Last year, my husband, Anthony, bought a used bike trailer and repurposed it to carry our 55-pound bulldog, Stig. Anthony fastened an old skateboard where the trailer lacked support (because it expected children’s feet to be lounging in that spot and not a dog standing up there). He added a leash at the back that could clip into Stig’s harness and keep him securely in the trailer. He added part of a pool noodle to the front so Stig’s paws wouldn’t slide off the bar when it got wet.
We enjoyed going biking as a family but didn’t fully embrace it as a regular activity until the stay-at-home order made cycling one of our only outdoor activity options. Riding bikes together became a great way to get out of the house and breathe some fresh air.
Anthony began riding multiple times a day and almost always took his buddy Stig. I generally joined them on the evening ride after I finished working.
Anthony logged hundreds of miles on that little trailer. He kept tweaking it and trying different things to help with the aerodynamics of it, because pulling an actively-moving, 55-pound creature adds a lot of resistance.
We typically strap Stig in and ride out of our complex and then stop. Stig gets out of the trailer to do his business and then “runs” for as long as he can. Sometimes it’s more of a meander until we’re done with his slowness and put him back in the trailer. Often, he runs for a half-mile or more down the sidewalk. He’s even run for a mile full tilt! That’s an incredible sight to see.
After we determine that Stig’s gotten enough exercise to sleep for another day while I work from home, we clip him back into the trailer and then ride for several more miles before heading home.
When he’s fully energetic and engaged, Stig stands on the bar between the trailer and the bike, reaching as far as the leash will let him. Stig prefers to be in front, so he rides as far forward as possible. Sometimes he’ll back into the back fabric of the trailer and “sit down” to rest (not a full sit, but a resting, ready-to-jump-back-into-action-at-any-moment lounge).
Stig’s balance is exceptional. Some of the pathways we’ve ridden are very bumpy. He moves and adjusts like a champ.
Catapulted Out of the Trailer
One evening, just like most others, we rode the bike path alongside a major thoroughfare in our town. As we approached the next intersection, the light was in our favor. Anthony punched it and tried to make the light like we always do.
Cement flanks the crosswalk at segments across the street at this school intersection. It’s also curved in sections. Anthony entered the crosswalk. When he veered left, the right trailer wheel bounced off the far curb. And something happened that had never happened before: the trailer tipped over!
Stig, who had been partially standing on the bar between the bike and the trailer on the left side, flipped out of the trailer as it tipped over and rolled onto the sidewalk until the leash caught and abruptly stopped his trajectory. I shouted for Anthony to stop. At that moment, he’d felt the jostling and was slowing down, but didn’t realize he’d lost the dog.
Stig immediately righted himself and darted back to the trailer. But by the time I got my kickstand down, he was ready to board his chariot again after we untangled him from the leash! I couldn’t believe it!
By this time, we’d missed the light and I pulled my bike into the section of the crosswalk with them. I got Stig’s water to give him a drink. He lapped it up. We inspected his sturdy body and saw one little section of road rash on one leg and paw. But overall, his hair provided great road rash protection.
Stig started nagging to let us know he was ready to go and when the light turned green, off we went again. Stig never indicated any residual impact of the spill — no limping, no favoring, no whimpering, no fear, nothing. He was thrown out of the trailer, he righted himself, and he got back on. End of story.
I’ve watched that dramatic tumble a hundred times on replay in my mind. It was so startling — the fact that it happened and Stig’s response.
I’ve tumbled out of life’s trailer more than once. I wish I could say I always reacted like Stig did — fall out, right myself, and get back on, end of story — but I haven’t. Stig trusted us. He didn’t blame us (except when he thought we were taking too long to get going again). He resumed his position and enjoyed the rest of the ride. And he was ready to go again at the next opportunity.
That is my wish for all of us. When we’re catapulted out of our trailers, I hope we can quickly find our footing and climb back on again, without blame, and trusting in the journey.
About Delisa Hargrove
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.