A dog and his best friend chronicle their Maritime motorcycle adventures
HALIFAX -- Datsun can’t talk, but if he could, he would probably say he’s a lucky dog.
Almost daily, he gets to ride on a motorcycle with his best friend, Steve Gallant, who had a bike custom-made so he could bring his furry friend along on his adventures.
"I’ve been riding across the States and across Canada for a lot of years," says Gallant.
Datsun sits in a heavy-duty metal basket on the side of the bike, which Gallant calls his pupper-cycle.
Gallant and Datsun chronicle their adventures through the Instagram account @puppercycle. The account, which has over 1,000 followers, has given Datsun minor local celebrity status. People comment on photos, leaving heart emojis, and ask where he’s going next.
Most recently, Gallant says they visited every single lighthouse in Nova Scotia – all 139 of them.
Datsun, a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, follows in the footsteps of his older brother.
“About four years ago, I started riding with my old dog – Datsun’s older brother,” says Gallant. “We’ve ridden across Canada, so we’ve gone to every province except for Newfoundland, we still gotta do that,” says Gallant, patting an excited Datsun.
Datsun and his older brother used to ride in a custom-built trailer that towed behind Gallant’s motorcycle. Datsun's new seat, a compartment on the side of the bike, took some getting used to, especially with his puppy instincts.
“He jumped out a couple of times,” Gallant says with a laugh. “I’d train him – I’d go slow, and reinforce the idea that him staying in is a good idea. I’d take him around town, to Point Pleasant Park. He’d see other dogs, and he would know not to jump out. If he could handle riding around that park, with 100 dogs runnin’ around, some of them coming up and trying to jump up – then he can handle anything.”
Nowadays, even though Datsun’s seat is right next to a thundering loud engine, he looks calm while riding down the road.
He wears tinted goggles, looks around at the scenery, and never stops wagging his tail.
Gallant says they’ve been known to turn heads while on the road.
“People love to see Datsun,” he says. “It ranges from people hollerin’ out, people stopping their car. I’ll admit, a lot of people pull out their phones and take pictures while they’re driving -- usually they're passengers! Yeah I’ve nearly caused a couple of car accidents, other than that we’ve been pretty safe, I think.”
Gallant says the duo’s journey to visit every lighthouse in the province wasn’t always smooth sailing.
“Some of the lighthouses are a lot harder to get to than others,” says Gallant. “Some of them are down long dirt roads, some of them are down logging roads that aren’t even maintained anymore. We’ve gone through grass fields we’ve been stuck in the mud – but we’ve gotten to them all.”
As for what’s next, Gallant says he and Datsun are going worldwide, once they can.
“I haven’t decided what we’re gonna do yet, but if the world opens up again – then we’ll start going more international.”