21 September 2013

Kicksled with your Best Friend

Notice the length of the gangline.  Kicksleds need a longer line that skijoring, as the angle of the gangline can pull down on the dog's hips.


Kicksleds pretty much look like a chair, on a pair of runners.  The runners are made of metal, and are long and flexible.   Commonly plastic is mounted on the bottom of the runner, so you can slide over snow. 
Kicksleds are meant for kicking on.  You stand on one runner, and kick with one foot.  A similar action to skateboarding, except you don't need to bend your knee down nearly as much!  


If you are adding a dog to your kicksled, you still need to kick! 



If you are adding only one dog, go with a harness that is meant for kicksledding, we tested out the Wheel Dog Harness, read the review here.
The metal part on the front of the sled can be called the brush-bow.   Do not connect the gangline to the brush bow.   For one, it will weaken the brushbow overtime, and secondly, it will make the sled harder to steer.  Your brushbow is there to protect you, and the sled in case a tree jumps out at you.   So take care of it!
Run the gangline to a bridle, and connect the bridle to the upright stanchions.   Quality outfitters will sell kicksleds already assembled this way for use with dog power.  Some outfitters may not, but it is easy enough to rig up on your own.
This video link has some close ups of one of my kicksleds in action.  Check out how I have rigged the bridle to the sled.
In the picture below, you can see the D-links used to keep the bridle from being attached to the brush bow.   Simply add D links, or any other loops you wish where the bolts attach to the brush bow.

This is one way to hook the bridle to the stanchions.   It's not the best way, as the bridle will eventualy wear out from rubbing on the metal.    Attaching the bridle to the stanchion will mean that your kicksled steers better, and lasts longer.
We kicksled in the shoulder seasons because you can run a sled on very little snow!   Where a scooter would be too slippery, and skis would just kill you, a kicksled is able to scrape across gravel and grass pretty easily!  If you get to a bad bare patch, just pick the sled up, and run it along.  The dog's don't even need to break their stride!
You might also want to check out our Gear Review for a harness that is safe for kicksledding in! 

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