Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cycling with Cat: from Absurdity to Reality

By now many of you are familiar with our cat Peppy. She occasionally comments on this blog and even has her own twitter account. And no, I do not help her with that (though I have my suspicions who does). Although online she can come across as argumentative, in reality Peppy is an exceptionally friendly and sociable cat. And she is fond of flowers and bicycles, sniffing them with interest every chance she gets. This makes me daydream of cycling through the meadows, with her in a basket enjoying the fresh air.

Ever since we got her though, Peppy has been agoraphobic. No sooner would we take her outdoors than she would howl to be let back into the house. She also did not react well to wearing a harness. All of that is common with cats: They are not typically considered walkable, let alone bicycle-portageable.

We had pretty much resigned ourself to thinking of Peppy cycling as an absurdity, realisable only in our imaginations. Then this Spring she surprised us by developing an active curiosity in the outdoors. Noticing that she was spending a lot of time sitting on the windowsill and straining to sniff the fresh air, we tried the harness again... and somehow this time it was okay. So we took her outside. At first she panicked as usual, but eventually she was fine as long as we stayed very close to the house and the front door remained open. She relaxed and began sniffing around, enjoying herself.

We've done this several times now and each time she seems to like it more - to the point that she has started to scratch at the door asking to be taken out, donning the harness willingly. So I'm thinking, next step: bicycle basket. My plan is to procure one of those animal baskets with a fully enclosed wire dome and get her used to sitting in it. Then once she is comfortable in there, I will mount it on the bike and off we'll go. Not so long ago this seemed completely unattainable, but the way she is acting now I honestly think it might work. 

[image via Adeline Adeline]

The basket I was thinking of is the front-mounted Pluto model from Basil. The Pilen test-ride bicycle was given to me with a heavy duty front rack that I have not attached (because it's heavy and the bike is already 47lbs!). Now I am considering attaching it and then mounting this basket. However, the Basil basket has its own attachment mechanism and it may be a clumsy solution. There is also this one from Nantucket Baskets. It seems simpler, but I think it is too small for the likes of Peppy. As far as I know, there are no other commercially available front-mounted bicycle pet baskets with wire enclosures.

[image via ~jitahs~]

Possibly the nicest animal transport system I have seen so far is this one by "GR Jim." At first I thought the little Dachshund was amazingly well behaved to be staying put like that, but it turns out she is on a leash that's tethered to the wire roof.  With my cat I would need full enclosure, and it would also make me feel better to have the basket in front where I can see her.


Lest you think the idea of cycling with your cat in a basket is totally unrealistic, Todd from CleverCycles tells me that he's done it multiple times. Has anybody else cycled with their cat (or any other pet) successfully? Would love to know your method and container recommendation. 

64 comments:

  1. I haven't, but I know my cat really likes looking out the car window.

    I've had a look at those Basil baskets and can't deny considering the possibilities of getting one and using it to take my cat to the vet. And I, too, would definitely want him in front of me! :-)

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  2. The easy start is the cat carrier on a rack. I have used this:
    http://tsaleh.blogspot.com/2006/04/wink256-is-my-co-pilot.html
    and
    http://tsaleh.blogspot.com/2008/08/some-thoughts-on-my-cat.html

    He is content in basket or crate on the block, but I have not taken Wink256 out any further than a few houses without a cover as he gets nervous around cars and such. I was thinking about one of those basket cages you linked to.

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  3. I was in Tokyo, where cycling is an extremely common way to get around, for about two weeks over New Year's earlier in the year. While our group was walking down the sidewalk we were passed by an older woman on a bike with a plastic bin (about the size of a small trashcan) with large holes drilled in the top strapped to her back rack with bungee cords. Seeing our bemused stares she stopped and told our Japanese-speaking guide that she was taking her cat out for the fresh air on a ride, and sure enough we saw whiskers and black fur poking out from some of the holes.

    A little while down the street we saw her again, this time stopped in front of a restaurant that had live fish and eels in an aquarium on display. She had taken the cat out of the box and was holding it up to the glass, murmuring in its ear as if to say "Look at your dinner!" The cat looked disgruntled, to say the least.

    Personally, my big fat tabby, an indoor-only cat, is an escape artist and tries to make a run for it every time we open the front door. Trying to put him in a basket would never work, he would just throw himself off the speeding bike and hope to hit the ground running. If you had a cargo bike, a regular pet carrier in the front, maybe strapped down, would probably work.

