As Dave, Sora, and I pulled into the Czech camp ground, we noticed a guy sitting with his dog on a bench. To the right, sat a bike with half a dog kennel fitted to the rear rack and the word BIKE CANINE advertising the duo.
We approached and asked if that was his bike. Yes, he said. You travel with a dog? We asked, incredulously. Yes, he replied with a smile. We had met the first of many of our kind.
About a year later, while making the tough border crossing between Argentina and Chile at Lago O’Higgins, a dog came bounding down the trail, saw Sora and plopped down. Where did this dog come from, we wondered? Moments later, his humans emerged guiding their bikes down the trail.
Is this your dog? We asked, incredulously. Yes, they said beaming. He followed us for several days, so we figured we needed to adopt him. More, more of our kind!
Since leaving on our international cycle tour with Sora in April 2015, we have come across many folks – both in person and virtually – who cycle tour with their dogs. From the US to Argentina to Europe, we have connected with those who believe that no dog should be left behind.
As Bike with Your Dog Day approaches, we thought it only appropriate that we share the inspiring stories of our fellow cycle touring dogs and their humans.
Dave, Jen & Sora
Sora is a 11-year-old Australian Shepherd, whom Dave rescued from a shelter in Portland, OR
In 2015, we cycle toured from Oslo, Norway to Athens, Greece, via the Balkans and Turkey. In January, we flew to Ushuaia, Argentina where we began an adventure that will take us from Patagonia to Portland.
Traveling with a dog certainly requires more effort. You have to carry more weight – not just your pup and the trailer, but also her food, her bed, her accessories. It can also be really time consuming finding accommodation that allows dogs. You have to convince them that your dog is not like a street dog – that she’s clean, well behaved, and no, that you won’t let her roam around the hallways unattended (yes, we’ve been asked that before).
It can also be a pain a border crossings. Do we have the right paperwork? How far in advance do we have to get vaccinations done? It requires a lot of homework and be incredibly stressful, however, Sora is our family. She travels with us everywhere we go at home and it was never an option to leave her behind. If we go, she goes. We couldn’t imagine this tour without Sora.
Jasmine Reese & Fiji
Fiji is a five-year-old Whippet, Boxer, Basenji Mix.
We are cycling from Indianapolis, IN to Austin, TX until Mid-May, then hitchhiking up to Seattle to enter Canada and begin cross-Canada trek. After that, I hope to cycle down the Atlantic Coast of the U.S. or fly to Asia and begin my trek there and continue on to three other continents. I may be on the road for six years or longer depending on the opportunities.
Touring with a dog has its pros and cons. But so does touring with a person. However, I have found that touring with a dog has way more pros. Just know to always put your dog’s safety and comfort on high priority. I like to make sure Fiji is always healthy, happy, and safe.
I don’t take chances when I am with her, just like any parent wouldn’t take chances when they are with their kid. Give your dog time to be a doggy. I love to stop at lakes and rivers and let Fiji swim or parks where Fiji can go off leash and play and run to her heart’s content.
Always check your dog’s paw pads to be sure there is no wear and tear. Try to avoid running on pavement for too long as that will lead to arthritis in the baby’s joints. And sometimes, your dog will be a mischievous little brat, but that’s ok. It’s all apart of the adventure. Just roll with the punches.
My doggy is my daughter. She goes where I go. She loves being with me and she loves touring. My Fiji makes me smile on hard days. She truly keeps me going. She’s a wonderful and loyal companion who will protect me at all costs. I truly appreciate her for that and I wouldn’t trade her for another travel companion, ever.
Pablo Calvo & Hippie
Hippie is a six-year-old mutt whom I rescued from an animal shelter.
I have been cycle touring with a dog since 2010, when I rode the Silk Road. Last year, I cycled from Gijón to the North Cape in Norway and later this year, I intend to cycle from Europe to SE Asia.
Traveling with a dog comes with some cons: it can be difficult to find accommodation that allows dogs, you have to carry more food and water, and it’s more expensive to travel on planes and trains. However, these are all unimportant matters if you truly love your dog.
