Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Twin Cities, Part 1

Here's the Heather version of Day 3 of our trip:

We Rode.
We leaned.
We looked at Stuff.
And, we ate very well.

We Rode. We leaned.

Heather wasn't at all certain what she was getting into when I suggested we make this trip. I knew why I wanted to make this trip. I wanted to meet Chris of Everyday Riding in person. He and I share a passion for riding year around and have developed a blog friendship. When people would ask me why I was going to Minnesota my response was, "To visit a friend I've never met." I, also, wanted to experience a sidecar rig and I wanted Heather to experience a sidecar rig. I ride most days, but snow still stops me. Chris' solution to riding in the snow has been his Ural sidecar rig. Heather had some reservations about sidecar rigs. Another possibility was a Can-Am Spyder, but when she and I test rode one back in May, neither of us were terribly impressed. I wanted Heather to experience a sidecar rig first hand. I'm not sure what her reservations were. I know when I mentioned to my sister about maybe getting a sidecar rig someday, she immediately said she wouldn't ride in it. Why? From all the cartoons she'd seen where the sidecar would separate from the bike and then come back. She just didn't think she could trust them to stay together.

I already ride all but about 15% of the year. If Heather wasn't interested in being part of owning a sidecar rig I wanted to know. It would make a major difference in my plans for my future riding. If there was interest after our time with Chris, I would explore taking a sidecar class. If there wassn't interest I could begin to look for another bike/scooter to compliment Billie, my Symba. Yes, I had an agenda.

We lucked out on the weather. It was a wonderful day to be out and about. Brave Heather went first.

Heather had her own helmet, gloves, and jacket. Chris lent her a pair of pants and she was set. I think she looks great.
Ready . . . Set . . .
It wasn't long before they were back.

When I asked Heather what she thought of the ride, she responded, "I want to drive."

I had hoped Heather would ride pillion with Chris on his BMW R1150GS. And, she did.

Mrs. Everyday helping Heather with her visor.
Off they go! Heather made Chris promise no freeways.

It seemed like they were gone only a few moments. Is Heather doing her happy dance?

Heather said it was fun, but the leaning was weird. She felt like she was falling.

Then it was my turn. Of course, I don't have any pictures of myself, but if you click here you can get Chris' version of events and see more pictures of Heather and some of me, too.

What was my experience of riding in the sidecar? It was more comfortable than I expected. What about piloting the tug? Well, I'm definitely curious to get some real training in it. The Ural fit me better than I expected. I felt quite comfortable on the bike. I was pleased I didn't stall the bike out. I've not used a hand clutch since my Basic Riders Course. I certainly liked it better than the Spyder . . . and so did Heather.

Later Heather, Chris, and I rode around St. Paul and Minneapolis looking at stuff and just enjoying the ride. We were out for at least a couple of hours. It was great fun. Click here for Chris' post on riding three up.

And, what did Heather think of all this? I'm not sure how enthused she is about the sidecar, but something happened that pleased me very much. A couple days after our "Motorcycle Day" she commented she now got what people saw in motorcycles. I have no idea if there will be a sidecar rig in our future. I have no idea if she will be a rider one day. What I am sure about is she now understands the possibilities and has a sense of why this obsession, oops, I mean hobby, has come to mean so much to me.

(to be con't.)


  1. Thanks for coming up Keith. We had a great time with both of you.

    You didn't write what you thought about riding pillion on the GS. :)

    PS: love Heather's description!

  2. Just found your blog. It's great fun. I noticed your comment about missing the Great Lakes. I don't have a scooter blog, per se, but I live in NE WI, county of Door, and I scooter around on my Honda Met as often as possible. So if you miss the Lakes and want to stop by- livingamongtourists.blogspot.com

  3. What a wonderful day.

    I understand how Heather feels with the leaning. I still get butterflies riding behind Troubadour at times because of how it feels when he leans. He leans over a lot further than I do. I feel much better as a rider than a passenger.

    I think Heather might feel the same if she ever ventured on her own bike. Maybe it is a control thing.

    I think riding my own bike has actually made me a worse passenger. I didn't know what I was missing before.

  4. Chris: We had a wonderful time and you all are wonderful hosts.

    I'm not sure a fellow who has had multiple knee surgeries should ride pillion on the GS. It was a little cramped. I will say this: I trusted the pilot completely, wasn't nervous, and didn't feel like the leaning was falling :)

  5. Tiny: Actually, I've been looking in on your blog from time to time. I appreciate your commitment to taking pictures of what you see. Also, I think you are going to like the Buddy 170i when you get a chance to check it out. It is a very sweet ride. I wouldn't mind having one in my garage. A secret just between you and me . . . I like the Oxford Green one. Every time I pass by it at the dealer it whispers, "You want me." Oh well.

    Thanks for stopping by. Sorry I haven't commented. There seems so many blogs and so little time. I feel privileged you spent some of your time reading and commenting here.

  6. Trobairitz: I called Heather in to read your comment. She is glad someone understands her. Having seen the pictures from the weekend she has decided she looks really good in the gear. She has suggested she should get a bike and just stand next to it :)

    I'm not much of a leaner. I'm suspecting I may wear out the present set of Michelins I have on the Symba with them still having "Chicken strips". In this regard the Ural definitely fits my riding style.

  7. Cool Keith!

    I'm glad she took the initiative and jumped in. I've never been in one either, I think it'd be a lot of fun but terrifying. The few times I was on the back of a motorcycle (as an adult) I found myself fumbling for some means of control. Good luck, I hope you can find one and get it on the road!

    Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

  8. Keith - my hubby have looked at the Ural in passing, I think they are cool. I would love o have one of these. Heather should try a novice class, she might be very surprised about riding. I never ever thought I would ave liked it as much as I do, I was so content just sitting on the back of Kirk's bike. Now I don't know why I waited so long. Once you try it you get the bug.

  9. Brady: I suspect the problem wouldn't be finding one. It is finding the money and the space to keep it. But, one has to have a plan. We will see how it all plays out. This is one step closer to whatever will be.

  10. Dar: I've suggested she take a Basic class. She hasn't decided to yet. But, she did say if she did she didn't want me around. It might make her nervous. This sounds like she's trying the idea of taking the class seriously now. Stay tuned.

  11. This is so cool! Sounds like a bike in the future - maybe. I agree with other comments, a class is a great way to explore riding in a safe environment, and it's fun to do.

    I never had intentions of doing more than ride pillion. Shocked everyone when I wanted to learn how to ride my own. Now I can't imagine not riding, and I still enjoy riding pillion as well.

  12. Keith (and Heather), the two of you obviously enjoyed the trip to see Chris, who is a terrific host. I stopped to meet him when riding across the USA last year. Like the two of you, Chris took me for a ride in his Ural and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is great to hear that Heather is exploring motorbikes, but taking her time to see what she likes and how she wants to move forward with this. It is good that you are sharing the decisions together. I like Billie as it is very similar to my first bike!

  13. It was a great time! Yes, Heather is taking her time with moving forward which is good. It is her decision and I'm doing what I can to support her. It must be her decision. The Symba is a great bike. I remember you telling the story of getting your second bike and the discovery on the ride home that having to work the clutch is a whole different experience :)

    There are many things to like about the Ural.