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I'm going car free in 2019 for the first time, but have one glaring obstacle...

Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

I'm going car free in 2019 for the first time, but have one glaring obstacle...

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Old 01-10-19, 08:27 AM
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Sticky9
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I'm going car free in 2019 for the first time, but have one glaring obstacle...

I have 2 giant schnauzers that I rescued, and they are pretty energetic. I've been walking them a lot so far this year, but I just feel bad that they can't run and chase the squirrels and deer. Previously with my jeep, I would take them to the river to hike and swim and run and play at least 5 times a week if not every day of the week. It just kills me inside to know they aren't able to run around as much as they used to. My SO has a car and enjoys coming out with us most days, but I can see her getting testy with me trying to borrow the car every afternoon/evening for 2 hours. She doesn't get why I'm trying to LCF (and I'm not sure I even know why I'm doing it) so I could potentially see her getting irritated down the road if I'm always trying to borrow the car. For the record, I think this is more in my head, but for peace of mind I would like to be as independent as possible.

So my question to y'all is.... What kind of trailer/apparatus could I use to haul 2 90# dogs for at least 4 miles? I saw a trailer I could fit both their kennels on, but it cost around $1200 and I just can't afford that.

Any advice is appreciated

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Old 01-10-19, 11:05 AM
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Any chance you could buy a regular dog trailer for a bike and one could run alongside (use those bugee things)? You could swap 'em when they get tired of running. Regular dog trailers for bikes can easily handle one dog that size, two might require a pricey solution as you discovered.
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Old 01-10-19, 11:53 AM
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That is a good idea, although due to the upbringing of my dogs (before I was able to get them they were both abused) they have some quirky behavioral issues. For instance, my male dog won't run on a leash. I've tried jogging with him, but after a few days (after he figures out the routine) he will just lay down after about 2-300 yards lol. Then, the route to the river forces me to go down a very busy 4 lane major road, so I don't think I would trust one of them running beside me. There is a wide bike lane and sidewalk on the road, but as I said my dogs aren't the best on a leash and wouldn't want one pulling me over on the busy street. I guess I could just start training them to run beside my bike, but knowing them that could pose a formidable task.

I appreciate your input and may try and come up with a way to integrate some of what you suggested. As I posted in the OP, I'm sure I can get by borrowing my SO's car, but would like to try and find an alternative option so keep the ideas rolling in!

Thanks
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Old 01-10-19, 03:07 PM
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Having dogs run on pavement might not be good physiologically, and having dogs run in traffic is crazy. I wouldn't do it.

There are probably some trailer designs in the Commuting (https://www.bikeforums.net/commuting/) and Utility Cycling (https://www.bikeforums.net/utility-cycling/) forums. I know there was one preson (maybe @CliffordK ?) who hauled a lathe home---some quarter-ton of machinery---but he had a specially built bike.

If you want to go car-free and haul 180 pounds of dog safely , you are going to have to spend money. Face it. Save for it.

This is serious. If you rig something and your rig breaks by the side of a busy road , you will have two 90-pound dogs---much more energetic than t=children and probably a lot less obedient and intelligent than a couple 90-pound children--and the dogs will be much more instinctual. They won't understand what is up ... but they will have strong urges to run, bark, jump, investigate .... all of which could endanger them or others.

Not trying to be negative, but breaking down on the roadside with a month's worth of groceries is bad enough. Breaking down with a couple of large, powerful dogs is very serious.

I'd say ... just a a parent with children ... you might be in a situation where going completely car-free is just not a reasonable option. You have responsibilities to other living beings which Must come first.

I would suggest investigating a trailer/towing rig which can safely and reliably get your dogs to the park. They need it, and for you to deprive them of quality of life even to improve your own quality of life is unfair. Wait to go car-free until you can provide what each of the significant others in your life needs--the SO And the animals.

If you have to save up for a year to do right by th4e dogs ... I Hope they are worth it to you.