Hippie keeps me company, she never complains about anything, and she’s always happy. She protects my bike when I go to the supermarket to buy food and she warns me if someone comes near our tent at night. She also helps me make new friends on the road!
I share my daily life with my dog, so it never crossed my mind to travel without her. We are a team!
Agustin Rodriguez Pons and Frida
Bahía Blanca, Argentina
Frida is a two-year-old mix. Our plan is to go to the south of Argentina, then head over to Chile and start going up from there, to Santiago de Chile. Then I’ll return Argentina cycle to north the country. After that is unknown! I hope be traveling for three years, as I want to ride all of the Americas, up to Mexico and if possible, to Canada.
She loves hanging around with me and the bike, so when I had to decide whether or not to take her on the trip, I realized that I can’t be without her! Touring with a dog is the most wonderful company you’ll ever have. I love that dog and she chose me. I could never leave her behind – she’d be sad about not being with me!
Steve & Buddy
City of Wells, Somerset, England
Buddy is a five-year-old West Highland White Terrier.
The Great Weston Ride takes place on 17th July 2016. It is a 56-mile route starting in Bristol and then on through Long Ashton, Barrow Gurney, Winford, Chew Valley, Burrington, The Mendip Hills, Priddy, Wedmore, Burnham-on-Sea, Brean and finishing in Weston-Super-Mare. The main point of the ride is to raise money for Cancer Research UK and with this in mind, I wanted to add something more to the ride than just me and my bike.
I cycle many miles a week towing my two children and Buddy, in my Burley bike trailer and so thought that if I could tow Buddy for the Great Weston Ride, I would raise more money, as it is more of a challenge. My children would not be comfortable in the trailer for so long, however, Buddy loves the trailer and will have plenty of room, as well as being able to jog alongside me on many sections and adding stop off points in here and there. So far, with 10 weeks to go until the ride , Buddy has raised over £500.
There are many things to consider and be mindful about when touring with your dog and I could write a long list, however if I can say something to anyone embarking on a tour it would be to ensure your dog is always comfortable, safe, secure and happy with all aspects of travelling in a trailer and take plenty of time to get them accustomed to it. My dog and I have a fantastic bond and I take him everywhere with me. Being able to cycle around with him in the trailer is a fantastic way for him to see the world and take part in an activity that is fun and that we can do together. To be able to take him on tour is very important to me, to share such a special time with him and for us both to embark on another adventure with each other.
Buddy is a fantastic dog, I have always taken him everywhere with me, from off road driving and hiking through the English Lake District, to exploring the Scottish Highlands and visiting the Cornish Coast, so it seems fitting that we take on our first charity fundraising experience together.
Henry, Ruby, and Sir
Orginially from New Zealand and Turkey, now living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Sir is a 1.5-year-old, border collie/lab mix (we think).
We cycled from Patagonia to Bolivia and Peru in 2015-2016.
Sir started following us along the way. A month into our tour, this ragged looking street dog decided he would join us. We took him to the vet and he now has a shiny coat, and we constantly get locals and travelers alike stopping to chat with us about him. From the moment we met him, he just stayed with us and has been following us ever since. He loves it when we are on the bikes but is also getting accustomed to pickups, trucks, boats, buses and soon will be taking a plane with us back to the Netherlands.
Cycle touring with a dog will bring an element to your travels that you never imagined. In southern South America, people love dogs, especially if they can see its a dog that is loved. Some give him a pat, some give him half of their sandwich. Each time we all make a new friend.
Traveling with a dog is not always easy. Your plans need to be flexible and searching for a campground or hostel/hotel can take longer. Flights become expensive and generally public transport is off limits. However, for every door that turns us away because we have a dog, three more open from pet lovers. Traveling with a dog brings hospitality to you. I feel like animal lovers are generally kind people as they have a lot of compassion in there hearts. When they see you traveling with a dog, they are very interested and open their arms, front doors and hearts to you. When you travel with an animal, it attracts the right people who will stop you in the street and recommend a lovely grandma who runs the hostel down the street; will offer you food and water in the desert or simply bring a smile to your face by showing your pet some love.