Sidecar Touring with disabilities
Skip
Posted 2/9/2004 11:48 AM (#2231)
Subject: Sidecar Touring with disabilities


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Location: Fergus Falls, MN
I have a small motorcycle touring company, (www.greatamericantouring.com) which operates in the western US. In the past three days, I've gotten inquiries from two individuals interested in touring with a sidecar. It's time for me to learn about them!One gentleman lives in the Washington DC area. His wife is disabled by a stroke, and has limited walking ability. They are an adventuresome couple, and have traveled extensively all over the world in spite of her disability. He's asking me if a sidecar would be a feasible way for them to travel. I think it's a great idea, but he's not an experienced motorcycle rider, aside from a few borrowed rides many years ago. He says not a problem, he'll work as hard as it takes to learn, assuming they can first find out if a sidecar is a mode of transport that can work for them. So my questions are:Does it make any sense to learn to ride with a sidecar and not a regular motorcycle first?Does anyone have experience in traveling by sidecar with a disabled passenger?Any chance there's a member of this Board in the DC area that could show him a rig and take his wife for a ride sometime this spring after the weather breaks?I'm sure I'll have lots more questions, and I'll be watching the board to get my "crash course" on sidecars!Thanks for your help.
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Hack'n
Posted 2/9/2004 2:19 PM (#2232 - in reply to #2231)
Subject: RE: Sidecar Touring with disabilities



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Skip,
I can answer part of your inquiry. It is easier for a person who has never driven a solo motorcycle to learn to pilot a sidecar rig. There are no muscle memory reflex problems to overcome. Never having had to countersteer, a sidecar driver will not revert to the wrong response if a problem arises when their attention level is down and they have to drive out of trouble. It does happen occasionally.
Here in Washington they now have 3 wheel only motorcycle endorsements starting this year. One of the reasons we had this instituted was due to handicapped operators. Before one had to have a 2 wheeled endorsement to operate a sidecar rig or trike. This was discriminatory to people who were unendorsed prior to having the need for a self balancing motorcycle outfit.
My 97 year old mother, who is quite frail enjoys short rides with me. I have to help her in and out, but she is quite comfortable riding.
I haven't had any personal experience travelling long distances woth a handicapped passenger, but have met many on the road who were and they were quite comfortable with their arrangements. Most were elderly or were recovering from strokes. Some had another rider along to help out, but most had a lift device installed and a covered sidecar for protection of the passenger from the elements. Also most were equipped with a small dog.(To warm the passengers lap, was my guess).
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claude #3563
Posted 2/9/2004 5:28 PM (#2234 - in reply to #2231)
Subject: RE: Sidecar Touring with disabilities



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>>Does it make any sense to learn to ride with a sidecar and not a regular motorcycle first??<<
Yes...in fact it will probably make the learning curve easier.
>>Does anyone have experience in traveling by sidecar with a disabled passenger?<<
Many do this for various reasons and it is a wonderful thing.
>>Any chance there's a member of this Board in the DC area that could show him a rig and take his wife for a ride sometime this spring after the weather breaks?<<
Skip, there may be others that come forth but if not I would be more than happy to do this. We are about three hours away from D.C but will probably be going down for the Rolling Thunder event on Memorial Day. Could hook up then.
You may want to check the liscensing requirements locally. Many states will allow a person to take a driving test ona sidecar outfit. It nay be that the liscense would have a restriction to three wheels , not a bad deal.
SIDE NOTE:
If anyone is reading this from Washington State the law that Lonnie spoke of regarding trikes and sidecar liscensing states that as of right now if you have not got the special liscense you are no longer legal to operate a sidecar or trike. You have until June 30 to be grandfathered in. After that you will have to take a test or the S/TEP to be legal.
This legislation has made it so the S/TEP course is now be partially paid for through a subsidy. You do not have to take this course but can take the state test instead. Either way if you want to ride on three wheels you have to get a special liscense for it in Washington State.
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Skip
Posted 2/9/2004 6:25 PM (#2237 - in reply to #2231)
Subject: Sidecar Touring with disabilities


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WOW -I'm amazed at the response, I'm even getting phone calls! Keep it up, I'll be checking back. THANKS!
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Posted 2/10/2004 8:13 PM (#2243 - in reply to #2231)
Subject: RE: Sidecar Touring with disabilities


