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The WooFDriver
Local & National News | January 20, 2020
Bill Helman, a Maryland native known as the “WooFDriver,” has been a Husky owner and Urban Musher for over 20 years.

Bill conscientiously documents his adventures with his four energetic Huskies as they travel across the East Coast with specialized equipment and one-of-a-kind bikes. He has traveled through the Great Allegheny Passage, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and many other routes and trails in the mid-Atlantic region. His current pack, Lola, Zarro, Chase, and Jag, are specially trained to enjoy these trips safely and can be seen having the time of their lives on his YouTube Channel, WooFDriver. Not only are these adventures fun to watch, they also promote safe training practices, animal welfare, and positivity.

What is Urban Mushing?

Urban Mushing—also known as “bikejoring”—is a recreational activity wherein dogs are trained to pull a bicycle as they might a sled. Some mushers place the dogs ahead of the bike. Others—including Bill—attach them alongside the bike (Helman). Urban mushing has quickly gained popularity as a way to exercise high-energy dogs (Fratt). Bill initially got involved in Urban Mushing after getting his first Husky, Czar Bear, in 1996. Amazed by the high level of energy the breed has, Bill found that he needed to help Czar Bear get his exercise in a safe and fulfilling way. They started out with a bike and a tether. Attached to the bike, Czar Bear would run alongside Bill for long distances. He could see immediately that his Husky was so much happier and satisfied when he ran. This evolved into a sport that both Bill and his pack would enjoy for years to come.

Huskies LOVE to Run! 

Huskies are a very energetic breed. Rather than train them to calm down, it is in their best interest to find an outlet for this energy. Though they love to run, they are often uninterested in playing fetch or engaging in the type of play other breeds may enjoy. Urban mushing allows huskies to get exercise in a safe, controlled way. The dogs wear special harnesses designed for the activity, and they are extensively trained to obey the musher’s commands. Bill’s bikes also include small, battery-powered motors to reduce the stress on the dogs. The motor allows the dogs to trot easily alongside without having to pull the full weight of the bike and its cargo. 

The Equipment

Bill has vastly researched, developed, tested and assembled a wide variety of equipment and technology to make his trips run safely and smoothly. The dogs’ health and well-being is Bill’s primary concern. He has designed several products for them, including a misting system to cool the dogs when they are running in warmer temperatures. He has several different vehicles he uses for his trips, all customized to be safe for Urban Mushing with his dogs. Bill’s latest vehicle is a battery powered swincar known as, “The Dog Quad.” This is the only tandem swincar in the United States, and is versatile enough to travel ATV trails and mountainous roads. He also has other people helping him on these adventures to keep more eyes on the dogs and obstacles that might come up on the trail. This makes the trips safer for everyone involved.

Meet the Dogs!

Czar Bear

Czar Bear was the first Husky Bill has owned and was the true definition of an Alpha Dog! Also known as the Vacuum cleaner for all the food and crumbs he could scarf down.

Hudson

Hudson was the second member of the pack. He was so gentle, he would take a treat from your hands with just his lips to avoid touching his teeth on your hand!

Princess

Princess was the oldest dog and only female of the pack. In her prime, there was no stopping Princess. She had energy as intense as her sparkling blue eyes!

Zarro

Zarro is the gentle giant. Part Malamute, he is the only member of the pack who isn’t full Siberian Husky. Like Princess, he has icy blue eyes, but he sports painted-mask markings. He is probably the most mild-mannered of the pack and he’s incredibly loyal.

Chase

Chase is confident, curious, and a little mischievous. His name is fitting because he likes to play chase and be chased! He is slender and has long legs and paws, resembling a true white wolf. His eyes are amber, but one of them has a marbleized blue speck.

Jag

Jag is a cautious, calm, and loving boy. But don’t let that fool you because he is also a jokester. As his confidence has grown he loves to roughhouse and play, but he’s often happy enough just being a couch potato.

Lola

Lola is the newest and youngest member of the pack! She is full of energy and adventurous spirit. She gets the zoomies easily and is very impatient during breaks on the trails!

In addition to Urban Mushing, Bill raises money for animal welfare organizations. He is dedicated to helping animals in need and uses attention gained via WooFDriving to do so (Helman). Bill hopes that the life he and his dogs have lived will inspire others to find their sense of adventure and maintain a positive lifestyle for themselves and their animals. 

Source

woofdriver.com

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