WooFDriver is the nickname of Bill Helman, an animal advocate and outdoorsman who has devoted his life to dogs. He has owned huskies for two decades and has developed his own brand of Urban Mushing, incorporating specialized equipment, one-of-a-kind bikes, and his own sense of fun. He calls this “WooFDriving.”
In addition to Urban Mushing, Bill raises money for BARCs and other animal welfare organizations. He is dedicated to helping animals in need and uses attention gained via WooFDriving to do so.
This desire to honor animals led Bill to become director of the Presidential Pet Museum. This position allows him to combine his love of history with his desire to shine a spotlight on the animals who enrich not only our lives.
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.
No. Huskies are a very energetic breed. They love to run, but 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. If a dog is tired, Bill will harness him or her to a specialized seat on the back of the bike, allowing that dog time to rest.
Bill’s favorite trails are soft, in paved paths that take him past both beautiful scenery and historic landmarks. He has traveled the Great Allegheny Passage, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and many other routes and trails in the mid-Atlantic region. He has also taken the dogs on trips to the Assateague National Seashore, the Cape Cod Rail Trail, and Washington, D.C.