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  4. Cycling with a cat? Hmmm, I have entertained the thought in emergencies. The nearest vet is a 15 minute bike ride, but my regular vet is an hour bike ride. I usually take the bus with kitties. In theory I could strap the smallest cat carrier to my rack with bungee cords, make sure the cat is swaddled in blankets and the carrier is covered too. and hope for the best.
    My cats understand that we come and go on those neat smelling bike things. We come home with neat smells for them to rub their scent on. Occasionally I will put a cat on the rear rack and see how long they will stay on, but unfortunately none of them have figured out it is a fun thing to do.
    The best in my mind would be one of those child chariot trailers or a bike trailer with a carrier built onto the back which I have seen for large dogs.
    I do see people cycling with dogs often enough, but cannot imagine doing it with cats. If your cat is only just getting into the idea of going outside, going for a bike ride may be too much.
    Way too much. Cats are territorial and make their way through the world via smells and stick to very specific turfs. Younger cats will roam, but thankfully mine have matured a bit(the vet bills from cat fights were horrendous). Cats like what is familiar and freak out when put in a strange environment. If you've ever moved with Peppy you know what I mean. Sometimes one of my cats will follow me if I go for a walk up the road, but because it is unfamiliar to him, he starts acting strange and becomes very difficult to catch and take back home. The new smells and especially all the wild animal smells get him excited. So, if Peppy gets out of her basket while you are out riding she will be in a new territory that will be completely foreign to her and it would be very hard to find her again. Also imagine how when you pick up a cat who doesn't really want to be picked up? They squirm and fuss. Cats only do what they want to do, so might not be very happy about being put in a basket.
    I once adopted a cat that had been an indoor cat. I was living in an apartment and felt bad, so I put her in the carrier, took her to the park and put a harness on her. It was the biggest mistake! She freaked out, hissed and scratched at dogs and tried to hide anywhere. If you used to take Peppy for car rides, she might sort of get the idea of going out with you. Some cats love car rides because the car is familiar but they can look at new stuff. I had a cat that loved car rides, but all others are terrified and confused unless stuffed in their carriers.
    If you must try taking Peppy for a bike ride, I recommend covering her up snuggly as possible, even putting a cover over the basket.
    So imagine cycling along-a dog appears barking, loud cars whizz by. The cat will be jumping out of her skin. It would be interesting to start with a kitten so it becomes second nature.

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  5. Oh, a good idea would be to keep taking her outside to become more comfortable. Whatever basket or carrier you get you should put it somewhere in your house nonchalantly and she will definitely discover it as a new hang out. Every day add treats and cat nip. The basket will become 'hers' over time. I was looking at the cat basket again and it looks very feeble. Cats are incredibly strong, so I worry a freaked out cat would just bust out in minutes. My cats can get out harnesses in seconds for example. I have trained my cats to walk with me so I do not think cat cycling is a total no no, but there are so many risks.

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  6. I've taken my cat for short rides before. Once, when I was moving, I moved her in the cat carrier on the flatbed trailer. She didn't seem to enjoy that a whole lot, but we arrived safely.

    Most recently, I took her out in one of my Ortlieb panniers, with her little head sticking out. It was just around the neighborhood. She never tried to escape and seemed to have a good time while we were moving, though when we had to stop for a stoplight, she'd start meowing.

    Here is a picture of her: http://www.flickr.com/photos/balloonbiker/5788889371/in/photostream

    It probably would have been easier if she were in front where it would be easier to keep an eye on her, but I'd like to try biking with her again.

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  7. My former mother-in-law and her partner were cycling with their small dog when the dog fell out of the carrier they were using. Not good: the dog sustained permanent brain damage and eventually had to be put down due to seizures and such related to the fall. I know you are considering a covered basket, but I'm just not sure that taking a pet out for rides is worth the injury the pet can sustain if something goes wrong. If you fall, for instance, and are only mildly injured but can't immediately get up, who would help your cat if her basket popped open or was damaged in the process?

    Trips to the vet out of necessity, I can see, in a carrier carefully strapped to the bike, completely covered. But pleasure rides? I don't know.

    I once had to retrieve a car for someone from a remote mountain location because she had fallen and broken her leg. In the car were her dog... and her cat. She was camping WITH her cat. I still think that's just weird. And when she fell, it took us nearly two days to be able to go get the frightened pets in the car (glad it wasn't too hot, nor too cold that week). It did not appear to me that the cat was enjoying itself, though the dog seemed happy enough. In the end, Peppy doesn't really need to ride bikes. The risks to her are fairly high if anything goes wrong (and I find something inevitably does). A dog who got out of the basket might be easily located, depending on the dog, but Peppy? Even with a harness, the whole idea just seems too risky for me. But as always, YMMV.

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  8. If she`s got a carrier she is used to I`d start with that one. Put a towel one of you used innside. I`d start with that on the front rack of the Pilen. When starting to use a new basket transfer the old towel into it.If you worry too much they think that since you are worried..

