Product Review: Bike Tow Leash
I couldn’t wait to test out the Bike Tow Leash. With an energetic pack of dogs and enough bikes to outfit a small gang of cyclists, I was excited to put this product through the paces!
The Bike Tow Leash instructions recommend that you use this attachment with a wide, flat collar, in order to better communicate with your dog. Right off the bat, I disagree with this recommendation. For the safety of my dogs, I always use a properly padded Howling Dog Alaska Distance harness whenever I take them biking. I instruct all my students to use a shoulder-style harness for biking with their dogs, because the collar method is unpredictable. Say you are biking along, things are going great, and you need to suddenly hit the brakes. I would feel much better (as would the dog) if he was pulled with padded harness, rather than whiplash from the collar! That’s why I used this product with a harness, not the collar as recommend by the makers of the product.
When the box arrived, I read over the instructions and I went to attach it to my favorite bike. I don’t want to totally bike geek out on you here, but it’s a large-framed specialized bike, complete with disc brakes. That’s when I ran into my second problem. When I mounted the Bike Tow Leash to the frame, the bolts holding it on were only millimetres away from my disc brakes. That was a little too close for comfort. Mounting it on the right hand side of the bike wasn’t an option, because that’s where the gears are.
I also understand that many people don’t have a geeked-out machine like mine, so I tried to attach it to my “average” bike – I’m happy to report that there were no problems with placement or attachment. My supped-up bike was put in park and the no-frills two-wheeler was called up from the minors for its shining moment in the big league!
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I like how easily the Bike Tow Leash hooks onto a bike. I use my bikes for commuting to work, and while the Bike Tow Leash hooks up to the seat when not in use; I didn’t really want it attached to the bike when I was riding around town. It goes on and comes off in minutes, with no special tools – I can tighten it up with just my hands. It was even secure enough to handle two of my dogs at once.
This brings us to another option available with the product: the Bike Tow Leash comes with an optional cable called the Dog Coupler for running two dogs at once. I gave it a go, employing various combinations of dogs: Burger and Francis; Francis and Belle; River and Burger; River and Belle. I have to say that I gave the optional cable a fair and honest workout, and it just didn’t work for me.
When I first looked at it, I didn’t feel the clip was secure enough, and I was right. While it never opened, the dogs were able to jostle each line as they ran, meaning that no matter which dogs were on the optional cable, one always slid out to the front and one in behind. This was a real concern because the dog out front was then way too close to my front tire for comfort. All it takes is a little squirrel for the dog to cross in front or into the wheel of the bike. Experience has taught me that the further away from the front wheel your dog is, the better!
But wait – there’s lots to like about the Bike Tow Leash (I’m just not a fan of the Dog Coupler for two dogs)!
When I took out one dog at a time, he was far away from me while we were biking. This made it easier to keep the dogs running off of sidewalks and onto the grass. The dog was far enough away that he was easy to keep in my peripheral vision. This meant I was spent more time looking where I was going, rather than on the dog. This is a big plus!
I did find this attachment to be less tippy than some of the other attachments that mount up higher on the bike. Even with River and Burger attached to the bike, I didn’t feel pulled to the side at all. I’ve found this to be a problem with some of the other attachments I have used.
The Bike Tow Leash is brilliant in that it attaches really easily to the bike, with no tools required. On that note, be sure to check that it will fit your bike before you buy. I am lucky enough to have a garage with multiple bikes (my husband says too many). It fit well on two of my bikes, but did not fit securely on them all.
If you have a well-behaved dog who is obedience trained and would benefit from the exercise of running alongside your bike, the Bike Tow Leash is a great product for you. I think that beginners to the sport will find this attachment to be most helpful, but it can be used for any level of biker. But remember that no product will reduce the need for training and communication with your dog, especially if you’re going biking with dog.
I think that the low placement of the Bike Tow Leash is another positive selling point – bikers will find it more stable than some of the other options out there.
With a few minor recommendations (replacing the collar with a harness and forgoing the optional cable), I think that the Bike Tow Leash is worth the expense of $146 – just double check that it will fit your bike properly. Family members can take it off one bike and put it on another with any tools. As with any new dog product, please take it slow at first, until both you and the dog are comfortable with usage and proper commands.
Note: PetGuide.com was NOT compensated for this review. Our reviewer received a Bike Tow Leash to review. The opinions expressed in this post are the author’s. We provide unbiased feedback of the products and share products we think our readers would enjoy using and learning more about.
Kevin Roberts lives for adventure. Together with his pack of rescue dogs and his husband, he spends as much time outdoors as possible. Kevin lives by the motto: "Get outside and play with your dogs!
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