Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sanoke's Snow Outrigger

Today I had the pleasure of visiting Sanoke, aka John, whom I regard as one of the motorcycling mentors I've been fortunate to have since I started riding in 2006.

He introduced me to long rides, down remote trails and roads, and got me thoroughly hooked on the concept of lone riding and exploration.

What occasioned this visit today was my finding a posting by John on the forum where his great photography makes regular debuts to loud acclaim. John's got a great eye for photography by the way, you should check out his work at

In this posting he mentioned using an "outrigger" to negotiate snowy terrain to escape his neighborhood when its snowbound. He, like me, has been known to snowblow a path out of his neighborhood, using cleared sidewalks to access the main roads once they themselves are dry enough for safe riding.

Now, he no longer needs to snowblow his way out and can actually do short rides on snow/ice covered roads with no problems or worries about falling over.

Great shot of a bike on snow!

Sanoke's Outrigger

I did some searching on the forum and found more information which led to an email exchange between us. He graciously allowed me to come by today and take the following pictures of the outrigger. All I can say is: "wow, john, what a cool way to get around the issue of snowbound access to main roads!" You rule! As my kids would say.

Four Motorcycles where one car would fit!

The Man himself!

John shows how he adjusts the toe-in for the third wheel

Here's some closeups of the bike and the mounting points and hardware that John created out of material he bought from the hardware store and he welded/crafted together. John designs electronic circuit boards for pacemakers but was an auto mechanic before that. Talk about a renaissance man!

Right Passenger Peg Mount Point

Upper Frame Mount Point

Upper Rear Shock Mount Point, check out the toe-in adjustment nut on the right!

Check out how he crafted the junction of the three 3/4 inch pipes to support the third wheel, very cool and functional.

John put a steel rod inside the middle tube for reinforcement

That's a 50LB weight to keep the wheel down during right turns!

John rode the bike out with the rig attached to show me its operation. It looked so simple but its not. He let me try it out and I promptly rode it up onto the sidewalk, almost hitting his neighbor's mailbox! Definitely not the same as riding a regular motorcycle. I got off and he rode it around some more for me to observe. I did not ask for another try as I'd probably have broken something! Still, he showed me it works fine and looks like a lot of fun!

He uses the outrigger to motor out of the neighborhood when its snowbound, three bolts and it comes off once he's on dry main roads and he leaves the outrigger chained to a sign or something and goes riding! Upon his return, he mounts the rig back onto the bike and rides the snow back to his home. What a great idea.

We talked some more after this, he went for a quick ride on Brigitta, my 1987 R80 Beemer and seemed to like it. Not shown in the picture of John's garage is a 1972 Triumph Bonneville motorcycle he's fixed up and gotten ridable for his brother-in-law in Arizona, very cool.

1972 Triumph Bonneville which he revived from having sat in a garage since 1986

Here's a shot of the auxiliary tank John's got on his "long distance" motorcycle, he definitely does not let gas station locations dictate his route if he does not want them to!

A short but very enjoyable visit with John, someday if I am lucky, I'll have a bit of his experience and skills. Thanks John for your time, and for having taken a neophyte rider under your wing more than two years ago!


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom)

While I love riding my bike under most circumstances, I give snow, icy, or the opportunity to run into both the pass. My reasoning is that my odds of dropping the bike increase exponentially and having to wash the snows stains and the salt off the machine are a drag.

My winterization of my bike is complete, including getting it tuned up for the spring, and I am now ready for another year.

Fondest regards,

CrazyDave said...

Gotta love John!