Cycling: never without my dog - The360 PlayBuzz

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  • Wednesday, November 6, 2019

    Cycling: never without my dog

    Cycling: never without my dog

    Cycling requires a lot of logistics, especially when camping. Some add to all this a baggage size, with all the challenges and joys that implies: their dog! Testimonials.


    In the living room of this Longueuil apartment, half a dozen plastic tubs litter the ground. Inside, there are all kinds of equipment for cycling and camping.

    Xavier Bélisle, 27, is filling his bike bags. That same evening, he embarked on a 850-kilometer, 7-day trip, a great loop through North Hatley in Estrie, Quebec and Shawinigan, Mauricie.

    Laika, shetland mixed with Australian Shepherd, sniffs bins by shaking his tail. The 14-month-old dog will accompany him on his journey.

    "Originally," says Xavier, "I thought I'd be agile with her, but I noticed she had a talent for sports. She understands the concept of leading an expedition. "

    This is good because it is also to accompany him in his passions (hiking, camping wild, bike) that Xavier adopted Laika.

    After teaching Laïka a few simple commands (stop, go, left, right) during cross-country ski outings last winter, Xavier was equipped to ride a bike with her when she was 1 year old. minimum age recommended. A special leash, which keeps Laika away from the bike, and a trailer, where she can be transported.

    Running next to the bike? Laika loved it. To rest in the trailer? "At first, she hated that to die! summarizes Xavier. She was screaming. She wanted to run with me. "

    But out of the way, Laika, who is tied in the trailer, got used to it. "She likes when we meet people on the bike path," says Xavier, showing us a video of Laika in the trailer.

    In June, the duo made their first five-day trip to Vermont, followed by four days in the Laurentians. When the surface allowed (the asphalt is too hard for the pads), Laika ran from one to one-thirty in the morning and from one to one-and-a-half hours in the evening. When she runs, it is she, always, who gives the rhythm (on average 12 km / h).

    In the evening, after having eaten well and well hydrated the pads of Laika with cream, the duo fell tired under the tarpaulin that Xavier installs to sleep.

    "It has tightened our bond a lot," he says. It's like she's trusting me now. "

    The dog... to slow down

    If Julie Gouin also traveled by bike with her dog, it's for a very different reason. She wanted to cycle with her boyfriend. She had a lot of experience in this area, but Jean-François, less.

    "I told my boyfriend," Look, I'm going to drag the dog, that way, it'll slow me down, "laughs the 33-year-old guidance counselor.

    So it's with Jack, 60 lbs, that the couple went on a one-month bike trip to the US and Canada last summer. A 2000 km course, from North Carolina to Pittsburgh, then from Pittsburgh to home in Quebec City.

    It was so hot that Jack practically did not run until the last leg of the trip to Canada. From then on, he ran 5 km at a time, for a maximum of 20 km per day. Jack especially enjoyed swimming in Lake Ontario: "A good way to burn it so it's quieter at night! "

    All the more reason for him to sleep well: "The first time we camped, we made him sleep outside, but he got bitten by ants," says Julie. We resigned ourselves to sleep with him in the tent! And he pushed us with his feet ... "

    "People are asking me," Would you do it again? "I'm not sure that we would go back a long way by dragging him. Because it's heavy, and you can go a little further, "says Julie, who still keeps a good memory.

    For his part, Xavier has big plans with Laïka: he caresses the dream of taking a sabbatical year with her, in a few years, to cross the Americas by bike.

    Before you start...

    Traveling by bike with her dog requires planning and prevention, warns veterinarian Claudia Gilbert, who stresses the importance of talking to her veterinarian first. The distances that a dog can travel vary according to his state of health, his age, his physiognomy, his physical capacities, the temperature, the humidity ... "It is necessary to be attentive to the signs of fatigue of the animal", she said, while recalling the need to start gradually. The dog, which does not sweat, is less heat-resistant than us, the veterinarian adds. It is avoided to run when it is too hot, and it is offered water frequently. Finally, plan your route and protect it from pests.

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