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Gear Prudence: I want to bike with my dog, but I don’t know where to start. Any advice? —Finding Information Difficult, Overwhelming
Dear FIDO: You can bike with your dog pretty much the same ways people bike with children: a handlebar-mounted seat/basket up front, a covered pull-trailer in the back, or a specialized leash contraption running alongside. (Note: Gear Prudence does not endorse the leashing of children, nor would child welfare agencies. So in this regard, biking with your dog does differ from biking with children.) The front-basket approach is best for small pets under 25 pounds; if your dog is larger than that, look for a trailer. GP is wary of the leash method, as the potential seems high for things to go badly on narrow trails and busy streets.
Dog-specific bike baskets and trailers come at various prices, so shop around. Fit and comfort matter, as does your dog’s safety (which is paramount, really). There’s also the possibility that your dog really won’t enjoy bicycling with you, so be aware of this before spending a ton of money. It might just be best to leave the pup and home and focus on biking back your dog’s favorite treats instead. —GP
Gear Prudence: I was riding to work the other morning behind a bicyclist whose bike didn’t have fenders. He rode through every single puddle and the spray kept splashing me. It sort of seemed like he was doing it on purpose. At a red light, I politely asked if he could try avoid riding through more puddles, and he laughed at me. Was my request really that wrong? Shouldn’t bicyclists not try to splash others? —A Likely Lout; Why Even Try?
Dear ALLWET: Road spray and paranoia: two great tastes that go great together. While bicyclists should not deliberately ride through puddles with the intent of getting others wet (and while riding without fenders is, itself, a generally dubious proposition in wet conditions), it’s highly unlikely that purposeful cruelty and a desire to see you begrimed compelled his actions. And even if this bicyclist was actually trying to ride through puddles, you’re not exactly helpless in the situation, either. Pass him, or drop farther back. Your bike commute isn’t a log flume, and you’re not required to remain in the splash zone. There’s also no reason to impinge upon a fellow bike commuter with an odd request that he ride a different way unless it really endangers (and not just annoys) you. —GP