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You Can't Ride Around With A Tiger On Your Bike One man-cub, one motorbike. And a tiger-striped poncho, just in case.

The Bike!

UNITED KINGDOM | Saturday, 24 September 2011 | Views [2394] | Comments [2]

Fantastic Mr Will!

Fantastic Mr Will!

"I've got a fox on a motorcycle with a littler fox and, uh... what looks to be an o-possum in the sidecar riding north on farm lane 7. Does that sound like anything to anybody?" ~ From 'Fantastic Mr Fox'

Well, it finally happened. Inevitable. Quite a shame really. REM split up. On the bright side, those crazy physicists detected neutrinos that traveled FASTER than light, a feat forbidden by Einstein's theory of special relativity! Wow!

Also, the rego papers came back, the bike's finally mine! She's finally legal, and I'm gonna ride her hard.

....

Aw. I can't yet! Slight problem >_<

Allow me to tell you a bit about the motorcycle. In 1940, the Soviet Onion 'acquired' the design and production techniques from BMW for making sidecar motorcycles. Yesterday I 'acquired' some apples, and a cigarette lighter. They reverse-engineered the German-built BMW R71 sidecar bike with the goal of mass-producing something mobile that could withstand the harsh Russian climate, terrain, food and gypsies. They came up with the M-72, and a total of 9,799 were built during World War II, and by 1950 30,000 had been produced, in a brewery (yay) converted to a factory in the town of Irbit, located on the fringe of Siberia in the Ural mountains. Hence the name, Ural. Or IMZ-Ural (Irbitskiy Mototsiketniy Zavod which is Russki for Invincible Magic Zinvincible perhaps)

Initially built for military use only, in 1951 they shifted to production for common people like you. Because there's no money to be made in war. There's been around 3.2 million of these built since the factory first opened, and I own one of 'em. Woop woop.

It's heavy. Steel everything. Sign of reliability. Fully laden with a rider, pillion passenger and all their gear, it would weigh around half a ton. It ain't the quickest thing on two wheels, 'cos it has three, but it WILL get you where you have to go, over the toughest terrains, offroad, snow, river crossings.. Unless it rusts. Four wheels, sorry, forgot ze spare.

Suspension on all wheels (not the spare..), electric & kick-start start, hyoooooge battery filled with Chernobyl-juice so it'll never run out, a lockable trunk (or boot), massive space in the sidecar, a spotight on the sidecar, a handbrake, it has it all. Except speed, good fuel economy, or a comfy seat. But I ain't in a rush, the bike has a jerry-can attached, and my ass is well-padded.

Steering it is fun! I've been conditioned for ten years to leaning into corners on a motorbike. You wish to go left on a solo (two-wheeled bike), you push the bars to the right, the wheel turns slightly to the right and the bike will lean over to the left. Now with a combo (sidecar bike) you have to point the wheel where you want to go. It's kind of backwards to what I'm used to, but it'll be an interesting challenge. I like challenges, so long as they're easy or I can cheat. The bike curves left when you accelerate, and right when you decelerate, due to the sidecar wheel being around a foot forward of the back bike wheel. You can use this to turn better, accelerating and taking the bike around the sidecar when ye go left, or slowing down and letting the sidecar curve round the bike when going right.

Turning left is super-fun, if you do it too sharp or fast the sidecar will lift off the ground. As it's best to accelerate when turning left, this can happen quite a bit. I've started my training with around 16 kilograms of ballast (in the form of four 4L bottles filled with yucky English drinking water) in the sidecar to keep it stable, at least until I can find a small child who wants to travel Europe with me. Or until I improve my technique. Whenever it feels like lifting I throw my weight over to the left to keep the sidecar wheel grounded. Wheee!

The real problem, which ain't really an issue because I ain't rushing (but my bike is. Haha, Russian! ^_^) is that it's a 2011 model, hand-built this year with only 10kms on the speedo. This means that the engine has to be run in, limiting my top cruising speed to a maximum of about 60-70kph for the first thousand kilometers. Then 75-80kph for the next thousand. A bit scary on highways, or motorways as they calls them here, but I'll just stay off them and take the scenic route.

Just have to take it slow. No choice really. Foreign vehicle, foreign traffic, foreign roadsigns (gosh they're strange! So a white circle with a red outline and a picture of Evil Knievel jumping a car means.. what?), foreign roads (so tiny in the countryside! Cute, real purdy. Until a double-decker bears towards you and ye both haf to skim the hedges so as not to collide) and a foreign country. It's what I signed up for though. ADVENTURE!

 

Comments

1

you ride like a lemon ya tin pan twit.

  Thomas Oct 9, 2011 12:57 PM

2

More updates please! Also, I completely buggered up my accommodation in the Lakes District and no longre have fancy apartment. Will keep you posted. x

  Gem Oct 11, 2011 10:27 PM

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