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Biking With My Dog (Review of the Tagalong Wicker Basket)
Boochi Bug's first time on a bike
Bikes are the best way to travel on our tiny, crowded island of Key West. Faster, easier to park and much more economical, riding is my preferred mode of transportation.
Since my 4 lb Chihuahua, ‘Boochi Bug’ came into my life my poor neglected bike has been rusting away on the front porch. Boochi loves to accompany me anywhere and everywhere. Whether in her cute little travel case for trips in the car or with her harness & leash exploring the little lanes of Old Town, she's always safely by my side. I’m a bit OCD about keeping my little princess out of harms way, that being the main reason we’ve avoided 2-wheel transportation until now.
Key West is a dog friendly town and I’ve observed a lot of different set-ups for transporting mans best friend via bicycle. Most of them are much too precarious for this neurotic dog owner. I’ve seen a tiny yorkie running aside a bike, leashed to the handlebars; extremely unsafe in my opinion, as the dog could be crushed by the tire with one wrong move. Less dangerous but still risky; placing your dog in the bike basket without a tether, having her sit on your lap with her front paws balancing on the handlebars and carrying her in a sling bag. Let’s face it, even if your dog is flawlessly trained, something could still go wrong.
Enjoying her new Tagalong basket
While visiting a friend I came across a pet product catalogue and being the consumer I am, immediately I rifled through it. Several items caught my eye, but the crème de la crème was a section of bike baskets made specifically for small dogs with safety in mind (I had no idea these existed). This might sound pathetic but I was elated knowing I’d once again be riding only this time with the Boochi Bug.
Right away I hit my computer and googled bike baskets for small dogs. With a little research I found several different types consisting of different materials. The common denominator among them is safety; most models incorporate a feature to prevent your dog from jumping out of the basket. From safety leads to wire coverings, depending on your dog there are excellent security options to choose from. This is important because you never know if your pet will get spooked and try to jump out. For my little girl the fall alone could be devastating, not to mention moving cars, loose dogs, protective Key West chicken moms, etc…
Lovin' my ride!
I was immediately drawn to the Tagalong wicker basket for its aesthetics. First of all it’s rattan and I just adore the old fashion bike basket look. It weighs 4 lbs and comes with a removable matching sun shade & a plush, washable lambs wool liner. The bracket system for attaching the basket to your bike is beefy and feels quite safe once it’s assembled properly. 2 adjustable straps are included that attach from the handlebars to metal loops on the basket, providing extra stability if needed. Once you get the hang of it, you can pop the basket on and off with one hand, allowing you to remove or replace it with your pup still safely inside. Very cool indeed.
As for dimensions; 15” x 11”x 9.5” high. The documentation claims it’s capable of accommodating a dog up to 13 pounds. My dog is 4 lbs and she fits just fine. She does have long legs, so when seated or standing her head comes within a couple inches of the sun visor. I imagine if your dog was any taller he would have to ride either lying down or with the sun visor removed.
As touched on earlier, my main concern when choosing a basket was the safety issue. The Tagalong model contains a removable safety lead attached to the bottom back of the basket. It is adjustable and very sturdy. I clicked into my pups harness and she was able to comfortably sit, stand and turn around while still being restrained to the interior of the basket. Nice feature!
Picking up speed!
Just because you’ve chosen, bought and assembled your new basket, it doesn’t mean your pups ready for a ride around town. It is imperative to take some time adapting your baby to this new and exciting activity. With my dog, once she becomes frightened of something, she never forgets and it becomes almost impossible to recondition the behavior without a ton of patience and retraining.
When the basket arrived via Fed Ex, she watched me open the box and was instantly curious about the contents. I placed it on the couch in her favorite spot and encouraged her to jump in on her own. Once inside, I praised and rewarded her with verbal cues such as; “What a pretty girl.” “We love your new basket!” Using a pleasant, excited voice. Automatically she knew it was all about her and she spent hours chillin’ in her brand-new toy.
Once she seemed comfortable, I carried her outside, tethered securely in the basket and snapped into my bike. At first I walked the bike slowly up and down my lane with her sitting in the basket, all the while using verbal praise. After about 10 minutes we rode slowly up and down the lane a couple times and then called it quits. She had a fabulous time; no fear what-so-ever. We repeated this process a couple times the next day, increasing the distance a wee bit with each trip. She loved it.
The basket resides beside her travel case, near the door so she will equate it with going for a ride. She adores her travel case, feeling 100% secure no matter where we go as long as she’s inside. It took a little time, patience and consistency but the pay-off of taking it slow was worth it. She now bolts to her basket anytime I ask her if she wants to go for a bike ride. Whether the dog park, beach, store or Duval Street, people always shower her with attention and inquire as to where I purchased this product. More fun and happiness have been added not only into her life, but mine as well. I’m quite pleased with my purchase.
My Review Scale: 1-10
Style & Looks—10 Love the wicker...nice quality. The sun shade adds to the coolness factor. The lambs wool interior is soft & comfy.
Safety—8 The tether is strong and made well. It is important to train your dog to stay quietly in the basket while riding.
Price—6 $79 plus shipping is a bit steep. I found out later it was listed for $12 dollars cheaper at Amazon.com
Assembly—8 Easy to follow instructions provided. About 20 minutes to assemble.