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Bike or Scooter? Choosing to put It all toghether. PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 28 November 2010 09:14

Scooter Information


Bicycle or Scooter?

Some people prefer to run their dogs with mountain bikes, especially competitive skijorers and people with fast, hard pulling dogs such as Alaskan huskies and eurohounds. Skijorers are used to moving both legs equally and feel at home with feet on pedals. In fact, the proper way to scoot a scooter is similarly balanced. A knowledgeable scooterer rhythmically changes legs. Kick three times on one side, then three times on the other. Kick glide, kick glide, kick glide, change legs, etc. If you are determinedly one legged/one sided, that works also.

Most people prefer scooters over bicycles. For one thing many dogs trot too slowly for comfortable bike riding. Scooters are better at slow speed than bicycles.

Scooters are safer for running dogs than bicycles because when riding a scooter you are standing with your feet near the ground. When riding a bicycle you have a bar between your legs. Your feet are on pedals. You are less able to dismount quickly when the dog stops suddenly to pee, shake rainwater, sniff or whatever.

Scooters are more durable and cheaper to repair than bicycles. You lay the scooter on its side when hooking up the dog, stopping along the trail, or walking forward to hold the dog's collar in a tricky situation. A little paint scratched is all the damage there is. Should the dog suddenly take off after a squirrel, deer, or beaver, the scooter bounces along behind the dog. The handle bar may spin around enough to loosen the brake cables, but repairs needed are minimal. Should the dog take off dragging a bicycle, repairs can include repairing damage to derailleur, chain, and pedals as well as the spinning handlebar and brake cables.

Scooters are cheaper than bicycles. Better to have your scooter banged up than your mountain bike. Once your dog is trained you may be totally hooked on the scooter. On the other hand, once the dog is trained, a bicycle is less unsafe and there are good reasons to use a bicycle. If the dog really wants to go fast, you can easily take the load off him by pedaling and thereby go even faster. And with gear shifting hills are easy to power up. It is easier to carry gear on a bicycle than on a scooter.

Site owner, Daphne Lewis, enjoys all three vehicles: scooter, sulky, and mountain bike. On scary terrain with steep hills, trees and switch backs, no question, I prefer my Diggler Alpha Dawg with 16 inch rear wheel (and fenders!). I can plant my feet on the long platform and be firmly part of the scooter as we blast down the hill. When I had my old, slow rottweiler, I had to use a scooter. Bikes are no fun at slow speeds. Now that I have a young, fast chinook, I enjoy both scooter and bike. On power line trails with alternating pavement and dirt tracks with rocks and rabbits, the mountain bike is a blast. I love being able to shift gears and help the dogs go faster by pedaling. I love the sulky for tamer trails, urban adventures, photographing my scooter friends, and any trail wide enough for the sulky to go through. I like the freedom to choose the vehicle depending on the terrain and on my training goals for the day.


How To Choose Your Scooter?

If you mostly scoot at a trot around the city and weigh less than 150 pounds, then the charming, folding micro with 12 inch wheels will please you. If you weigh under 150 pounds and want an introductory scooter, the Torker scooter is nimble, light weight, and versatile. If you are an average sized man and have a dog who lopes as well as trots, the Willy is a high quality scooter with 20 inch, quick release wheels. The Willy is fast, has excellent brakes and comes with fenders. It is suited for logging roads, dirt and gravel, lawns, and of course pavement. If your dogs are fit, fast, and determined, you need to control them with powerful brakes, shock absorbers and platform length to spread your feet. Choose the Alpha Dawg, DSK, Full Suspension or the Blauwerk Downhill. If you want to ride with your child in front of you, choose one of the Digglers with their long, wide platform, heavy duty frame and components, and big handlebars. The Full Suspension Diggler with its shock absorbers handles uneven ground, galloping speeds, and large riders with aplomb.

See comments below

Price

Max Wt

Max dogs

(pet)

(sled)

Max speed

Terrain

Wheel

Platform

Ground

Clear-ance

Wt.

sc'ter

Ht. hand-

lebars

Brakes Shocks

Micro (Folds)

$249 Adult

1

0

10 mph

pavement,

warehouse

12 in. 5 1/4 x 15 in. 3.5 in. 15 lbs 38-41 front only no
Torker $120 150 lbs

2

1

13 mph

dirt trails,

gravel

16 in.

nylon

4 7/8 x 14 1/4 4.5 in. 22 lbs 36 in. U brakes no

Torker w/stem riser

$136 150 lbs

2

1

13 mph

dirt trails,

gravel

16 in.

nylon

4 7/8 x 14 1/4 4.5 in. 22 lbs 42 in . U brakes no

Dirt Dawg Diggler

$175 180 lbs

3

1

16 mph

dirt trails,

gravel

16 in.

