So, the main reason for adding the Ural to our garage was so that the dogs could join us in our motorcycle adventures. As mentioned in a previous blog, my Rhodesian Ridgeback, Kai, was a frequent passenger in the Wastsonian sidecar I once had attached to my Triumph Bonneville. He loved it so much and I saw his recent disappointment every time I left the house without him to go riding. After years of coveting a Ural Gear-Up, we finally bought one in nearly perfect condition from our neighbor.
Now came the challenge of making sure the dogs were safe in the sidecar since it wasn’t nearly as deep as the Watsonian and now I also have a Great Dane who sits much taller than my Ridgeback. As usual, I did a ton of research. I read blogs about gear, harnesses, strategies of securing said items into/onto the sidecar, etc. I also reached out to fellow sidecar riding dog lovers via Instagram. I was so glad when we heard back from Waffles, a very famous social media side car Great Dane. Unfortunately, by that time I had already made the commitment to purchase gear from RuffWear. I am a HUGE fan of RuffWear. I’ve used many of their products in the past since we love taking our dogs on adventures. We’ve used their backpacks, collapsible food/water bowls, leashes, collars, etc. They all have lasted years, been durable out on the trails and camping. So I didn’t have much hesitation selecting this brand to keep my dogs safe in the side car. My only dilemma was which harness to select.
I reached out to RuffWear and was surprised that they couldn’t offer me any specific advice. Also, I was unable to find any information about sidecars in the numerous product reviews on their website. So I used my best judgment and selected the Doubleback full body dog harness which is a strength-rated safety harness mostly used for lifting dogs (think rock climbing with your pup). It provides superior safety, comfort and convenience. And I thought, if it is strong enough to lift my Great Dane out of a tight spot, it will hold him safely in the sidecar.
For the ridgeback, since he already has motorcycle sidecar experience, and he fits a bit better in the Ural sidecar in comparison to the Dane, I stuck with the harness that came with his backpack – the Web Master harness. It’s designed for all-day comfort, and built for multipurposes including maneuvering and assisting dogs up and over obstacles (think a challenging hike with your four-legged friend). Luckily both dogs are very used to wearing a harness since they wear one to hold their packs when we go hiking.
Next, figuring out how to secure the harness to the sidecar. Both harnesses work well with the RuffWear Ridgeline leash. Although I use this mostly for running with my dogs, I decided to try it to secure them into the sidecar. It has just enough “give” to allow them to get comfortable, yet offers only slight movement, so it also provides them with the security and stability they need to stay sitting while on the road. Another bonus of this set-up is that we were able to tether it like a luggage tag around the latching mechanism for the sidecars trunk lid. And it wasn’t a “permanent” installation. So it’s easy to adjust the length as it suits whichever dog is going for a ride.
So far, on our short rides, this solution/set-up has been a winner – it’s easy, and adjustable for each dog. And the gear itself is so well made. Even my gearhead boyfriend remarked about the quality – the mesh ends are all thickly sealed, all of the stainless steel hardware is extremely strong and has a nice soft brushed finish– no details were sparred which is one of the main reasons I chose to configure this entire set-up exclusively with RuffWear gear. It’s more than worth the cost to assure my pup is safe and comfortable without any damage or modifications made to the bike.
Of course, if we go on longer expeditions at higher speeds, I might need to make a few modifications to the sidecar to assure further safety for the boys. That also might include getting them used to goggles. Unfortunately, RuffWear doesn’t make any goggles. After much research, I found RexSpecs to be of high quality and make a google large enough for Great Danes. I have tried them out on Dexter but so far, he’s NOT a fan. I’d have to spend more time getting him used to them if we were going to make any long journeys.
But for now, he’s happy just riding around the neighborhood, and being a super star wherever he goes. As for Kai, he’s a pro! He sits in the sidecar like he’s been a sidecar dog his whole life. He loves making friends at all the businesses we frequent – especially the bike shop. Guess he’s just like his mom – he knows the crew at Maximum Motorsports is a good crew to keep close! Stay tuned for more sidecar dog adventures with Dexter and Kai!
See the short video at the link below for a bit more #sidecardog fun!