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Newbie to Sidecar

We are Lowell & Donna, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I am a Resident Manger for a 75 unit Apt complex, which we live at, and Donna works for Yellow Book (now HIBU) here in Cedar Rapids. I retired from the Navy (23 yrs) in 1999. We have been married (36 yrs) with 4 kids and 7 grandkids.

Dirt bikes as kid. Had a Suzuki GSE425 about 30 years ago. Bought the kids and me a Kawasaki 125 Enduro about 20 years ago.

Almost four years ago our oldest son Shawn (31) passed away. He left a daughter Anna (9) in Alabama and a son Izan (4mos) here in Iowa. As part of our grieving process Donna and I purchased a 1986 Kawasaki Voyager XII, and began taking day trips and long weekend excursions. As our 3 other kids Brandon, Justin, & Beth are grown and it is fairly easy for both of us to get away from work, it gave us the time to be together and grieve.
We put 10K miles on the first year. The second year we started watching Izan more, as his mom Casey tried to adjust and grieve. We put 6k miles that year.

This past year Casey lost full parental rights of Izan so Donna and I decided to adopt Izan rather than have him go to foster care. We are in our 50's and now find ourselves full time parents of a very energetic almost 4 year old. We are run hard and put to bed wet just about every night. But it is worth it. He has cut into our riding time though. We find it hard to get good sitters on short notice. SOOOOOO, over the winter I sold the Kawasaki and bought a 1986 GL1200 SEI with a Friendship III Sidecar.

It has 68k miles and in great condition. I am the 3rd owner and all records and invoices have been kept.
I picked it up in Rochester, MN and rode her in the rain back to Cedar Rapids. It was wet and cold, but she is home in our garage ready for spring (if it ever decides to come this year.)

Izan has already been out with me for short rides to the store, but Grandma says it has to get a little warmer. We are definitely looking forward to some good times to follow.

As a retired school teacher, I'm thrilled to hear of two grandparents willing to do what you've done. Some of the greatest kids I ever taught were being raised by their grandparents. Good for you. It will be an interesting and exciting ride raising this child. Won't be long and you'll be taking all three of you everywhere in the sidecar rig.


Good on ya! I hope you learn to pilot the hack safely. Try to find instruction in your area, it will go a long way in keeping you safe.

Sounds great for all you guys! For a fact all we have is the brightness of our future because our present is even a memory of events after it's processed through all that synapse stuff. So you gotta keep moving to stay on top of all the motion around you and the best way to do that is in the wind! Hope the very best to you all, sounds like a great plan!

That is truly heartwarming! The handling is definitely different from what you're used to, but traveling on a sidecar rig introduces you to some wonderful people and the effect on Izan's personality will be profound. Good on you!

Barley (golden retriever) and I will be passing thru your town on our way back to Vermont from Oregon this summer. If you see a bright yellow GSA/Hannigan rig be sure to flag us down. Except for the occasional rally I rarely meet other sidecarists.


Good for you... I was in the Navy, not as long as you, 66 now retired from (Shaw Industries) Married 40yr. 2001 Ultra Classic & a 2001 Champion Daytona,

We were placed in your situation, our step son, & his girl friend had Emily, when Em was 6 months old, her mother was killed in a car accident, Our stepson was not able to care for her. We were given custody in 1993.

Happy to say, Emily is still living with us. is a part time CNA & still going to school, to become a nurse, WE could not be prouder of her, Enjoy every day, to the fullest, it was worth it.

Glenfiddich - 4/20/2013 6:39 AM
That is truly heartwarming! The handling is definitely different from what you're used to, but traveling on a sidecar rig introduces you to some wonderful people and the effect on Izan's personality will be profound...

 I 2nd the suggestions re: sidecar training. Here's to miles and years of safe travel and adventures.

Lee Summer Grove, LA Ural cT, CJ750, Burgman/Texas Ranger, Zuma 50F, MB5, TW200, CRF250L, GTV300

Welcome to the Granpa/parent club Lowell. I have a 4 yearold who rides with me everywhere I go. Check out

Doug "Rain Man" Plotner 2nd Thief M/M chapter coordinator Eastern Panhandle WV USCA #8789 01 883C Sportster /Velorex combo 95 Ultra Classic Electra Glide /California Friendship combo Iron Butt Association member