DIY bikejoring rig

I’m not that rich. Actually I’m usually the exact opposite. I’ve been giving my superfluous time and money to charity since I was 20. Not because I’m amazingly caring, but because I love creating, managing and being involved in projects – and the projects can be about helping others, therefore giving me a sense of purpose, and hence why I now run a charity with my partner.

This Autumn our catering business had gone into hibernation and after being bedridden for months, I was wondering how to move faster than a zombie crawl when dog walking. What if there were other dog owners like me? Most dogs can outpace humans anyway, but Bam Bam was too crazy to let off leash in any situation unless no other dogs and fully fenced.

I came across a shock line offered for sale on RealDog.co.nz. My partner gave me $30 to buy one but we needed groceries, so my hobby idea was put on hold. But I figured I could probably make one – given that it consisted of rope, hardware, and a bungee cord (or Ockey strap in AUS). It took me about five minutes to make by hand out of stuff I already had – meaning NO tools.

Then I went to a dollar store and bought a waist support band for $12. There are heaps of types, the one I got was the most expensive in the shop as the other options looked really unsuitable. It also had a distinguishable front and back, which is helpful for when I actually sew the hands free leash onto the support band. Without it being sewn means it sometimes slips up my waist or onto my hip bones. It does help to experiment where you like the pulling force to come from. Some people prefer it dropped further than hips. For me, I like it as central to my tummy button because Bam Bam will pull me whether I am moving or not. I like to have the stability to be able to stand and lean back to apply the brakes.

I’d like to say the bikejoring arm was also tool free, but if you can get someone to cut the PVC pipe to the exact length you want it’s almost tool free – at least, it is if you use sandpaper instead of a metal file. As usual for me I read the online instructables and did entirely my own thing. Mainly because I had spare rope and didn’t have a spare length of bungee that would be long enough to be doubled up through the PVC pipe. But as I had already made a shock line, it would be more robust to not have any line able to give, to prevent snapping if lunged on. Also the online instructables asked for me to drill a hole through the pipe at the end to keep the pipe pretty horizontal by running a guide rope from the handlebars, but I didn’t have a drill. So I used my Leatherman rope knife to cut where I could hopefully twist in a threaded eyelet. Then I picked up a popped twisty balloon that once looked like a dog (thank you, small child!) and tied it through the eyelet so if there was too much pressure on the guide rope it wouldn’t snap and cause the whole arm to fall into the wheel midcycle, instead it will work just like the shock line will when it’s attached between myself and the dog, and although I’ve forgotten everything from physics in high school, I know that preventing shock prevents wear – not just on the user but gear too!

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