    I looked after a friends cat. We decided on sending it back to her on the bus since her friend was on a certain bus and could take care of it. Being late as always I strapped the cage on the back of my folder and rushed to the bus. This cat is used to travel but not on a bus.

    My dog is traveling like this for many years. He climbs in himself, sometimes before the bag is ready. Seing this bike being rolled out REALLY makes him happy: http://i277.photobucket.com/albums/kk51/badmother-bikes/Bilde081.jpg

    Bf and me started riding w our cats (got one each) since I refuse to drive every time one of us visit the other. Started w cat in its carrier. Sometimes on a longtail sometimes on a rack or in a trailer. Also once in a regular front basket.
    badmother

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  9. One of my goals in life is to take Charlie and Max on a bike ride with me. Both are very sweet-natured, but Charlie is rather agoraphobic while Max seems to have ADHD.

    One evening around two years ago, I was riding home from work. I stopped for a red light. Right in the middle of the intersection, a little dog--a cross between a toy poodle and a terrier, I think-- padded and waddled around. She was wearing a collar and looked like she hadn't been outdoors before that day.

    Fearing for her safety, I picked her up and cradled her in my left arm. It was a bit difficult to start riding again, as she wriggled, wagged her tail and licked my face. But I was able to pedal, albeit slowly, along a commercial strip, where I sought--to no avail--a veterinarian's office or animal hospital.

    As adorable as she was, I simply couldn't bring her into my place. So, I brought her to the nearest precinct house, which was about a mile and a half from where I picked her up.

    The good news: One of the cops found her owners.

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  10. http://ronajustine.blogspot.com/2011/03/biking-with-your-dog.html Our great Pyr comes with us a lot. Rein can just hold his leash and bike one handed, but I had to come up with a better idea.

    The best one I've seen in Groningen is a small bird cage in the front with two cute little cockateils! I'm afraid I stood there dumbfounded and saying "ZOMG.. Did you see that??" and my family just thought I was crazy because they hadn't seen it. :(

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  11. When we were kids growing up in rural New Hampshire back in the mid-70s we had a dog named Blinky. My brother used to love to take her for bike rides. He built a wooden box and strapped it to the back of his old Schwinn Varsity and away they would go. There was a huge steep hill not far from our house and we used to race down it trying to see what speed we could hit on our nifty Schwinn speedometers (the one with the dial that went to 60mph!)

    All these years later I can still see Luke and Blinky racing down that hill at the speed of sound - Blinky's ears streaming back in the breeze- and passing some guy in a VW Beetle...

    Roff

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  12. I use this basket for my nine pound dog:

    http://www.amazon.com/Solvit-62331-Tagalong-Wicker-Bicycle/dp/B002AI8PKM

    There is a full wire dome enclosure available for it that is available separately, I think that the dome cost me an extra $10.

    The basket came with handlebar mounting hardware, but I don't use it. I used zip ties to attach a strap to the bottom of the basket, which sits in my Gamoh King Carrier, or Wald basket, and I strap it to the base. There are smaller straps that also attach to the handlebars. It is quite sturdy, but easily removeable.

    I have had it for about a year, and the dog loves it. I've taken him to the park in it, as well as to the vet for check-ups. I also have a pair of goggles to protect his eyes as we are riding along, but he isn't as fond of those.

    I haven't tried taking my cat on the bike. She's fifteen and not really fond of trying new things at this point, so I tend to not experiment with her.

    Good Luck!

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  13. Our cat Tesla like to ride the bikes through the house. Either in the basket, or on the saddle. A couple of weeks ago he bolted out the door as I was taking the Pashley out. I caught him and stuck him in the basket and took him for a little ride in front of the house. He's so heavy it was hard to balance or steer! And I didn't want to go too fast, in case he leapt out. He seemed to really enjoy it. Enough so that later that night he decided to try and jump into the basket and ended up pulling the Pashley over on him! He and the bike were both fine though.

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  14. If you want to do this, you might start with small steps instead of just putting the cat in the basket on the bike and taking off!

    I'm planning on training my dog to ride in a kid trailer. I'll start by getting him comfortable in the trailer, without it moving. Teach him how to jump in and jump out safely, UNDER COMMAND (i.e., when I want him to, not when HE wants to.) Then I'll move the trailer a bit by hand, rewarding him for being good.

    When we've mastered that, I'll hitch the trailer to the bike and repeat the steps till he's comfy.

    I imagine you could use a similar protocol with a cat. If they kinda know what to expect BEFORE you roll down the street, it should be easier on all concerned.

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  15. About 3 years ago, when we moved house, I had a chance to ferry my pet Rabbit on my bike. I placed her in a big metal cage roughly the size of a grocery basket and strap the cage down to the rear rack.

