Jezz's Sidecar

Jezz Harty's bicycle sidecar So, Jezz, rumour has it you've got a bicycle with a sidecar stuck on it?

JH: Yeah, that's right. How was the sidecar made? Where did it come from?

JH: It came a friend of mine. Him and his dad. He's one of those people that, he doesn't mess about, if he wants something and he can't get hold of it, he'll just make it. He used to do motorbikes, as well as pushbikes, he was talking about trial sidecars, and he just had this silly idea of knocking one together. Now, most people wouldn't have got any further than the idea...

JH: Well, he mentioned this one evening at the pub, and we got talking. As luck would have it, there was a bed in the street and various bits of metal. We cut them down with an angle grinder, laid out a roughly triangular shape, arc-welded it all together, tacked it on to a bicycle. Then we found that it flexed a bit, so we welded on another bit of metal and so it went... How's it fixed to the main bicycle?

JH: There's lots and lots of welding and gussets and bits of metal. So, its permanently attached?

JH: Welded on. Presumably there's going to be a lot of stress on a sidecar wheel?

JH: Originally it had a 26" wheel, but that failed as soon as it went round a corner with a passenger on. We went through four different wheels, until eventually we decided to put a BMX wheel on it. And it's set up on a bicycle which is geared fairly low?

JH: About 32:18, I think. Can you take it offroad?

JH: Yeah--but singletrack is a bit off-limits. So what sort of stuff do you do on it?

JH: Terrify people, really. It's come into its own as a drunken fun bike. I take it it's been to a number of UK singlespeed weekends?

JH: All the big UK events and just about everyone on the planet has ridden it. They're all slightly disturbed. A lot of them want to go and make one. What do the passengers say about riding in a bicycle sidecar?

JH: They say: 'Mummy!' Or 'Help!!' Have you got a seatbelt on there?

JH: I have now... Ha ha ha ha...

JH: I'm thinking about a mudguard, too. On a sidecar the passenger sometimes has to lean out. When they do, they hear a buzzing noise, and about three inches of armpit hair has disappeared into the wheel. So you get a screaming passenger while you're trying to hold a straight line. Were you saying that the bicycle turns really fast?

JH: Yeah, yeah, you can turn right around in one length no problem. In fact you can pedal backwards off home... You can reverse it?

JH: Yeah, it's fixed, you can go backwards. How often do you do that?

JH: Quite a lot, actually. I took a friend for a ride and I got about a hundred yards from home, realised I'd forgotten something, so I pedalled backwards back home.

I've got another brother who rides, who's like the sensible end of our gene pool. Works with computers, Saville Row suits, all this kind of behaviour. This thing reduced him to a gibbering idiot. Within half an hour of strapping in he was in the road on his back with the sidecar on top of him, laughing his head off...

v1.0 written May 2004

When he's not riding the sidecar, Jezz Harty spends a lot of time on his Pompino.

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