Build Your Own Doggie Bicycle Seat…For Cheap
I have a 13 year-old miniature schnauzer, also known as the other love of my life. Although still active and healthy, she suffers from the occasional leg cramp and limps after a long walk around the park or at the beach. She is getting old and I am feeling the need to spend more quality time together. I want to take her everywhere I go – whether it is to yoga class just a few blocks away or to the neighborhood cafe down the road. My idea? Buy a bicycle with a dog seat at the back.
Sounds easy right? Wrong. What I found out is the cost to fit a bicycle dog-friendly carrier can burn a significant hole in most people’s wallets. In fact, it could cost more than the bicycle! One, most Singaporeans (Asians as a matter of fact) do not carry their dogs on their bicycles so the novelty of having a dog basket for a bicycle is zilch. Two, online options of dog carriers are very expensive plus shipping costs (assuming you are lucky they ship to Singapore at all). Three, my dog is medium built and weighs 9-10kg. She’s in the in-between of everything so options are limited. Four, I did not like how most carriers attached the dog (or lack of) to the bike. Basically, it was hard to find anything that would fit her safely and at the right price.
As a result of my frustration, I got creative and decided to build my own. It is probably not the best doggie carrier but it works for me and my girl. If you are looking to spend quality time with your pet and fancy a little exercise, I highly recommend this because it has created great bonding moments for me and my dog.
What you need / What I paid:
For ladies, preferably a city bicycle. It has the potential to look attractively vintage and the lowered middle bar makes it easy getting on and off the bike. I had wanted a second-hand bicycle but could not find an appropriate one. I ended up buying an afforable new bicycle instead. When you get your bike, make sure it comes with a bicycle rack. I prefer a rear rack because my dog is about 10kg. I have more control of the bicycle with most of the weight at the back. I paid: $130.
This can be a wire or wick basket, even a plastic crate. Anything you can get your hands on that will fit your dog. If you are budget-conscious, try picking up a used plastic grocery basket or crate. Ask your local supermarket manager if he can spare you one because they get delivered vegetables and stuff in those big plastic boxes daily. I tried a few things but eventually a local bicycle shop owner found me a wire basket that fitted my dog. I paid: $18.
A piece of plywood.
You need this! This is the foundation of what your doggie carrier will rest on. I got my piece of plywood off the side of a road. If you are getting your dog carrier installed by someone, they might try to convince you to go without the plywood base. I insisted on having mine installed for peace of mind and safety. I paid: $0.
Like most girls, I am not good with handy equipment. Instead, I went to my local bicycle store and asked the owner to help. He had the right tools to saw the plywood to custom fit the carrier and enough screws, nuts and bolts to secure the plywood and basket down to the rear rack. If you are lucky enough to have a handyman at your disposal, all you need to do is ask a favor. I paid: $20
THIS IS IT. But, there are a few accessories you will need to ensure safety and comfort for you and your dog. I highly recommend getting a helmet, doggie harness – preferably one that will secure your dog on all sides, a bike seat cushion (believe or not, dogs can get bum rash) and bicycle lights – both front and rear lights.
What I did for accessories:
Believe it or not, there is no law in Singapore to force a cyclist to hear a helmet. My husband told me he doesn’t care if the helmet cost more than the bicycle, I am to wear one. I bought an attractive Orea racer helmet that was on sale and consider it my only splurge for this project. Retail price: $208. I paid: $88.
I re-used my dog car seat harness to secure her to the back of the bicycle with a couple of twist ties and one D-shaped snap hook I found around the house. I paid $0.
I bought 2 small dog collars and made them side harnesses attached to each side of the basket to keep her from swaying around or jumping out. I got this idea from another blog post I read while researching how on to build my own dog bicycle seat. Works beautifully. I paid $4 (bought them for $2 each at Diaso).
I made my doggie seat cushion by re-using some old towels and mats. I cut and stitched the fabrics to custom-fit the dog’s bicycle seat. To keep cushion in place, sew in a few drawstrings and tie to your carrier. I paid: $0.
I bought front and rear lights from the local bicycle shop. I paid $25.
In total, this semi-DIY doggie bicycle seat project cost me $168 plus $117 in accessories. Not bad for a fully decked out doggie bicycle seat. You can definitely bring down your cost to less than $100 if you can find a second-hand bike, salvage a free plastic crate and have your own handyman to fix for free.
My husband thinks I am crazy to dedicate so much time and effort to build a bicycle just for my dog. But when I see wind blowing in her face, tongue wagging and eyes filled with curiosity and excitement, every moment and every cent spent is worth the ride.