CANADIAN VINTAGE MOTORCYCLE GROUP
L'Association Canadiennes Des Motos Anciennes
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Several CVMG members are interested in sidecars. Sidecars are attached to the frame of motorcycles and have a single wheel on the kerb side of the motorcycle. On the right in North American and continental Europe. On the left hand side of the motorcycle in the UK, and some other Asian countries.
Riding a motorcycle with a sidecar is a unique experience, the rider must "drive" the motorcycle if cornering in the same direction as the sidecar is located, and "coast and brake" when making corners in the opposite direction to that which the sidecar is located.
There are many forms of sidecar, the most type found on the road today is the single seat "sports" sidecar, with an open cockpit for the passenger and a small windscreen.
In the past, before cars became affordable for the general population, motorbike and sidecars were used for family transport. These tended to be enclosed sidecars with a side door. Some were known as Child-Adult, with a large seat in the front, and a small seat behind. Others were known as Double Adult, with two large seats, one behind the other.
Usually, it was the mother in the front seat of the sidecar, with possibly a baby on her lap. One or more older children in the seat behind, and the oldest son, having the privilege of riding on the pillion behind dad who was riding the bike. Most family sidecars had a cloth "sun roof", and sliding side windows. These helped communications between mum and dad, which usually involved shouting at the top of their voice.
Sidecars are still made in the UK by Watsonian. Steib sidecars are frequently found beside BMW motorcycles.
In the past sidecards were made by Busmar - famous for a large Double Adult, that was usually beside a BSA Goilden Flash, or a Panther as shown in the photo above.
Swallow Sidecars made child adult sidecars until the 1950's. These were the carriage builders that precluded Jaguar Cars, and folk lore would have us believe that the SS model of Jaguar car was named after "Swallow Sidecar"
Up until the mid 1960s, motorcycles with sidecars were used for commercial purposes, such as ice cream vendors, Road side vehicle repairs, (most famously the UK Automobile Association (AA) yellow bikes and sidecars, Gas repair technicians used sidecars, along with plumbers and electricians.
In continental Europe, very light, single seat sidecars were even attached to scooters.
If you would like to join the CVMG "sidecar" special interest group, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org