“ Brand: Trixie „
We usually take our bikes with us when we go on holiday, and this year we have a new member of the family, a Chihuahua who is now one years old and who does like a walk, but I had visions of me ending up having to walk everywhere while my husband and the kids rode, or worse, me trying to ride while the dog was running along on the lead and me running him over.
I started to seriously doubt my sanity when I suggested to my husband that I bought a bike basket with the sole purpose of putting the dog in it, but when he agreed to my purchase, I thought perhaps it was quite sane.
The holiday was last month, and inspired by seeing another gentlemen riding along with a bigger breed dog in a basket, with the dog looking totally not bothered, I did eventually pluck up courage to use it.
The basket is made by Trixie, and I have other products from this range so I was confident this would be well made. I think in terms of the look, this is quite attractive and reminiscent of the old fashioned shopping basket which ladies have on their bikes. This is certainly a bit less macho than a fabric basket, but I was happy with the colour and how well made it is.
I decided that a lid would be a useful feature as I certainly did not want my dog to get scared and try to jump out while I was riding as it could have caused injury to him and myself. The lid was very secure fastened at both the front and back with little leather straps with buckles. I think this and the wicker would weather quite badly if you left it on your bike all the time.
The basket has also been designed with comfort of the dog in mind with a little shaped cushion for him to sit on during the journey. This is not the thickest of foam, but for a little dog it was fine. This is only sponge clean rather than washing machine, but unless you ride with a pup who might wee, I can't see this being a problem.
Luckily I realised before I bought this that I could not fit it to my bike without buying a bracket as well. The bracket was a few extra pounds on top of the £25 for the basket, taking my order to about £32 with delivery. The bracket is permanently fixed to the bike then the basket has two metal prongs attached to the rear which you bend to sit on the bracket. It was securely fastened.
The basket was perhaps a little larger than I expected, and it was certainly big enough for my dog to sit in. I could have fit two or three chihuahuas in it, and it would have coped fine with a westie or similar sized breed.
My biggest concern with this was that I would not be able to steer well when it was on my bike due to the extra weight. The dog only weighs a couple of kilos, but with the weight of the basket too, and the fact I am a bit unfit and not a regular cyclist, and it did phase me.
In practice, I found that when I initially tried to start riding, the dog would be making it very hard to steer, and any movement from him made me wobble. In fact, thinking about it, I was wobbling in the first place, which made him be moved about a bit from side to side, which then exaggerated my wobble. As I got going though, he seemed to sit fairly still in the centre of the basket, and it worked very well. And we covered a good few miles on a flat cycling route with him feeling the breeze through his fur. I don't feel confident enough to cycle on any roads with him on the front, as it just feels a bit unpredictable for near traffic, but I don't like that sort of cycling anyway preferring old railway lines or cycle routes in parks where it is quieter and easy to control the bike.
I would say that cycling with a dog is not for the faint hearted. A lot of people stared and made comments about it. Not in a bad way, but if you are at all self conscious or not very strong, or have a bigger dog, then this might not be for you. However, I loved taking my dog with us on family days out, and he was enjoying it too. I thought he may just lie down, but he spent the whole time sitting up looking over the edge of the basket, and I felt (might just be me though) that he was smugly looking at other dogs who were walking as if to say, this is the life mate.
This was a safe way to take my dog with us on family days out, and he was comfortable and secure in this. My only negative is that I felt that it was a bit cheeky to not include the bits you need to attach this to your bike. If I had not realised I needed the bracket, which was only down to amazon saying people usually buy this basket with this bracket, I may not have ordered it and been left unable to do the activity when I wanted to. For the sake of including a small weight of metal which can't really cost that much to make, it just kind of felt I had been misled. I would also say that I would find it almost impossible to secure him in this basket by myself as I needed to hold the weight of my bike while my husband put him in. I can't see how else you could do it unless you have a bike stand (even then I suspect the weight would be lopsided and tip the bike) so I would consider if this is a viable thing to do on every bike trip before purchasing.
Basket to fit on bicycle handlebars for the dog to sit in.