Finally had a chance to finish up and paint the sidecar cage. I'm very pleased with how it came out. I learned a lot of lessons which would lead me to do some things differently were I to do it again, but I doubt I would do it again because most of those lessons related to my cutting lots of corners knowing my attention span was limited and I just needed to push through and get it done as quickly as possible. And fortunately nobody else will know what I know about the corners I cut, so it hardly matters. I think the entire project took me about 35 hours, from idea to completion.
The dogs have yet to ride in the completed version. On what was to be the first test ride, with dogs all loaded up and in their goggles, the spark advance cable snapped as I tried to start the engine. I replaced that part within a day or two only to have the December rains descend on Southern California. Hopefully by Wednesday they clouds will part and the dogs and I can show it off.
And here's the link to all the pictures of it.
I've been performing sea trials of the custom dog cage I built for my sidecar rig. Below are the photos and video of Osita and Lupa in their new three wheeled conveyance. Fortunately the dogs seems to love it, despite the tight quarters.
Everything seems to be working well, so all I need to do is reinforce, redo, and temper a few welds and then give it a paint job (black). I will also make a removable dog bowl holder so they can travel in style with a bowl of water and food. You can see some earlier photos of the cage.
The Griffith Park Sidecar Rally was this past Sunday and the day before I got the bright idea of making a custom fit cage / crate to fit in the sidecar bucket for the easy and safe transportation of pets. I had the idea about 4 years ago but never got beyond a few sketches. Eventually Osita just started joining me without a cage (instead held in with a padded harness). That system worked brilliantly, but Osita has recently begun palling around with another smaller dog and I'd like to occasionally take them both in the sidecar and the harness system just wouldn't cut it. Sadly, as so often happens, I discovered I was overly ambitious and started way too late, so there was no way I was going to finish it in time for the rally... but that's ok, it was the impetus I needed to get started, and it's now about 85% done. The only tricky part which still remains will be the door, and that will only be tricky because it'll take a bit of planning, measuring, cutting, etc. The rest of the cage I made on the fly without any drawings, rulers, notes, or anything; I just added every new piece of metal where I thought I wanted it (I knew if I started by planning I'd never actually make it). Hopefully I'll be done by next weekend, painting (black) and all. (It's been nice to get back to oxy-acetylene welding... though my hands are killing from all the many burns.)
The scooter group I'm in took great these photos of this year's rally; I didn't make their ride, sadly, I was still working on building this when they left. Among those photos are two of sidecars for dogs, apparently my idea wasn't so unique:
Still, I like my design better.
Follow Up: A few weeks later I finished the job! You can check out the final pictures and the photos of the dogs in it.
A few weeks ago I started "working" at my friend's vintage BMW motorcycle shop. Rick Monahan, owner of Black Kat Motorwerks, needed some help and I wanted to learn how to fix old motorcycles. I think this particular sort of manual labor is good for me, a useful contrast to the more cerebral stuff I do in the dotcom space.
I split my time between helping him with the bikes and helping hi on the business side. I re-launched his website (redid the one I originally made for him 3-4 years ago). I also have been promoting his shop and getting him out to promote it himself, such as at the recent Venice Vintage Motorcycle Rally.
This week I fixed up my Chang Jiang motorcycle (and sidecar) and got it back on the road. And I got Osita, my dog, all set up to ride with me. I customized some open cockpit aviation goggles with new straps to fit a dog, and reworked a genuine Soviet-era tank commander's helmet to fit securely on her head. To ensure her safety she wears a harness which I clip to a mount attached to the inside of the sidcar bucket (she can sit or lie but otherwise stays put).
Tonight we went for a ride all around Venice, got chai by the beach, then went to Swinger's in Santa Monica for dinner. Everywhere we went people were highly amused.
My friend Rick had been looking to get into motorcycles and had been looking for something with the beauty of a vintage bike, but the reliability of a modern one. I'd recommended he look into the Triumph Thruxton. He did, and subsequently bought one. After he had his for a few weeks and I got a chance to ride it and appreciate all that it could do, I got one, too.
I've done quite a few cosmetic mods to my bike, most of them coming from the New Thruxton store.
Cosmetic Modifications so far:
- Quinxy von Besiex's racing number: "09"
- Fender Elimination Kit (including new front and rear turn and tail lights)
- Dart Flyscreen
- White stripes (to cover the bike's gold stripes)
- HID headlight bulb
- Taillight flasher
- Turn signal canceling device
- Aluminum billet gas cap
- Oil temperature sensor
- Easy removal rear seat cover bolts
- Battery tender connector
- and more...
On my list of things to do next is replace the clutch springs with performance clutch springs, rejet the bike, and remove the airbox.