Monthly Archives: July 2014

Flying the Chair at Valpo Care


For the last ten years we’ve done an annual ride at a local nursing home, Valpo Care and Rehabilitation Center. The residents enjoy riding in the sidecars and hanging out with riders that volunteer their time. Normally, we keep things pretty tame on the rides. This year though, I saw my chance for a little fun with one of the staff’s kids. It was a major anniversary after all.


“Flying the chair” is a basic sidecar riding skill, one that new rig owners are encouraged to practice, preferably in a vacant parking lot. The reason is simple: sometimes the sidecar will get lite, generally on right-hand turns. The rider, or pilot as often referred to needs to know how to handle the machine under such circumstances.

This short clip shows me bringing the chair up on a right-hand turn. In truth, it’s not difficult to lift it on a straight run with a bit of body English and throttle application. Once in the air it’s possible to keep going until you run out of gas or road, which was what happened here.

Thanks to Eli for taking capturing the action with his phone.


The Road to Rockville

rockville picture
Rockville Women’s Prison

After they settled into the paddy wagon, Brenda and her companions were securely shackled hand and foot. An expanded metal divider separated low, hard benches which were arranged length wise along the van’s walls. A small window in the rear door was the only connection to the outside world. In contrast to the celebratory mood of a few minutes earlier, the girl’s outlooks had deteriorated considerably. Gloom pushed anticipation aside. Brenda looked at Liza through the mesh. Neither felt like talking.

Officer Malvey secured his seat belt, checked his mirrors, and then gave a nod. The sally port’s garage door began its laborious assent. Once open, it revealed an ominous sky replete with thunderheads and flashes of lightning. Brenda assumed they would head south, as the two DOC women’s facilities were located in Indianapolis and Rockville respectively-each about three hours away. It was going to be a long ride. Nothing was set in stone, but since Rockville was a designated intake facility, Brenda guessed that was their destination. Soon, the wagon was lashed with sheets of pounding rain.

Logistics of transporting eight anxious women were simple: keep driving until you get to the destination. No stopping to stretch. No bathroom breaks. Any variation posed a security risk. After a couple of hours of riding there was little frame of reference when unfamiliar structures appeared out of the mist in the rear portal. Brenda had no idea what they were, or even where they were.

What the hell are those things? They’re so huge. They’re kind of freaking me out. They look like . . . aliens. I’m scared. Man I hope we don’t hang around here very long.

The windmills of Fowler Ridge performed escort duty for many miles. Once they were gone, an even more disquieting sight seized Brenda’s attention. Malvey had driven off the main highway and stopped at what Brenda assumed to be some sort of a gate due to the muffled voices that filtered into the prisoner compartment.Then, he drove a short distance, ground the transmission into reverse which gave a high-pitched wail as the van lurched backwards. His dazed passengers got the first glimpse of their new home. Through the portal Brenda saw the sun breaking across the clouds as it glinted off of the razor wire of Rockville Women’s Prison. Even in this place of sadness, the rays of light gave her hope.



Propping a Luscombe Silvaire


Since I’ve been hanging out at the airport I figured a video on airplanes would be appropriate in my bike category.  Let me explain. A lot of pilots are also motorcycle enthusiasts. A group of guys based at Porter County Airport have an informal bike club that meets on Tuesday evenings at guy named Louie’s hangar. This past Tuesday as Louie was preparing to take one of his planes up, I filmed the proceedings with my Nikon D 90, my first attempt at video. Here is the resulting short clip. Now for the disclaimer:  Don’t try this at home! Death or dismemberment can result. The participants shown are experts.