RE: [rootsradicals] which xtracycle accessory for free radical?
- Robert already posted a link to the instructional guide I wrote up for
the Xtracycle compatible side car for dogs, which I made and call the dog
chariot. Thanks Robert for also correcting the link within that old post
I can say from experience the dog chariot works really well. When in a
car I always put a full chest harness around my dog with it chained to
the back seats head rest to make sure a sudden stop does not choke my
pup from the forces of being thrown forward during an abrupt stop. The
same goes for the dog chariot. I either use a chain with a clip to attach
the harness to the dog chariot framing or I just clip a leash to the
harness with the handle loop of the leash wrapped around the stoker bar I
attached to my seat post. There is a close up photo of the leash and
stoker bar set up, along with all the other photos and technical guides
What is nice about the leash set up is I can stop and tell my dog,
Pandora, Off and she will get off. Granted she does it reluctantly
sometimes because she is either lazy or wants to be closer to me, but
once she is off I can ride with her running alongside me. When I do that
I always try to ride at the edge of the pavement beside the grass though.
I found out early on the pavement is hard on her feet, especially when
the asphalt is hot during the summer from the sun. Now Pandora is fully
grown, so I do not think that is as much of a problem, but I would think
soft grass still feels much nicer to any dogs feet.
It did not take too long, maybe two or three outings at about 15-30
minutes each, for my dog to become accustomed to her optimal positioning
when running along side my bike. Before that it was awkward with her
pulling away a lot or being fearful of my big-assed bike while in motion.
Make sure your leash is not too long when doing this though because your
dog might be inclined to slow down and trail behind you. If your dog can
do that, then he/she will also be able to switch to the other side of
your bike, which means your dog might be exposed to automobile traffic!
Admittedly, I have not ridden with my dog for a long while. The last time
I did she was around forty pounds. The photos of her on the dog chariot
were when she was still less than twenty. In any case, when she was
around forty pounds I had to make sure I was securely straddling my bike
before she got in. Otherwise she was likely to tip it over if she hopped
on alone with enthusiasm. Keep in mind this happened despite me having a
Kick Back dual-footed kickstand. I actually had to take Pandora to the
vet this past Thursday for a mild ear infection, and they weighed her. To
my surprise she is now seventy nine pounds! They grow up so fast. She is
a Border-Collie/Lab mix, so we figured she would max out at about sixty
pounds. I have handled unbalanced loads of that weight on one side of my
bike before, so I was not too worried. Eighty pounds might be a whole
other ball game though, but I am still confident I can manage.
In any case, since the original inquiry stated the nieces dog is twenty
six pounds, I have no doubt that dog would be easily manageable even by a
seventeen year old young lady. Heck, my bicycle lock and chain weigh
about that much! In fact, I use my lock and chain to counter-balance
loads on my bike, including my dog.
I would imagine for a dog weighing only twenty six pounds a person could
get away with not having to build something as elaborate as I did. When I
was a messenger I used a trick where I would drop the free loader flaps
through my wide loaders, then I would pull them out and up around the
wide loader bars before clipping the free loaders three straps back up
to the buckling points at the deck. This effectively created a tightened
hammock stretched below and between the wide loader and the free radical
frame. It also provided an added fabric lip/bumper/wall of about four to
six inches high extending up from the wide loaders. The height of the
fabric wall depended on how deep I inserted my wide loader tubing into
the free radical mount holes. This was before Xtracycle used spring-clips
inside the tubing to retain the wide loaders in the mounting holes, so
this trick also kept my wide loaders in place from gradually shaking out.
I would not recommend using just this set up with a dog because their
paws nails might rip into the free loader fabric. However, you could just
drop a 0.25 to 0.5 small sheet of plywood or plastic down into that
same space to support such a small dog. The mesh/flap at the ends of the
free loader with its tightened draw string should be enough to keep the
dog in place fairly well. I would just make sure the edges of the board
are smoothed out well or have some kind of added soft/thick edging so
your board does not cut/saw into the free loader fabric. Maybe just
wrapping the board in a towel or small blanket would do the trick, and it
could also be easily removed to be washed while providing a little bit of
padding and grip for your dog.
To the original inquiring poster (SoapPedaler), you said you have a side
car. Is that a side car made specifically for use with an Xtracycle set
up, or is it a side car for attachment on any bike. My question is merely
for my own curiosity, but if you already have a side car, then I would
think it would be ideal for carrying a dog, even a larger one than mine.
Do you have photos of the side car?
- My dog is about a third of the weight of the dog in question. He is
about 6 kg or 8 lbs. I bought a laundry basket to sit on the
non-traffic-side wide-loader. I use the free-loader clips to hook the
laundry basket into place through the basket's handle holes. I figured
the dog's weight would keep the basket from flipping out over bumps
(since the attachment was only at the top), but went ahead and added
another strap that went through one handle, around the basket and to the
wide loader. This basket could easily contain a much larger dog. The
only problem with my dog is that he's too small to get in by himself. I
have to lift him in and out.
My dog wears a harness. I fixed a strap with a clip on it to the top of
the non-traffic-side v-rack. I clip this strap (aka seat belt) to the
front of my dog's harness. I found that if I clip it to the back of his
harness (i.e. the usual spot), he could jump out (but this was with a
smaller basket). I usually clip his leash to the front of his harness,
too, since it helps keep him from pulling (or swings him back around to
me when he does pull).
Somewhere on the internet, I have seen a picture of someone carrying a
2-3-year-old nephew in a free-loader. The kid looked comfortable
enough. When I tried it, the kid wasn't that familiar with me or the
bike, so it was no-go.
Anyway, I find that the weight of my dog is negligible, but his basket
is on the opposite side of my bike's battery (I've got a stokemonkey).
A 2-3-year-old kid probably wouldn't be too much of a problem, either.
A lot of it has to do with experience. Heavier weights, like Tone's
80-lb dog, would require some adjustment in handling.
I have carried loads that were so heavy and so poorly balanced (this
last being the problem), that I had trouble getting started and needed a
push. After that, it was ok. Recently, I carried a large box full of
books that was heavy enough to make the bike wheelie when parked. The
box could have been 70-80 lbs. I could pull the bike down when I wanted
to ride it - so no wheelies in transit. I did have to give the bike a
serious lean to compensate for the weight. This lean for balance
becomes automatic with practice.