My good buddy Jim and I took a ride out to Van Nuys this morning to visit Doug Bingham and his crew at Sidestriders. You’ll remember that Doug is known in the industry as Mr. Sidecar, and we’ve had him cooking up a sidecar-equipped California Scooter. Well, to cut to the chase, Doug did exactly that! I’ve been blogging about it for a bit, and I was really excited about seeing Doug’s latest creation in person. Wow, it was cool! A California Scooter with a sidecar!
You know, I’ve always wondered about sidecars. They just look cool, but until today, I’d never ridden one. I’ve seen them at shows, I’ve been to the annual Griffith Park sidecar meet in Los Angeles a few times (I even wrote an article for Motorcycle Classics magazine about the Griffith Park event), but I’d never ridden a motorcycle with a sidecar. All that changed this morning!
Doug expertly and patiently explained the nuances of a sidecar rig to me this morning, and then before I knew it, he pushed the California Scooter out of his shop, hopped in the sidecar, and gave the keys to me. Wow! Imagine that! Little old me, piloting a sidecar, with none other than Doug Bingham as my passenger!
This was a big deal to me, and Doug made it all seem pretty easy. He knows his stuff, and he’s a cool guy. Whatever nervousness I felt evaporated under his expert guidance. What surprised me is that the added weight of the rig and a passenger didn’t seem to affect the California Scooter’s performance. You have to watch what you’re doing when you accelerate and brake, as the side car wants to pull the bike to the right when you accelerate, and to the left when you decelerate. Doug said you get used to that pretty quickly, and you learn to automatically compensate for it after just a few minutes of riding. I gotta tell you it was beyond cool. That big grin I’m wearing wasn’t for the camera…it was real!
Doug is still tweaking the rig a bit, but it already felt perfect to me. We’ll have the bike back in La Verne next week, and then we’ll put some of our finishing touches on it (maybe a different body style, a matching fender, paint, etc.). Lots of folks have expressed interest in a sidecar-equipped rig (you don’t need a motorcycle license in California for one…just ask Arnold S.), so we’ll see where we go with this option. It is very, very cool. We may even take this rig with us to Baja (we have four Baja riders already, including TK, and if you want to join us on your California Scooter, just let us know).
Well, that’s it for now. I’m gonna cook up some dinner for my sweetheart, and then I have to give some serious thought to where I’m gonna ride this weekend.