Our pets are often members of our families, so it goes without saying that we want to give them the same privileges and comforts as anyone else. Although we couldn’t imagine it in the beginning, our canine companions follow us everywhere. On the...
Bieköring belongs to dog racing disciplines, such as mushing, skijoring or canicross.
In this case, it is a pair of a pulling dog and a cyclist. Although it may seem that it is not difficult at first sight, it is certainly not a sport for any dog or any bike owner. Marcel has been doing bikejöring for 10 years and he will tell us who it is good for and what you need for it.
Marcel, if I wanted to start with bikejöring, I guess it’s not enough to only take my dog, a harness, a bike and simply go cycling. Both partners probably need some kind of training first. Let's start with the person. How skilled should be the cyclist?
Balance is essential, it’s not necessary to be a trial master.
It's also important to choose a good partner. Is this sport good only for draft breeds or is enough if the dog enjoys pulling? Does its size or age matter?
This sport is for all dogs. However, it’s important to be considerate and to take into account the size and the age of your dog and set the pace accordingly.
What commands should the dog know before we put the harness on? Should it also be perfectly controllable? How should we prepare it for pulling a bike?
The basic command is STAY. Then, also direction commands are very useful. Usually commands GEE (to the right) and HO (to the left) are used, because they are very different words. It’s perfect if your companion already knows canicross basics and it should also be fit enough. It should be fun in the first place and we don’t want to put the dog off because of the exhaustion.
Are there any differences between the harnesses for the individual draft disciplines? What other equipment does the dog need?
There are many kinds and brands of harnesses. A bikejöring harness should be long and cover the whole body. It is possible to use the same harness as for canicross or scooter. We also need an elastic leash and it’s good to use an “antenna” (a holder for the bungee leash), so the leash doesn’t get entangled in the front wheel. An antenna is mandatory equipment at European and world championships.
Does the bikejöring bike need any specific adjustments?
Functional brakes are crucial. A mountain bike with the mentioned antenna is suitable.
What terrain is normal for bikejöring? What is the elevation gain?
There are usually forest paths, meadows and fields. It should mainly avoid asphalt and rough surfaces and stones. The elevation gain varies, it depends on the type of training, if it’s for strength, technical perfection or for speed. For example, uphill is good for strength trainings, flat paths with minimum elevation gains are used for speed trainings.
How long are races and what speed do racers achieve?
The races are usually sprints which means they are 3 to 7 km long. The average speed depends on the track, it is influenced by the surface, the elevation gain, jaggedness and technical difficulty. The fastest ones go at about 30 kmph even on the most difficult tracks. On fast tracks, the average speed is about 35 kmph and the maximum speed is up to 47 kmph.
How often racers fall when doing bikejöring?
It depends on the racer:). My statistics is about 3 times per season. Sometimes, it’s not possible to avoid it when going on the edge. It is important not to scare the dog because of it, not to create a negative memory, so I try to praise my dog for waiting for me when I’m still flying.
Is it possible to train for bikejöring during the whole year?
It’s possible to cycle when the ground is dry, muddy, snowy and in water, but it’s not possible with icy surfaces. It’s also wise to avoid high temperatures.
How should a pair start with bikejöring, are there any schools or instructors?
There are groups on social networks where enthusiasts arrange some trainings and where you can get advice and read about experience. Website Behejsepem.cz organizes collective trainings for canicross beginners and advanced racers, trainings for push scooters and weekend camps where you can meet experienced instructors who will give you advice for the beginning.
If we want to go on races, how often should we train? Is it a good idea to include other activities in our training (than bikejöring itself)?
I would definitely separate training for a dog and training for a person: a dog should have strength and speed training. Swimming and freerunning are great options for summer trainings. Also, balance exercises are good for strengthening the body and coordination. It is important to monitor your companion, because it’s easy to overdo it with trainings.The number of training sessions depends on the season.
The person’s training is also crucial, his/her performance influence the results during the race. Technical skills are also important, because it is fast and off-road and the dog is able to turn much faster than a cyclist. I try to train 4 to 6 times in a week. I test new training methods for better endurance and mostly strength and speed, because races are quite short when speaking about their duration. I also go to a sports doctor who recommends training practices based on tests.
What is your greatest achievement in bikejöring?
3rd place at the European Championship ICF 2016 in Nové Město na Moravě, zhe Czech Republic
3rd place at the European Championship ICF 2017 in Italy
4th place at the World Championship IFSS 2017 in Poland
What do you enjoy so much about this sport, what has it brought into your life?
I’m fascinated that dogs like it that much, how enthusiastic they are about working hard. This sport has brought my partner into my life, many friends, a lot of experience, nice moments as well as troubles. Thanks to it, we have travelled and got to know a part of the world.
Do you have any message for those who would like to start with it?
Don't be afraid to ask. It’s much better to learn from the experience of others than from your own mistakes. You can see what a bikejöring race looks like in the following video:
We usually want only the best for our pets. That is why we often look for ways to improve their quality of life and make sure to support their health as much as possible. We feed them with the best on the market, include regular walks and activities...
In this next part of our series dedicated to dogfrisbee, an activity where the dog is thrown a disc, which he then catches and brings back, we focus on the discipline of Dogdartbee. This discipline comes from the Netherlands and its main essence is...
Like dogs, even cats may have therapeutic effects on patients. This treatment method is called felinotherapy and is suitable for both chronically ill patients, who may need help with coping, and those who suffer from long-term stress. Cats can bring...
Rabbits are popular pets, especially with children. They are cute and like to be petted. It’s good to know, however, that there is a wide range of rabbit breeds. There are even giant breeds, which require slightly different care than dwarf breeds. We...
There are a number of dog breeds that fall into the giant category. We may know and see a lot of them. How do these dogs differ from the mid-sized or even smaller breeds? And what do they need in terms of nutrition, raising and home? On this topic, we...
Sharing a home with a puppy is a great joy as well as worry. Especially if you have no previous experience with a dog or other domestic animal. Before getting a puppy, you should take into account a number of things, think about them carefully and...
Dogsled races are fascinating events. For the dogs and the mushers, these are challenging activities for which they need to prepare properly not only physically but also mentally. The races are not just about performance, but especially about stamina...
Thai cats originate from Siam, today’s Thailand, and came to Europe in the 1880s, then under the name Royal Cats of Siam. However, the whole process of recognition of the breed and its breeding is a complex matter. Around the 1930s, two currents...
A dog’s coat is one of its greatest characteristics that requires great care. It does not matter whether your canine companion is a short-haired or long-haired dog. Attention is required by all of them. How to take care of dog fur and what to do...
In the previous article, we wrote about what rescuing people entails and which dog breeds are suitable for searching for people in collapsed buildings. This topic is so interesting that we decided to focus even more on dog training itself, i.e. on the...
Guinea pig shows are an attractive opportunity for breeders. In addition to the animal displaying itself, guinea pig lovers get to meet and share valuable knowledge and experience. If you have a guinea pig at home, you may have considered taking part...