What is Bikejoring?
Bikejoring is a sport similar to sled dog mushing, except instead of a sled, a bike is used. The dry-land sport uses either 1 or 2 dogs that are attached to the bike by the use of a line which is similar to a leash. Bikejorninng takes place typically on trails on mountains or woods. It is a sport that can be either recreational or competitive. When competing against others, you can either compete at the same time against other teams or by being timed.
Bikejoring is done on trails. It is a hard enough surface to allow support, but also is easy on the dog’s bones and paws. Bikejoring on trails prevents heat damage to the dog's paws. Another benefit of bikejoring on trails is that your dogs won’t get distracted by traffic.
Here is the essential Bikejoring equipment you should have:
Bike: When bikejoring it is important to have a bike that has good brakes, sturdy tires, shock absorbers, and a comfortable seat. Mountain bikes are well-suited for rough terrain which typically occurs when participating in the sport.
Bikejoring Antenna: This is a bike attachment that helps regulate each dog’s like from getting tangled with the front wheel of the bike.
Bikejoring Line: A line that connects the bike to the dog’s harness. An elastic line is better to use compared to a static lease. An elastic line will help to soften abrupt pulls and make the bikejoring experience more comfortable for the rider and dogs. Bikejoring lines are also known as taw or tug lines.
Dog Booties: Shoes for dog’s paws to prevent them from injuries, cuts or sore paws. Many bikejoring terrains have rough surfaces.
Dog Harness: A harness used to keep dogs connected to the bike. They should have a y-shaped front to provide minimal breath constraint. This design allows for the dog’s shoulders to move freely. It is also important to get a harness that is quite tight around the neck, if the harness is too loose around the neck it could slide down the shoulders which will result in limiting movement abilities.
Rules and Regulations
Rules and regulations typically differ based on the organization holding the competition. Below are the most important bikejoring rules:
- Dogs need to be at least 18 months old when competing in a race.
- There must be no signs of aggression towards other people or dogs.
- Bicycles need to be equipped with working brakes on each wheel.
- Riders need to wear a regulated helmet that passes approval.
- Dogs need to be up-to-date on all vaccinations and shots.
There are some factors in bikejoring that contribute to the success of winning and excelling. The techniques vary from equipment, environment, practicing, and the dog participating in bikejoring.
Here are the most important Bikejoring strategies you should know:
- Prepare your dog for bikejoring with obedience training, regular exercise, and proper socialization.
- Make sure your dog is able to focus on lessons and stay focused.
- Before biking, teach your dog commands when there are no distractions.
- Train your dogs first by walking behind them with the bike and teach them commands.
- Make sure the bike is in proper condition before participating in bikejoring.
- Give your dogs frequent water and bathroom breaks.
There is a variation of lingo and slang used in bikejoring. It includes specific areas in a race, commands for the dog, and positions people have in races to ensure the race goes smoothly.
Here is the common lingo and slang in Bikejoring:
- Check Point: The designated area close to the trail where officials and drivers are admitted.
- Control Area: An area before and after the finish line designated to people who are authorized, unless given approval from the Race Marshal.
- Driver: The person who is driving a dog team on a team in a race.
- Finish Zone: A specified area at the end of the trail in a race near the finnish line.
- Gee Command: A command for your dog to go to the right.
- Handler: A person that helps with assisting teams before and after a race.
- Haw Command: For your dog to go left.
- Leave It Command: A command for your dog to avoid distractions.
- Official: A person in charge of ensuring all teams and people are following the rules and guidelines set.
- Race Jury: A group of people incharge of managing and regulating the race which includes the
- Race Marshal, the Race Judges and any other race officials.
- Race Marshal: The person in charge of the race and event. This person makes the final decisions and determines if any team should be disqualified.
- Stake-Out Area: The area designated for teams to be at when they are not competing.
- Woah Command: A command for your dog to make a complete stop.
When competing in bikejoring competitions there are a variety of factors that come into play. These factors include the age of dogs, distance, race course, and type of race.
In bikejoring there are two different types of races. The first is called a direct race where all competitors are lined up at the start and released at the same time. The dogs and riders navigate on a trial and whoever reaches the finish line first is declared the winner. The other type of race is called a time race where each team will individually be released and timed. Other racers will then do the same and whoever completes the trail the quickest is declared the winner. These races typically occur when a location could potentially cause lines and leashes to cross each other.
The most popular competition in Bikejoring is the IFFS World Cup an international race is one of the most competitive and popular races that competitors can compete in. This event allows for bikejorners to represent their country while competing against other countries. It allows for competitions in a wide variety of events. It has the options of different distances, men or women, and the type of class. The events are held in a variety of regions. These regions include Europe, North America, Oceania, Latin America, and Asia.