Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dog Scootering

Tim Curley and his levitating dog at the start of the Pacific Northwest Dryland Championships in Roslyn Washington. Photo by Megan Capon

This past year I started to train dryland almost exclusively on a scooter. I
had been using a mountain bike before that. I am about 6'1" tall and about 190 pounds. I had tried several scooters before I decided to buy the Blauwerk/Sidewalker "Downhill". I like the larger 26" wheels because they tend to roll over the rough stuff a little easier than smaller wheels. The steering is not as quick as the riser bars on small wheeled rigs. That is a good thing. The wheelbase is longer than a bike so there is much less tendency to go"endo". "Endo" is when you are thrown over the handlebars, often landing on your face. Compared to a bike, I notice that when standing on the platform of a scooter the rig is much more planted on the ground. A mountain bike has a higher center of gravity and is more likely to "endo" when starting out and when going down hills.
The brakes on the Blauwerk are linear pull V style brakes that are adequate but they need to be
adjusted frequently. The pads are not as easy to change as higher end V-Brakes. The
cable routing to the rear brake is in need of improvement. The front suspension forks are nice and have much more travel than a small wheel fork will allow. The long steel frame is heavy but springy enough to be comfortable and I don't feel the need for rear suspension.
The wheels are also heavy with wide downhill rims. I think I can get away with much
lighter wheels. The bars are also heavy. I would like to replace them with more
conventional mountain bike flat bars.
I haven't had a problem with the rear wheel getting in the way when I pedal. Some users complained that the larger rear wheels did get in the way.
The platform is high enough that I haven't had problems with it bottoming out on rough stuff like I have experienced on some other scooters. There is about 5.25" of ground clearance. The platform is 8"above the ground. The larger wheels allow greater ground clearance.
Here is a photo of me and my second place team on the scooter at the recent Roslyn Rondy. Megan Capon took the photo. The race winner was Ellen Donoghue. She was running Alaskan Huskies from the Streeper Kennel

I am using Mojo in the lead for my 2 dog team. I call him " The Little Sausage" because of the long round shape of his body.

This photo shows my team finishing. There was a strong headwind during the race. I think I managed to shave a few seconds off my time by getting down low on the scooter platform.

This is Ellen Donoghue with Tim Curley along side her finishing the race on the second day.
I expect to see Ellen this next winter at some of the skijor races.

This is Bob Wilson and his two Alaskan Huskies. Bob was the the 3rd place team out of 18 other teams in the scooter class. The bikejoring was mainly a novice class at this race. Bob is also a very competitive skijorer.

1 comment:

J. Jeffrey Bragg said...

This is interesting! Contemplating my navel in rural Manitoba for the past three years, I hadn't even realised the venerable scooter had been revived, let alone that people were using them as an alternative to mountain bikes. I'm very comfortable with my dogs on a mountain bike and have never done an "endo" -- nevertheless, I'd like to give this a try! Guess I'd better start looking for a secondhand scooter.