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Dog-Powered Scooter
Alaskan dog sledders have nothing on Judi and Scott Scharns. Their full-blooded Malamute pulls them along their North Carolina roads on a scooter.
"Our dog needed more exercise than we could give it, and my husband Scott suggested having him pull something," explains Judi. "I saw a dog powered scooter on the internet, but it cost $140, and it didn't look strong enough to handle our 140-lb. dog, Togo."
When Scott saw an old style Schwinn Stingray bike with wide back tires for trick riding, he knew he had the answer. The 20-in. bike only cost $80, and it was built rugged with hand brakes for front and rear wheels.
Scott stripped the chain from it, loosened one pedal crank arm and flipped it so both pedals were hanging down at the same time. He then mounted two scrap pine boards as side boards to the pedals and to L-brackets he hung from the rear frame. While the bike can no longer be pedaled, it is ideal for standing on while being pulled.
The Scharns had a pulling harness made for Togo. Scott hooks a long (30-ft.) leash to the harness. At the bike, he runs it through a doubled over bungee cord attached to the handlebars and then into his hand.
"The bungee cord acts as a shock absorber," says Scott.
If Togo runs off the road, all Scott or Judi need do is step off the sideboards. The hand brakes ensure the bike doesn't overtake the dog going down hills "The heavy back tire is ideal for our dirt and gravel roads," says Judi.
Training Togo was easy. A neighbor rode his bike alongside the harnessed dog holding his leash while Scott rode behind on the scooter.
"Once he figured out the scooter was behind him, he just ran, occasionally looking back to watch what he was pulling," explains Judi.
"He has one speed," says Scott. "And that's wide open."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Judi and Scott Scharns, 289 Rocky Creek Rd., Boone, N.C. 28607 (ph 828 264-9357; jscharns@bellsouth.net).

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2007 - Volume #31, Issue #1