Joined: 06 Jan 2007
Location: yorkshire uk
|Posted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:14 pm Post subject: Sidecars are Fun
My name is Keith and my wife is Anne, we are fairly new to sidecarring, reluctantly we were forced into it because our options of transport were running out.
I’d always had the image of the old fifties combos which didn’t quite see ourselves in that sort of lifestyle, we tended to be impulsive. Deciding on the morning to get off and go for the day, then booking into a B&B if we decided to stay overnight, no real planning.
Anne the car driver she drove a Toyota Celica Turbo before she became ill and wheel chair bound, I rode a Kawasaki Z1000, so having a motor cycle licence our choices were limited.
In 2003 the sidecar was built, which was no small feat given Merlin’s are in Durham, Autochair in Bakewell Derbyshire and Wood’s in Abergele, getting all three on the same page at the same time and formulating a plan took some doing.
Learning to ride the sidecar meant travelling to Durham some 90 miles away, then riding around the countryside and then back home to Leeds in a day. So when the day came to take it home, I travelled down the busy A1 with empty sidecar there were snails flashing their lights at me at times I was going so slow it was dark on the Tuesday night so Anne never got to see it.
Wednesday morning bright and cheerful we were both eager to get out into the sidecar, and start our new adventure, carefully going round friends and family to show it off. Leaving a friends I was still wearing my variefocal lens glasses by mistake as I approached a left hand corner it seemed it a bit faster than I wanted, the variefocal were showing blurred vision and my brain assessed I was going faster than I actually was.
All my new found teachings went out the window and thirty odd years of solo riding kicked in, clutch in hard on the brakes!
The sidecar shot out of control to the right at a acute angle across the dual carriageway all four lanes up a six inch curb and up an embankment towards the security fencing surrounding the airport runway, looking for all the world like Steve McQueen in “the Great Escape” we finally stopping and sliding back down.
Thursday saw the sidecar back at Merlin’s with two buckled wheels and a ton of grass over it, after a couple of months due to wheels being hand made and bad weather back I was at Merlin’s slightly more cautious.
To give credit Ken Minns decided he wasn’t going to allow me out on the roads again until he was happy with my handling of his precious creation.
The following year having had my ego knocked severely I even thought about selling it and taking the dreaded car lessons, I reluctantly managed a thousand miles that year.
A close friend and fellow Merlin owner used to take me out all hours and conditions to get me used to thinking sidecar and knock out the soloist in me.
Suddenly I seemed to grow in confidence to be more in tune with the sidecar, instead of sittig up straight I learned to lean into a corner the same as a solo.
I suppose you could also say that at this point I’d also done about two thousand miles of nothing but sidecar.
Now the other day I said to a friend “I could not envisage going back to a solo motorcycle”, we both love the world of sidecars.
Although still naive on some aspects of sidecarring I find the forum and members a wonderful way to ask what some may think daft or basic questions and get the right answers, without being talked down to.
To some of the well travelled amongst you, this may seem small time but to me even as a solo biker I’ve never did more than a couple of thousand miles a year. Last year we did over four thousand miles, I can not say it was all sunny weather, as members we met at Mallory Park can testify, but it was all pleasure.
Sitting here in the winter months I’m, looking forward to the sunny days of 2007 and getting back out there and clocking up the miles again.
Having already booked several rallies and shows which are over a hundred miles away, 2007 may see us go farther than we have ever gone in our biking history.
Now in 2009 we have clocked 15,000 miles of really happy riding and looking forward to even more.