Phil Smith <><
The postman brought me a parcel with lots of stickers on it. It came from Ben Horner at Sidecar Pro in China.
All the goodies inside are individually and carefully wrapped—no likelihood of damage in the post.
The largest item is a new PLA cover for my sidecar.
The next item I unwrapped was a new combined rectifier and voltage regulator to replace the big diode board and regulator on my bike.
The smallest package in the box contained a rotor nut, a washer, and three small screws.
Another little package contained a computerised electronic ignition unit which will replace the points, condenser, and other bits in the so-called distributor (which is not really a distributor at all).
The heaviest package of all contained a stator and a rotor to replace my existing alternator (which has not been charging my battery for the past five years!)
After unpacking it all, I knew I did not yet have all the tools I needed to attempt to fit everything to the bike, so reluctantly I packed it all (apart from the sidecar cover) back in the box until I could fit it to the bike.
 
A parcel from Ben Horner at Sidecar Pro in Beijing!
My word! Look how well that box has been packed!
The largest bubble-wrapped package contained a pair of plug leads and a couple of clutch cables.
To the left of that I found a pack of half a dozen new spark plugs.
The smallest packet held two new brass floats for my carbies and an oil seal for my final drive unit.
The second-largest package contained a brand new rectifier. Most people seem to call them "diode-boards", but when I was in school we called them "bridge rectifiers".
And the flat yellow thing under the other packs is a brand spanking new fake rego plate. I know it's fake, because in Beijing, rego plates are very much larger than this one! It is about the size of an Australian motorbike rego plate.
Last, but certainly not least, I unwrapped two sets of sidecar-mount clamps.
I had to laugh at the Chinglish spelling when my parcel reached Australia. Who knows what COMMENWEALTH means?

It was my broken sidecar mount that caused me to send this order to "BeninBeijing" Ben Horner, a fair-dinkum Aussie who loves CJs and operates his business as sidecarpro

Every time I go to Ben's
website I find he has added more parts to it.

Ben spends a lot of time arguing with Chinese parts suppliers so he can get the very best parts to send to you and me.

He's a darn good bloke to know, I reckon!
 
Last Sunday, I headed off to take part in the annual Sidecar Circus - a rally organised by the Historical Motor Cycle Club of Queensland - Sidecar Circus 2012.

The previous Friday night had been a race against time to get my engine running. After fitting a new coil, condenser and points the previous Friday, the engine started with great difficulty and would't keep running smoothly at all. For a week I hadn't gotten near my shed. But this Friday I gapped the points and plugs (both were miles from the mark) and timed the ignition. She started first kick and ran beautifully.

Sunday was the day for our annual Sidecar Circus conducted by the Pine Rivers branch of the Historical Motor Cycle Club of Queensland. I was due to be at Petrie by 8am so got up at 6am and got everything prepared. The weather forecast said "Showers". But the sun was shining beautifully as I fired her up and hit the road.

As the outfit crossed a shallow gutter, even though it isn't much of a bump, I heard this dreadful sounding "bang" and the bike was suddenly leaning in towards the chair. The steering was awfully heavy. I thought either the sidecar suspension had collapsed or I had broken a sidecar mount.

I checked the top rear mount: it was fine; I checked to bottom rear mount: it was fine; I checked the top forward
mount: it was fine. That left the bottom forward mount: when I checked it, I found that the cups that should have been clamped over the ball were about an inch away from the ball. Oh well, three mounts will get me to Petrie if I drive slowly and carefully.

I arrived at the marshalling area for the Sidecar Circus with about half an hour to spare. Several guys came to help but Chris did most of the work, and it was soon apparent when we pulled the mount apart that one of the two half-cups which grips the ball was badly sheared apart: this was not a fix-it-on-the-side-of-the-road repair at all! My outfit wasn't about to be going anywhere!

We swapped the half-cups so the good one was on top to bear the weight and fitted it back together again. But I felt it wouldn't be good enough for the run so I got into Chris's chair and travelled the Circus route on his CJ.

A few pictures of the day:
There were just bikes everywhere you looked. Chris's CJ is on the right.
This left-hand drive 1941 BMW R12 is fitted with a Chang Jiang sidecar identical to the Steib that would have been fitted when new in 1941.
Closer detail of the BMW. Note the gear shifter H gate and the pressed steel bike frame.
Viewing the BMW from this side lets us see the 750cc side-valve boxer engine.
Close-up of the almost automotive style gear shift mechanism on the BMW.
Behind the excellent BSA-Dusting outfit is the green 1972 Chang Jiang M1M in which I was chauffered all day by Chris.
It was a great run: beautiful weather, a great route through the hills, and tremendous to see so many sidecars on the road at once. One Panther outfit sheared the lower rear girder fork pin and belly-flopped onto the road, so it was picked up by one of the emergency trailers. A solo Panther broke a clutch cable so the good one was raided off the broken outfit to fix it. When we arrived back at Petrie, Chris loaned me a length of nylon rope which we used to lash the sidecar chassis to the bike frame at the lower mount. He mounted his bike as a trailer behind his car, and then followed me all the way home to make sure I made it safely. So now it's off the road until I can get a new lower front mount. Now for the pictures of the temporary fix...
Look at all that rope (there's a lot more of it under the tarp).
Let's have a closer look...
The rope needed to be crossed to keep it away from the exhaust pipe.
Braced some of it around the other side of the frame, but that was too awkward clambering under the bike.
We must have used enough rope, because it was rock solid all the way home. The new parts will be dispatched from Beijing tomorrow morning. I'm supposed to judge the best historic bike out at Samford Show this weekend, so it looks like I'll have to drive the car. (My bike won the award last year.) I will also not be able to go to the Laverda Club concours this year. Oh well, more work to do.
 
