The Trail Dog Standard

Bats the Wonder Dog
They say you should work with animals, but Bats was more than perfect wooing everyone and eating some runners....... Photo credit Brenna Lyn McGuinness
They say you should work with animals, but Bats was more than perfect wooing everyone and eating some runners....... Photo credit Brenna Lyn McGuinness

Standards are coming and going so fast these days that it seems like we should rename them as “fleeting specifications”… what's next? They haven't messed with brakes for a while; maybe they could change the way they are mounted to the frame and fork and the caliper could slide in on a rail and be fastened with a latch. The rail would make it stiffer and latch would make it easier and faster to slide the caliper off…

The trail dog standard in mountain biking has been around since the birth of bikes, and they come in different sizes and widths. Big ones aren't always the fastest and small ones aren't always the most nimble, and if they become plus-sized it has nothing to do with marketing and trying to sell more dogs, it's because you are lazy and need to ride more.

After years of waiting to settle down, my girlfriend and I have finally decided to take the next step and get a trail dog from the SPCA. We named her Bats (after the fruit bats in Sydney) and she is a lovely Red Heeler cross. With her only being seven months old we can't run her too much for risk of hip problems when she is older, so we are in training for the next five months to make her the most perfect trail dog. Is it wrong to train her to eat runners if they have MP3 players in their ears while they run up a downhill track?

Like a mid-nineties steel hardtail, I wanted to pimp Bats out a little bit and make her ours; but with a whole lot less CNCing and purple anodising. Fortunately trail dog attachments are pretty standard and don’t look like they are going to be changed next year, so I gave local shredder, event organiser, WORD instructor and damn good fine jeweller Nick Hensmen from the “Rolling Mill” a text, to make me something special for my two special girls.

Nick’s standards are above the rest and can work to any specification you want, no matter how fleeting the idea. I gave him a text with the silhouette of a bat (not Batman) and said “…can you make this less spiky? I need this done as a name tag for my new dog Bats and I want some matching stud earrings for my Girlfriend to celebrate 'Not Mother’s Day'.” I’m sure I could have meddled more, but I knew Nick could do more than I could think of and he did. The name tag has a Silver backing with Copper lettering and our cellphone numbers engraved into the back. The stud earrings are subtle, yet beautiful and done in silver. I’m super pumped with the whole thing and a little jealous that I don’t really wear jewellery.

This coming summer I may be riding some plus-sized full suspension hybrid fat bike (we joked about this and industry made it) on my own, but won’t be on my own and will always have my new trail dog Bats to shred with! But also in the comfort that when she beats me to the bottom of the hill because I’ll have too much grip, you can see her pimped-out name tag, know who she belongs to and have a chat with the most bad-ass and well accessorised trail dog in town, while she waits for my fat ass to catch up.

Stud earrings for my special human girl, and a name tag for my special dog girl.... Photo credit Brenna Lyn McGuinness
Stud earrings for my special human girl, and a name tag for my special dog girl.... Photo credit Brenna Lyn McGuinness