The time has come for me to explore the concept of sometimes trailering my Ural Sidecar Rig or my Beemer Airhead motorcycle for the longer trips across this great country. Sure, my Beemer can handle highway speeds all day long and not strain at all but the same cannot be said for the Ural.
That, and since I want my family along sometimes on the long trips, this way I can trailer the motorcycle and still help out with the driving duties of the family minivan.
Up till now, I'd always been one of those motorcyclists who believed in riding his trusty iron steed anywhere he wanted to go. Reality now is a new job with only two weeks vacation and with the Ural I'd end up using up most of that time riding there and back, with no time to explore much at the destination.
So, I looked into trailers, the one I want is pricey and I remain unsure as to how much use I'd get out of it you know? So when a co-worker friend of mine offered up his trailer to try out with Natasha, I took him up on the offer.
This past weekend, I was stuck near the house since I was on call for work; so it was perfect time to go pick up the trailer and see if I could fit Natasha onto it. My loving wife had recently had U-Haul mount a trailer hitch onto the minivan so I was all set.
I drove the car out to Oscar's house, and we got the trailer attached with no fuss. There was an issue with the left brake light but I thought I could figure it out. Oscar and I figured it was something with the trailer wiring as its been "well used" over the years.
Got the trailer home and here's some pics of the first attempt at loading Natasha:
Oscar's Trailer, those are 13" tires and the width of the trailer is 5ft.
Note the gap I had to bridge between the trailer's deck and the sidewalk in front of the house
Turns out, regular auto service ramps from the local auto parts store, with some bricks, fit the bill
My first attempt to load with my loving wife taking pictures
Those of you experienced trailer owners will have noted I was trying the above without leaving the tow vehicle attached! Yep, I ended up causing the front of the trailer to raise up as soon as the front of the motorcycle placed weight onto the rear of the trailer!
I quickly pulled in the clutch and eased her back off the trailer and onto the ramps to "assess" the situation.
The aftermath of the first attempt, luckily Martha didn't snap pictures of the Ural with the
trailer's front end up in the air!
After some thought, I placed a cinder block under the rear left corner of the trailer to prevent it from going down and all was well. Yes, next time I used the minivan as an anchor. Have you noticed I tend to learn things the hard way?
So the second attempt went much smoother, a bit of jockeying around to make sure the sidecar wheel was as close as possible to the right side frame and the left side jug, engine guard and pegs cleared the left side frame just fine!
Lining Natasha up with the ramps
You'll note the cinder block now in place!
And here she is, snug on the trailer!
It's less of a tight fit than I had originally estimated but still not much room to play with when riding her onto the trailer.
Not much room to play with.....
Oscar plans to weld a set of ramps and tailgate to the rear of the trailer
The next step, and the inspiration for the title of this posting, was to tie down the rig securely and take it out for a spin! I used straps borrowed from Oscar and attempted what I thought was a secure tie down.
I noticed her bouncing a bit more than I liked and drove over to Oscar's place for his advice. I was pretty much wrong on everything involving the tiedown usage methodology!
Oscar showed me how to properly tie down the rig and then she was really held in place, no more bouncing around as I drove around some more with the trailer in tow. I noticed both my front shocks are leaking oil though, I guess the attempt up Argentine Pass took its toll! Oh well. Time to get them serviced!
Note the tiedowns now anchor the front wheel into place, am planning on buying a wheel holder soon
The rear proved a bit more difficult to anchor properly, will do some more research
as I am not sure the anchor points I used will be strong enough for longer rides
Another view of the tiedowns and how Oscar "locked" the front wheel in place for now
Got Natasha back home and unloaded, worked on the left brake lighting issues. Much troubleshooting later, finally narrowed it down to the brand new wiring module from U-Haul that was wired into the minivan's left light assembly! Good quality control eh?
I got a replacement from them and all was well.
So, now I know I can trailer Natasha with the minivan, whether for long trips or repairs. Lots of stuff learned while "bound" to my home neighborhood due to on call duties and some electrical troubleshooting practice.