To Ural, or Not to Ural…

For some reason, I have recently become obsessed with riding with a side car motorcycle.  Might be the “Sit, Stay, Ride” video or just looking for something a little different, but definitely been bitten by the bug…

Buying a  Ural, even a used one, defies all logic.  Overpriced, slow, circa 1930 technology (although slowly changing), maintenance headache, challenge to drive…  but, what fun!!   Visions of riding up the coast of Maine with one of the dogs in the side car or a load of camping equipment is hard to resist.  If my wife approved, I would probably suit up my daughter and give her a ride as well…

As anyone who knows me can attest, I love to ride and am always looking for ways to combine adventures.  However, with the 2009 BMW Adventure (Sally) it seems that trips frequently end up on the highway, buzzing along at 70+ mph – very focused on the destination rather than the journey.  The Ural would force a bit of change here.  Damn thing hardly goes 70 mph – and is not happy doing so.  Much more comfortable at 50 mph or less on country roads.

Then there is the UDF (Ural Delay Factor) best described by this excerpt from the “Soviet Steeds” website message board:

Talk about yer Ural Delay Factor

by Yankee Dog » Mon May 05, 2008 12:55 pm

It was a fine Sunday afternoon. The missus and I were have a fine time just tooling on back home after a visit to town. As we came up to the road where we live I spied a State Trooper with someone pulled over.

I gave him some space as I make the turn but imagine my suprise when he hooked his finger and motioned for us to pull over. I was being good, so I figured it must be a licence check. As the guy aproaches I start sweating as I cannot remember where my registration is and I think the new proof of insurance is on the table at home. :o


So there we sat for about twenty minutes sitting on the side of the road shooting the poop. He asked all the usual questions and then one of the county sherifs pulls ups and it starts all over again. I could hardly believe it. :roll:

The missus and I almost fell out laughing as we finally pulled away. yeah, we get in converstations where ever we go. But I never thought anything like this would happen.

Life is good.

Wild camping near Algeciras, Spain.

Whatever the motivation, just seems like good old-fashioned fun and an opportunity to meet folks interested in the machine.  It certainly draws attention.

Wonder if I could justify it as a marketing  tool for TSD Environomics  maybe visit all of the 100 or so breweries in the state of Maine?  One of them must need some wastewater help…

Honestly, it is hard to justify for other than something fun;  without any real financial or other practical basis. 

One of my biggest challenges here in Maine is not riding during the cold weather, but snow and ice-covered ground.  Even on the days were the roads were safe, I couldn’t get out our long driveway on the motorcycle due to ice.  Usually, the BMW sees about 8,000-12,000 miles/yr on a combination of pleasure and work related trips.  Last year, mainly due to the horrible winter, Sally only saw about 3,000 miles – mostly from a few trips back to PA for work.  Driving the Boston, CT, NY, NJ corridor on a motorcycle is really not much fun…

So, here’s my plan.  Buy a Ural with the intention of riding around Maine over the next year and visiting every brewery I can find – at last count I think there were 112 of them…. Or, maybe use the Ural as a “vehicle” to experience the state and write about those experiences?  Hmmm… not sure either would fly – but would be great to try.

Found a demo bike out in Minnesota – probably $15,000 to get it – not including flying out there and driving back.  Looks a little too pretty for my intended use, but should do the trick.

Now, the next step is convincing the responsible one in our family that there is a good reason to have a 2nd bike as I am sure the 1st question will be “Why do you need a 2nd motorcycle?” – How do I answer that one?



Picture Credits: Copied from Ural Website – w/o permission (hope they don’t mind a little free advertising…)

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