    My initial thought was that my pet Rabbit would probably enjoy the ride somewhat. But I found out shortly later that it really isn't the case.

    She was terrified. She sat down, paws retreated, ears moving around wildly and press her body tightly at the corner of the cage and wouldn't dare move at all.

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  16. I've done it several times with both of my cats, fairly successfully. They like to sit in baskets anyways, and I rolled them around the basement when I first attached the basket to get them used to it.
    They need to be reassured when cars pass,and usually drop down into the basket to hide. Otherwise, they seem to have a good time looking around. I don't take them onto main roads. I use this basket:
    http://www.amazon.com/Solvit-62331-Tagalong-Wicker-Bicycle/dp/B002AI8PKM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1307020873&sr=8-1

    I may get one with a full wire enclosure, as one of them is getting confident enough to try and wriggle out of the harness and climb up my arm to her preferred spot on my shoulder.

    One thing to be careful of is the reactions of those around you-I was nearly knocked over by a pair of young women in an SUV swerving closer to look at the cute kitty.

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  17. I want to see Peppy in a helmet doing paceline training. C'mon- that Seven doesn't weigh anything!

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  18. I used to take the small brown dog to school with me by bike occassionally. He's 18 lbs with long legs for his weight. I put him in a large backpack with an open top and a drawstring, positioning him such that he was more or less in a sitting position with only his head sticking out, and drew the drawcord so that he couldn't get his shoulders out.

    He didn't like getting put into the bag much, but once he was in, he didn't struggle to get out, and it was either leave him at home all the time or put him in the bag so that he could come to studio with me.

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  19. I've never done it, as I only take my cat to the vet if it's visibly sick or for neutering, but the next time she needs to go SHE IS going in a bike basket [sick and tired of fighting with cabbies over having a cat]. My cat carrier fits in my giant Wald 157 just fine. One bungee chord over the top, residential streets at under 10 mph. I don't envision anything worse than her howling like a banshee, which cats do in cars anyway.

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  20. I own a boisterous dachshund named George who has embraced riding in a bob trailer with minimal restraint. He enjoys engaging with dogs and pedestrians from his travelling "barking platform". I am certain George enjoys the trips since he spends part of his day napping in the unused trailer, probably waiting for the next ride.

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  21. One cat of ours used to love sitting in my front basket and going for a ride, he would jump in of his own accord. But he was not like most cats and seemed to think he was a dog and not a cat I think. I doubt the other cats I've had would have enjoyed cycling. Even though they have all been outdoor cats, they like to go where they like to go, and to be able to run away and hide if something scares them. It's an interesting project though, if Peppy takes to it perhaps she'll start her own bicycle blog :)

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  22. Unless you acturally have to take the cat somewhere (Vet, boarding) I would advise against it! Cats are not dogs or people; they are kind of like little control freaks and they don't like things that they are not in control of. That said each cat is different! I had one cat who Loved to ride in the car, but all the other cats I have had hated ridin in cars! Your cat sounds like the type who would not cotton to bike or car riding. When cats freak out their normal thinking goes out the window and their instinct is to escape! You could easily lose a cat this way! I you want to pursue this more you may try giving the cat some car rides and see how she does!?

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  23. We had a jellicle cat that looked exactly like Peppy. She was the best cat ever.

    I agree about taking cats out and about. It's about time that cats got taken outside where they can attract attention from the general public in parks and scenic locations. For too long dogs have cornered the market on pet affections. No fair!

    And why not a 'take your cat to work day'?

    After all, dogs have masters, cats have staff... as they say.

    :0)

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  24. I've been on a quest to get my mini-dachshund onto a bike for trips to the dog park and Fresh Pond, etc (I live in Somerville, near Davis Square). I really wanted a front-mounted basket that attached to the frame rather than the handlebars, so after much internet research I purchased a Basil Pluto basket, only to discover that I couldn't attach it properly to my old mountain bike. So this launched me on a quest to research Dutch-style bikes, and I discovered your blog in the process. :) After considering spending some serious money on a new bike, I was thrilled to discover that the basket attaches nicely to a Raleigh Sports! I found one on Craigslist and am still in the process of acclimating the pup to the basket. We took a brief ride down the street the other day and she stayed pretty calm, so I think it will work! But we'll see how it goes...

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  25. I have fantasy of riding with my cat to the vet inthe cargo box. But have not ever tried it. He is dying to be an outdoor cat but we have foxes and hawks so we don't let him out. I think he'd be the rare cat who would like to go for walks but haven't done it for fear it will only make him escape more ( he stalks the door and makes a run for it whenever possible. ) But I have looked at that basket from Adeline Adeline wishing I could jet around with him in it. It might actually make him stay inside!!!

    can't wait for pictures when you do try it. the idea almost makes me wish I had a dog- but not really.

