The Adventure Sidecar Story
I learned to ride my first sidecar motorcycle the hard way-by bouncing off things. It was an ancient BMW paired to an equally ancient and decrepit Ural. I had bought them both over the phone, sight unseen, from Poke’s Motorcycles in Seattle and my brother Andy hauled them to Hood River for me.
I read what I could find and bolted them together. On my first
Several years and six sidecars later, I was at a party in Vancouver. I had just built a new Triumph Speed Triple rig, black and shiny, with a deck of aluminum diamond plate. My friend Jack convinced me to let him take it for a ride around the block. It seemed like he was gone for a long time, when Amy asked, “Why is your bike in the back of that truck?” My heart sank. Jack had gotten to the first turn and felt the sidecar get light. He grabbed a handful of front brake and the rig pivoted into a ten-inch curb in the median. The bike was totaled.
When an opportunity came up to become a certified sidecar driving instructor, I thought about these experiences and decided I had a calling. And so, Adventure Sidecar was born. I spent nearly a decade introducing people to sidecars, training them to use the quirky asymmetry of three wheels to their advantage and shepherding them on tours through the wonders of the Columbia Gorge.
I enjoyed every minute of it and felt like I was doing something good. But I did miss having my weekends to myself without always being tied to a class schedule. The time came for a transition; I sold the bikes and shut the business down. Now I use my free time to camp and hike and hunt for mushrooms. Sometimes I reminisce and sometimes I write. I still enjoy sidecars and ride nearly every day, year-round.
This web page lingers on. Instead of using it to promote sidecar classes, it now features stories; adventures, musings, recipes, and yes, sidecars. I look forward to sharing these with you and, perhaps, to meeting you somewhere on the road.
If you came here looking for sidecar instruction, I no longer do that. Take a look at Evergreen Motorcycle Training.
Vernon is an avid sidecar enthusiast, poet, author
Mr. Wade was born in the Pacific Northwest and still lives in the shadow of Mt. Hood, near the small town where he grew up. Vernon has spent decades wandering the hills, hunting mushrooms, camping and riding motorcycles into the remotest nooks and crannies to be found in the region.
He never gets tired of it, he never gets bored. The world fills him with wonder. When he looks at the sky he is lifted into flights of fancy, when he stares at the earth he is drawn into the details of the minute. He is delighted to find the macrocosm and the microcosm equally mesmerizing.
Yeah, I’m Vernon’s youngest brother, though I’m often mistaken as older due to my greater level of wisdom and maturity. He used to introduce me as “The white sheep of the family”, but after hanging out with me the past ten years doesn’t seem to do that anymore. Go figure. I started riding motorcycles in 2008 after returning from living in Hong Kong for 12 years. Before that, I would ride in Vernon’s hack whenever we were back for a visit and I caught the bug.
Ordained in the Mennonite Church in 1994, I pastored in the Seattle area and Hong Kong before returning to my home town of Hood River. Although not currently pastoring a church here, I remain active in ministry first by helping start and run our local warming shelter, and now working on immigration issues through Matthew 25 The Gorge. In the mid 80’s I also worked as a freelance photographer, a passion of mine since I was in sixth grade.
Like Vernon, I grew up loving the outdoors and find time in the wild invigorating. Our frequent adventures into the woods to forage mushrooms, camp, or simply ride the back roads both renew and inspire.