Saturday, November 19, 2011

And so it begins...

Well. I went and lost my mind.
First let me give you a little background, just so we start from the same place, OK?
I am 40 years old with an awesome wife, a 2 year old son and way too many hobbies.

I practice full-contact stick fighting based on medieval combat. My wife also plays.
I play tactical paintball, hell I'm even on a team sponsored by a local field. My wife also plays.
I also wrench and ride motorcycles for fun. My wife also plays.

I come from a family of gearheads. One of my first memories is of a Panhead motor in the kitchen sink when I was a lil tot.
My Da rides, my brother rides...hell even my Mom has her own bike.
So motorcycles are part of my life.
For my birthday last year my Da gifted me a 1987 Harley Electra-Glide.
This wasn't just any bike...this was my Da's bike.
I lusted after that bike for nearly 15 years while he had it. Always begging to ride it...Hell, I thought about 'stealing' it on more than one occasion.
Then one day, he drives up from the old family homestead in Louisiana to my place near Chicago with it on a trailer, and signs the title over to me.
Needless to say, I was kinda floored.
But before you start thinking I promptly rode off into the sunset on it, I should come clean about a few things.
The bike has...Issues.
It isn't a basketcase, but it's not minty either.
Nothing major...just little stuff. Some electrical gremlins, the rear brake sticks, the paint is scuffed up, one of the saddlebags has a crack in the lid. Little stuff.
And my Da and I have a little different taste in aesthetics, pretty much every bike I have ever had has been
painted either flat black or OD green. Some examples...
I call this one Dingo.
The wife on her's named Plan B.
This bike has a wicked flame paintjob. 
One of these things is not like the other...
So needless to say I needed to get to work.
Well..there is one lil tidbit of background info I forgot to mention.
I am currently without a paying job. I am working all the time, but seeing how I am working on starting a company with some buddies of mine...nothing PAYING just yet. So I have a limited budget...very limited.
As in none.
Well...having owned Harleys in the past I'll let ya in on a lil secret I learned the hard way.
That HD stamped on all those parts doesn't mean Harley Davidson. It means Hundred Dollars.
So..I can't really do a rehab on the FLH. And I find I can't really ride a bunch anymore since we had our son, and me and the wife sure as shooting can't ride together, cause then there is nowhere to put The Boy.
So I start looking a something I have been interested in for years...a sidecar rig. I can't buy one, but I can look.
I have always wanted a sidecar for lots of reason.
Indiana Jones movies, Rat Patrol, Mad Max...blah blah. You get it or ya don't.
Plus...I have been thinking about something since The Boy was born.
As I said, I come from a family of gearheads and riders, and I always remember my Da working on bikes.
I remember wanting soooo bad to go with him when I was little. I did get to go, when I was bigger, for little jaunts around town. Hell I even got lil mini-bikes and stuff to tool around the yard.
Thing is...if I want to ride with my family in the near term, well, it ain't gonna happen.
But maybe if I had a sidecar rig....hmmmm. (see how this thought process goes? )
Well, in my cruising around the Internet, looking at sidecar rigs for sale...hell even just looking for a side car to slap on the FLH...I find out there is a Ural dealer in town.  So I go down to the showroom and take a look at some of the Russian rigs. I find them very much suited to my taste. They ain't fast...they ain't flashy, and they are basically the same as they where when they started making them back in the '40s. So far so good.
Then we get to talking price....a new one starts at $10,000. Well...there goes that idea. If I can't afford to fix the FLH, I sure as shooting can't afford that.
But I do what every gearhead does...I keep looking at craigslist/eBay/Cycle Trader hoping to see an ad for a free bike with delivery.
Then I see a used Ural listed at shop in Wisconsin. Hmmm... An email was sent. A reply came back.
A lot of haggleing and horse trading later...I traded the FLH for a Ural sidecar rig, and made a little profit.
The Boy gives his approval.

Tucked in for it's first night in it's new home.

 So I got it home,and did the first thing any real gearhead does with a new motorcycle.
I tore it apart.

Well...I'm glad I did. There are some bad wires in the electrical system, and some gunk in the carbs. But nothing that can't be fixed cheap and easy. Overall the rig is in good shape. The motor has a little over 5000 kilometers on it...chump change, and it looks good. First impressions of it are what I expected. It's ain't fast...or flashy. It is easy to work on, and from my research parts are easier to find than you'd think and they are cheap to boot. Well, cheap for motorcycle parts.
Is it a good trade for the FLH?
Hard to say.
Does it 'mean' as much to me as my Da's bike?  
No. But I hope this rig will mean as much to The Wife,The Boy and myself in the future.
I think it will, because it can do one thing the FLH couldn't.
Let us all eat the same bugs. Together.

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