by Ruth Hummel
Second Thursday preschoolers had a roaring good time in January exploring motorcycles through games, activities, stories, and crafts. The children learned that a motorcycle (or motorbike) is a vehicle used to transport people from one place to another. A motorcycle does not have 4 wheels like a car. It has 2 wheels like a bicycle, but it has a motor like a car.
Ora Ball brought his motorcycles for the preschoolers to explore. The vehicles included a black 2006 Honda Shadow Sabre and The Green Camouoflage 2007 Ural Gear Up 750 CC with sidecar. Duncan contributed to the vehicle of the month by bringing his motorbike, which he built himself.
Motorcycles are used for long distance travel, commuting, cruising, sports including racing, and off-road riding. All motorcycle drivers and riders must wear a helmet to stay safe. A motorcycle is normally driven by one person. A passenger can also ride on the back of the motorcycle. Some motorcycles have a sidecar that can carry another passenger. Check out Ora’s write up about his motorcycles below.
A motorbike is a bicycle equipped with a motor. A motorbike is made up of 4 major parts that include the batteries, the motor, the sturdy frame and spokes, and the brakes. Check out his story about how he built his motorbike below.
The Sidecar is The Green Camouflage 2007 Ural Gear Up 750 CC opposing cylinders engine, 5 speed transmission (reverse and 4 forward gears) with optional two wheel drive for off-road use.
The sidecar came about as a safer way to carry passengers and equipment. It comes in handy when going to the store for groceries and of course kids and dogs love riding in it, too. From what I’ve heard, it really came into popularity with the advent of WWII and became a vehicle of choice afterwards in Britain and Europe because of its availability.
I enjoy riding whenever I get the chance. Now, though, I am a little more selective when I ride. I check the weather for storms and cold and try to avoid rush-hour. I don’t ride below 50 degrees now, having ridden in my share of 30 degree weather and snow in Oklahoma during my college days. I have owned many different motorcycles over the years, Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and now a Ural. All have been a cruiser style except for the sidecar. Cruisers allow the rider to sit in a more upright comfortable position for long trips. I have been riding since I was 16, so that would make 42 years now. Yikes! Where has the time gone?
I was tired of walking to and from school every day with all my heavy textbooks, so naturally I decided to make a motorcycle. A friend of mine had tried to do something similar just for fun, but it did not work too well for him. I found a kit on the internet which used a small engine attached to a bicycle. The kit came with unintelligible instructions, so I had to figure out, with a lot of trial and error, how to assemble the kit. The kit was very cheap, and it showed.
This was my first major project I had attempted by myself, and I learned a great deal along the way. I was always (and still am) constantly fixing something or another that was broken on it; I never got it to run completely right. When it works, it is way better to use than a traditional human-powered bicycle, but if the engine won’t start and you have to pedal it back home, it is awful! Just pedaling it the mile back to my house feels like running a marathon.
As much as I hated having to constantly battle the motorbike every day, it was a lot of fun, and has given me a bunch of great stories — from it catching fire in front of the school security officer, to wrecking it in my driveway, giving me my first set of stitches and major scar. Unfortunately, that last wreck bent the frame of the old bike so bad, the chain no longer can line up with the engine making it near impossible to use anymore, so for the last 3 years, it has been sitting in my garage. I do have plans to fully fix it in the future, but for now, it is just on display.