Sidecar Dogs

March 14, 2014

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Time for some happy-happy news. Tidepool Films, which is really the corporate road name of a filmmaking couple in Missoula, Montana named Eric Ristau and Geneva Liimatta, is making a film called Sit Stay Ride: The Story of America’s Sidecar Dogs.

Documentaries often take years to make. So far the couple has shot in Washington, California and Montana. “We’ve found other amazing sidecar dogs in other parts of the country,” Ristau said in a press release. The filmmakers intend to film other dogs in Louisiana, Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Utah, Colorado. “We really want to include them in the movie.”

Funding It

The film is funded mostly through Kickstarter, which bills itself as a “way to fund creative projects.” Since 2009, 5.8 million people have pledged about $1 billion to fund 57,000 creative projects through Kickstarter. Ristau thinks the film will cost about $28,000 to complete. So far Tidepool Films has raised about $10,000. If you chip in you get a souvenir tee shirt.

“By focusing on the dynamic and sometimes eccentric individuals who travel with their dog in a sidecar, we are actually exploring the essential relationship between humans and canines; the extraordinary bond that exists between them and flourishes through shared experiences and adventures,” Ristau said. “Sit Stay Ride will be a rollicking, upbeat film that introduces us to the interesting personalities and heartwarming relationships that exist on the highways and byways of America through a series of insightful interviews, stunning visuals, and intimate portraits of dogs doing what they love best.”

The dogs in the film are all strapped into the sidecars and all wear doggie goggles. None of them wear helmets.

Rescue Dogs

“In addition to being entertaining,” Ristau continued in his unusually likable press release. “It is our sincere desire that Sit Stay Ride be used as a tool to bolster advocacy for organizations concerned with animal welfare and adoption – causes near and dear to our own hearts as a number of our own treasured dogs have been rescues. Many of the canine personalities featured in this film were adopted from the Humane Society and other incredible organizations. Seeing them sporting their ‘doggles’ and smiling their big, doggy grins while cruising down the highway makes it unbelievable that they were ever given up for adoption in the first place.”

The film is about 30 percent done and should be completed this year. A clip from the movie follows this story. You can learn and see more at



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31 Responses to “Sidecar Dogs”

  1. troyez Says:

    Back in the late 90s, early 2000s, my buddy Larry in southern Nebraska would take his huge rottweiler (Nixon) on long sidecar sides through the sand hills (low maintenance roads) into Kansas and back, I even took old Nix on a few myself. Eventually Nixon insisted on going with any time Larry or one of his sons started up a bike (he’d be upset if you left without him!), so Larry built a dog-bike trailer just for him. We all rode to Sturgis from NE in 2000, with Nixon in his trailer, slobber spraying anyone who rode behind. That was a fun ride.
    There’s got to be some pictures out there somewhere, I’ll see what I can find.

  2. BrianF Says:

    MadMo likes the four wheeler. Runs like hell from the downbeaters on the bike. Maybe he needs some doggles.

  3. Vikingtrotter Says:

    Spirit the sidecar dog is probably the best known and coolest dog on
    Ara is her owner and they ride perpetually over the US. It’s a pretty amazing photo blog.

  4. Road Whore Says:

    Thanks, Rebel; this is a feel-good way to start the day!

    Ride Free

  5. Base Says:

    Nice change of pace Rebel.

    Life has been taking swings and kicks at me here of late. Isn’t that when the demons and all the ass holes of the world pile on when you have been knocked down?

    But this article and video’s gave me a bit of a boost this morning. Being I have always been a dog person. Hell my last name literally means “Keeper of the hounds”

    Thanks Rebel
    Down but not out.

  6. slycechyx Says:

    Love this, love seeing dogs on bikes. Not sure if you have heard of Chopper, he is in the San Diego area. Coolest little dog. He ven has his own bike, that he rides to charity events & hospitals & such.!/chopperthebikerdog

    & Elvis,

  7. Sieg Says:

    Base, you got my addy n I think e-mail, if there’s anything I can do from in here, shoot me a kite.

  8. Austin Says:

    @Vikingtrotter; Well – THAT is inspirational! Thanks for the link ;)

  9. Vikingtrotter Says:


    Check out Ara’s one plate recipes on the website. He’s a chef by trade and i’ve tried some of his recipes while motocamping and they are great….The guy is really gifted.

  10. BMW Says:

    A fun little story about people having fun with their dogs — great work and a pleasant surprise in a world gone mad.
    L,H,& R,

  11. Base Says:


    I will keep it in mind thank you.


  12. One Eye Says:

    Eric Ristau is half of the team that made the movie Best Bar In America, which is a great movie. From the trailer it looks like another cool flick.

  13. Va. Bob Says:

    I just found out about another bike-themed Kickstarter flick called”Greasy Hands Preachers” that looks decent.

  14. Road Whore Says:

    @ Base:

    Man, can I sympathize! Life has been playing Whack-A-Mole with me lately! Jesus…I need a breather! Feel like I’ve been going non-stop rounds with Mike Tyson for a few months.

    It’s gotta break for the better soon, right?

