Well it is officially day one of lockdown 2.0. As a Cyclist that usually rides on a velodrome this means once again i'm going to have to mix things up. Home workouts and turbo sessions. One thing I really enjoy doing is getting out on the bike with my dog and riding some trails, bearing in mind this is done solo, for exercise and dog walking, i'm pretty sure it's legal. Here are my top tips for your solo dog rides during lockdown and beyond!

First things first you need to be able to communicate with your pooch when riding trails. Before I go on trails with a dog I spend a while teaching them that when they hear a short sharp whistle they are going the wrong way. This is an important message to be able to get to your dog!
Here’s how I communicate
I will ride along with my dog and when they he gets a little bit ahead and can’t see me in plain sight I change direction and give a short sharp whistle to get their attention. If he doesn’t come straight after me I just keep going. Dogs learn very quickly. The whistle means they're going the wrong way and dogs don’t like being left behind so they will quickly get the hang of it. 
The worst thing you can do here is stop moving on your bike and start calling. Be firm and lead the way. You can reward with a treat when they come after you to start with but you don’t want to be dependant on treats when riding all the time.
I'm not on the bike in the video below but it is an example of the type of whistle I use. Thalia is a great example because she's spent a good few years now conditioning to the whistle.
Riding pace
Obviously I am a track sprinter so I tend to ride with my dog on a rest and recovery day. Theres no specific training for me, just some handling gains. You also don’t want to kill your dog so keep the pace down at your dogs specific fitness level and make sure you take a break for some water. 
Both videos below are a demonstration that the dogs are not flat out. its a brisk walking pace for them rather than a sprint to keep up with you
Awareness / Surroundings
Be aware that your dog may cross infant of your bike. Make sure you are aware of where your dog is and be ready to brake or avoid if you need to. 
Make sure you know the area you are riding in. You don't want any surprise roads coming up putting you and your dog at risk. Its probably worth riding without the dog first time round so you can make sure it's safe for you both. 
This also gives you a good opportunity to find a water source for them like a river or a lake.
Do I keep my dog on the lead whilst riding my bike?
I will have my dog in a dog specific backpack or off the lead. I put him on the lead if we need to go near a road, but I will be walking at that point. There are contraptions you can fit to your bike but for me I like to not have any potential lead tangles whilst I’m riding. 

What to wear
I like to wear something with pockets so I can carry poo bags, the lead, treats and a ball if it's less trail and more open area. One of my favourite places to get trail and mountain bike riding gear is Endura. They have some fantastic garments that are designed to withstand the wonderful British weather! The MT500 range is exceptional. One item I ride with on almost every ride at the moment is a gilet.
Heres my favourite
Having the right clothing gives you a change to enjoy the ride as you can be hands free most of the time, unless you are picking up a poo and looking for a bin to put the bag in!

In summary, have fun riding your bike, experiment with technical handling rather than endurance efforts. Don’t ride for too long or too far and take breaks for water. Your dog will love you for it. Cycling is a great exercise tool for your dog, you can cover a great distance and travel at a pace that’s really good for them and keeps them stimulated. One thing I find is that if your dog is easily distracted the pace of riding a bike keeps them engaged and moving past distractions, because one short sharp whistle and they don’t want to be left behind! 

As always if you would like to reach out and ask any questions please feel free to do so.
I'm sure I haven't covered everything here!
Safe riding!

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