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3 wheeling it

Today I took the Sidecar/Trike intro class. Well, it actually started last night, but that was just the classroom stuff. Today we got out on the range and actually piloted these crazy contraptions around the course. Since the first exercises required some ballast in the side car, half of us got to be that ballast while the other half drove. Apparently we're called monkeys when we are in the sidecar because of all the clambering around that we do (leaning in the turns, etc.)

It was tons of fun. It's a lot harder to actually drive these things. On a motorcycle you counter-steer when turning... push on the right handgrip to lean the bike to the right and turn to the right. It sounds odd but once you do it it all makes sense. On a sidecar or trike you use direct steering, like a car... or a bigwheel for that matter. The problem is that with this bix tube hanging off the side of the bike it's actually pretty hard to turn the handlebars because the sidecar wants to drag behind. So the way to get around this on a left turn is to turn harder and give it more gas until the rear wheels start to slide. No joke. I thought that it would be freaky but it's actually a whole lot of fun. I was one of the first to push it that far and I was pretty stoked after the slide. Right turns are totally different though because the side car wants to lift off the ground and dump you over.

After the range we headed back to the classroom to finish up the coursework and take the test. The test seemed pretty easy, made plenty of sense and all that. A lot of the questions applied to motorcycles too so it wasn't hard at all. But then the instructor graded the tests and all but 2 people failed. I was shocked. The two guys that passed did it by the skin of their teeth. The instructor handed back the tests and started to go over them and something was clearly wrong. Apparently his grading guide was wrong. In the end only one person didn't pass. The instructor is giving her another chance in the morning though because she was really close and did very well on the range. Oh yeah, I got a 96%. I still maintain that the two that I missed were because of semantics. :P

So yeah, tomorrow morning I have to be in Kent at 7:30 to learn the advanced techniques like sliding through a right turn and intentionally 'flying' the side car.

Oh, and here's the rig that I rode:
Not me, but the bike I rode

Oh hey gordonmessmer: one of the trikes was a converted Intruder. Same color as yours, looked like maybe the same year too. You should have joined me man :)

orewaanpanman: now you and adrinna need to take the class so you can be the monkey.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 6th, 2006 01:45 am (UTC)
>>all but 2 people failed.
Yeah if it had been true, the teacher would have to ask themselves what they did wrong...
Aug. 6th, 2006 04:38 am (UTC)
It's funny because after we figured out what happened he said 'I was so worried, I was thinking what did we do wrong?' He was actually going to let us all take it again after we went over the answers.
Aug. 6th, 2006 06:28 am (UTC)
Oh man, that sounds insane, particularly the forced slide bit.

When I took the regular class, the only question on the test I missed was because of semantic ;)
Aug. 6th, 2006 11:07 am (UTC)
crazy. I intend to try that one day. I haven't driven a motorcycle in a couple years, though. I don't know when next I'll have enough cycles to do it again...
Aug. 10th, 2006 07:31 am (UTC)
Sounds like fun :) I wish I had the guts for any of this. I mean, people tell me I'm ballsy... but I think it is only because I am very flirty. I've toyed with the idea of getting a bike for the last two years and I still haven't gotten any further than the debate with myself between safety/gas economy.
Aug. 10th, 2006 10:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Meow!
Bikes are a lot of fun. You can stay safe on a bike only if you learn to ride properly and defensively. I highly recommend the safety classes available in most areas. You'll learn to ride as well as how to keep yourself safe.
Sep. 10th, 2006 10:01 pm (UTC)
many years ago, I looked into getting a side car that leans with the bike but instead decided that pulling a trailer was enough and if I needed more room, I should take a van... (which I eventually did by way of 37' motorhome) My bike and trailer are somewhere in the garage hiding because when I dig them out, I'll sell them... they'll be happy after a dozen years of sitting. enjoy the fog down there... we finally had rain and now foggy mornings...

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )