Riding is better with friends…but for some people, the best friend to ride with is “man’s best friend,” their dog! From toy dogs tucked in jackets, to German Shepherds in side cars, we talk about people who ride with their dogs and the various ways they pull it off. You’ve gotta check out some of these pics!
When it comes to riding with passengers, the riding community tends to have a split opinion – some love riding two-up with a loved one, sharing their favorite pasttime with a partner, while many others want to be alone on their bikes, shredding asphalt alone and clearing their minds with a little throttle therapy. Both are awesome ways to enjoy the sport we love.
But there’s a little known third option – riding with a passenger, but not a human one. Nope, instead we’re talking about that rare breed of rider who rides with a friend – not just a friend , but “man’s best friend” – their dog!
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. Not all dogs are comfortable with the sound or motion of being on a motorcycle, but for the dogs who are, they seem to really love it, and it’s a ton of fun for both dog and owner – not to mention, it’s fun for people who catch a glimpse of this fun and unusual sight. If you ride with your dog, you should probably get used to lots of cell phone cameras being pointed your way!
But if you’re thinking about riding with your dog, there are a bunch of different ways to pull it off, and they vary greatly on what kind of dog you have and where and how you’ll be riding. Dogs can weigh anywhere from a couple pounds to triple-digits, and there are different concerns associated with every kind of doggie–loading system. In this article, we’ll go over a bunch of options you can use if you want to ride with your dog, so you can pick the very best one for you and your “road dog.”
1) Backpack or Infant Carrier
If you have a smaller dog (around 25 pounds or less) you can carry your dog around on your back or across your chest with a dedicated dog harness, or by adapting a carrying harness for infants. This is a comfortable and secure way to carry your pooch (and we’re not gonna lie, it looks ridiculously cute too.)
2) A Dedicated Dog Seat
You can also give your dog the option of actually having his or her own seat to ride in as well. Some owners modify their bikes with their own creation, while others opt for custom made dog seats that allow your dog to ride two-up with you in comfort. The down side is that it is less secure, but the benefit is that your dog can get comfortable and his or her weight is not being borne by your body, and you can actually fit very large dogs on your bike this way.
3) Tank or Tail Bag
For smaller dogs, you can also place them in a tank bag or tail bag if you wish. You can use a standard bag (just leave the top open and don’t secure them inside it – obviously), or a specially made tail bag for pets like the T-Bags Pet Carrier Motorcycle Rack Bag. Dedicated pet carriers can be fully enclosed since they have built in windows and ventilation panels, and have padding built into them for your dog’s comfort.
4) They Can Just Hang On
This sounds outrageous at first, but actually, many dogs are actually remarkably good at just hanging on for the ride, usually in the owners lap or on the tank. There are many examples of this, but the most notable is a now-legendary dog named Kookie.
Kookie was a dog belonging to an off-road racer named John McCown, who along with his furry friend perched atop the tank of his bike, raced an average of 50 off-road races a year for six years during the 1970s. Kookie the wonder dog not only hung on for entire races at full speed across rough terrain, but he actually participated actively on the bike – as McCown’s wife recalled in an interview, “Kookie learned to read the terrain, leaning back in the rough stuff and standing up on smooth terrain. John could always tell what was up ahead by the way Kookie moved.”
Kookie was a remarkable animal, but perhaps the dog’s most amazing feat was how he hung onto the bike – by clinging onto a piece of shag carpet taped onto the top of McCown’s tank! John and Kookie drew tons of attention and became fan favorites during the hndreds of races they ran together, and the duo was immortalized in the famous motorcycle racing documentary, On Any Sunday.
Moral of the story is, many dogs can be remarkably good at finding balance and hanging on to a motorcycle on their own, even at speed. If you do this, we recommend at least installing a way for your dog to have some friction to hold onto on your tank, like a tank bra or grip pads of some sort.
5) A Sidecar
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 are the ideal way to carry a larger dog safely. Sidecar rigs are very 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 down side of this setup, or even of riding with your dog in general.) But if you don’t mind the pictures, questions, and being a spectacle everywhere you go, this may be the best way to go about riding with your pooch.
Overall, riding with your dog can be an awesome experience for both you and your dog, and it will bring a lot of smiles to people’s faces. However, remember that motorcycles are inherently unsafe vehicles, and the risk of injury to a dog is even greater than it is to you because they have smaller bodies and don’t wear protective gear like we do. Riding with a dog is not illegal, but it is a judgment call on your part wherther it’s right for you and your dog – but if it is, enjoy the ride with your furry friend (and send us pictures!)