June 6, 2005 This new concept in near zero emission transportation could be just what you’re looking for, though we suspect that parking might be a problem. Seriously though folks, if you have a big dog that often takes you for a walk, here’s a great way to harness all that energy and travel the bike paths of your city at the same time. The manufacturer and inventor Mark Schuette of Oregon claims the human is in total control of the speed and direction of the dog powered scooter because the dog is harnessed inside of the frame and subject to its steering (with 90 degree turns easy) and braking force.
This also simplifies the animal's "choices" and reduces the level of "training" required of the animal. Simply harness the dog and clip them into the frame and off you go. With just a few outings pulling the scooter the dog quickly learns when to slow (by feeling the braking) and which direction to turn by again "feeling" the side pull on the harness. Dogs love it because it takes little "effort" to pull the scooter and they get exercise next to their owner.
The owners love it because they are exercising their pets with little effort on their part and getting a fun free ride! Indeed, the dog owner can participate when going uphill by kicking, which we suspect technically makes this a bydrid rather than a dog-powered scooter. Whatsmore, the harness connection is designed so there are no downward loads applied to your beloved animal.
Unless of cours, you choose to do away with the wheel completely and just have the harness – we understand this is a degree of difficulty greater, but turns it all into a more participatory sport and both parties (you and the dog) get more from it. This is the only option for off-road use, in that its lighter, narrower, hits less bumps, and handles better because you can lean in the corners!
The outrigger wheel and frame can attach to "approved" scooters in a few minutes with simple tools and can detach just as easily. Its made of powder-coated chrome-moly steel and is lite. The wheel is rugged and has sealed bearings and a wheel guard. The harness comes in a variety of sizes & is adjustable. Mark is adamant that his invention doesn’t fall into the hands of the wrong type of person. “Only responsible, caring and attentive owners need apply”.
Booties recommended for intense usage and a 100 lb. maximum difference between rider and dog is recommended, with the minimum weight for a suitable dog being pegged at 45 lbs.
The price of the harness and outrigger with wheel is US$240 plus shipping and for the same without wheel the price is US$180 plus shipping.
Note that scooters are an additional purchase, which makes it easy if you already have one, or you can purchase an ideal scooter at the same time for US$260 plus shipping.
Where do we find this stuff? If you think we gather a strange collection of interesting things at gizmag, you really should visit one of our esteemed colleagues. We found this story on The Red Ferret Journal, a collection of stuff that we often look at and ask ourselves, "where does Red find this stuff?"