A Woman, an Adventure Motorcycle, and her German Shepherd Copilot

Jess and Moxie in her K9 Moto Cockpit sharing their inaugural ride together (sketch by CAZ Leja)

To be honest, I was really anxious about riding with a passenger on the back. While I had put over 40,000 miles on my motorcycle, the thought of

1. Having something on the back that can move, and

2. Having to be responsible for that something, scared the crap out of me!

So, in the 5 years I had been riding, I only ever had Greg as a passenger – and only twice. Every time he started on me about how important it is that I can take a passenger in case of an accident or if his bike were to have a problem, I hemmed and hawed about practicing riding with a passenger next weekend…then pushed it to the next… and the next…

When Moxie came along, I still had the anxiety about having something on the back of my bike that moves – a moving something that I have no control over – and the responsibility of keeping her safe. But that fear was overridden by the very cool idea that I could bring my dog with me wherever I go.

We searched the internet for a carrier that would fit a full sized German Shepherd, but there were very few options, and none that would work on my tall BMW motorcycle. So Greg went ahead and started designing.

Jess and Moxie are daringly testing out the concept of a big dog on a big adventure motorcycle

When he put dog carrier v1.0 on the back of my bike and lifted Moxie into it, I thought about how HUGE she looked up there! This looming tower that was surely going to knock me off balance! The crate wasn’t going to work out since there was no room for Moxie to grow. She was about 45 pounds when we started this and we expected her to get to be about 70 pounds. Greg started working with the local metal shop owner to make his vision a reality.

In the meantime, my anxiety was still ever present, to the point that I convinced Greg that Moxie would need A LOT of time to get used to the carrier. Of course, what I really meant was that I would need a lot of time to get used to it. She would have to get used to being in it on the ground, then being in the carrier on the bike, sitting still for 30 seconds, then a minute, then 2 minutes… you get my drift. Then it would be a whole other thing once we harness her in, put on her Rex Specs, and then actually turn on the engine! In my eyes, it would take at least 6 months until we were even ready to roll down the drive way in neutral!

Moxie is suited up with her Rex Specs, secured in her K9 Moto Cockpit, and ready to ride

But, typically, Greg needed to push us along at a pace that was just a little faster than I was comfortable. Within a couple of weeks, she was leaping up on the bike, getting harnessed in, and I had no choice but to suit up and ride with her in first gear on the dirt outside our house.

After I got used to having the weight on the back, it was pretty easy. Almost like having luggage on the back. Keeping her harnessed in a laying down position really prevents most of her movement but still lets her shift from side to side to look at whatever catches her eye.

What a sight to see as Jess and Moxie ride through your town

At low speeds, it still takes some concentration but with every ride it gets easier. Now we ride everywhere together: on the high speed twisties of the Pan-American Highway and the rubbly, dirt roads that connect the small villages.

The best part are the looks that we get. From the kids that openly laugh and point, to the grandmothers in typical Guatemalan dress that crack a grin, or the men that just stare at me in dumbstruck disbelief like they’ve never seen anything like this before – because they probably haven’t! A woman, on a big adventure bike, with a big German shepherd riding in her K9 Moto Cockpit is just too much for some people to comprehend in the fleeting glance they catch as I ride by!

The best part is knowing that Moxie and I are putting a smile on someone's faces and giving them something just a little extraordinary to think about as they go about their day.

Pilot and copilot share a moto moment