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  26. http://www.peterborobasket.com/p-1353-peterboro-pet-carrier-with-leather-handle.aspx


    I have this and it is really nice, It comes with a stabilizing arm to help keep the basket of any break cables etc, it is roomy and well made.

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  27. Clara: Can you see it now? "Bike Rides With Peppy": It could be a modern version of Steinbeck's "Travels with Charley."

    Velouria: Peppy is adorable.

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  28. I used one of my existing wicker bag with drawstring lining like this - http://yfrog.com/h0zdwuyj & placed my cat in it http://yfrog.com/gyaakyfj

    I will place the bag, with cat inside, in the front basket. Cat is able to moves quite freely without the risk of escaping.

    My bicycle with front basket http://twitpic.com/4lie96

    I have another heavier cat who is all right to sit in basket straight while I ride without a fuss. But I find it rather difficult to steer because he is too heavy.

    I start my cats by warming up to placing them in the basket while I pushed the bicycle around the porch; one hand holding them in the basket, the other hand will hold the handle to push. They feel more assured that way. After a while, I will sit on to cycle a few slow rounds in the porch. Over time, I will slowly, cycle out further in my neighbourhood. Initial outing is best at times when the street ain't to busy. Once they are used to it, cycle to & when you like ^~^

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  29. I love this. Animals and bicycles are my two favorite things, but together? That's just too fun!

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  30. I have a 15 pound dog and I wish I could bring it with me to the park or beach by bike but I don't trust my skills and I don't trust the mounts on these carriers either. I've had a front mounted basket mount (plastic) crack on me which caused the baseket to fall and the contents spilled out on to the road. A cat is pretty light and they are pretty nimble on their feet in the even of a fall but I would worry too much about my dog being injured.

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  31. I am English and we do eccentric . In 1984 I rode from Lands End to John O'Groats with a group of people including a girl on an old Raleigh single speed, cat in basket. Never seen a cat look so happy.

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  32. Grew up in Daytona Beach and, yes, I saw this (http://www.myunusual.com/Pix/Biker%20pix/biker%20cat.jpg) with my own eyes a couple of times! The cat actually looks around pretty frequently and seems to love it. NO IDEA how he trained the cat to do that though. ;)

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  33. I don't understand why you'd want to take your cat out on the bicycle. She might tolerate it, but I can't imagine she'd enjoy it. If she is sick, there is even more reason not to put her through this stress. Call a cab to transport the two of you.

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  34. Our long-haired Chihuahua loved to ride in the mesh front basket on my city bike. It's a deep basket, with the rim being taller than he is. Between this and his fear of heights, there was no chance of him escaping, so we didn't restrain him.

    A towel in the basket protected his feet. Any barking or untoward behaviour could be controlled with a sharp word, and the basket's quick-release allowed him to accompany us into stores and outdoor eating areas. He really enjoyed the wind in his hair and all the different smells.

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  35. As much as we love our cat's (our babies really!) I have no doubt that a bike ride would not set well with either baby. Both would be gone like a shot outta the basket as soon as their paws touched the basket ! :^()

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  36. My 3 year old corgi has attended a few bike party (www.sjbikeparty.org) test rides with me. I have a hiking backpack that fits her wonderfully and she spends the whole ride laying on my back enjoying the wind in her fur. Typically I just keep her head out of the bag, but she's been known to pull her front paws out and get more comfortable. She's always been extremely well behaved on the rides and loves the attention she gets. At breaks I let her out and she runs and plays, returning to the bag and even stepping in it herself so I can zip her in when it's time to go!

    Sadly, 25lbs of excited corgi was a killer on my back, so I've since stopped bringing her on the rides themselves. She still comes to the starting point and greets everyone, though. I've recently restored a 1986 Centurion and installed a rear rack that I'm sure will be modified to hold her.

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  37. There was a fellow who always rode his bike with a cat on his shoulder. It wore a collar and a leash, but those seemed quite unnecessary. The cat's tail always swung back and forth lazily like a pendulum over his shoulder, and it seemed content despite traffic, weather and all. Haven't seen him in awhile...

    I leash-trained a cat some years back. She first wore the harness a week, then she dragged a leash around when I was home, then I tied the leash to the staircase for 30 minutes a day. She howled piteously and yanked hard on the leash, while I ignored her.

    When she stopped yanking and howling, I began walking her around the house inside, then around the house outside, gradually increasing the walk time. Eventually, we could walk down the sidewalk, even meeting dogs with a minimum of hissing.

    Her training was especially handy when moving to an unfamiliar wooded area. We walked with the leash around the area for an hour each morning and evening for two weeks so she'd get used to the different smells and sounds. When I finally turned her loose, she didn't run away or act fearful, so I was pleased.

