My border collie Tesla loves a good run and is a great campsite companion. He has travelled with me all around the place – even across Australia, both East to West and North to South! He’s intelligent, adventurous and always up for a challenge. He also runs while I ride. (Not all the time as Australia doesn’t allow dogs in many places but I generally choose my adventures with this in mind).
Lately I have been riding a lot more than I have ever before and Tesla is struggling to keep up with some back-to-back days of running up to 40km a day. He’s fast too, he loves to race but he’s no match for my 27.5 tyres (I had the 26ers on my old bike) when I’m rolling down hills. As he gets older – his recovery time is longer (just like mine ha!) so I started looking up solutions so I can keep up speed, make further distances but not have to leave the pooch behind.
Introducing the Bob Ibex trailer.
The Bob Ibex trailer is a single wheel (with suspension!) trailer that is designed for carrying up to 35kg and can be ridden on singletrack due to it’s sleek design. Lucky for Tesla – he is 20kg and fits in the dimensions of this trailer.
I rented a Bob Ibex trailer for 2 days to put it to the test and also to see if I could coax Tesla to sit in one. After a few hiccups and lots of negotiation (treats) – Tesla sat in the trailer comfortably with a couple towels on the bottom. We rode about 40km on footpath around the Swan River on Day 1 and then half of the Mundaring Heritage Rail Trail which is all gravel on Day 2.
It was surprisingly light and the rides were easy on the flat. Downhill required a bit more braking that usual and uphill was hard (yeah pulling 20kg will do that) but I just let him get out and run for those bits. The trailer empty did not feel like anything at all. It didn’t seem to make a difference whether I was on gravel, grass, pavement or in the bush – the trailer performed well.
I could see Tesla wanted to run more than I allowed him too but he did not appear to be uncomfortable. I would feel every movement he made though so my arms got more t
ired than normal. My bike was harder to manage when he stood up but was easy when he sat. He was still tired after the rides too and I believe he still couldn’t relax in the trailer because he felt like he had to keep his balance (I could see his muscles tensing around corners to grip on) but he wasn’t sore like he has been when running.
We also got a lot of attention. Lots of waves, beeps, kids calling out. It was fun.
Fitting to bike
The Bob Ibex requires the rear axle to be a certain size to fit. Fortunately for my bike – the Surly ECR has a separate hole on the frame to allow the fitting of a trailer without having to mess around with the axle (which is the wrong size anyway). Bob Trailers have a component called Bob Bits that allows for the trailers to fit the Surlys. I didn’t have access to a Bob Bits part so I went to my local Auto store and bought two 10mm bolts with a 1mm pitch and nuts and washers to match. Then I cut some bits of retic hose (what was closest to me at the time) and put the bolt through the retic hose and then into the nut (to keep it locked onto the frame), washer and then to the bike frame. The retic hose was to avoid metal on metal contact between the trailer and the bolt (you could probably also wrap the bolts in heaps of electrical tape). I drilled a small hole in each retic hose at the bottom to allow the trailer hook to fit through.
Will I buy a Bob Ibex
Hell yeah! But Bob Trailers don’t keep stock in Australia. Buying a $500USD trailer and getting it sent to Perth may be an expensive process so I’m keeping an eye out for one second hand (that fits 27.5/29inch tyres) or I will pick one up on my travels and bring it back myself. Tesla will just have to run for now and I’ll keep renting them for longer trips.
Youtube video: Bob Ibex bike trailer + Border Collie