You can help yourself learn to drive a sidecar by practicing some simple exercises that heighten your awareness of the differences to solo motorcycle riding and will build your confidence and skills more quickly. Here are three recommended exercises :-
  1. Drive some slow figure eights and tight circles in a car park or paddock. Actually use full lock around the corners – that is something you don’t do on a solo!
  2. Find a sloping area where you can practice your corners again. Corner to the left and the right and get the feel of the bike leaning out on the downhill side. Practice this so it does not unsettle you when you come upon it unexpectedly along the road.
  3. Find a quiet piece of winding road or a large flat area someplace and notice the helpful effect of accelerating gently through a left turn. When you enter a right turn roll the throttle off a little in the turn and notice how it pushes to the right where you want to go. Eventually these effects will be used subconsciously to ride around corners more easily.
For those of you lucky enough to own a Ural outfit, I recommend you learn to “fly your sidecar”. Learning this skill more than anything else can enhance your sidecar driving confidence. This is not because you need to drive around with it in the air showing off! Flying the sidecar improves your awareness and control of the sidecar especially in left hand corners, extreme off cambers and emergency directional changes.

To do this I teach riders using the following steps. If you are doing this without supervision you must exercise care as you will not have help to correct your technique and stay safe.

1.Wait until you have practiced the above exercises to a proficient level.
2. Choose a clear smooth surface grassed area at least 100 metres long
3. Use first gear only and not more than quarter throttle
4. Instigate a sidecar wheel lift by steering left.
5. DO NOT ACCELERATE – just use more steering lock to lift the sidecar. An empty Ural chair will easily lift at 10kph on left lock
6. It is instinctive to put the chair down again by turning right – no problem
7. Repeat this until you can use the steering to balance the bike with the sidecar flying. The sidecar wheel will probably be about half a metre off the ground to balance easily.
8. Notice that when the sidecar is flying you have reverted to solo riding technique to balance it!!

Sidecar driving is an accomplished skill and quite soon you can enjoy this wonderful motoring experience. The increased stability, carrying capacity and visibility as well as passenger comfort are great assets to share the ride.

You will discover that speed is not essential to enjoy the ride!

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