I am not sure you need to spend $1200 on a store-bought trailer. I know there are things you could build or modify. 200 pounds (allowing for snacks, water, towels, and a rain cover) isn't a Huge load. It is about three times what most r BOB or Burley trailers are rated at .... but I have a friend--not even a cyclist---who crossed the country on basically Wal-Mart bikes on cobbled-together trailers towing about three times that. He supported himself mostly by busking---playing music at bars occasionally---so he wasn't wealthy. His rig wasn't super-reliable, but it was pretty good--and you would be hauling a lot less.

There are ways you could haul the dogs safely. There are probably ways which cost less than $1200. Start researching, (the two forums are full of people eager to help) and start saving and may all the right things work out exactly as they are supposed to.
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Old 01-10-19, 04:07 PM
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@Sticky9 , where are you? City?

Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
There are probably some trailer designs in the Commuting (https://www.bikeforums.net/commuting/) and Utility Cycling (https://www.bikeforums.net/utility-cycling/) forums. I know there was one preson (maybe @CliffordK ?) who hauled a lathe home---some quarter-ton of machinery---but he had a specially built bike.
It was a Mill, brought home in 2 parts. Although, I do have my eye on a lathe on Craigslist, but am not quite sure about it.




Ok, I did bring a lathe home too. Although a mighty small one. Odd, I was sure I took a photo, but can't find it.

Anyway, some of the better small kid's trailers can handle 100 pounds. But, one starts running into issues with 200 lbs of weight, cargo, etc.

There are dog specific trailers that are fully enclosed. However, they might run into issues with the largest dogs, and certainly would have difficulties with two dogs.

A number of people have built home-built trailers. It certainly has been a learning experience for me. If you are talking about 200 lbs, that needs to be a fairly substantial trailer, but not huge. I would do it modular enough that you could carry the dogs + other stuff.

I find that 200 pounds or so is a rather heavy load to pull. Doable for short distances. But, any more than that really wears a person down, especially if there are any significant hills to go over. Of course, it would help if you could kick the dogs out for the hills.

A couple of brands build nice large trailers that would work well for you (assuming the dogs accept the trailers).

Surly Bill bike trailer and hitch - Portland, OR, $850


Bikes at Work Cargo Trailer + Extras - $650 (Port Townsend, WA)




There are people that have made bike trailers out of basic aluminum ladders. It would be relatively cheap to build. Light. But, narrow. Nonetheless, if you had rigid kennels bolted to the ladder, it might be stable enough, if you get the wheelbase wide enough.

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Old 01-10-19, 04:13 PM
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Bikes At Work vote here. I have one for about 15 years now. The newer models are modular so you could expand if the need arises, or make a smaller trailer if one dog can run with you. I did put better tires on mine as the stock ones were a bit light for my use.

You will find other uses. Get some Rubbermade tubs that fit the trailer and use it for garden center or hardware/lumber runs. A bit much for grocery runs I find. I have used mine to scrounge pine needles from public parks to use as mulch in my yard. I even use it to haul a second bike to the bike shop or if I leave a bike at work and want to pick it up with my other bike.

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Old 01-10-19, 04:29 PM
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You're caught between a rock and a hard place. You can't justify owning a car for your dogs' sake, yet you can't walk them on leashes or let them pull your bike like a dog sled team because of their personality issues.

However you take them out for walks from home, just keep doing that and they will be happy. You can try to extend your walks or walk them on your bike, if they can deal with that. If someone (human or animal) is used to traveling by car, LCF can feel like a sacrifice, but after a while you just get used to the new routine and come up with more ideas for how to work within the parameters of LCF.

As long as you keep thinking in terms of what could you do if you had a car, you won't fully engage the LCF paradigm.
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Old 01-10-19, 04:46 PM
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Forget what one person thinks of some imaginary "LCF Paradigm."

People think of what they have to do and what they Want to do, and figure out how.

You want to keep your dogs happy And go LCF. Great. You want to do it for cheap ... a Little harder. But as @CliffordK 's post shows ... people find ways.

Your dogs are lucky they have a caring owner.
@tandempower can be made to understand how you feel about the dogs . Tell him they are like trees to you.
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Old 01-10-19, 07:33 PM
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It almost sounds like LCF isn't for you...You claim that you're not even sure why you doing it and then you have a responsibility of two dogs. Wouldn't it be better to go car-light instead ??...You don't have to drive everyday , but keep the car for occasions when it is needed.
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Old 01-10-19, 09:18 PM
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You have a good attitude about you dogs. Big dogs love to run and if you are still training them it is a good way for them to burn energy.

You have ave some options already. If you have access to your SOs care you are car light already. Just take them when you and the SO can go together. No extra expense there.

You should look look into training both for on and off the leash. A well trained dog is s happy dog. Most other options may cost you something. It could ease the tension between you and the SO if they knew the arrangement was temporary you could save up for a trailer, invest in an Ebike to help pull the four miles there and back. Get a used golf cart and register it as s LSV, assuming you donít have a high speed highway to get to the river.
The Giant Schnauzer is a working dog and needs exercise. The decision is yours but hauling close to 200 pounds plus trailer 8 miles a day will get old real fast if you are the motor for those 8 miles pulling 200 pounds.
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Old 01-10-19, 10:31 PM
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These can carry 175 lbs, so pretty close. And they are pricey but not $1200 pricey, they are $799. https://cycletote.com/shop/large-dog-or-pet-trailer/ Any reason you can't take one dog at a time or
alternate days?
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Old 01-10-19, 11:37 PM
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Separating the dogs might be bad for the dogs psychologically ... they are friends, they are pack-mates, they are used to being together ... each will wonder what s/he did wrong when the other goes away with Master.

Going to a park twice a day with a 200-pound load ... I hope it is a flat ride. Gear reduction can get you there on the flats, but once you hit a hill ....

I'd keep my car, get minimum insurance, and only use it for the dogs. Alternatively, sell the car and get the lightest, cheapest utility vehicle that your municipality allows on the road. A golf cart, a four-wheeler, a small farm tractor? Even an e-bike because there are sure to be days when your body will just say, "No," but the dogs won't ever have those days.

After many, many years car-free, I decided that changes in my life necessitated using a car. The question was whether to rent or own. The added convenience of owning swayed me---I have the car when I need ti, I don't have to plan in advance, I can do things spontaneously, and I don't have to take it back at the end of a weekend, sacrificing work hours. It costs a little more, but I earn money to support a lifestyle, and that is part of it. The car sits for months at a time, but knowing I can always count on it makes it worthwhile.

A friend is in town for one night on a layover between flights? I can go. I get a sudden urge to drive my MTB to the nearest trail head, which is too far away to ride to? I can do it. My wife breaks down on the side of the road and needs rescue? I don't have to tell her to call a cab.

Plus, when I have to travel for work, I don't have to make a lot of extra arrangements. When i get back from the job, usually exhausted, i don't have to bring the rental back and ride home. Anyone who has worked a crazy few days of 18-20 hours and then drove home in the rain can understand how little fun ti would be to unload the car, drive to the rental place, and bike home in the freezing rain with a body that is already sore, aching and exhausted while trying no to fall asleep.

Sucks that i cannot wear my official "I am car-free" patch .... .... but having a car improves the quality of my life.
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Old 01-11-19, 12:17 AM
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Another option, of course, is E-Cargo. Or, simply an E-Bike to pull your trailer. Not 100% ideal, but keep it in the back of your mind.

I'd probably try towing the dogs with a regular bike, then if that isn't enough, go for the E-Bike.

Converting from vehicles to bicycles could take some investment. But, consider it this way. No $500 to $1000 a year for insurance, all the gas, car payments, car maintenance, depreciation, etc.
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Old 01-11-19, 12:36 AM
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Do you have a neighbor or friend who doesn't use their car all the time? How about paying them for car-sharing? You can get a pet cover at any pet store. Do that a couple times a week, borrow the gf car a few times. OR you keep your car, then minimize the expense by getting insurance based on the miles you drive (and only use it for the dogs). Any $ you save on insurance and gas goes into a fund to buy an electric bike and double dog trailer. Maybe you go car lite now, as I suggested, and that gives you time to see if any other issues pop up as you live as if you didn't have a car, except to take the dogs. Or that gives you time to see if you can build a trailer that will work for you. It's okay to take it in steps; I've been doing that for almost 2 years and finally am dumping the car this month. I went to Metromile for insurance and budgeted $10 in gas each month and drove 400 miles last year - but I do have readily available car share options if necessary and lots of emergency options as well where I live. That time gave me a chance to pre-emptively work out the kinks in my plans without stress.
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Old 01-11-19, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Forget what one person thinks of some imaginary "LCF Paradigm."
All 'paradigm' means is that once you choose LCF, you shift your way of thinking to ignore what you could be doing if you had a car. If you're thinking in terms of how to live with a car, you've shifted to the driving paradigm.

