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Sidecar travel

Now...what is this?
Jolanta is my robust, reliable sidecar motorcycle with a lot of charisma and an attractive personality. Since 2008 she is my faithful travel partner and together we travel the dusty dirtroads to exciting destinations.

In the good old days, when men were still allowed to be men, hard guys like Uncle Zeb took his horse and rode up some mountain, just to get away for a while. Just thinking, talking with the horse and looking at the sunset. Today — riding a horse up some mountain, is not easily achievable. This is where a lovely motorcycle like Jolanta comes handy. She gives you a chance to pretend that you are a weather-beaten, hard man who has travelled the dirtroads for ages. A nice way of being a cowboy for a while.

What is she like?
First of all, driving and owning a russian sidecar motorcycle is a very different experience from having an "ordinary" motorcycle. To start with, it isn't really a motorcycle. No, it is a motorcycle with some heavy, bomb proof thing attached to its side: a sidecar! Initially the sidecar was designed to carry potatoes, loads of chopped wood or your grandmother. This makes things a lot different from driving a standard motorcycle. Or actually, you do not drive a motorcycle like this, you just follow. Sometimes you ask her carefully to go right or left. When she's in a good mood she follows your request, otherwise you just have to follow. Driving a bike like this the first time is therefore a slightly shocking experience, especially if you have driven some Japanese or German quality bike before. This is something different. You simply have to reset all your earlier motorcycling standards and get yourself prepared for a whole new experience. On top of this, the bike is made in Russia. This means that there are no breaks, no gearbox (there is some kind of box but it is just there to make noice) and a lousy overall quality, no guarantees and a total lack of service organisation. I see now that new bikes like this go for 12 000 EUR! That is pure madness. Really. A fair price for a new one would be 5 000 EUR, not a single Rouble more.

But — and this is a big BUT (not butt): Despite all this, the Russian Ural Sidecar motorcycle is a great bike! Everything is based on such basic and simple technique that even I can fix it. And everithing is so extremely over dimensioned that a little lack in design or quality doesn't really matter. For travel like this, it is the best bike around. No doubt! After all, they have been driving these bikes on poor roads in Siberia with the sidecar full of frozen potatoes for decades.

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