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Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' at netrider.net.au started by Grrrl, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. .

    For those that don't know the back story about the accident that left me paralysed and wheelchair bound, and my gradual return to the 2 wheeled world, here's where you can catch up:

    Grrrl, The Crash, The Story, The Pictures

    4 Wheels Moves the Body, 2 Wheels Move Soul

    Grrrl, Return to the 2 Wheeled World, Part I

    Grrrl, Return To The 2 Wheeled World, Part II

    So... to continue on from there, it came down to one person to sign me off, but he got cold feet and suggested I go for a trike, and recommended the Can-Am Spyder. Grrr!!!

    I am sure there is a post somewhere about me getting my trike licence on the Spyder, but I can not find it anywhere :(

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  2. .

    We borrowed Spyder and headed off for a few days of riding and camping. Again, I am sure there is a thread about that somewhere too, but I can not find it!


    The Spyder was fun and overall I did have a great time, but riding this thing is a lot of hard work for someone without full trunk control. You have to wrestle it around the corners and because it does not lean over like a motorcycle your body is effected much more by centrifugal force (or g forces, or inertia or whatever it is, haha (you physicists are welcome to elaborate on this). As I would turn right my upper body would be pulled to the left and vice versa. The harder you turn, the stronger the pull towards the outside of the turn. This was not ideal, so we kept looking for a better solution...

  3. We found a vaguely similar thing overseas... sometime later a crate arrived and we collected it from customs...

  4. Everything finally unpacked!

  5. Wallah! She is ready to roll!

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  6. We found an industrial estate to start practicing in because it is nice and quiet after hours. We chose a nice wide court which had a U turn area at the end big enough for a truck to turn around. That was perfect for my first 2 rides.
    Like the SV there is a button I push that switches this thing from being rigid and vertical to being able to lean freely like a motorcycle. We call it a *tilt lock*. At first I was quite nervous about pressing the button, it was just like the first few times I rode the SV really. That was a long time ago I guess, but once again I was not sure how much my balance would come into it.

    After this I graduated to a 1.5km long no thru road we found out the back of a ½ developed industrial estate. It was perfect! It had long sweepers, a roundabout and a few tighter turns towards the end, so it gave me a chance lean the thing over and see how I go. I found myself getting nervous at the roundabout the first couple of times, but I was relieved when it turned out not to be too difficult. Stewy suggested I try going right around the roundabout instead of straight through it and I remember being very nervous about doing that, but again it was actually easy enough, and quite fun. The trickiest part was doing the U turn at each end with the frame rigid in *trike mode* and then riding away and pressing the button and switching into *bike mode*. Obviously I lock the thing vertical when I am taking off from a stop or coming to a stop instead of putting my feet down, but it is also really handy for slow speed riding and U turns. When it is locked vertical it handles like a trike. To turn right you turn the handle bars to the right and vice versa, there is no counter steering! Then when I switch the tilt-lock off it is all counter steering. It messes with your head for a while I tell you! You really have to think about the way you steer it each time you switch from one to the other.

    Here I am in the saddle.

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  7. And here I am going round one of the sweepers. It looks so strange to see a trike leaning over, I know from driving around behind Stewy when he was testing it and tweaking it until it was right for me. I rode up and down this 1.5km stretch a handful of times that week, in the evenings until it started to get dark (it gets dark way to early ***8211; daylight savings should start on the first day of Spring :p).

  8. .


    We decided I would be ok to try the open road, away from busy traffic and intersections, so yesterday we drove out with the bikes on the trailer, to Briagolong. We parked the car at the back of the little servo in town, unloaded the bikes and geared up. Adam helped me onto my bike then dismantled my wheelchair and loaded it on the rack that *Deadman* made for us so that I could pillion on Adams bike for last years cup weekend trip (thanks again, Brian!)...

    Here I am mounted up and velco*d on at Briagolong, ready to go.


    And off we went... Stopping and starting is the trickiest part of riding for me now, so it was nice to be able to ride more than a few kilometres and really get into the swing of things. Once we were on the Dargo road I had 50km of beautiful winding road ahead of me, through some stunning countryside... I was feeling well balanced and comfortable on the bike, I was becoming more relaxed and my confidence was slowly growing. After a while I did not need to concentrate so intensely on the controls, they were starting to feel natural and I guess it all started to come back then.

    I was just riding, cruising along and absorbing it all. I had forgotten how much more *in touch* you are with the environment you ride through compared with sitting in a car, how you come across a patch of road where the eucalyptus smells stronger or different than usual, or the smell of someones campfire by the creek off to the side of the road, or the yucky smell of road kill. I have never seen so many poor dead wombats!

    I noticed how the road looked, getting more blurred as it rushes towards you, it is a perspective you just do not get from a car. There were times where I was absorbed in all of this and simply in the SENSATION of riding that I had forgotten about everything else, any worries or cares were well and truly out the window and for the first time in nearly 6 years, absolutely nothing was wrong (it is making my eyes a little bit soggy just thinking about that feeling as I type this now ***8211; it is not often you feel like everything is right in the world (if ever)). I felt so... unconfined, if that makes sense? It was a strange thing to have to remind myself every now and then, that I am paralysed.