    Dogs like to walk with their people; cats like to go their own way, and don't mind if you come along. My cat had learned not to pull, but she'd find something interesting and follow it. If it wasn't appropriate, I'd apply a steady pull to the leash, and she'd walk towards me. I couldn't hurry her up in a crosswalk, but most motorists were so amazed to see a cat on a leash that they didn't mind waiting.

    We didn't bike though, and given her strength, a well-made basket with a strong cover thoroughly fastened to a rack would have been in order and even then, gradual familiarizing would have been necessary.

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  38. Not considered it with my moggy (she's old and stuck in her ways). There are other options if you're not heartset on the basket option.
    Klickfix do this: http://www.dotbike.com/p/6812
    or there is the aforementioned trailer option http://www.croozerdesigns.com/dog.html a bit big maybe but there's room for a scratch post

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  39. Peppy (you promise not to howl if we go too fast cat)June 2, 2011 at 5:48 PM

    How about you go in the basket while I pedal? We'll begin leash training tonight.

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  40. My cat Louie loves the outdoors but I don't think he'd ever stay in a bike basket. We tried to get our dog to ride in a Burley trailer after I saw that done so much in Germany, but that also didn't go too well for us. However, I do think that with patience and persistance you could train a pet to ride along with you. Plenty of people do it (including the fabulous Miss Sarah with her dog Dougal). Good luck with Peppy!

    S.

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  41. Clearly these people need to get a life, he said walking in the door after a ride w/the dog.

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  42. My Scottish Terrier Duncan (gone but never forgotten) loved nothing more than going for rides in his bike trailer. The trailer started out as an experiment when he was getting older and no longer able to go for long walks. At first it was a child trailer with the seat removed. He loved it so much that I bought him a dog specific trailer (a Solvit Tracker). Some of the greatest times we had together were with that trailer and my old mountain bike. Actually that was a big part of what caused me to get back into cycling.

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  43. Peppy is so sophisticated, what with her own twitter account and all. I'm surprised she doesn't have her own bicycle.
    Forgive me for getting on my soapbox. But I think all cats should take Peppy's lead, spend most of their time indoors and be on a leash when they're outside. My city has an ordinance that aims to prevent cats from running loose.
    It's probably the most ignored ordinance in the history of the world. My neighbors simply look the other way when they see me digging buckets full of cat poop out of the flower beds.

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  44. MT cyclist - Peppy is shocked by the toilet habits of your local cats.

    Her own bike... She has consulted the local framebuilders, but their pricing is outside of her budget. She insists on Columbus tubing and the Campagnolo Felinus group (full carbon, miniature), which is not helping matters.

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  45. All my Peppy baiting comments aside, I think this is a great idea. I get a lot of fun and satisfaction from taking my dogs on hikes and rides. I got a new Border Collie pup a few months ago(Sandwich "the ridiculous scrap of a dog") and am slowly getting her used to running beside the mountain bike. I've had collies who could easily do 15 or 18 miles in a day and still want to chase a frisbee a bit in the evening. With a cat of course you have to carry them in some sort of carrier(a Litter?) but of course that's probably what they expect anyway...

    Spindizzy

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  46. Sorry to be a party pooper...but for what it's worth I think that it is a bad idea to take a cat out on a bicycle (unless for example it is just a trip to the vet). Cats are very territorial creatures and they like familiarity more than anything else. Generally speaking, to take a cat out of the environment that it knows will cause it extreme stress. I think you need to ask youself who would enjoy the trip on the bike more, you or the cat? and if the answer is you, then don't do it.

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  47. I have a sling style cat carrier and since we are car free for just normal vet visits I'd put the smaller cat in that and carry her on my back...Now that we have a monster cat though we are looking for alternatives to this ..Plus if they are really sick we'd just use a taxi:)

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  48. Thanks for this post! I've enjoyed reading everyone's stories about their own experiences with pets and bikes (a rabbit, birds, really?!)

    I've never tried to ride with my cat, nor will I ever, but back when I lived downtown Boston, I used to see a man riding with his cat fairly frequently. The cat was attached to a lead and sat (or rather circled) on his shoulders, meowing all the way up and down Boylston Street!

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  49. Anne and others - Naturally if the cat doesn't like it I won't do it! But I seriously think she may enjoy it.

    Cats can be very different, and the stereotype of the aloof cat disdainful of human company is not always accurate. Our cats are curious, affectionate and social. They come when we call them, they follow us around, they like to be involved and get sad when we leave them home alone. One of them (not Peppy but her sister) can even play "fetch" and really enjoys it. Obviously if the cat shows signs of not wanting to be on a bike, I won't do it. But I have a feeling she may like watching her surroundings from the safety of an enclosed basket.

