We bought this motorcycle in 2002 from a man who lived about an hour East of us. The bike had low mileage and was in excellent shape. Shortly afterwards we bought a black Hannigan Sport sidecar from BMW Motorrad of St. Louis for $4,250.
By September of 2002 the sidecar was installed by Heid's. Mary and I went to pick it up. It looked neat with the Leading link front suspension shipped from England, along with two solid wheels at a thousand bucks a-piece. I reluctantly took it for a test drive. It was really strange, very different from riding a solo bike and I didn't like it. I kept picturing myself heading for the right-side ditch. I felt as though I was not in control. At the first opportunity I turned around and headed back. I was going to sell the thing on e-bay but I had to get it home first.
The Heid's were nice enough to lend me a bag of steel to be used as ballast. The old wheels and tires were also in the sidecar, as we set off for home. I was driving very cautiously at first but when I didn't go into the ditch, I increased the speed a little, up to an indicated 45 MPH. After about 4 or 5 miles I felt muscles in my shoulders and upper back and they were aching. I saw a rest area coming up on Route 8 and I pulled over. I was going to boast to Mary about my improved progress but she spoke first, asking me why I was going so slowly. My balloon was burst and so was my self-confidence but we motored home. During the long trip home I realized that my speedometer was way too optimistic due to the smaller diameter tires on the rig. By the time we reached home, I was close to doing the speed limit and felt much better about everything.
This was on a Friday afternoon and I was to meet my friend, Steve in Levittown, Pa on Monday night. The next morning we were to go down the Blue Ridge Parkway. The weekend before the trip I packed the sidecar full of everything I could think of. It was full of camping stuff, two sleeping bags, camping stove with extra fuel, chairs, lanterns, etc. It was heavy but I felt that the heavier the better for those right-hand turns.
I still didn't feel very comfortable driving on four-lane highways, so I took backroads and arrived very late. The next morning we did go to the BRP and then continued on to slay the dragon and I received a lot of looks from people while driving on that curvy road. It was a great vacation.
The bike was red, the sidecar black, so I found a guy to paint the sidecar for me. I picked it up on May 15, 2003, an exceptionally bright and crisp spring day. I emptied the sidecar of everything for the occasion, so I had no ballast at all. I was nearing home on Jockey Street, preoccupied with enjoying the ride home and I was looking forward to taking pictures of the new rig. I arrived at one of my favorite curve on this road and I realized I was going too fast. I was afraid the sidecar was going to lift on this right-hander and I just froze. I crossed into the other lane, then into the ditch and totaled my new pride and joy. I fractured my elbow and put a big dent in my ego. I was never going to drive another sidecar rig.