    We pulled in at the Dargo Hotel for a celebratory beer and I finally got to debrief and reflect on everything that had just happened. My eyes may have got a little soggy through that conversation ;-)
    Outside the pub we chatted with a couple of other riders that were fascinated by the mechanical marvel that is my bike. It is a small world, the biking one... As it turned out, one (or both) of those guys posted photos of it on facebook. It turns out that Chris, one of my facebook friends, is also friends with the guy who posted the pics, so Chris already suspected that I had been to Dargo before I told anyone, haha.

    This machine does attract a lot of attention, it is strange sight to see a trike leaning over around corners. We have had people on their bikes follow Stewy, weaving his way into the industrial estates until he stops where I would practice. They just have to see it up close and have a good look, ask questions etc.

    We headed back the same way and I felt like I had to get used to it all over again, but after a few km it was starting to flow once more. We had had no traffic on our way to Dargo, but on the way back I caught up to a few cars. I followed the first one for quite a while, happy with the pace he was setting but eventually he pulled over to let us pass (probably thought he was holding us up) but I found I did have a little more and we gradually pulled away from him. I was amazed, I had been worrying that I would be the one holding up the cars, I thought I was travelling at learner pace, and I mean fresh learner pace!

    I got back to Briagolong with 160km under my belt, a grin like a Cheshire cat under my helmet and a head and heart full of all sorts of emotions and it is all thanks to you, Adam/Stewy.
    What you have done for me is... is beyond words. What the hell can I say? Next I am going to thank a few other people that were involved in helping this come together and I have a rough idea of what I might say, but for you I am finding it much more difficult to find the right words to describe how I feel. Hmmm... Maybe I'll come back to you.

    A big thank you goes out to:

    Roarin - for making the mounts for the mud guards and welding them, it was a very tricky job and they turned out better than expected considering what we gave him to work with!

    Booga - for his help with the electronics. I got to witness you at work this time around, and Dave you are a far bigger geek than I had previously realised (hehehe).

    Carver - for his help with the programming of the chip

    And of course, Stewys parents Ian and Lyn- You guys have been an amazing support for us, and this project. Thank you for letting us clog up your garage with this bike and for putting up with all the parts and tools lying around while it was being worked on (and it still is!).
    Lyn, Thank you for bringing us hot chocolates on those freezing cold nights and for feeding us when we were there late so I would not have to cook dinner when we got home.
    Ian I think you, with your wealth of mechanical knowledge, were an invaluable support for Adam through this. You were always there for him to bounce ideas off you, to help nut out problems, or physically help out whenever it was needed.

    Ok here goes. Adam, you are incredible. You are brilliant. I can not thank you enough for your sleepless nights and your tireless efforts in making this happen for me. I expected to find a certain level of freedom with this, but you have given me a taste of a freedom far beyond what I expected to find because I never expected to forget about my paralysis and that for me is huge. That never happened on the SV (although there might have been potential for it), and it most certainly did not happen on the Spyder. Although it was fun, the nature of the Spyder actually reminds you of your paralysis constantly. So, even if that one ride had to be my last, I am still happier for it. I wish I could find the words to express what this means to me, what you mean to me, but I can not seem to do you justice!

    Maybe the Cheshire cat grin tells you enough.
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  9. At the Dargo Hotel where we stopped for our celebratory beer before heading back to Briagolong.

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  10. .

    Alas it did not have to be my last ride! We went out again last weekend :)
    This time we started in Moe, rode up to Thompsons Dam, across to Walhalla, then back to Moe.

    Roarin came along with us... and since I am quite slow (and he is not!!!!) he had plenty of time to ride ahead and stop on the side of the road with his fab camera and take some action shots!
    So I will post a few of those of so you can see the engineering marvel that is my bike, as strange (and awesome) as it looks as it tips in...

    Thanks so much Andy!!

    Well firstly, here is Stewy with my dismantled wheelchair on the back of his bike:

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  12. IMG_9645a.
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  14. Looking forward to it! It was exciting to see that recent photo on your new(?) machine.
  15. I remember reading your original crash thread before i joined netrider Grrrl.
    Amazing journey and its great to read the open honesty and feeling in your posts here.
    I doubt id have the willpower nor courage to keep going the way you have. For my part, given how much i biatch and moan about the pain from two bulged discs, id probably fall to bits and stay there were i to go through what you did.

    Congrats on your journey, and i think we would all love to see the cheshire cat grin :p.
    Hats off to the people who have helped make it possible too.
  16. i don't usually like trikes.
    but that thing is pretty freaking awesome.

    have followed your story over the years. lots of love and support and inspiration. must get this chick back in the saddle can do attitude. can't understate how impressive that is and has been.
    BUT, earlier efforts just don't compare to that beast. and i would still have been able to blow you off in the twisties.

    ...that weapon is going to slaughter us out there.
    and probably rub it in with a wheelie....

    this is not fair on me. this is not a fair contest...