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  50. Ha! Here's another real life cat-portage scenario : ))

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  51. I thought it might be of some value if I passed along my experience, toting my dog in a basket mounted on my handlebars.

    I recently bought a Public M8 mixte. I gave my 20+ speed mountain bike to the son-in-law because gave up riding it some time ago since hated the grinding and gurgling of the chain whatever I sought some mysterious gear. it seemed like a bike prototype that had yet to be perfected. The new bike is perfect for me, a 63 year old geezer, after I retrofitted new seat, handlebars and grip.

    Anyway, I wanted to ride around with my little dog, especially through a local park, with its lake, ducks, hawks, and vultures. My dog likes nature.

    After exhaustive research, I purchased a Rixen & Kaul basket that neatly Klickfixed (trademark!) onto my handlebars. It’s expensive but worth the price (even if it’s pretty ugly, in comparison to the wicker and wire baskets so prevalent in the marketplace).

    I took a lot of time acclimating the little poodle/yorkie/maltase to the basket because she is twitchy about everything (e.g. the dining room chairs makes her nervous). I won’t bore everyone with details but email me if you want to hear them.

    Here’s what I learned:

    1. The acclimation thing is important. Small pets have a survival instinct that’s very powerful, so one must take time to show the animal that a basket isn’t Beelzebub.
    2. Some animals like my Poyomalt (whatever!) are so skittish that they want to abandon ship at the smallest signal. On our first street cruise, she suddenly jumped from the R&K basket, and I damned near ran her over. What a nutcase! So, the beast must be secured into the basket, using whatever means you choose. Rixen’s basket has a strap that latches onto a pet’s collar/harness, and it works very well.
    3. The additional weight on one’s handlebars can prove challenging. I recommend riding around awhile with a brick or two that approximates your pet’s weight. If your buddy is the antsy kind and likes to move around, then…I don’t know but be ready for it.
    4. Getting going on the bike with an 8 pound family member on the handlebars is muy different than just jumping on your ride and GOING! I found the mixte frame very accommodating to my age and general inability to just SPRING ABOARD! The 8 speed Shimano transmission is very helpful since you can shift it to a low gear even when stopped. When first taking off with all that dead/out-of-order weight, you need a low gear to move off without weaving all over the tarmac.

    After a few weeks, my dog loves riding on the bike. At least I think she does. She doesn’t shake like she’s been thrown into a deep freeze, and actually responds positively to my queries about her well being (e.g. licking me after my question).

    Give it a try!

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  52. I cycled from Calais to Stockholm this year with cat in Reisenthal basket (mentioned above). I kept her on a leash wrapped around my wrist for extra safety. She really liked it as long as the traffic wasn't too heavy. We mostly used cycle lanes through France, Belgium and Netherlands and were on dirt roads through much of sweden. She stayed in my tent at night and slept at the bottom of my sleeping bag. Apparently my feet were not an issue. When we are not cycle touring she travels in a soft shoulder bag I got from Trixie and Peanut in Manhattan (Always with leash when outside).

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  53. My 5-lb min-pin just sits in the a regular wicker basket - the type that is bolted under the handle bars - not with hanging straps. The basket doesn't move at all, or I think he would be afriad of it. I don't attach him and don't tie him. A couple of times when the bike has taken a spill he just jumped out and stood beside me, which was great. He would have hung himself or been hurt if he's been tied in. I spent a long time training him when he was young by just walking the bike around the neighbourhood while he sat in the basket and I chatted with him as we walked around. Gradually I could ride it and he would be just as relaxed. I built up his trust slowly until I could just ride and he accepted it. Now he loves it and looks forqrd to it. Now he mostly lies down and look ahead as we go. Often he just falls aleep. I do have a cushy pad inside it so the bottom is soft. Originally I padded the sides slightly as well becuase the wicker was rough. My advice: take your time and do some walking around first!

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  54. PS re John's comment Juky 14 and what he leaned #3:
    Yes I did notice the extra weight really affected the wobbliness of my ride, especially when the dog moved around. I recently bought a new bike and the handle bar is 2 inches wider. I immediately noticed a difference in stability with the same 5-lb min pin. I think your success with a pet in a basket can definitely depend on the width of your handlebars, or perhaps how everything balances on the front end, or perhaps just how stable you yourself feel rising a bike.

    BTW I have just discovered your blog and am madly in love. Madly. In Vancouver Canada where I live, bike riders seem to be obsessed with spandex, racing bikes and road rage.

    I recently bought a new upright hybrid bike and have been gradually customizing it in a British manner according to some inner instinct. Your wonderful blog supporting the importance of comfort and aesthetics like wicker baskets and leather saddles makes me want to weep for joy! Bike riding as an adventure and as a pleasure, not as competition. Thank you, thank you.

