One of my favorite things to do is biking on a nice day. I find it incredibly relaxing and now that I live in a city with a lot of bike lanes and trails nearby, I'm able to do it even more often than before. Something I've always wanted to do is be able to share the biking experience with my dogs. I try to spend as much time with them as possible but unfortunately, biking with them just isn't practical or safe. A few years back I tried riding my bike while holding a leash with Luna and Nova but it did not feel comfortable at all. And that was testing them one at a time!
I started looking up dog wagons that I could attach to my bike so I could take them along with me. I wasn't able to find any existing wagons out there that could fit all three of my dogs so I began brainstorming how to make my own. My first thought was to modify a utility cart. I figured there were plenty of options that were big enough, they were made of sturdy materials, came with wheels already attached and had a handle I could use to attach to my bike. I ultimately decided against this idea in part because I found Wike's DIY Bike Kit.
Wike is a company in Canada that makes a variety of bike trailers and also sells a kit that you can use to make your own bicycle. The kit comes with tires, a hitch to attach to your bike and corner braces to eliminate the need for welding. I found this to be exactly what I was looking for since it allowed me to make the trailer to the exact dimensions I wanted. Here is a picture from Wike that shows what is included in the kit.
After I had ordered the kit it was time to come up with a plan for exactly what I wanted. The first step was to determine the ideal size for the wagon. I biked along my local bike trails and measured the width of the bike lane at various points. I wanted to make sure the wagon could be used in the bike lanes with plenty of space to spare. Once I had dimensions in mind, I made a tape outline on my living room floor and had the dogs sit inside the rectangle to see if they were comfortable. With the measurements in hand, I went to a local metal shop to buy the steel tubing I needed. The metal shop was great and was able to cut the steel to the sizes that I needed.
Assembly of the frame was surprisingly easy! I used a titanium drill bit to make the holes in the steel and nuts and bolts to secure it. I made a couple slight modifications to how the kit was intended to be used. First, I built it upside down. Due to the shape of the corner braces, by assembling it upside down, the dogs would have more space for the same profile. Second, I secure four vertical pieces of steel that I would use to attach the rails. For me this was essential to provide an extra layer of security for my dogs. Here is a picture of the assembled frame.
With the frame built, I went to the hardware store to buy wood for the flooring and side rails. I opted for oak since it is strong, durable and I thought it would look great once finished. I decided the natural color of the wood was perfect and opted for simply applying polyurethane to protect the wood. And for the steel frame, I decided to spray paint it black for an elegant look. Here are the slabs drying after a fresh coat.
Throughout this entire project, the safety of my dogs was most important. This led to several of the decisions I made when building the wagon. For example, for added strength I included corner braces on the front end of the wagon to secure the rails to each other. The back end of the wagon took some thought. I wanted to include a door so that my dogs could easily enter and exit the wagon. My first thought was to have hinges on one side and a latch on the other. The problem with this setup was that in the event I had to stop suddenly, the back and front of the wagon might see excessive force which I did not think the hinge could handle. Instead I decided to have hinges on the bottom of the wagon and dual latches on each side that went through the steel frame. Not only does the door lower like a drawbridge, it is incredibly strong and secure. Additional safety features also include adding a metal mesh originally meant for gutters on the side rails to prevent any paws or tails to interfere with the wheel. Last but not least I spray painted our company logo and this is the end result!
Enjoying the Results
The girls and I have been having an amazing time riding around the city! We have been getting amazing reactions from people in cars, bikes or just walking along. My personal favorite was when we rode by a school during recess and had a small crowd of kids running along with us. Here are the girls after biking to a dog park and enjoying a nice swim. The best part is, instead of sticking up my car, they can air dry on our way home!
Right now I use a single anchor point for each dog to secure them to the bike as shown below. Although this works and prevents them from jumping out, I feel like it is too restrictive. I'm thinking about adding a rail like system that would allow them to move about the wagon but not be able to jump out. If you have any ideas for something that might work, or other things I could add, please feel free to share!