I don't know why, but after 15 years on two wheels, I decided it would be cool to add a third wheel. One possible reason is I figured it might be more palatable to my wife. She doesn't like riding pillion so I thought maybe a side ride would be the thing to include her in my other greatest passion (any guy whose wife is also into bikes is truly blessed!). So, I have been thinking it over for the past year or so. Then around Easter my wife and I were driving through the Texas hill country and saw a rancher with a Ural loaded down with fencing equipment. I suddenly realized the utilitarian potential of a Ural, how it could be like a motorcycle pick-up truck, and decided I'd get one when I could. Well, that time came in the past couple weeks. I made a down payment on a new '14 Patrol on Saturday and picked it up Tuesday night. I learned to drive a side hack on my way home to New Braunfels from the San Antonio Ducati dealership. I also got home and realized the left side panel was missing. Did it come off on the way home or did the service people at the dealership forget to put it back on after charging the battery Tuesday afternoon? Who knows? It was dark when I took delivery of the bike so I don't know if it was there when I got the bike or not. Still, not a deal breaker.
I rode the bike 50 miles to work yesterday, from my house in New Braunfels to the school where I teach in Boerne. I rode without a passenger but with a lot of water bottles in the hack for ballast. The ride to and from work was uneventful. After getting home I asked my wife if I could give her a little spin and she said no. So I took my 10 year old daughter. We tried to take the dog, and he was game until I turned on the engine, when he tried to split. He ended up dangling out the side of the sidecar right in front of the wheel. So we went without him. Then my brother came over and I gave him a spin around the neighborhood. Finally in the evening, my wife finally gave in and let me take her for a spin. When we got back home she told me how much she hated it. Too loud, too hot, too dirty, too windy, I must be crazy to like motorcycles. Oh well, you lose some and you lose some more.
Today, on my way to work, I had my first real experience with UDF. But, it was not in a good way. My son started going to my school with me this morning, so out with the water bottles and in with a real passenger. We were about half way between home and work and I was wondering what kind of range the bike would get. I kept looking for the low fuel light to come on. I knew we were about a mile from a gas station and decided I didn't want to push it any further, just in case the low fuel light just wasn't working or something. Well, hell. As soon as I had the thought, the motor started losing power and died. Out of gas (at least I now know the range of my bike) about a mile from a gas station with at least one hill between us and it. So my son and I got out and started pushing. Pushing up hill. We got to the top of the hill just as we were running out of steam and I was hoping to see the gas station at the bottom of the other side. Darn, no gas station. Must be over the next hill. So we coasted down the hill and started pushing up the next hill. We were about half way up the hill when my son started puking up his breakfast (I guess he over exerted himself). Finally a guy in a pick up truck stopped and asked if he could help us. He didn't have a spare gas can (funny as we were leaving the house I thought it would be a good idea to grab one, just in case. And then didn't.). He offered to tow us the rest of the way up the hill and to the gas station. It was about one kilometer. We got our gas (thanks for the tow, Greg) and the bike started right up and there was still plenty of time to make it to work without being late. But I couldn't get the bike out of neutral. No matter how hard I tried to shift up or down, the bike stayed in neutral. The gear selector was froze in place. I called into work to let them know I was now going to be late and called my wife to ask her to please come pick us up. I would call the dealership later in the morning when they opened.
While waiting for my wife to get to us I continued to try to get the bike in gear. No dice. I just wondered about the reverse gear, if it would be jacked up too. Nope. It went into reverse, no problem. I took it back out of reverse without problem too. And then the bike went right into gear with no problem. And now it's running like a champ. But the engine light stays on.
So, any experienced Uralistas know what could be wrong? Why did I have such a problem getting the bike in gear? What could be wrong causing the engine light to illuminate now, does it have something to do with the fact that I ran it out of gas? I know that's probably not good for the fuel pump. Help, please.
2014 Ural Patrol
2006 Triumph Scrambler
2001 Triumph Sprint STThese are the good times, there's no looking back
jwaller is loving life, on his shiny red Ural hack.
Rolling through the hill country, one hand on the throttle .
It moves about as fast as ketchup flowing from the bottle.