Tag Archives: Sidecar

Beginners Mind

So we start again. Reuben from OLAS Motorcycle Transport dropped off my new Jawa outfit last night and tonight, with tax and insurance in place, AdventureDog took his new seat and we wobbled off down the road. In defiance of advice from the three chaps from the MZ Club who allowed me to gatecrash their breakfast on Sunday. They said “For God’s sake don’t go on the road.” But it’s a quiet road and it’s mostly straight, so not too many people were endangered. Today’s learning task was to get used to stopping and starting.

I do wobble to work most days on my little 125, but that doesn’t seem to count psychologically as riding. Tonight I zipped up my boots, put on my ancient blue Triumph jacket – bought with a bonus 15 years ago – and felt like a proper biker again.

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We are coming out of the dark.

Instead of standing in the back garden looking at the stars, I am now standing in the back garden listening to birdsong while RescueDog picks a good spot for his early morning pee. 
He does not like to go outside in the dark, so I bought a big torch on ebay to shine on him.  Having a spotlight trained upon you while you go to the lav is undignified, so he is very pleased with the way daylight is creeping in a few minutes earlier each day.
My new responsibilities as Dog Entertainment Facilitator come with just one big challenge. RescueDog cannot ride pillion with me, because his feet don’t reach the pegs. But he has seen Spirit riding with his human, Ara, and he wants his own set of doggles.
So we are investigating sidecars. Opinion on this move is sharply divided among my friends. RescueDog’s Dogfather says that sidecars live only to dive into hedges and are the quickest way to an unplanned death. Others say that an outfit is the most fun you can have on three wheels, especially if it’s a Ural. Perhaps they enjoy exploring hedges.
Sohorider, from the XRV Forum, has an Africa Twin with a motopodd attached – that’s it in the photo. A couple of weeks ago he brought it up from London for me to try it, with a view to buying. We met on a very windy day on the farm where he keeps his workshop. For once this winter the sun was shining, but the puddles gave a great opportunity for a demonstration of the outfit’s off-road capabilites!
RescueDog sat in the chair quite happily, which is a good sign. I sat on the bike quite nervously, which is normal. It feels very odd to sit on a bike and not have to put your foot down. But it wasn’t a bike, it was an outfit, and different rules apply.
We rode erratically up and down a farm track and for about three seconds I managed a straight(ish) line. Given a big enough car park and plenty of time, I think I could get the hang of it, but on something a bit smaller and less daunting.
  • Big thanks to Sohorider, who was very kind and reassured me that he’d enjoyed the rideout and it was no problem that he was taking the outfit home again; and to RBR Jackie and Phil who came to give the bike the once over before I bought it. Or not, as it turned out.

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