My wife and I are brand new to the world of hacks. I myself am brand new to the world of motorcycles in general having just got my license this past November. My wife is afflicted with multiple sclerosis and we found there was no way she was going to ride on the back of a solo bike so the sidecar turned out to be a very good option. We just purchased a Honda VT1100 Shadow ACE equipped with a Champion Legend sidecar. Our plans are to take small day trips in our area (Colorado Springs) until we both feel comfortable with the charateristics of the sidecar and then venture out on longer rides. She requires the use of an electric scooter for mobility so I'll be adapting our scooter carrier to the sidecar frame. It's a slide-in unit that goes into a reciever-style hitch. By stiffening up the rear end when we use the carrier it should ride pretty decent. Has anyone used something like this or foresee any concerns?
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Posted 2/11/2004 4:27 PM (#2260 - in reply to #2243)
Subject: RE: Sidecar Touring with disabilities


What you are talking about should be possible and there is nothing that I can think of that would really stand in the way. I'm not sure what the scooter weighs but you can probably allow for it in any event. You should also know that there are folks out there who make sidecars that a scooter or wheel chair can drive right into. Check with Bob Darden at Texas Sidecar, I know he is working on just such a unit with a drop down ramp in back.
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Posted 2/11/2004 9:34 PM (#2268 - in reply to #2260)
Subject: RE: Sidecar Touring with disabilities


My wife requires the use of the sidecar to travel in so the ramp or platform for a scooter or wheelchair isn't an option. However, the person we bought the rig from did have it so the body could be removed fairly easy. He actually used it to transport his trials bike. Thanks for the info anyway.

Eric Larson
Colorado Springs
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RonC
Posted 2/16/2004 6:57 PM (#2330 - in reply to #2231)
Subject: Disability Hack Riders


Hi Skip,

Go for it! My wife and I are guardians for a young man with severe autism and riding in the hack is the one thing in life that ALWAYS gives him pleasure. So much so, in fact, that we've explored moving to warmer clims so we can ride year round. (ahhh but that's another story and involves the huge problems of getting him services in other states even though Illinois is near the bottom of the heap).

As others suggested, learning on the sidecar rig without 2-wheel experience is actually a plus since steering (kinda an important skill) really is what's called a "negative transfer" situation from 2 to 3 wheels. That is, in gets in the ways of learning.

Is the hack set up for her? We have a guru over here who has experience in building and modifying wheelchair rigs for ride cars so let me know if I can offer any help.

Best wishes,

Ron -n- Luke
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RonC
Posted 2/16/2004 6:57 PM (#2331 - in reply to #2231)
Subject: Disability Hack Riders


Hi Skip,

Go for it! My wife and I are guardians for a young man with severe autism and riding in the hack is the one thing in life that ALWAYS gives him pleasure. So much so, in fact, that we've explored moving to warmer clims so we can ride year round. (ahhh but that's another story and involves the huge problems of getting him services in other states even though Illinois is near the bottom of the heap).

As others suggested, learning on the sidecar rig without 2-wheel experience is actually a plus since steering (kinda an important skill) really is what's called a "negative transfer" situation from 2 to 3 wheels. That is, in gets in the ways of learning.

Is the hack set up for her? We have a guru over here who has experience in building and modifying wheelchair rigs for ride cars so let me know if I can offer any help.

Best wishes,

Ron -n- Luke
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Posted 3/11/2004 5:09 PM (#2574 - in reply to #2231)
Subject: RE: Sidecar Touring with disabilities


My wife, daughter and I enjoy riding our rig for long distances. She was born with a birth defect that left her with no use of her legs. I have a wheelchair carrier mounted on back and assist her in and out of the sidecar. My daughter is 4, so for the time being she rides with my wife. I rigged a lap belt for my wife and my daughter sits in between her legs. (Harley sidecar) This is in case we have a sudden stop issue to keep my wife from sliding forward (same as not belting your child in your lap in a car). We just rode over 1200 miles in Florida during bike week. During the good weather we ride an average of 200 miles a week if there aren't any events going on, otherwise it is more. I'd love to be able to fly and ride on the west coast, but so far no sidecar rentals found yet. It would be a great idea. The learning curve from two wheels two three was interesting. To learn only on a rig would be easier, it takes a while for reflexes to unlearn and relearn a whole new riding style. My rig is a dedicated sidecar only rig and the addition of the Twin Tires front and rear (available from Dauntless, ask for Jay) made a HUGE difference!!! Steering effort is about half and highway stability is fantastic!! I would recommend them to all, as long as you don't remove the sidecar, they will not handle two wheel operation. I hope this sheds some insite, our rig has brought our family great happiness and closer together. My Daughter call it "Ohanah" from Lilo & Stich - it means family and family means no one gets left behind.
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