@tandempower can be made to understand how you feel about the dogs . Tell him they are like trees to you.
[/quote]
Of course I understand dog-love. Dogs have much truer hearts than humans in many cases. Regardless, it's not really about how much you love your dogs because you can't justify buying a car for the sake of dogs. If you want to LCF, you have to find a way to take care of your dogs without a car. Obviously it is possible because humans and dogs lived together for millennia before anything like a motor or paved road was imagined.
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Old 01-11-19, 11:16 AM
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@tandem piower, your complete unwillingness to think of any other being on that being's terms was astonishing, the first several times you displayed it. Not it is boring.

Your complete unwillingness to hear, accept, or honor Anyone else's point of view is the same.

Every single person who chooses not to won a car, or cannot own a car despite wanting to, has his or her own "paradigm." The limited way in which you view the world is Yours, and yours alone. You have no ability to understand anyone else;'s "paradigm," simply because you refuse to.

And as of right now, the OP Is justifying owning a car to care for the dogs, and is putting treating the dogs with due honor and respect as living beings, higher than not owning a car. Those are the facts.

Also, the fact that humans and dogs lived together for millennia witho0ut cars has no bearing on this situation. Humans and animals have lived together literally for as long as there have been humans .... and through that whole time conditions have been changing. Maybe it has escaped you but originally dogs Hunted humans. Things change in the real world. Maybe you should update your paradigm.

You would willingly sacrifice the health and happiness of the dogs to promote your vision of personal car-free Utopia---because you do not really respect and honor the right to live of Any other living being--except trees, and that is probably only in the abstract.

It is not even necessary to love an animal, or a pair of animals to realize that you have been entrusted with their care and well-being, that they are totally dependent upon you, and that you are responsible for their quality of life.

I believe it was Gandhi who said one could tell the quality of a civilization by the way they it treated its animals.

Oh, but Gandhi wasn't a tree, so you probably don't care.
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Old 01-11-19, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
Regardless, it's not really about how much you love your dogs because you can't justify buying a car for the sake of dogs.
Who sez anybody has to "justify buying a car" for a reason that fits your or anybody else's so-called "paradigm", be it LCF or otherwise?
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Old 01-11-19, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Maybe it has escaped you but originally dogs Hunted humans.
That must be it. Now the dogs just hunt cyclists.

Let's give it a rest. You've read a lot more into the posts of another forum member.

Living Car Free means making changes in one's life, whether it is changing where one takes the pets for recreation, or changing how one gets there.

2 big dogs also means that every once in a while the OP will also be bringing 50 to 100 pound bags of dog food home.

There are ways to make hauling dogs by bicycle work. But, that could well be ambitious to do if one does it regularly.

In the end, everyone may look for advice, or see what others are doing, but they'll end up making their own decisions how to make it all work for their own needs.
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Old 01-11-19, 12:05 PM
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@CliffordK ---Thanks. Good advice.
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Old 01-11-19, 12:46 PM
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A Bikes at Work trailer is likely the way to go for two large dogs, but as you've noticed, not cheap.

The Wike cargo trailer is significantly cheaper (I own one), and could potentially hold one of the dogs at a time as it's rated for 125#. It may be too small for your crate, and regardless, that would only be one dog.

Hauling a large dog is one thing that I cannot do without a vehicle - I have a "small" Newf who is only around 130 lbs. Food is easy, though. Chewy.com has pretty much every food imaginable (including quality large-breed specific kinds) and delivers for free with minimum purchase.
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Old 01-11-19, 01:20 PM
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For kid's trailers, I prefer trailers with a wrap-around frame, and using standard quick release wheels (usually dished outward). Unfortunately, many of the new trailers are moving to the single-sided wheels which I believe is an inherently weaker design.

