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Tigard's motorcycle riding dog is born to be wild

Sam and Scot Brooks can be seen ridig around the Portland area most days.

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Sam, a 2-year-old golden retriever/poodle mix, and Scot Brooks have been riding through Tigard for the past year.After a long hard day at work, there’s nothing Sam and Scot Brooks like more than getting on their motorcycle and heading off down the open road.

But while most bikers are decked out in leather and heavy boots, Sam — a 2-year-old golden retriever/poodle mix with seemingly boundless energy — is happy with a pair of goggles and a safety restraint as he and owner Scot Brooks ride through town on Brooks’ three-wheeled motorcycle.

Sam, who rides inside the motorcycle’s sidecar, seems perfectly at home cruising around town at 40 miles per hour.

The duo have been riding for more than a year, taking trips to Mount Hood, Klamath Falls and California.

“Last summer we went down to Yosemite (National Park),” Brooks said. “It was a two-week-long camping trip. We loaded the gear on the racks and spent two weeks hiking and riding.”

More often, Sam and Brooks can be seen riding through town or at the drive thru of Sam’s favorite restaurant, Dairy Queen.

“Oh my God — they love him there,” Brooks said. “I’ll take him through the Dairy Queen drive-thru and it’s a hoot. He’ll go through an ice cream cone in two licks.”

The sight of Sam cruising through town often turns heads. It’s not uncommon for Brooks and Sam to strike up a conversation with people at a red light or while getting gas, answering questions about the large dog who loves to ride.

“He’s a popular dog around town,” Brooks said with a chuckle. “People know him when we come by, that’s for sure.”

Brooks, who worked at PCC Sylvania, said he and Sam go for rides on their bike almost every day.

“I work. I come home. If it’s a nice day, we go for a ride,” Brooks said. “As soon as I grab my motorcycle jacket, he’ll jump right into the sidecar.”

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Sam, a 2-year-old golden retriever/poodle mix, rides in the sidecar of his owner, Scot Brooks motorcycle down Southwest Greenburg Road. Sam and Brooks are regular sights around town.Sidecar Sam

On a recent road trip to California, Brooks set up a Facebook page for Sam so friends back home could keep up with their travels.

“Friends at the dog park said, ‘You know, you should start a Facebook page so we can follow his adventures,’” Brooks said. “I started ‘Sidecar Sam’ for the California trip.”

And the more he and Sam were seen around town, the more popular his website has become.

“On the road, we’d go through Starbucks drive-thru’s and people would be waving and smiling and taking pictures and liking the Facebook page,” Brooks said. “I thought, ‘Let’s keep this going.’”

Like most dogs, Sam has always loved to feel the wind in his face, Brooks said.

“When we’d drive around in the Jeep, we’d always roll down the windows and he’d have his head out all the time,” Brooks said. “I thought, ‘He’d probably dig this.’”

Brooks said the idea to teach Sam how to ride came out of necessity.

“I’ve been riding for a number of years, but I’ve always ridden sport bikes,” he said. “When I first got Sam, I would take rides and think, ‘How can I take him along?’ It’d be nice to take him and it was always a pain to find someone to watch him while I was on trips. That summer when he was 6 months old, I went on a motorcycle trip with some buddies. It was fun, but it could have been awesome if I’d have brought Sam along.”

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - When hes not cruising down the open road the friendly dog is often seen at Ash Avenue Dog Park, in Tigard, right.After Brooks found a motorcycle with a sidecar for sale at a local shop, he knew what he had to do.

“When I saw the bike I thought, ‘I would absolutely love it if my dog would be into this,’” Brooks said. “That started it all.”

At first, Sam — just 1 year old — wasn’t too interested in hitting the open road.

“It took a few times to coax him into the sidecar,” Brooks said. “But as soon as we went on our first ride, he was sold. We just did a short ride around the block and he looked at me, like, ‘We’re not done yet,’ so we went on a longer ride. We’ve been doing it ever since.”

That was a year ago, and Brooks said he and Sam don’t have any plans to stop riding.

“This summer we’re headed to eastern Oregon,” Brooks said. “We’ll be there for a week fishing, camping, hiking and riding in the Hells Canyon area.”

Brooks said he’d love to take Sam on a cross-country adventure someday, but for now they’re content with their local rides through town and occasional statewide adventures.

“We like to do a loop, up Multnomah Village, cross over through PCC Sylvania to Lake Oswego and through Tualatin,” Brooks said.

Brooks said he hadn’t anticipated that his dog would become a popular attraction around town, but he said he doesn’t mind the looks or occasional questions that have come with his dog’s favorite hobby.

“He’s a celebrity,” Brooks said. “I’m just the chauffeur.”

By Geoff Pursinger
Assistant Editor
The Times, serving Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood
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