The Fox, the Hound, and the Motorcycle

It started innocently enough: I bought a motorcycle, and I wanted my dog to ride with me.

I didn’t want to pull a trailer, and no one manufactures baskets for large dogs, so I built my own. I tested a few experimental designs (some with questionable safety profiles) before settling on a pyramid-shaped design built from steel struts. It was bolted to the bike, and included a latch that hooked into the dog’s harness to ensure he couldn’t fall out.

The dog enjoyed it. Don’t worry, he was strapped in.

The matte-black look was nice, but impossible to see on the road, so I started exploring reflectors and paint. Much as some motorcyclists enjoy working on their bike’s mechanics, I enjoyed modding my bike’s appearance.

An earlier iteration of the dog-box.

“Painting this is fun,” I thought. “If I paint it with chalkboard paint, I can change the design as much as I want!”

But what to draw? I had recently joined Mozilla to work on Firefox OS, a project that sought to provide a web-based alternative to iOS and Android. I held a lot of passion for that project. Plus, its logo looked cool, so I thought I’d start with a small Firefox decal.[1]

I got a little carried away, knowing that the chalk was temporary.

What can I say? I cared deeply about “The Open Web”, and I faced a blank canvas.

The chalkboard paint didn’t hold as well as I’d like, so I went back to paint.

I tried to continue the Firefox theme, but found it too bold for my comfort.

By this time, I was just painting, and hardly riding.

Note the complete lack of attention to detail.

The final design was relatively plain: gunmetal and bronze with LED light strips. By this stage, I had painted everything so sloppily that I was left with little choice but to embrace the cracked steampunk vibe.

I rode it for a while like this, taking the dog on a trip to Los Angeles with my coworkers. Eventually, I sold the bike after deciding that motorcycling was too dangerous, not coincidentally immediately after I broke my arm riding a Boosted Board.


  1. Mozilla’s trademark policy explicitly grants community members permission to use Mozilla marks on personal, noncommercial items. This project was not endorsed by or affiliated with Mozilla, though I did work for Mozilla at the time.



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