The Story Behind The Bike Tow Leash
My name is Mike Leon, mechanical engineer, avid bike rider, service dog trainer and inventor of the 1-Running-Dog Bike Tow Leash.
After the 9-11 terrorist attacks, my family and I volunteered raising service dog puppies for individuals with disabilities as a way of giving back to our community and country. In honor of those lost, we named our first puppy Tribute.
Raising service dog puppies is a wonderful volunteer opportunity, which ultimately provides companion animals to individuals who suffer from seizures, or who have mobility, vision or hearing impairments. As trainers, we raise, train and socialize puppies until they are ready for graduate school. For socialization, we take the puppies, in a service cape, to work, stores, restaurants, schools, theme parks, etc., to expose them to a variety of situations. This ensures that there will be no unpleasant surprises once they have been assigned to a client who is depending on them to remain calm and alert at all times.
At about 6 months of age our first dog Tribute, now a tall long-legged black Labrador, had more energy than I did when we went out walking or running. With all her puppy energy, we needed to make sure Tribute exercised strenuously before we went out to eat. Since bad behavior is often a result of a lack of exercise and dogs in training are supposed to lie down and sleep under the table, not stand and upset dinner I was looking for an answer.
As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. As a result of Tribute's need for speed, and my more limited energy levels, I got the idea to combine the fun of biking (for me) with the fun of running (for Tribute).
Given my understanding of both physics and dog behavior, and for both my safety and the dog's safety, I knew better than to attempt riding Tribute with a regular leash. (Much later I did attempt riding with a regular leash, made it less than a mile, and still have the scars!)
As a product development engineer, I was accustomed to doing my homework when attempting something new. First, I checked on-line to determine whether there was a product available which made it safe to ride a bicycle with a dog.
What I found were products that posed significant safety issues such as:
- increased risk or tipping and crashing the bicycle
- high shocks or jerks
- tangling, puncturing, pinching, scratching, or releasing the dog
- pedaling interference
- poor visibility, and
- increased risk of running over your own dog
Moreover, the products on the market:
- required tools for installation
- would not cancel bike tipping forces
- would not reduce dog's side pull ability, and
- would not allow the dog to efficiently propel the bike.
Having determined there was nothing suitable available, I set out to make a device which would make biking with a dog pleasurable and fun while eliminating safety concerns for both rider and dog.
The very first prototype worked, and Tribute and other dogs loved it! So did I. For once I could keep up with her! While riding, I said to Tribute, “You are one Running Dog!” The name stuck. But, more importantly, the 1-Running-Dog Bike Tow Leash:
- prevented the dog from tipping the bike
- satisfied every safety concern
- could be installed quickly without tools
- and fit my bicycle
Since my career as Airline Equipment product development engineer ended after 9-11, and the BTL worked so well, I used my time to refine, test and patent the 1-Running-Dog Bike Tow Leash with our new company LEON Engineering, Inc.
Many design changes have been made learning from millions of miles use now over 16 years. Now added benefits of the 1-Running-Dog BTL are:
- “Gently guides and trains dog into HEEL POSITION”
- “Automatically Communicates Bike direction changes to the dog”
- “Provides a resilient barrier between dog & bike”
- “Allows dog to efficiently propel the bike as a Paw + Pedal Hybrid Bicycle”
- “Great affordable recreational fun in a small efficient go anywhere device that fits bicycles, tricycles, quad cycles, mobility scooters and wheel chairs.
- In the spirit of continuing to assist the disabled, BTLs fit wheel chairs, scooters and Segways” Now the mobility challenged can enjoy greater dog control and safety as well.
- Fits both sides of bikes and mobility equipment.
- Multiple dog Capable.
- With the new patented Dog Coupler, you can ride wit two dogs on a single Bike Tow Leash!
We have raised 10 service dogs with this great tool. Countless other dogs and riders have used the Bike Tow Leash® confirming ease of use, comfort and exercise. They have covered many thousands of miles without the BTL causing so much as a scratch to dogs or riders! Everyone wants to be the one propelled by the dog to school, on the beach, on trails, to the park and the store!
I am grateful to my family and expanding circle of friends whose patience, help and advice have made the 1-Running-Dog Bike Tow Leash available for you and your dogs to enjoy as well.
Michael A. Leon
LEON Engineering, Inc.
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