Adventure Prepared

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Trip Reports
The Bikes
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Welcome to the Dog-O-Matic9000(tm)!

People have asked me about the magic behind the Dog-O-Matic9000(tm) and this here page is dedicated to just that.
After all, our motto is, the Dog-O-Matic9000(tm) is for the people!
And of course for dogs. Specifically our dog. A cute little mutt named Chewy, after the famed Star Wars character.

Listed here are the basic ingredients for making your own should you choose to do so.

The idea behind this was that I love to ride motorcycles, and my wife god bless her, likes to come along.

Chewy is my wife's best buddy in the whole world, and we just not figure to leave him home everytime we went off somewhere.

So we wanted to take the little dog with us. Chewy is a dachsund and Bison mix and weighs about 14 pounds. He is a real good sport and is very tolerant of stupid stuff like dressing him up like godzilla or putting him on a motorcycle.

His favorite hobbies are eating, sleeping and playing "fetch the sock". I have no idea why he likes socks so much, but he really does like them a lot.

So...We took Chewy on a trip a few years ago down to the Yosemite Valley, as sort of a test run. This was a long weekend ride, about 2-3 days, and about 400 miles. Easy as she goes. Here was Chewy's box then.

Now, as you can see from the photo, this is in fact a milk crate. Not a very nice way to treat your pet right? Well, We did what we could to securely fasten it to the bike (yes those are zip ties) and I put a lid on it made from an old refridgerator shelf. It was metal, had bars in it for ventillation and whatnot and well, we locked *that* to the milk crate. Pretty ghetto, I know.

I mentioned that this was an experiment right? The trip was a success, and all went well, so we decided to stick with the theme.

In the mean time I shopped around for "real" products to take your dog on a bike. I really wanted something that would keep the critter safe in the event of a fall over, or god forbid worse. I had a heart to heart with my wife about what could happen if we continued on this insane path of taking the dog with us. She OK'd the work order.
The work proceeded.

There are a couple of products out there, the nicest one I found was made by Road-Hound. Really nice looking stuff! And of course you pay for what you get. So we did not pull the trigger on that yet, but we still might.

Phase 2
This time we decided to get something that was better than the milk crate.
Actually the milk crate had some qualities that were pretty good.

  • Strength
  • Slide-ability. In case of a incident, it seemed like it would slide fairly well.

    On the other hand, it was a bit small, had no real way to close it that was reasonable, and for the love of god it looked like complete crap.

    So then we decided that some kind of "real" dog carrier was in order. Most of the dog carriers are really only built for the weight of the animal and were in no way as rigid as the crate, except for the metal dog crate.

    So that is what we got. These are very common and relatively inexpensive, I think we paid about $55 for this one. One thing about this is that they are collapsable, which I did not like very much.

    Once we picked this, there was not too much that we needed to do to get it rolling.

  • Keep it from being collapsable.
  • Affix it to the bike (permanently).
  • Make a deluxe interior for the dog.

    I spent about two days getting the first two things going and my wife busted out the interior in about an afernoon. Including the rain cover!

    Ok first thing off, I had to stop all the moving parts. These things can be kind of clangy and I did not want the cage bouncing around making a bunch of noise. Also there is a "hatch" on the top of the cage that can open.
    Easiest solution was to just saftey-wire the thing together. No more collapsing, no more lose moving parts.

    I had always wanted a safety wire twister and here was my chance!

    That done I bent over the wire ends so no one would get any nasty pokes and off to no. 2.

    Affixing it to the bike Ideally I wanted something really cool that I could take on and off the bike easily, that way if we stayed in motels, the dog could take his little "house" in with him and have a familiar pace to spend the night.

    At first I wanted something that would just clip into my Givi Luggage system! How awesome is that! Turns out, too awesome for the maiden voyage.

    Plan B was to essentially bolt the cage to the Givi rack. This seemed straight forward but if you just put the cage on the rack the cage is at a pretty steep angle.

    This means that the dog is at a funky angle, and it also makes it uncomfortable for the rear passenger.
    The "rear passenger" is my wife and having her uncomforable is really not an option right?

    Normally the rear bag on the top rack is used by her as a backrest. She finds this very comfortable, and so I wanted to replicate that for the cage.

    So I had to get the cage angled up in the front so that the side of the cage used as a "back rest" would be nearly verticle.

    Time for some fabricatin'!

    I bought some aluminum stock from Home Despot for just this kind of thing. I bought some different types, some squareluar tubes and some angled stuff.

    Originally I thought I would make the whole "crate" thank god I abandoned that idea!

    I had some Ikea Shelving Brackets that turned out to be very close to the angle I was looking for to prop the front of the crate up enought to get it nearly vertical.

    Just turn them up-side down and hack-saw off the little bung things so you are not advertising to the world your ghetto-ass hack job.

    The really cool think was that these have pre-drilled holes that matched exactly with the mount holes for the Givi Racke. I used a Rat-tail file to enlarge the hole on the brack so that they could receive decent sized bolts.

    Next I cut some of the square aluminum tubing to make a rectangular shape out of the brackets.
    One up front and one in the rear.
    Drill holes in everything and then bolt it together.

    Actually that was the part that took the longest. Cheap drill bits halted the project, and my screw gun needed frequent recharging. Plus I had to buy some bolts.

    Back to Home Despot. They have an unbelievably crappy selection of nuts and bolts. LAME.
    I ALMOST bought a small drill press and carried it back on my trusty TDM!
    I came to my senses and bought a good set of drill bits and let it to at that.

    Next day at lunch I was downtown with my project in hand and at the Hardware store for bolts and Nylock nuts.
    That was important because there was no way this thing was allowed to come apart!

    I spent about an hour and a half picking out all the right nuts and bolts. My coworker nearly killed me as he came along for the ride.

    Back home I bolted it back up and BAD_A_BING!! the Dog-O-Matic900(tm) was in action!

    While I was doing all that, my wife was upstairs sewing away and came up with pure magic.

    She went to the fabric store and got some nice patio furniture grade fabric and created the interior.
    I am so proud of the job she did.

    Here is the completed interior. The floor we bought with the crate, but the sides are made by Chewy's mom, note the padding and the inside-outside pattern.

    She even made a little padded section for the door which is such a nice touch. Note the ties holding it on.
    I was laughing and so amazed by all of this, I jokingly got out an umbrella and saide we should keep the elements off of him!
    I think that gave her some ideas!

    The finishing touch was the rain cover she made!
    It fit great and looked super cool!
    Amazing or what?

    The final piece what the "roof window and sun shade".
    See when you have a little dog that you love, he needs just the right combination of sun and shade.

    In all the excitement we sort of forgot about Chewy!
    Would he like it?
    Would he complain?

    Here is the test run.

    I'm not sure he looks very happy in there!

    Turns out, he was a great sport and seemed to like coming along for the ride.

  • More Pics from our trip!

    4516 times this has happened!