*Copyright 2012.  Not for redistribution without permission. 

Your Sidecar Pal.  Forget Wintry Winds Long Enough to Read This Summery Confession of a Motorcyclist Who Learned by Accident That His Best Sidecar Passenger Was His Wife. 

Theoretically a man’s best pal should be his wife.  Practically, there are very few men who can search the innards of their consciences and say, she is.  In all my brazen shamefulness I admit that I used to be one of them.

Opposing temperaments usually make the best marriages; on the other hand, most pals have temperaments alike.  Our case is paradoxical.  Like most other married folks we carried out to the letter the time honored precepts to love, honor and obey.  But we were just husband and wife.  But now I am getting in too deep with this philosophical stuff.

It was an accident that brought me to a greater appreciation of my better half as a traveling companion.  I am not talking about a smashup.  I should have said an accident.  It happened three years ago.  The club was arranging for a Labor Day tour of three days’ duration.  I did the pathfinding with a newspaper man as passenger.  It was agreed that he was to go along to cover the tour for his paper.

Day before the tour my passenger telephoned that it would be impossible for him to go, other matters intervening.  I scurried around all that day trying to find another passenger without success.

All this time it had never occurred to me to take Her along.  It just didn’t seem natural.  Probably the frailties of frames and springs those days had something to do with it.  Also She probably would and maybe wouldn’t object to my saying that her weight is around 180 pounds.  And there were no three-speed gears then.

My quest for a passenger was fruitless.  I did want to take the sidecar in that tour.  It was to be the first motorcycle party to go out of the city on a long jaunt with sidecars in the bunch.  Also I knew from having been over the route that there were long stretches of sand but I carefully guarded the fact from the other fellows.  “Mostly boulevards”, was the essence of the pathfinder’s report.  They all are.

I did some thinking then.  “Why not, it will be lots of fun”, I thought.  So I rang Her up.  She was about as much put out as if I had asked her to go to a burlesque show.  We had never ventured more than 12 or 15 miles from home before that time and this trip would take her “considerable far” away from her mother.

It was with a sort of feeling of pride next morning at the start of the tour that I introduced my wife to the gathering.  Two of the other fellows had brought their wives along in sidecars and we had one girl solo rider with us.  So we had a nice little party aside from the stag element.  I began to look with feelings of disgust on the fellows riding solo.  How selfish they were!  The memory that I was one of them only yesterday had faded with rapidity.

Well, the tour was a big success.  It was the first time that my wife was brought to the realization that there was so much country outside the city.  Scenes that had become ordinary to me were a constant recurring series of delights for her.  I began to take new interest in touring.

“Why didn’t we go together on all your trips?” she asked when we pulled up in front of our own door after the tour disbanded and we had all promised to be on deck when the next club jaunt was staged.  “That’s the very thing that has been bothering me all along this trip,” was the best I could reply.

We have done thousands of miles together since that time, my wife and I.  I would not think of going on a trip without her.  She is an ideal sidecar passenger.  For one thing I do the driving.  She doesn’t caution me constantly to be careful about railroad crossings, trolley tracks, holes in the road, or ruts.  No “Why don’t you take this side” or “How did you happen to hit that rock” stuff from her.  She realizes that probably she would have done the very same thing if she were driving.  That’s where so many men make pests of themselves as sidecar passengers.

The fact that we have both been able to enjoy motorcycling has made a world of difference in our connubial felicity.  Club tours have increased interest for me and the presence of ladies on those trips has marked a wonderful change in the atmosphere of the gang.  There is no more rough stuff.  What’s more, I really believe the fellows like to have the women along.

During the past summer I have done practically no touring for the reason that we are both anxiously waiting for a certain little five months’ old baby boy to get big enough to allow mother and daddy to go touring again.  When we do there will be another passenger in our sidecar outfit.

And we are better pals than ever, only there are three of us now.

Source:  Motorcycle Illustrated.  Feb. 1, 1917.

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