I've found a couple of brands that make (or made) full welded frames, either steel or aluminum. Possibly the same manufacturer with different brand labels.

It should be easy enough to take one of these welded kid's trailers and extend the frame to say 8 feet or so, for two large dog crates. I'd probably take the frame, and bolt something like aluminum ladder rails to it. Then figure out how to re-make the hitch and get everything rigid.

The spring hitches that are popular for easy flex are limited by weight, and become uncomfortable for riding with > 100 or 200 lbs cargo. Still, they will work if you can keep an even cadence and circular pedal stroke.

I have seen a few people towing two kid's trailers. Probably not my choice, but it has been done.
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Old 01-11-19, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
It should be easy enough to take one of these welded kid's trailers and extend the frame to say 8 feet or so, for two large dog crates.
Or there is the more active approach to dog-biking, modeled here by Norman.

If you don't trust your dogs to steer, maybe try a tandem+kid-trailer combination like this one, but with the dogs:

Or if that's too tricky, maybe just tow them in a single kid trailer like this (if they're small enough to fit):


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Old 01-11-19, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Sticky9 View Post
I have 2 giant schnauzers that I rescued, and they are pretty energetic. I've been walking them a lot so far this year, but I just feel bad that they can't run and chase the squirrels and deer.
Chasing squirrels is one thing as they are rats with puffy tails but if you let your dogs chase deer, you need to be slapped. The dogs who chase deer can totally disrupt the deer population and can lead to does losing their young or possible other problems including deer families or herds to be seperated from their buck. If you said this tongue in cheek, I apologise but it is not funny what running dogs do to a deer herd.
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Old 01-12-19, 12:13 AM
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Originally Posted by bwilli88 View Post
Chasing squirrels is one thing as they are rats with puffy tails but if you let your dogs chase deer, you need to be slapped. The dogs who chase deer can totally disrupt the deer population and can lead to does losing their young or possible other problems including deer families or herds to be seperated from their buck. If you said this tongue in cheek, I apologise but it is not funny what running dogs do to a deer herd.
i am not sure dogs like schnauzers are a big problem. They are sight dogs designed to work on farms and protect or kill vermin. The will lose sight on a deer pretty quickly and return to the owner or alpha. Unlike Coyotes that will hunt and eat one if they can catch them. Not always I am sure but they arenít typical hunting dogs.

Of of course I donít know the area and how many deer might be found along the hiking trails 4 miles form the OPs house.

However most dogs do love the chase. And Schnauzers love to run.
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Old 01-12-19, 02:25 AM
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Deer are only more important than squirrels if you think so. A squirrel dies, cool. A deer gets scared, oh, that's evil! Just your prejudice. I am sure squirrel lovers hate you for what you said.

I have heard a lot of people talk about deer as vermin. When deer--unchecked by nature since we kill all their natural predators---overpopulate, they come into human-inhabited areas and tear up gardens, browse on shrubbery, and litter the place with droppings. Der are considered a nuisance animal in some places, and other than starvation and disease caused by over-population, there are no natural limiters left---which is why it is usually legal to kill them.

And also ... dogs are natural predators. A dog killing a deer (probably never happens nowadays as most dogs don't run in packs) is absolutely natural---exactly as natural as a dog killing a squirrel, which you seem to think is fine.

I don't like to see any animal hunted or killed ... but I also understand the natural balance, which man has completely upset, and I understand that everything living, passes on.

Finally .. . deer have survived since 7-9 million years ago, according to Wikipedia. They have been prey animals for most of that time, constantly being chased and hunted. Yet, somehow, the species has survived. Mankind has hunted deer for about as long as mankind has hunted--and hunted without consideration for preserving the species. Yet, deer are here with us today.

Nowadays deer are Not prey animals, by and large. Humans, out of fear, ignorance, and arrogance, have killed most of the other predators. So deer are in far less danger now that at any time in the past several million years.

Two schnauzers are not going to end the several deer species.

Urban sprawl, habitat loss in general, is the prime killer of all species on the planet today. Humans move into other creatures' habitats and render them unsuitable for those creatures, and they go extinct. Two schnauzers are not responsible for this.
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