Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sidecar & New Rider Report

The first 1000 miles are on the sidecar. It is an efficient grocery getter, it was a great way to get to the bowling alley, Jersey, Louise's Boxer puppy liked it, and it meets the expectations I had when I made the decision to get it. But, truthfully it hasn't been all roses.

Most of the miles have been on city surface streets, in traffic, and around 45 MPH. Typical of sidecars, from experience and reading about them, left turns are no problem, but right handers tend to be a bit more of an adventure. This one really wants to leave the ground on occasion. Even knowing it is going to happen hasn't eliminated the puckering that accompanies the event. I began to realize that I was cutting the corners to short, or squaring them off, and that added to the problem. So, making adjustments to my riding I continued.

Becoming more confident in my skills I headed out to Gilbert to see my dad. Freeway riding at 70, in traffic, with a cager who wanted a closer look, riding just at my right rear quarter, drifting toward me, and then the first right hand bend in the road. I throttled back, but still thought I could feel the sidecar begin to lift. I touched the brakes and the cage veered away. I leaned into the sidecar and it backed down to the ground and successfully completed the turn, but exited at 55. That was excitement that I didn't want and it wasn't even the turn I was worried about.

The rest of the ride to dads and back wasn't any problem because I adjusted prior to entering all corners to just below the suggested speed limit. While I am generally happy with the way the sidecar tracks and handles I believe I am going to completely loosen her up and try to readjust her with the nose in a slight tilted forward position. Maybe even try to move her closer to Petunia if that is possible. Everything I read tells me when you hit the Sweet Spot you will be glad you didn't say, "Close is good enough."

New Rider Training Continues

Louise was out again in her quest to become a rider. A quick review of last time and she was off without any problems. And then three little turds showed up on bicycles. Remembering my youthful intentions I got her stopped and asked them to leave. "Who are you?" they asked. "You can't tell us what to do! This is our school. Can you be here? What is she doing?" OK, so this wasn't going to be as easy as just asking them to leave. I started toward them and in my best playground teacher voice yelled,"GET OUT OF HERE NOW!!!" They reluctantly began to retreat, but for the next ten minutes sat across the street taking turns acting like they were coming back. Thankfully they weren't the kind of kids who were looking for trouble and got tired of the game and left.

Louise progressed to using the rear brake to stop and doing figure eights to the left and right. The real progress is she began to switch from left to right figure eights without having to stop between them. This from a woman who didn't want to turn from a stop just a few days ago. She also began to tighten up her turns and before the session ended was only using half of the parking lot to do double 8s. During these turns I wished I had taken my camera because her head movement, looking where she was going, was textbook perfect and Irondad would have been proud. I don't think I do as well with that as she did.

She called me the next night and said she felt the parking lot was getting boring. That can only mean one thing. Louise is ready to tackle the street.


  1. Louise - just keep repeating what you've learned in your head and don't get distracted by all the scenery. Enjoy!


  2. That sidecar sounds like an adventure! I don't even like being on the freeways here in a cage!

    Sounds like Louise is well on her way!

  3. thanks for the updates re the sidecar...I am still thinking about getting the basic sidecar riding class in during March.

    Re Louise, sounds like she's got a good coach.

  4. Ok, I'll be proud without picture verification of the head turns. I'm actually just honored anybody even cares what I may think!

    That would be one trouble for me if I rode a hack part of the year. I'm afraid my reactions would get honed one way. Then, when I needed to act on instinct, it might not be the right one for what I'm riding.

    Those who master side cars have my respect, for sure.

  5. I sat reading this and Rascal [our Dog] kept giving me dirty looks.
    Thanks alot troublemaker ;]