Bikejoring is a dog mushing activity related to skijoring, canicross, and dog scootering. It is a recreation or competitive sport where a harnessed dog or team of dogs attached to a towline have to pull and run ahead of a cyclist. Bikejoring is a non snow season (dryland) activity. Bikejoring and canicross are both dryland mushing activities that probably developed from skijoring and dogsled racing. Bikejoring is also sometimes used to train racing sled-dogs out of season.
Although any breed (or non-breed) of dog can be used, Nordic breeds, Sled Hounds and Pointers are probably the most popular breeds for bikejoring. Any type of dog that can be taught to pull, run, and to accept a few lead dog commands can be used to bikejor. Bikejoring and dog scootering are activities that can be beneficial to the health and fitness of dogs. It can be used to provide dogs with work and exercise, without letting them run off leash and endangering wild-life or livestock.
Although often practiced as a dog exercising recreation, in some parts of the World, dog sporting organizations and mushers (people who train dogs to pull – mushing) provide bikejor and dog-scooter racing classes at their competitive dryland sled-dog rallies and events. These competitive bikejor classes often run alongside other classes for canicross and dryland rig racing. In most cases, the competitors are started off separately on a timer, to avoid tangles and collisions.
The dog or dogs are fitted with sled dog harnesses suitable for pulling and running in. The harnesses are attached to a bungee towline, which clips to the front of the bicycle. Many bikejorers use bayonets, antennas, or plastic pipes to suspend the towline above the front wheel, and to prevent it from tangling between the wheel and forks. If two dogs are employed on a gang line, they are attached to each other by a neckline between their collars. Bikejoring can be fun but has its dangers and must be practiced with caution.
Bikejoring usually takes place cross country on soft trails. The dogs should not be run far over paved surfaces, as this could damage their paws or limbs. Most bikejor competitions have strict rules over the age and fitness of the dogs, and provide watering spots. The bikejorer also has to take care of their own safety by wearing protective equipment and by keeping the bicycle in good working order.