Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Some tips for riding in deep snow with a Sidecar Rig

I found this information on the books link:  "The Manual for Enthusiasts of Riding with a Sidecar".
The book is in PDF format and is free.  It is a wealth of information on the theory and practice of owning, maintaining, setting up and riding a sidecar rig!  If you ride a sidecar, it's worth your time to read this and the acknowledge "bible" for Sidecar Operations:  Hall Kendall's "Sidecar Operators Manual"

But I digress, here's the applicable portion from the manual which caught my eye and may help you out when you're out riding on your sidecar rig in deep snow.  As always, be prepared and take things slow when riding on snow.

from 2010 Elephant Ride, the furthest point reachable 
by the Uralisti

Excerpt: (bolded text is my own commentary)

If the rear wheel does not grip on snow or a loose surface, stand on the rear footrests or kneel back as far as possible on the seat. A greater load is put on the rear wheel and the outfit will move again. The rider must then lean forward over the handlebars. Now it is important not to have too much power on the rear wheel, but a suitable gearing for a motorcycle with sidecar instead.  - From prior experience, this is quite accurate, I'll be strapping on a 60lb sand bag onto Yoshie's pillion seat for the upcoming Elephant Ride.

You can often find a track for the motorcycle in deep snow, but not for the sidecar. In such a case the rolling resistance of the wheel of the sidecar can become so great that the sidecar comes to a halt. The motorcycle tries to move around it, describes a quarter circle and then you are definitely stopped. - Also very true, the weight or drag of the sidecar pretty much sucks your rig into the snowbank on the side of the road if you're not careful.

After you have sweated a bit and have righted the motorcycle and sidecar again, put both feet on the left footrest and lean far enough to the left that the sidecar comes up.  With an empty sidecar and halfway normal track width this will always work. The cycle wheels are put under a heavier load, the wheel of the sidecar is up in the air and in most cases you can move again. - You definitely work up a sweat at times while extricating yourself and others from the spot in the snow where the rig has become stuck!  I'll be riding with an empty sidecar during the Elephant Ride to allow for the "lifting" of the sidecar.  From experience though, its more "lightening the load" on the sidecar wheel rather than actually being able to lift the sidecar into the air and out of the snow.  I guess I need to gain more weight huh?

If you get stuck, the passenger should push at the outermost edge of the sidecar. In most cases it is his fault anyway; if he had leaned over the rear wheel early enough, you would not have got stuck. If you are alone, clear the area in front of the sidecar wheel as far as possible, then either stand on the left footrest or help to get going by pushing. - One great thing I've see about the Elephant Ride is the willingness of fellow riders to help each other when stuck, I'll be in the company of Uralisti as well this year so while I may not get very far with Yoshie, I am sure I'll be able to make it back to pavement at the end of the day.

My previous reports on the Elephant Ride:

Four Uralisti Challenge the Elephant Ride

The Uralisti at the 2011 Elephant Ride


Chris said...

Good luck. I've stood on the rear pegs several times on the Ural. Even standing on the regular pegs adds traction. I'll have to practice standing on the outside peg and flying the chair ;)

PS: 2wd helps in deep snow haha :)

Bluekat said...

Sheesh, that sounds like some of the mountain biking techniques I've been reading about! Weight back, get low... And sometimes no technique offers up the right combination for forward motion.

At least with a bicycle I can just pick up the bike and move it to a better location.

I was watching an old WWII movie the other day and noticed none of the sidecar riders were using any kind of technique - silly hollywood rubbish!

Have fun on your ride! :)