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Dog days

| Blog, Mountain Biking Uk | 05/05/2011 08:30am

Ric gets to work moulding the perfect trail dog…

Bikes are pretty simple objects when it comes to getting them to perform how you want – set up the bars, have a fiddle with the suspension and maybe let some air out of the tyres and you’re pretty much good to go. Dogs on the other hand…

My missus and I decided a while ago that despite my best efforts that there just wasn’t enough hair in the house and all our furniture and soft furnishings were far too intact, so we got Bru.

The result of a presumably drunken night of madness between a Radstock-based labrador and a golden retrievor he’s quite the dog. But can he be a trail dog?!

Half-feral, half finely-honed obedience machine capable of tearing his way through switchbacks and laughing off long draggy climbs with nothing more than a wag of the tail and piss in the nearest bush – in other words, a ‘real’ dog!

Well, a few months in and it’s going pretty well. We got him started with being confident off the lead – that wasn’t a problem! A few months into that and I’d slowly roll around on the bike alongside him and now that the sunshine is here he’s finally getting out for full-on spins.

The downsides are the following;

  • Him getting in front of me on climbs and sauntering along as though it’s the easiest thing in the world.
  • Disappearing – He’s worked out that where-ever I am, he can catch me up pretty quick so as a result, there’s time to loiter in the undergrowth.
  • Over-excitement – In his head he has the elastic limbs of Mr.Fantastic coupled to the mighty pistons of the Flying Scotsman. This isn’t really accurate – it’s more like the relatively short limbs of well, a dog, and the not-so mighty pistons of the 16:40 to Falkirk. Basically, you need to force him to cool down every now and again!

The upsides are the following;

  • There’s always someone to go riding with! However sadly this reflects on me as a human being…
  • Walk the dog, ride the bike – two birds, one stone – DEAD.
  • A glowy, smug sense of well-being that when he’s not biting other dogs, scaring local kids, barking at people in wheelchairs, eating my coffee-table, coating my entire home in hair or stealing food off the work-tops that actually, deep down he’s a pretty good dog.

Anyway, here’s how he’s getting on along with a quick video of me riding the new Pivot Mach 5.7. You can read the full review in issue 264 which is in the shops now!

Have you got a trail dog yourself? Any tips or techniques?

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One Response to “Dog days”

  1. Colin says:

    training my dog at the moment too. shes a 16mth old Lab x Whippet and is faster than any of us even on tarmac straights! so far she has just taken everything in her stride though she likes to be runnign up with the lead rider, occasionally she will drop back to check the rest are ok then she bombs up front again.

    adds a whole new dimension to the ride. its great!