Scooter/Bikejor Basics

  1. Gear check:  are your brakes in good condition?  Bike shop will adjust for $15-20

  2. Gear check:  are your tires properly inflated?  (they can lose 5 psi per week just sitting)

  3. Gear check: are your “quick-release” wheel hubs tightened?

  4. Gear check: how are you keeping the towline out of the front wheel? (noodle/aerobar)

  5. Gear check: are the towline and your dog’s harness in good condition?

  6. Gear checkbell (“bear bell”) on harness and ringer on handlebar (courtesy to pedestrians)

  7. carry water for your dog

  8. carry basic first-aid for your dog

  9. helmet & bike gloves

  10. if going alone, let someone know your route and when you expect to return

  11. carry a fully-charged cell phone

  12. wear sturdy shoes with lug soles - preferably hiking boots or hiking shoes

  13. Never let go of the scooter with your dog attached!  Especially not near roads.  Just hang on. 

  1. get the “Red Cross Pet First-Aid” phone app — and study it before you go out with your dog

  2. booties in case a paw is cut or scraped (dogs who haven’t done a lot of walking on hard surfaces will have soft paws which could be rubbed raw with suddenly doing a lot of scootering)

  3. vet wrap + gauze

  4. Musher’s Secret

  5. first-aid scissors or knife (in case your dog gets tangled in the towline)

  6. glucose (such as a honey stick) in case your dog gets hypoglycemic

  7. splint

  8. dogs should not run within two hours of eating  (know symptoms of bloat)

  9. know where the nearest emergency vet is (there’s a vet locater in the Red Cross app)

  1. “C&O Companion” phone app

Dog First-Aid

(ask your vet for guidance — and about your dog’s overall fitness

for this vigorous activity)

  1. poop bags, Kleenex packet, antiseptic wipes, car keys (safer than a coat pocket)

  2. cash

  3. first-aid

  4. band-aids + cotton bandanna

  5. whistle (“Fox 40” or “Storm Whistle”)

Handlebar Bag

  1. water for your dog plus a cup/bowl. 

  2. Tam carries 64 ounces for Gidget in the winter.  Rec at least 32 oz per dog.




  1. Get comfortable with the scooter/bike without a dog attached.  Practice sudden stops, sharp turns, kicking for speed and kicking with both legs.

  1. Practice braking — never hit just the front brake, it could throw you over the handlebars

  1. Hook your dog up and walk them with the scooter for a short distance. 

  1. At low-speed, gauge your dog’s comfort with the scooter and you being behind them.

  1. Dogs have different “pulling personalities” — some are naturally extremely competitive “lead dogs” who are driven to be first (at speeds up to 20-25 mph) while others are “steady-eddies” happy to trot along at a moderate pace (5-8 mph) and others will need some cajoling to pull at all. 

  1. If your dog needs encouragement to pull, the best motivator is another Samoyed pulling a scooter or bike in front of them.  Absent that, ask a friend or family member to ride a bike ten or twenty yards ahead and have them call for your dog. 

  1. Gradually increase the distance your dog pulls.  If your dog is not accustomed to running miles at a time, has been a couch-potato, is overweight, senior (7 years or older) or otherwise not already a highly-conditioned canine-athlete (i.e. most dogs), then please don’t expect them to pull you several miles your first time out.  Or your second time…. 

  1. Even if your dog has been running a lot, they are now pulling - and that is a different ballgame.

  1. Be mindful of the terrain you are scootering on.  Is it level?  Is it a hard surface (concrete, asphalt) which is very tough on paws and joints?  Or is it more forgiving, such as pea gravel (C&O Canal and National Mall), dirt or sand? 

  1. Exactly when your dog is up to pulling for several miles depends on the dog, the terrain and the weather.  Next time you see your vet, ask them about your dog’s fitness for this activity. 

Gidget’s Pulling History

  1. Gidget began pulling a scooter when she was 18 months old, during the winter of 2003-04.  Our most-used commands:  “Hike!”   “On by!”   “Easy….”  

  1. She started on the sidewalk and pulled a few blocks in our neighborhood.  Soon she was pulling on the Mall (four flat miles in between the Capitol and Lincoln Memorial) and then weekend six-mile pulls from Capitol Hill to the Lincoln and back.  The most she ever pulled a scooter in one outing was 9 miles on the C&O Canal.

  1. Gidget’s top speeds during her prime (ages 2-8) were in the low-20s mph.  Her easy pace was 6-8 mph and she also was fond of a 10-12 mph pace.  As she aged, we switched to bikejoring.

  1. Gidget turned 12 years old in June.  This past winter her typical outings were 4 or 5 miles long trotting 3-4 mph in front of my bicycle. 

  1. For Tam and Gidg, the temperature around DC must be 55 degrees or less for scootering/bikejoring.  Temps in the 30s-40s are ideal.


Black Ice
Howling Dog

N-E Outfitters

White Pine Outfitters  (1” collar”)

Husky Powered Dog Sledding

Arctic Star Sleds
Mountain Ridge
Sled Dog Central
Pennsylvania Sled Dog Club
  1. bike multi-tool (including Allen wrenches #2, 3, 4, 5, 6 + Phillips, slot screwdrivers

  2. spare tire tube (if you don’t know how to fix it maybe someone else on the trail will)

Seat Bag