The Webmaster's Blog - Introduction

There's probably something fundamentally wrong with most people who write a blog.

First of all, the arrogance that leads you to believe you have something other people want to read - and that your viewpoint and/or writing is interesting enough to keep them coming back to keep reading new posts.

Then there is a certain mental exhibitionism as well, the desire to share your thought process and your experiences out to the larger world.

In my case, the motivations are many and mixed - on one hand I'm sharing knowledge of Sidecaring, and contributing in however small a fashion to the knowledge floating out there on the world wide web.  (Of which there are many sites, if relatively few Canadian-specific)  

Part of that knowledge just being - stories.  

Stories of experiences found on the road.  Stories of mistakes made and solutions found.  Stories of rigs driven, roads travelled and peoeple met.

Because it isn't always about the cold equations of sidecaring - you can find guides on setup and lean-out and toe-in up the wazoo, but sometimes you just want to find out how something *feels*.  Even if it is secondhand.

So this blog will not be entirely chronological.  It won't always be strictly relevant.  It occasionally will be silly, and sometimes will be serious.

It'll be whatever flashes through my squirrel-on-cappuccino brain, filtered out for the somewhat sidecar relevant bits, then further edited by a distracted madman in his occasional moments between other projects.

So consider that fair warning, and we'll get on with the first in a probably overly long series of entries in the life of Jamie, CSOC Webmaster and sidecar rider.

Webmaster's Blog #1:  How I learned to stop worrying and love the sidecar.

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About 15 years or so ago, I stumbled into pictures of the Ural sidecar motorcycle.  I can't remember exactly where, exactly how.  I saw the pictures, read a little on them, and then moved on.

But something stuck.  Something itched in the corner of my brain, leading to me scratching those wayward neurons by reading more and looking up more pictures on the internet.

Eventually after a couple of yearsI went to see one in person at the now defunct Pickering Village Motors - and sitting on it convinced me I had to have one.

It was old fashioned.  Crude even.  With all the quirks of still yet to be polished soviet manufacturing plant that had only begun to make it's way towards what the current bikes have.  

I wavered back and forth, discussed finances with my wife (who also fell for it once we went to see it.)  

We went to see a used Dnepr being sold for a far lower price at Old Vintage Cranks (then in Hillsburg Ontario, now in Acton.)

Ken, the owner of OVC took us out for a spin in the sidecar.  It shook, rattled, roared like the angry fist of some maniacal, mythical and massive sewing machine - furiously clicking the pushrods and the two opposed cylinders making lots of noise and little horsepower.

You couldn't get on the thing without the sound of an vintage action movie playing in the back of your head.

But when it came to answering questions - we had a big one.  We asked Ken "Would that be suitable for trips?"

He paused.  Thought about it, finally answering "I wouldn't take that one on a long distance trip" while gesturing towards the army-green Dnepr rig we had just ridden "but I'd take that Ural over there across the country."

We looked at it, all black and chrome and whispering a song of dust and travel and the places you find only when you aren't looking at all.

We went home to "discuss" it.  But it was a foregone conclusion.

Shortly afterwards, we were the owners of a 2007 model year Ural Tourist.  Brand new, and ancient at the same time.

We had no idea what we were in for.

TO BE CONTINUED...