Monday, September 1, 2014

Relearning to Drive a Hack

Today was Dexter's introduction to riding in the Pigpen.  To say he tolerated it would be an exaggeration.  We rode to the dog park where he had fun.  We walked around the lagoon.  Back at Petunia  I took him off the leash to put the harness on him and he ran off to a tree and layed down in the shade.  I walked over to him, sat down, and he crawled on my lap.  I put the harness on him, walked him back to Petunia, and buckled him in.

This was not his happy face!

Riding yesterday the 17" windscreen on the Pigpen acted like a sail and the wind buffeting around my ear was uncomfortable.  Today, after the dog park, I cut down an old windscreen to 7" and replaced the taller one.  

Cutting down the windscreen made a huge difference!  There was no buffeting up around my ears and the drag was noticeably reduced.  I also took the toolbox I was using for ballast out.  I realized yesterday I just wasn't using enough muscle to make Petunia turn.  Maybe even riding a bit scared to turn.  With no ballast today all went well.  I did realize I wasn't slowing enough when making turns.  I was trying to turn at about 30 mph and that wasn't going to work.   

Heading out in the 107 degree temperatures of Arizona I used the opportunity to test out the HyperKewl Evaporative Cooling Vest my nephew and his wife gave me.  Soaking it for 5 minutes and then wringing it out I hit the road.  It worked great!  I was cool and could feel the cooling effect of the vest.  After riding for almost 90 minutes it was still very comfortable in these temperatures.  I will have to say that to continue to ride I would have had to stop and resoak the vest to remain comfortable.  Still, I am very happy with its performance.

The relearning process has just started and I am looking forward to continuing to become comfortable with driving a hack again.  During the process I have to make the decision if I need to install an EZ-Steer or Tri-Glide triple tree to help with the steering.  Time will tell.


  1. Paul,

    I'm sure Dexter loved it! :) With the cooling vest, I use a bottle of water and just keep pouring it in my shirt, under the vest, when I start feeling dry and hot. Works great and I don't need to stop to do it.

    Make sure you're wearing something over it that's thick enough to insulate the water, or it dries out quickly.


  2. It sounds like you are having a blast with the new rig. I don't have any steering mods on my Beemer rig and after a few hundred miles my back, upper arms and hands would be sore from wrestling with the steering.

    The Ural rig feels like it has power steering by comparison.

  3. Echoing what RichardM says, though when I got a chance to ride his BMW rig up in Fairbanks, it didn't seem like a lot of steering effort, of course I just putted around town. That's one of the reasons I like starting off with a rig that's designed for a sidecar, the leading links suspension on the URAL makes steering easy, though you still feel it at the end of a long day in the saddle. Strong winds however, and all bets are off, since you've now got the wind profile of a three masted schooner! :)

  4. yay!!! you'll dial it in soon, azhd!

    i have questions / thoughts;

    1) dexter. he's fair haired/skinned like my sisters bulldog, who gets sunburned. can doggies wear something like sunblock? that az sun... doggie shade?

    2) the heat/evap vest. i wear a tshirt underneath, and a lightweight white sweatshirt over the top. that keeps the vest wet and cool. mine stayed comfy cool and soaked riding all day thru NV desert in up to 120F temps in direct sun.

    3) theres a klockworks flare windscreen that may completely eliminate the buffeting. maybe? personally, i'd leave yours! but maybe you'll like the shape of theirs? just for info...

    4) ive heard theres a steering dampener kit for touring models now that helps with shake, vibration, drag... no idea if this will help, or if its for older models, but worth keeping eyes/ears out for. i'll fwd info if i learn more. maybe dr wrench has more info?

    big hugs! ride azhd, ride! :)

  5. If it wasn't Dexter's happy face it still didn't look too much like a "why are you trying to kill me face"

    Hopefully he'll get used to it and even jump up to go for a ride.

    I wouldn't have thought of sunscreen like MQ suggested. She's smart that one.

  6. Sash; Dexter will have to get used to it, I'm the dad and I get to make the rules.

    Richard; I rode again today and it is getting easier. Fun goes without saying! Everything I've read says Easy-Steer makes it feels like power steering. I have to assume the Ural has an offset triple tree from the factory.

    Dom; I'm hard headed and getting an already ready rig wouldn't fit me very well. Learning by trial and error suites me better and give me a project to work on.

    Trobairitz; Everything new takes some getting used to. Dexter will learn in time he will have fun when we are out on the road.

    Ms M; 1. Couldn't put sunscreen on Dexter with his fur. I will look into a tee shirt to keep him safe.

    2. I will look into an over shirt/sweatshirt for me too to help with the Kewl Vest.

    3.Petunia sports a Klockworks windscreen that I love! A bigger issue with the17" windscreen on the Pigpen is the size and amount of air it collects and sends behind the Klockworks one.

    4. I'm lucky I don't have any shimmy or shake. On my last sidecar I had a steering damper and it seemed to add to the effort when turning, but I will be searching other sidecar drivers and ask their opinions. Thanks for your questions/thoughts/suggestions. All are appreciated!

    PS Ms M; Petunia is an older model. She only seems younger because she gets her exercise.

  7. Looking at Dexter my question is do the cooling vests come in doggie size?

  8. VStar Lady; I'll have to look into that idea! Thanks for the suggestion!

  9. I notice you have Iso-grips on your bike, do you have trouble with the grips breaking down. The one on my left has gotten very soft and leaves black marks all over my hand. I noticed you have a new dog, what happened to Pongo?

  10. Duane; My Iso grips came unglued one time about 4 years ago. I do have some black on my hands during hot weather, but no other problems. Pongo found a new home when I was going through a divorce.