I decorated my motorcycle's sidecar, helmets, and dogs in a Christmas motif and Francine, Osita, Lupa, and I piled on and went for a ride around Venice today to spread glad tidings on this merry Christmas. We brought along a Christmas sack full of candy canes and handed them to people we met along the way.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Finally had a chance to finish up and paint the sidecar cage. I'm very pleased with how it came out. I learned a lot of lessons which would lead me to do some things differently were I to do it again, but I doubt I would do it again because most of those lessons related to my cutting lots of corners knowing my attention span was limited and I just needed to push through and get it done as quickly as possible. And fortunately nobody else will know what I know about the corners I cut, so it hardly matters. I think the entire project took me about 35 hours, from idea to completion.
The dogs have yet to ride in the completed version. On what was to be the first test ride, with dogs all loaded up and in their goggles, the spark advance cable snapped as I tried to start the engine. I replaced that part within a day or two only to have the December rains descend on Southern California. Hopefully by Wednesday they clouds will part and the dogs and I can show it off.
And here's the link to all the pictures of it.
I've been performing sea trials of the custom dog cage I built for my sidecar rig. Below are the photos and video of Osita and Lupa in their new three wheeled conveyance. Fortunately the dogs seems to love it, despite the tight quarters.
Everything seems to be working well, so all I need to do is reinforce, redo, and temper a few welds and then give it a paint job (black). I will also make a removable dog bowl holder so they can travel in style with a bowl of water and food. You can see some earlier photos of the cage.
The Griffith Park Sidecar Rally was this past Sunday and the day before I got the bright idea of making a custom fit cage / crate to fit in the sidecar bucket for the easy and safe transportation of pets. I had the idea about 4 years ago but never got beyond a few sketches. Eventually Osita just started joining me without a cage (instead held in with a padded harness). That system worked brilliantly, but Osita has recently begun palling around with another smaller dog and I'd like to occasionally take them both in the sidecar and the harness system just wouldn't cut it. Sadly, as so often happens, I discovered I was overly ambitious and started way too late, so there was no way I was going to finish it in time for the rally... but that's ok, it was the impetus I needed to get started, and it's now about 85% done. The only tricky part which still remains will be the door, and that will only be tricky because it'll take a bit of planning, measuring, cutting, etc. The rest of the cage I made on the fly without any drawings, rulers, notes, or anything; I just added every new piece of metal where I thought I wanted it (I knew if I started by planning I'd never actually make it). Hopefully I'll be done by next weekend, painting (black) and all. (It's been nice to get back to oxy-acetylene welding... though my hands are killing from all the many burns.)
The scooter group I'm in took great these photos of this year's rally; I didn't make their ride, sadly, I was still working on building this when they left. Among those photos are two of sidecars for dogs, apparently my idea wasn't so unique:
Still, I like my design better.
Follow Up: A few weeks later I finished the job! You can check out the final pictures and the photos of the dogs in it.
I'm not a big fan of anthropomorphizing pets. Dogs is dogs, they ain't people. Treating a dog like a person is unhealthy for the dog and crazy-making for the human.
That said, a few years ago after I got my dog from the pound I guesstimated a birthday for her, and every year my computer reminds me that it's her birthday. I don't do anything wildly special for her, but it's a nice excuse to remember to do something nice for her, in a life busy or draining enough that sometimes I forget to play with her enough or take her for enough walks. Yesterday I happened to be at a pet store buying her the dog food she'd run out of and right next to the register there was a little doggie cupcake, so I bought one for her. And in the evening we went for a sidecar ride down to her favorite cafe. As we sit there, her watching the people and my writing on my laptop, people come up constantly to pet her. I tried an experiment and told every person who came up that it was her birthday. It was amusing and heartwarming to see their reactions, people were extra nice to her extra excited to see her, and seven people bought her dog treats (they sell them at the cafe). I think that was a new record for her, in terms of people buying treats per hour. Her previous record was 13 people in one evening buying her treats, but that was over about 5 hours (and this time it was in just 2).
Ah, the life of a loved dog... If the Buddhists are right and I'm good enough this go 'round I hope my next reincarnation is as kind to me and as furry.
This week I fixed up my Chang Jiang motorcycle (and sidecar) and got it back on the road. And I got Osita, my dog, all set up to ride with me. I customized some open cockpit aviation goggles with new straps to fit a dog, and reworked a genuine Soviet-era tank commander's helmet to fit securely on her head. To ensure her safety she wears a harness which I clip to a mount attached to the inside of the sidcar bucket (she can sit or lie but otherwise stays put).
Tonight we went for a ride all around Venice, got chai by the beach, then went to Swinger's in Santa Monica for dinner. Everywhere we went people were highly amused.