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How to Make An Impact by Cycling with your Dog

With a love of cycling, dogs and Momentum’s PAKYAK E+ electric cargo bike, Esther Blanch took a rescue dog on a bike tour around Taiwan.

It’s not always easy to make an impact on society in our everyday life, especially while doing something we love in the process. But when Esther Blanch took a rescue dog on an amazing adventure around Taiwan on her electric cargo bike, she did exactly that.

Her dream to explore the beautiful island by cargo bike, combined with PACK Taiwan’s mission that every dog finds a loving home was a match made in heaven! Together, armed with a passion for cycling, love of dogs, and Momentum’s PAKYAK E+ electric cargo bike, they went on a mission to make an impact.

Where the dream began...

While living in Spain, Esther started planning a bike trip around Taiwan, a popular challenge among the cycling community. While at a friend’s house, her friend’s dog gave her an idea: why not take a dog with her on her bike trip?

Esther wanted her new travel buddy to be a rescue dog so, with the enthusiasm that really defines her, she started contacting a few shelters in Taiwan and that’s when she found out about PACK Taiwan. As their mission states: “PACK Taiwan is the guardian of forgotten dogs. Our center, PACK HQ, is both a sanctuary and shelter and offers them a high-quality home and the best hope for a fulfilling life.”

Dog looking into the camera, electric bikes

Larry C, Executive Director at PACK Taiwan, loved her idea and suggested helping in the shelter for a few months to get familiar with the dogs so that she could eventually find the most suitable companion for her exciting bike trip.

When she finally landed in Taiwan, Esther planned to spend two months volunteering in the sanctuary before starting her trip, but the 2020 pandemic forced her to postpone it for almost a year.

During this time, Esther met Cherry and in April 2021 she knew she was ready to finally start the trip with her. Cherry is a black dog who was rescued by PACK. One of the many reasons Esther chose Cherry is that black dogs are less popular in Asia, so she wanted to educate people about adopting all dogs, regardless of color.

Woman, dog, and bike, electric bikes

The best travel companion you could wish for

Esther wanted this trip to be more than just a challenge for herself. She wanted to prove that dogs are great travel companions; that having a dog is not a limitation on people’s lives because you can do anything with them.

But mostly, Esther wanted Taiwanese people to see that adopting dogs from a shelter is an amazing opportunity for you and the dogs, who have often been rescued from awful situations like puppy mills. It was so important for her to educate people that rescue dogs are just as loving and an important part of your family, they just had a tougher start in life.

When Esther and Cherry started their trip, people looked on with enthusiasm and curiosity. “People were taking pictures, we felt like superstars,” she jokes. “Sometimes they were a bit scared but still curious,” she continues. Esther always explained Cherry’s backstory and how loving she was: “I could see the effect Cherry had on them,” she adds.

black dogs, electric bikes

Thanks to both Cherry and her electric cargo bike, her bike tour around Taiwan really wasn’t that hard: “It wasn’t that difficult and Cherry gave me the motivation to discover the world together,” she explains. “And with Momentum’s PAKYAK E+ electric cargo bike, reaching the next destination was super-fast. It’s easy to ride and you don’t feel tired, even after riding for 90 km per day,” she continues.

Esther was a firm fan of the PAKYAK E’s extra battery as it made it easy to plan the charging time she needed during her trip. She was also really impressed by how comfy the bike was to ride: “You feel really good while riding. It’s a sturdy bike, even on dirt roads, and the basket made it really easy to bring everything we needed with us,” she explains.

Ultimately, this adventure with Cherry confirmed Esther’s belief that riding with your dog is a great and easy way to share an experience with your pet. Something that not a lot of cyclists know. “They’re great company on your trip and they teach you so much,” Esther says. “Cherry made me discover so many new things; she even helped me learn a lot about nature.”

Take your dog with you!

So, does your dog need to be super well behaved to begin with, or are there tricks you can try to get your dog to enjoy bike rides? Our advice: you can start by training your dog to walk next to a bike, introducing it as a great experience for them. As most trainers recommend, starting with some positive reinforcement can help reduce the risk of scaring the dog. It’s a great activity that makes the dogs focus on the road and have some exercise, too.

woman biking with a dog, electric bikes

Cherry’s happy ending

Ester’s Taiwanese adventure totally changed her life, not only did she adopt Cherry and return home to Spain with her, but she’s discovered a love of dogs and a new way to explore different countries. “Now I know I want to travel with dogs all my life. I love it. They are the best partners to help you reach other people and understand other countries’ cultures.”

“I’m so grateful I found the amazing people at PACK Taiwan and their goal to create a positive impact in society,” she continues.

Pack Taiwan

PACK Taiwan is non-profit organization that provides a home and hope for the forgotten dogs of Taiwan. PACK HQ in Shanzhi is both sanctuary and shelter, offering a home for up to 250 of Taiwan’s forgotten dogs—the sick, disabled, senior, abused and neglected.

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