Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Biking With The Vizsla

One of the challenges of traveling and camping is too eat healthy and get enough exercise. Fortunately, with the Airstream we can manage our food choices and not be stuck with the fast food options that seem to be everywhere.

On the exercise front, it often boils down to walking the dog -- which isn't aerobic (unless she slips her collar) but is one good alternative. We take two or three ten minute or often longer walks per day just to keep sanity -- for her and for me.

I've written before about biking with Penny. I did it long before we started traveling and have used a Springer system which works well for me. I was riding a high-end mountain bike until last year but the geometry was to0 radical for a 70-year-old back -- so I sold it on Craig's list last Spring. My friends at Onion River Sports -- one of the northeast's best bike shops -- sold me a hybrid which is comfortable and perfect for riding with the dog. I got it set up yesterday for the Springer.We went out again today on a long ride to look at birds and explore the nature trails at Fontainebleau State Park in Louisiana. We probably went about 8 miles on a combination of grass, gravel, and mucky trails. We passed a "Don't Feed The Alligators" sign and whisked by something posted about Cottonmouths. The combination of surfaces was perfect for Penny's pads and challenging enough for my early-season riding form.

Of course, coming back to the park, we passed several dogs with whom Penny seemed to have issues. I gave up on the "break-away" tabs when she snapped them while lunging for dogs so now, I just tie a leash tight and she can back and tug all she wants. Picture this -- a Vizsla going sideways down the road talking trash while her owner peddles the bike straight ahead. I'm sure campers don't forget her -- although it's over fast.

She starts out runs at top speed and I hardly have to pedal for the first half mile. Later, it's sort of even-steven and then, at the end of long rides, she's pooped and we walk it in. The trick is to give her rest breaks and carry enough water -- although she'll opt for puddles when available.

Our other exercise option later will be kayaking. Somehow, I don't see a role for Vizsla -- although I'm sure she does. A tired Vizsla is a good Vizsla.

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