Bikejoring is a canine sport that was originally invented to help sled dogs stay in shape during the summer months. However, as it was so popular it eventually became a sport in itself, being open to dogs of all breeds, mixed or purebred. The majority of sled dog clubs have bikejoring competitions in the summertime and there are numerous bikejoring groups in North America and Europe.
Bikejoring is somewhat similar to sled dog racing, except that there is generally fewer dogs on the team and instead of pulling a sled, the dogs pull a bicycle. Usually 2-4 dogs will be harnessed and tied to both each other and the bike, similar to the way sled dogs are tied to the sled. The dogs pull the bike while the person pedals. Unlike sled dogs racing that basically only has dogs of Nordic heritage, Bikejoring is fun for any active breed and many of the herding breeds, large Terriers and gun dogs enjoy participating in it.
Bikejoring races usually take place cross-country on soft dirt trails, as dogs that run long distances on pavement can hurt their paws and legs. Bikejoring races can be moderately dangerous for if the dogs are not extremely well trained they may try to bolt after prey or to follow a scent, which could knock their handler off the bike and hurt the other dogs on their team. During a bikejoring race, the handler wears a protective helmet and gloves to help minimize injury if they get knocked off the bike. It is also important that the bicycle be in perfect working order and that the brakes work properly, so the handler has the best control over the bicycle as possible. To help decrease possible problems, bikejoring race are timed races so there is only one team on the trail at a time. The team with the quickest time wins. Depending on the competition, bikejoring races vary in length and can be one lap or multiple laps.
There are several dog sports like dog scootering that are similar to bikejoring; however, they are generally not as intense or dangerous of bikejoring. Bikejoring is definitely not a dog sport for everyone, its far too active for many people and only certain dogs can do it. Bikejoring is definitely not a sport for moderately inactive breeds like English Bulldogs or toy breeds like Yorkshire Terriers, Chihuahuas, Pugs and Shih Tzus. However, for medium to large sized active dogs and physically fit owners, bikejoring can be a lot of fun, and is great exercise for both the owners and the dogs. Bikejoring is particularly great for sled dogs that need to be kept in top physical shape during the summer months when they cannot pull a sled.