    Ride Free

  15. Glenn S. Says:

    Now THAT is fucking cool, a good story to start the day without raising the blood pressure. Thanks, Rebel.

    Wife has a Papilion. They’re neurotic, hyper little balls of fur with big ears, like a butterfly, hence the name. I’ve gotten very attached to the little girl, and wonder how she’d like riding with a harness, one of those reverse papoose thingys. She was abused before we got her and is easily frightened. Might have to give it a try, start off slow, she how she does with it.

  16. CN Says:

    Been a real shit storm around here lately too. This article was a shot in the arm that showed up right on time. OK, back to the shit storm.

  17. Paladin Says:

    Back in the ’70s, I Moto-X and road raced sidehacks. A number of the members of our association (SoCal Sidehack Association) would ride their dogs on their hacks in between Motos. There was a solo Moto-x rider (I can’t remember what club he was a member of), that raced with his dog. The dog would stand on this guy’s carpet covered gas tank. As has been said; “Only a biker knows why a dog sticks its head out the window.”

    Long May You Ride, (to those that deserve to),


  18. Drifter Says:

    @Base; I just start burning things in the fire place, somehow looking at ashes makes me feel better, hang in there…

    @Paladin; That would be John McGowan (McCown, sames like it has been spelled both ways) and Cookie (Kookie). Few others have done it since…


  19. L-Frame S&W Says:

    Paladin said: “Only a biker knows why a dog sticks its head out the window.”

    As a long time rider & a dog lover, truer words were never spoken.

    Now I need to find a sidecar built for two so I can bring both my 4 legged hairy girls with me when I ride.

  20. Paladin Says:


    Yeah, that’s the guy. On a number of occasions our paths crossed on race day. We never competed against each other, due to being in different classes. But I’ll tell ya; That guy and his dog could really haul ass across the desert’s real estate. Of course this was back in the day, when men were men and a desert tortoise’s survival was dependent on how fast it could run.

    Now that I’m thinking about it, I think McGowan was a member of the View Finders MC, but I’m not a 100% sure about that.

    Long May You Ride,


  21. Base Says:

    Road Whore,

    Yes, breathing room would be a good thing. I hope you get some soon as well. Your right, it will break and be a thing in the past.


    With Ya, If not in the saddle I have spent long moments with my family around the fire pit in the evening talking and sometimes just sitting together not speaking at all, but together.

    In those moments they reminded me that it’s times like this that I am at my best when the fight is up close and personal. And it’s not just for myself I am fighting for.

    The opposition will learn in short order how badly they have under estimated us and the situation.

    Sieg, Road Whore & Drifter.

    Your words have given me strength as well and I am truly grateful


  22. Drifter Says:

    @Paladin; MX series this summer, ought to come on out and check out some of the side cars, they always seem to be looking for passengers, lol, brain bucket, boots and gloves and you are ready to go…

  23. Austin Says:

    And here’s the dog who is one step up from passenger….

    I saw these guys riding at Soboba Invitational in 2009 or 2010, or both. This dog is an AMAZING rider.

  24. Paladin Says:


    East Coast or West? I’m on the West Coast. I used to pilot, but I can monkey. Even though its been 40+ years, I’ve still got all my gear. Get my contact info from Rebel.

    Long May You Ride,


  25. Drifter Says:

    dee three seven, ok will do…

    @Austin; I know that guy and looking at a Lake Elsinore GP plaque with him and Opee on it in my living room, he took Opee wearing all that equipment sometimes a little far, a friend saw the dog at Perris Raceway with all that stuff on walking around in hot weather, she was ready to take his head off…

    I was also at both of those GP’s, I recall at the 2005 Elsi GP he broke down on the ridge, Opee got off and sat on the side of the track waiting for the bike to fire back up, it fired and Opee had a couple slugs of water and leaped on and away they went…

    Opee was a little big for the riding but handled it, small athletic ones are better imo…

    It rained really hard at one of those GP’s, the Indians nixed it after 2012, now just have that trail ride once a year, I love it back in those hills after a good rain…

  26. Stevo Says:

    Does Bob Saget feature?

  27. L-Frame S&W Says:

    I’m glad I didn’t have a mouthful of soda when I read your post.

  28. OC VAGO 1%er Says:

    Thanks for a positive story Rebel. Looking forward to seeing the film.

  29. stroker Says:

    It don’t get no better than dogs and motorsicles.
    Thanks Rebel

  30. Austin Says:

    Hey Drifter – Bautista Canyon is excellent right now. Oranges are in bloom – was glad I grabbed the modular instead of the half helmet when I got into some bees. Not much green out here this year. I never rode dirt bikes, but have been through most of the hill country on horseback or foot.

    Opee is a good sized dog, the day I saw him he had all his gear on- all day long. I was amazed that he keeps the helmet on so well. He really loves to ride – watching him hop up & keep his balance on the track was a highlight for sure.

  31. Tooj Says:

    Does anybody know if Doug Binghamton is still building custom sidecars out on the left coast? I’ve lost contact.

    He did a lot of the motorcycle sidecars for cameramen for a lot of the US hosted Olympics.

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