Friday, September 25, 2009

My ride

Extremely professional: The rig, that is. The photographer, on the other hand, didn't even see his own shadow.

This is my off-season sled dog training rig, the closest thing I've got to a car. That seat in front is for passengers or load carrying, the driver stands up behind it and clings for dear life to the steering bars.
It's got drum brakes in front, hydraulic disc brakes behind. And a wicked parking brake made of serious spikes that you kick into the ground and lifts the back wheels up.
There's a whole micro-industry around mushing rigs, though most dog drivers still make do with assorted junked ATVs, bolted-together car parts or the like.
Some just wait for the snow, and let their dogs do other stuff off-season.
For a while, I trained four dogs at a time with my off-road bicycle. I must have been out of my mind. If I had met someone walking their poodle I would still be in prison. There was no way I could stop for the first miles, and I changed my disc brake pads every week. Another disadvantage of bicycles in this context is that if you put it down to check the dogs, untangle them from the gang line or whatever, they might run away with the bicycle rattling behind them.
Purpose-made rigs are expensive, but not more so than top-of-the-line bicycles. And they're made by guys who don't have the advantage of an efficient assembly-line production behind them or a large market in front of them. So actually I'm surprised they're not even more expensive. If I ever tried making a rig that would actually last instead of disintegrating the first time I applied the brakes it would end up costing much more.


Andy in Germany said...

More useful information that I'll stash away in the hope I can do this one day, thanks. I often wondered how to build/get a rig for summer...

Anonymous said...

if you abandon dogs altogether, I know someone who is in it for a new rig, after hers have tested some 20000 km on wheels over the years