Ural Chronicles II

“I’m never getting in that thing again!”, said my friend Alan.

We had been cruising around Hollywood Boulevard on a rental Ural cT. In & Out Burger, up and down the street, just having a good time while I was in LA for a few days for my work.

I rented the rig through Rider Share, from a crazy Russian and his friend, another crazy Russian, and spent a weekend in LA before I drove out to Rancho Cucamunga – “Train leaving on Track 5 for Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga!” – for a training class.

I had owned a Ural Tourist 20 years before so I was familiar with sidecars. I had a Genuine Stella scooter (think Vespa P150) with a Cosy sidecar. That was a great rig. The Stella the same reliability as the Ural – not stellar. What do you want from an Italian scooter copied by India? But more on that bike later…

It was a great winter weekend in California, clear and sunny. There was snow in the mountains around LA, and the roads up there required chains so I wasn’t able to get too far out of the sprall. Even so, it was fun driving around LA.

After secret menu items from In & Out, we went up Laurel Canyon Boulevard and headed back to my friends house.

There’s an uphill, right hand turn on Laurel Canyon Blvd, near Pace Restaurant. Its not too tight, not too fast. There is a rumble strip dividing the lanes.

Going in to this turn a little hot, the rigs well worn Russian tires started sliding, bike drifting to the left. Into oncoming traffic.

Throttle on, bars right, big lean to the right and a stab at the rear brake. The rig pivoted right like it was on a turntable.

Back on rhe road and laughing in my helmet. A few miles to Alan’s house, back in to the driveway. Bike off. Helmets off. i gave him a big grin and said “How was that?”

“I’m never getting in that thing again!”, said my friend Alan.

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