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  55. Are you looking for the product in link below? If so, a handlebar basket with wire enclosure, suitable for cats is available!

    http://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/dogs/dog_toys_dog_training/dog_bicycle_baskets/bike_baskets/33671

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  56. I am looking at this with my indoor cat Mittens.... she is harness/leash tolerant already and likes being in boxes and baskets, and also loves the outdoors but isn't allowed out unsupervised because of our upcoming cat laws that will require them to be confined to their own property....

    anyway I have a basket already which I have put a towel in the bottom of and am encouraging her to get in... it doesn't come with a 'lid' but I'm thinking of harness/leashing her anyways so a 'lid' may not be necessary.

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  57. I have trained 2 of my 3 cats to go bike riding with me (the last cat wants nothing to do with the outdoors). We live in the city so we don't have alot of places to ride to, but its still nice to go with them on the weekends to the park. I have a basket with a wire cover- it was originally meant to go on the front handles, but I modified it slightly and attatched it to the rear bike rack- its a lot more stable that way. In the front, not only was it sliding off the handles on every bump I went over, but also with every slightest turn of the handles the cat would go flying to the side. Attaching it to the rear makes riding a lot more stable, and since its attached permanently there is no risk of it falling off.
    To all owners considering bike riding your cat, please make sure you use a cover for your carrier. Its really fun taking your cat on bike rides, but you have to make sure you do it safely. Even if the cat is leashed down, he could still try to jump out and could cause an accident. Also make sure that the carrier is securely attatched, and not just hanging on the handles or something, so it doesnt fall off.
    And happy riding! :)

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  58. Once I move to my home country i will get a cat so i will try to get my kitten to like to ride bicycles. Oh and do you guys think ferrets are easy to take care of?

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  59. I see an amazing cat around my town. I was on my bike watching what looked like a homeless guy on a mountain bike with an army ruck on his back cycling through a mostly empty mall parking lot. I noticed the ruck seemed to be moving around a lot and was wondering just how long before he crashed.

    Then I noticed that the ruck had a tail! And that a good portion of that ruck was a yellow/black calico pattern cat that was doing a magnificent job of balancing on top of the ruck while its' owner was cycling along! The cat would be moving around, upright, apparently with it's claws dug into the ruck.

    I had forgotten my phone, so I couldn't get a picture. I've seen the guy and his cat another time but didn't have time for a picture. Someday I hope to get a picture of this amazing creature just to show what is possible with a cat.

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  60. Hello,
    I have just bought a Basil Pluto basket from eBay. I want to take my ragdoll cat on little country rides. She loves going outdoors on a harness and being transported in arms or the car.
    Unfortunately my bike won't fit the bracket. There isn't enough head tube space because of the design. I tested it on my dad's bike and she liked being wheeled about but that bike is too big for me to ride.
    So I am looking for a new bike. Does anyone have any suggestions of bikes that would be good for cycling with a cat in a basket on?!
    I want quite a sturdy bike and it not be too affected by the basket!
    Are wider handlebars better?
    And would old fashioned sit up bikes be okay getting up hills with a basket on the front?

    Thanks for your help!

    Anna
    anna@annadawson.com

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  61. There are other options, of course...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTLsAnxUwzQ

    But they require some commitment from the cat in question...

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  62. Hello
    I ride with my boy cat in his cat bag kinda like a big mesh messenger bag..thats all great he loves it but now I have adopted a little girl and need something to for both cats in..and i want it safe of course!
    should it be a basket on the back of the bike or a really big bag with mesh...
    Anyone have any clues carrying 2 cats on a bike?

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  63. I used to have a cat that rode daily to work with me, about a mile and half. He loved it. One thing: You have to strap the cat so it doesn't jump out and get hurt. I used a covered cat carried and strapped it inside a meshed basket.

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  64. I have 4 cats and I take them around in a double pet stroller http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Double-Deck-Pet-Stroller/dp/B00339I750/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385264177&sr=8-1&keywords=double+pet+stroller they simply LOVE it. I also have a larger dog that has arthritis now and can't go for long walks so I plan on getting a bike with a large dog trailer and adding two carriers to the bike, one in front one on the back for the cats to ride in http://www.amazon.com/Bike-BasketCarrier-Car-Seat-11-5/dp/B00BC42F0G/ref=sr_1_80?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1385263861&sr=1-80&keywords=pet+bicycle+basket crazy excited about it. Now we can go for hours all around. I also have back packs for the cats so they can go hiking with me and they even have their own tents for camping. The whole furry family goes with me everywhere. If I leave them behind when I go out running errands, they let me know when I get back how upset they are with me. And later this next year, I am buying a vespa with a side car and racks so the dog and the cats can go with me even faster.

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