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Reader’s report: Bicycle customized for three (and ideas for motorbike carriers)

Reader Liberty posted this picture on Dog Jaunt’s Facebook page on September 21, and before the pixels had a chance to settle I begged her to write a guest post about what she’d done to create such a gorgeous and safe-looking bike system for her and her two dogs:

Breathtaking, right?

Breathtaking, right?

She kindly agreed, wrote her post immediately, and here it is, at too darned long-last (the photo captions are mine). Please note, up front, that the silver Road Hound carrier is no longer available, but at the end of the post I provide some ideas for motorbike carrier alternatives — and I’d love to hear what those of you riding motorcycles and scooters suggest.

“It seems for a number of years some major point of my focus has been how to travel with dogs, be it on a train, bicycle, motorbike and airplane. Way back when we just had the one dog called Mouse, who we tragically lost last year to cancer when she was only 8 1/2 years old. Mouse would come everywhere with us including to work in London. When we had had enough of taking her on the packed crowded London tube we decided to get scooters. The first attempt was a small dog crate nailed to a board on the back, covered in tarp because of the wonderful English weather. This worked well and lasted many journeys from South to West London.

Scooters, with Mouse peeping out of her crate carrier

When we both graduated from the 50cc scooters to Triumph motobikes we felt we needed to upgrade her ride as well. I searched for months looking for something big enough and sturdy enough to be mounted on the back of a big motorcycle and to keep her cosy in an English winter. It was then I discovered the Road Hound, made in Texas. They did not deal with the customers in the UK so I had to get it shipped to Holland, where a friend brought it back to the UK for me.

We worked with a welder to make a rock solid support for the back as it jumped around far too much with just the the fixings it came with. This was mainly due to the luggage rack on the Truimph being less than solid. Finally the Road Hound was mounted safely on the bike and took us both to the office everyday.

Triumph and Road Hound, from the front

Triumph and Road Hound, from the front, with Mouse on board

And from the back

And from the back

Mouse in her Road Hound, rocking her goggles. She makes me think of Highway 1 and Ray Bans and, dangit, Steve McQueen. That is one cool dog.

Mouse in her Road Hound, rocking her goggles. She makes me think of Highway 1 and Ray Bans and, dangit, Steve McQueen. That is one cool dog.

Fast forward and we moved to San Francisco where I bought a scooter but the back fixings would not allow for the Road Hound to be mounted, but I knew one day it would be used again, so we kept it tucked away in storage. We then moved to Vancouver BC where, after 18 months overpaying on insurance and the realization that we used the car about once every three weeks, we decided to go car free.

Vancouver wheels, first attempt

Vancouver wheels, first attempt, with Mouse and Badger

We now had Badger the Boston Terrier and our new Mexican SPCAPV rescue dog, Pika. Getting out and about had to work well with both dogs on longer journeys. Initially I had Mouse and Badger on my Townie bike. I then got the Buddy Rider for Pika but this did not work with the shape of my top tube. The space needed between handle bars and seat did not make for a comfortable ride.

Bike Buddy attempt

Pika in the Buddy Rider, Badger in back

After much research I settled on the Yuba cargo bike, as it was big enough to mount the Road Hound on the back. Getting the electric system set up on it in Canada was the most difficult and long winded process, but that’s a different story. Yuba do not directly sell the electric version in Canada yet, so it meant getting custom work done to make it electric. Finally, after many hours of trying, we were able to fix the Road Hound on the back and we were set.

Pika in front, in a carrier I haven't been able to identify, and Badger in back

Pika in front, in a carrier I haven’t been able to identify, and Badger in back

So far, the longest distance I have been in one go is around 15 miles. We have done four trips around Vancouver and there is still battery to spare from the initial charge. The bike is big and heavy and not ideal for an apartment building bike room. I have to take up four bike racks, (luckily they are the stand up ones no one wants.) To fit in the racks the Road Hound has to be taken off after every ride, which can adds to the time it takes to get each ride ready and lock up afterwards.

Once out on the road, the pedal assist works well, especially considering the weight of the bike, Road Hound and two dogs. I am yet to be totally sold on my choice and realize it will be much more of a summer option than a winter one. Still, with joining a car co-op and this owning the Yuba, I think we have everything covered.”

I love this post — how hard Liberty has worked to keep her dogs with her and both safe and comfortable while she’s bicycling! Thank you so much, Liberty, for the inspiration.

I wish, for the sake of those of you with motorbikes or scooters, that the Road Hound carrier was still available, but neither it, nor another hard-sided motorcycle carrier that seemed praiseworthy (offered by Rockstar Puppy Boutique), can be found new (you may be lucky enough to find one on eBay or through Craigslist).

That leaves a handful of soft-sided (but thickly-padded) options. Here are the ones I’ve learned about, grouped by size. I’d love to hear from people who have these carriers, or have considered them, with their thoughts about their quality and workability. For very small dogs, take a look at the Saddlemen Convertible Pet Carrier, the Kuryakyn Pet Palace, or one of the smaller PetEgo carriers that work with PetEgo’s motorbike connection (the Infinita, the Universal Sport Bag, or the small or medium Jet Set). For a larger small dog, the best choices I could find were PetEgo’s Sport Wagon or the large Jet Set (again, using the motorbike connection). Is there a motorbike pet carrier you know about that should be on this list? Please let us know about it!

5 comments

  • Andrea

    Ha, this is truly an awesome post!! You are one patient, animal loving person to go to all the trouble that you have and I love how well trained your dogs are. I’m new to your blog and also was curious what has taken you all over the world?

  • Hi, Andrea! Dog Jaunt here, just saying that this post is written not by me but by Liberty, another reader. Her dogs are beautifully calm, aren’t they?! My husband and I travel with our dog for pleasure, on vacation — I’ll leave it to Liberty to answer for herself. Welcome to Dog Jaunt!

  • Liberty

    Hi, Andrea We were sitting in London one winter and there was a 15 second clip of a guy driving through downtown Vancouver, I mentioned to my husband it looked like a nice place to live. Two days later he was applying for permanent residence for Canada (neither of us had ever visited). Just when we got out permanent residence through there was a job opportunity in San Francisco so we thought why not.. We are now thinking about Costa Rica in the future 🙂

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