How to ride with a dog!
It’s fun to ride with friends. Riding with best friends is even more fun. In fact, when it comes to riding, many riders have split opinions. Some love to ride two-up with their loved ones on one of those long, lonesome highways, while others prefer riding alone for innumerable reasons, both known and unknown. No doubt both are awesome in their own way. But, have you ever thought of riding with man’s best friend, your wingman from times prehistoric?
Just call them out, and they will run to fit onto your motorcycle anywhere and anytime of the day….or night. Be it the big pocket of your riding jacket, a backpack, side car or what-have-you, they will happily oblige and hop right on. However, not all dogs are comfortable riding on a motorcycle; be it for the sake of the motion or the sounds or winds or the dust.
So, before you consider my suggestions on how to go about it, I implore you, first and foremost, to consult a vet and only then proceed.
But, for the dogs that are comfortable, not only do they seem to have a ton of fun, but so will the master (rider) as well. And then there are the spectators, who’ll not only have fun watching this unusual sight but will make the dog (and the master) feel nothing less than a celebrity! After all, seeing someone riding a motorcycle with a dog is definitely a rare sight, but for those who have close relationships with their dogs, they really wouldn’t have it any other way.
That said, if you want to be the one to be caught by the paparazzi next time, know that there are a bunch of ways to pull it off. From the offset, it depends on three basic things, the type of dog, the type of motorcycle and the destination. Next come the different points of concern to be considered in every kind of the ‘doggie-loading system’.
So let’s go over a bunch of systems you can use if you want to ride with your dog, just so you can pick the one that best suits your “dog tourer”.
In a backpack or an infant carrier
This comes in handy if you want to ride with a small dog, like a Boston Terrier, Chihuahua or Bichon Frise, that weighs 10kg or less. You can carry the dog around on your back or across your chest, of course with a dedicated dog harness or a carrying harness used for infants. This, in a way, is not only comfortable and secure because your doggo is right under your nose but, swear to God, looks DAMN CUTE!
Dedicated. Dog. Seat
After all, he or she is a passenger. Well, then why not give your dog the option of having an actual seat to ride in. Of course, if you know you dog’s comfort level, then you can redesign your motorcycle’s seat accordingly or simply opt for one those custom-made dog seats that allows the dog ride two-up with you. This means your body won’t be bearing the weight of the dog over you and you can fit a fairly large dog on your bike. But, this is suggested only if you know your dog is not too active out there, as it’s not the most secure option.
Tank or tail bag
Tank or tail bag is another option for someone who does not want to carry their dogs on their back or chest. Of course, test a standard bag that fits your dog properly after keeping the top open so that your dog isn’t caught or snagged inside the bag. Paying a visit to a custom bag maker can also be worth the while, for the dog, as you can specify the size of the bag along with the built-in windows, ventilation panels and have padding constructed into them for your dog’s comfort. This could be a tank bag or a tail bag too.
They can just hang on
This may sound like a terrible idea at first, but it all depends on two main factors: the dog and yourself. Many dogs are remarkably good at balancing and just hanging on for the ride, even at fairly high speeds. I have seen many dogs in the owner’s lap or on the tank. All you’ll need to do is determine a way for your furry friend to get some friction to hold onto the tank, like a grip pad or even a rudimentary seat for them to be securely perched atop the tank comfortably.
Check with local authorities before you go for a sidecar, in some cities or states it might be illegal.
So, if you have a big dog (and a big budget) you can go all out and get the ultimate in dog transportation – a sidecar! Sidecar rigs are obviously more unwieldy and a lot tougher to get your hands on, but they’re the ideal way to carry a large dog safely. Sidecar rigs are unique and get a lot of attention on their own, so adding a dog into the mix will get you as much attention as a rolling three-ring circus (which many say is the only downside to this setup, or even of riding with your dog in general.) But if you don’t mind the pictures, questions, and being regarded as a spectacle everywhere you go, this may be the best way to go about riding with your pooch.
So those were the ways I could think of without having a dog myself, but that doesn’t mean I’m not free to observe further and write more on the topic. At the end, being a motorcyclist, I urge all of you to remember that motorcycles aren’t the safest vehicles, and hence the risk of injury to a dog is even greater than you as not only do they have smaller bodies, but they also do not have on any protective gear like we do. So, it all boils down to a judgement call on your part, about whether it’s right for your dog and you. But if your dog can hang on and wants to ride…just go for it!