungee cord snapped.

3. Bike Tow Leash Dog Bicycle Attachment

Bike Tow Leash (Orange)

About: The Bike Tow Leash Bicycle Attachment is a straight-forward, no-frills, bent-arm bike leash made with high-quality components and durable materials. It is designed to work harmoniously with your dog’s body to prevent accidents or falls, and is compatible with all bikes and dogs.

Price: $$$$$
Our Rating:

Features:

  • Can be used with a bike or a wheelchair
  • Tool-free installation allows you to mount the leash clamp quickly and easily
  • Made in the USA
  • Rated a 5-star product by the American Pet Association

PROS: The Bike Tow Leash received very positive reviews from most owners who tried it. Most praised the leash’s strength, durability, and construction, and found it easy to install and use with their dog. Additionally, several were happy to discover that the leash could be used on either side of the bike.

CONS: While most owners who purchased the Bike Tow Leash were happy with the durability, a few noted malfunctions after several years of use. A few owners were not happy with the lobster-claw-style leash clamps, and a few complained that the Bike Tow Leash was too expensive.

4. Bike Balance Dog Jogger Kit

Bike Balance Dog Jogger Kit

About: The Bike Balance Jogger Kit is a rear-mounted bike leash that attaches to your bike via a set of bolt-on forks. A rigid arm extends to the side of your bike and prevents your dog from getting too close to you while riding.

Price: $$$
Our Rating:

Features:

  • Aircraft-strength aluminum construction is both strong and light
  • Includes a “standard” and “heavy duty” leash
  • Fits most bikes with wheels measuring between 12 and 26 inches
  • Will not work with bikes that feature rear suspension systems or disc brakes

PROS: Most owners found that the Bike Balance Dog Jogger Kit was quite effective and felt very stable – even when their dog tugged on the leash. Dogs and owners alike seem to like the balance point of the rear-mounted design and found it easy to use.

CONS: A few owners found the Balance Jogger Kit tricky to install, but most eventually figured out how to mount it properly. A very small number of owners also reported broken leash components, but these types of complaints were rare.

5.  Accfun Dog Bicycle Exerciser Leash

No products found.

About: The Accfun Dog Bicycle Leash is a straight-arm leash that features a stretchable, shock-absorbing cord and internal springs to help provide a smooth and comfortable ride. The Accfun Leash is extremely strong and made from high-carbon stainless steel for maximum durability.

Price: $
Our Rating:

Features:

  • Designed for small to medium dogs
  • Installs in 5 minutes or less for most bicycles and features quick-release clips
  • Backed by the manufacturer’s 30-day money-back guarantee and 12-month replacement warranty
  • The mounting arm features a comfortable, slip-resistant hand grip and can be removed and used as a leash

PROS: Most owners found the Accfun Bike Leash to be easy to use and more stable than they anticipated, thanks to the stretchable leash and internal springs. Most dogs seemed to find the leash comfortable and learned to walk alongside the bike quickly.

CONS: Most of the complaints about the Accfun Bike Leash related to the mounting clamp, which did not seem to fit all seat posts as tightly as the owners required. Some also complained that the leash section was too long, and it allowed the dog to wander a bit more than would be ideal.

Our Recommendation: The Bike Tow Leash Attachment

While most of the leashes in our review proved effective for owners who tried them, the Bike Tow Leash enjoyed the best user reviews and received the fewest reports of failure. Most found that it was very strong and durable, easy to mount and kept their dog in a good position during the ride. You’ll pay a pretty penny for the Bike Tow Leash, but because safety should always be your first priority, it is hard to find a better option for you and your pup.

Most found that it was very strong and durable, easy to mount and kept their dog in a good position during the ride. You’ll pay a pretty penny for the Bike Tow Leash, but because safety should always be your first priority, it is hard to find a better option for you and your pup.

Biking Safely with Your Dog

As with any other activity, you undertake with your dog, you’ll want to keep safety at the forefront of your mind. Serious injuries are certainly a possibility if something goes wrong during a bike ride, so keep the following guidelines in mind while biking with your pooch.

Never bicycle alongside an unleashed dog. Simply put, your dog should always be on a leash unless you are inside your home or in a safe, confined space (such as a fenced yard or dog park). Even the most obedient and clingy dogs have the occasional “SQUIRREL!” moment, so you must always keep control of your dog by using some type of leash.

Avoid holding your dog’s leash in your hand. Holding a standard leash in your hand while riding your bike is a recipe for disaster. Even those with impeccable bike-control skills will struggle to remain upright if their dog jerks to one side or the other. Besides, you don’t want to have to choose between injuring yourself or letting go of the leash if something goes wrong.

Avoid holding your dog’s leash in your hand. Holding a standard leash in your hand while riding your bike is a recipe for disaster. Even those with impeccable bike-control skills will struggle to remain upright if their dog jerks to one side or the other. Besides, you don’t want to have to choose between injuring yourself or letting go of the leash if something goes wrong.

Don’t use a leash that attaches to your body. Using a running leash that attaches to your body is fine when you are on foot, but using these types of leashes while riding on a bike is a bad idea. Bike leashes attach to the frame of your bike (near the center of your combined gravity), but leashes that wrap around your body sit far above the center of gravity, and place you at risk for toppling.

Don’t travel in congested areas, if possible. Unless you have a very obedient dog, who sticks by your side despite the myriad sights, sounds and smells you encounter on a typical ride, you’ll want to ride in relatively isolated areas. This way, you can avoid a lot of potential problems and distractions for your dog.

Don’t overdo it – your dog is running while you ride. Your bike provides you with a much more efficient way to cover distance than your dog’s legs do, so be sure you don’t overwork your dog while riding. Start with very short distances before building up to longer rides, always keep an eye on your dog’s energy level and provide plenty of water breaks and rest stops as needed.

Use booties for your dog if need be. If your rides take you across hot pavement or your dog has sensitive feet, be sure to fit him with a good pair of booties. They’ll not only help to protect his feet during the ride, they’ll also keep his feet cleaner too.

Use a harness rather than a collar if possible. Because you may need to tug a bit on your dog during a bike ride, it is usually best to use a harness for your dog, which pulls on his chest and shoulders, rather than a collar, which pulls on his neck. Never use a slip-lead, chain collar or similar device when riding a bike with your dog.

Have you ever used a bike leash to ride with your pup? How did it work out for you? We hope you don’t have any stories about bad falls or injuries, but we’d love to hear about your experiences. Tell us all about it in the comments below!

Last update on 2018-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the Author Ben Team

Ben is a proud dog owner and lifelong environmental educator who writes about animals, outdoor recreation, science, and environmental issues. He lives with his beautiful wife and spoiled-rotten Rottweiler JB in Atlanta, Georgia. Read more by Ben at FootstepsInTheForest.com.

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