alloy

6 1/2   x 20 in

flat: 13 1/2

5 in. 26.5 lbs 38 in. V brakes yes

Dirt dawg + large handlebar

$200 180 lbs

3

1

16 mph

dirt trails,

gravel

16 in.

alloy

6 1/2   x 20 in

flat: 13 1/2

5 in. 26.5 lbs 42 in. V brakes yes

Willy (Fenders)

$299 250 lbs

3

1

18 mph No roots

20 in. quick release;

street tires

6 x 14 in. 3.5 in. 23 lbs 38-41in . V brakes no

Alpha Dawg Diggler (Aluminum)

$450 350 lbs

4

2

22 mph

tight turns ,

switchbacks

20"x2.35"

front,

16 or 20"x2.35"

back

6 3/4 " x 25"

total length
flat part: 17"

front

6 3/4"

rear 5 1/2"

.

29.5 lbs

20/16

43.5" V brakes

yes

Grind alum-inum

in front

DSK
Diggler (Aluminum)

$550 350 lbs

4

2

22 mph mountain trails

20 in. quick release;

nobby tires

6 1/2 " x 25 1/2"
flat: 16"

front

6 1/2"

rear 5 1/2"

29 lbs 42 in. Disc brakes yes

Grind alum-inum

in front

Full Suspension Diggler

$750 350 lbs

4

2,3

25 mph mountain trails

20 in. quick release;

nobby tires

6 1/2 " x 25 1/2"
flat: 16"
Disc brakes yes

Grind

front & back

Downhill $550 350

4

2,3

25 mph

back country,

meadows

26"alum.

quick release,

nobby tires

6 in. x ? 7 in. 30 lbs > 41 in V brakes yes

1.  Price is for unassembled scooter in box as shipped. Add approximately $30 for assembly by your local bike store.

2.  Weights that scooters can carry are approximate. In each case I know of heavier people riding than the listed max weight.

3.  Maximum number of dogs is an estimate and will vary depending on the power of the individual dogs, their level of training and obedience and your weight and athleticism. If your dogs are very fast, you will want shock absorbers. I have ridden a mountain diggler with two working sled dogs wishing that I had gloves and a helmet on and imagining what it is like to hit the pavement at sprint dog speed. On the other hand I used to take four house dogs out on my thrift store little scooter and felt totally safe.

4.  Maximum speed (ie. maximum safe speed) is an approximte number. Higher speeds are more comfortable on smooth terrain than on rough and on straight trails than switch backs.

5.  Dog scootering allows you to run your dog on a variety of terrain: pavement, crushed rock, hard (wet) sand beaches, dirt, bark, lawn, pasture and meadow.

6.  More expensive scooters have better hubs. Better hubs roll more easily than cheaper ones.

7.  Many scooterers prefer wide foot platforms so they can ride with feet side by side. Other scooterers prefer narrow platforms because kicking is easier. Some scooters place one foot at the head of the platform and place the other slightly behind with the ball of the foot tucked into the arch of the forward foot. If you alternate feet every third kick as you scoot (which is proper form), the narrow platform is easier.

8.  Generally speaking higher ground clearance means better ability to go over rough ground. A shorter scooter with the same ground clearance will clear more roots than a longer one.

9.  Light weight is a plus with one dog. Heavy weight is a plus with multiple dogs. Dogs can pull any empty scooter easily when chasing a deer or squirrel. What really counts is your weight whether standing on the scooter with brakes locked or on the ground holding the scooter and yelling WHOA DAMMIT. With dogs that are crazy to run, train them that they do not get to go until they stand quietly.


How Do I Put My Scooter Together?

Scooters are shipped partially assembled. Back wheels and back brakes are assembled. Handlebars, front wheels, and front brakes are loose in the box. Shipping this way keeps the box small enough for UPS. Most scooters do NOT have assembly instructions in the box because scooter manufacturers for liability reasons prefer to have bicycle mechanics assemble their scooters. Bicycle mechanics do not need instructions. The Diggler scooters do come with instructions, however. If you know how to adjust brakes and work on bicycles, then you can assemble the scooter yourself. Otherwise take it to a bike store.

Flat tires from blackberry thorns and the like are no fun. Ask the bike store to put in something to reduce flats. Different stores recommend different products. Go with the local preference.

The stem extension that can be purchased with the Torker scooter to raise the handlebars requires a 6 inch allen wrench for tightening. The wrench has to go down the inside of the tube and reach the screw at the bottom.

My local bike store charges $30 to assemble a scooter. Calculate your cost as price of scooter plus shipping plus cost of assembling.

Last Updated on Sunday, 09 January 2011 09:01
 
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