On Sunday 10th. July, we took part in the second annual "Sidecar Circus" organised by the Pine Rivers Area of the Historical Motor Cycle Club of Queensland (HMCCQ).

This was the weekend following the 100th. official meeting of the local HMCCQ branch so was a special ride for the solo bikes as well. We had 11 sidecar outfits and 18 historical solo bikes along to act as marshalls and photographers, etc.

I got up early and checked all the oils, tyres, etc., and set off at about 07:00 on a sunny winter's morning. The temperature just before I left home was 4°C (39°F) so I was rugged up like the Michelin Man!

At Young's Crossing, a causeway across the North Pine River, I hit a huge pothole and heard and felt spokes breaking in my back wheel. As it was only about 500 metres to the gathering point, I kept riding, although the rear end had developed its own erratic wandering feeling - sort of like having two-wheel steering.

I arrived at our gathering point at the Petrie Markets and proceeded to put my spare wheel on the sidecar, my sidecar wheel on the rear, and my damaged rear wheel on the spare wheel mounting on the boot lid of the sidecar.
Helpers assist with the tyre change while I get out another tool (photo by Gaven Dell'Osto.)
Changing the rear wheel (photo by Gaven Dell'Osto) By the time I had done the three wheel swaps it was time to leave on the "Circus". We went straight out Dayboro Road to Dayboro where Gaven Dell'Osto took many excellent photos.
As the circus comes to town, no fewer than ten sidecars can be seen in this shot (photo by Gaven Dell'Osto.)
Here's my bike caught while riding through Dayboro (photo by Gaven Dell'Osto.)
From Dayboro, we turned left onto Mount Sampson Road and then right onto Laidlaw Street. From there we were guided up through some glorious mountain scenery over some truly excellent back roads. It was a pity we couldn't stop anywhere to take photos.
Here's my bike "with the right-hand indicator on" as I'm about to turn onto Mount Samson Road - a couple of other outfits behind me (photo by Gaven Dell'Osto.)
For a while we again followed the Mount Samson Road, but turned right onto Gibbons Road and travelled via the back roads to Undambi where we had our Morning Tea break. Our hot tea or coffee was accompanied by yummy snack and even hot cheerios sausages.
During Morning Tea, I took some photos. In the first photo we find a 1944 side-valve 1200cc Harley with genuine HD sidecar, a 1952 Matchless G9 with Tilbrook chair, and a 1955 Sunbeam S7 inline twin with another Tilbrook.
In the next shot we see a XS650 Yamaha twin with a Velorex chair, a 1954 BSA B33 with a Dusting chair, A BMW R75/6 with a home made body on a Swallow chassis, and the 44 Harley again.
In the third shot we see a recent model Ural with Ural chair and Uralite trailer, a 1955 Royal Enfield twin with a well-restored Dusting, a Moto Guzzi with Ural chair, then the outfits we already saw above.
Next is a general view of several outfits.
The red machine is a Honda ST1100 with a Hewitt sidecar (ridden on the day by Ron Hewitt, the sidecar manufacturer).
A general shot of a few of the solo bikes ridden by the marshalls.
This shot features my left-hand-drive 1962 Chang Jiang alongside the other outfits.
Here's another shot of some outfits (photo by Gaven Dell'Osto).
After a most welcome Morning Tea had been well and truly consumed, we travelled via Mount Glorious Road to Samford, then by Samford Road to Bygotts Road where we turned left up a first-gear hill and then followed Mailmans Track to Bunya Road and then to Eaton's Crossing Rod. There we all had to smile for the camera again.
The first group of five outfits sweeping across the bridge at Eaton's Crossing (photo by Gaven Dell'Osto).
A moment later there were six outfits in view with a solo 600cc Panther following behind (photo by Gaven Dell'Osto).
Natually I had to wave at the camera! (photo by Gaven Dell'Osto).
From Eatons Hill Road we turned Left onto Clear Mountain Road from which we gained stunning views over Lake Samsonvale, and then turned right onto Winns Road. From there it was back to the Petrie Markets via Forgan Road, Protheroe Road and Young's Crossing. After a while back at the markets we all left to find our own ways home.
 
Last weekend I rode out to the Samford show. Saturday I woke up to teeming rain, but I had brought my wet gear up into the house from the motorcycle shed on the Friday night, so I didn't have to get drowned on the way to the shed. I wore my full-face helmet for the first time in years, just to keep the rain off my face. It rained all the way way there and I was thankful for the sidecar as I slithered about in the deep sloppy mud at the entrance to the showgrounds. I set up the bike on display in the pouring rain and fled to the nearest tent. There was a break in the rain and a 250cc 1954 Adler arrived and was parked next to my CJ.
Here's the shiny Adler being rained upon.
And here's both of the bikes.
The white items on the headlights were numbers for the judging.
The photos came out well, considering the rain.
On Sunday, the original plan had been to attend the annual Laverda Club Concours event which was to have been held at the Cleveland Showgrounds. The moon was hanging in a clear pre-dawn sky at 05:30 so I decided that our ride was on! We left home about 06:45. However, after more than an hour's riding to get out to Cleveland, we learned that the event had been postponed due to inclement weather. We all complained: "Haven't they heard of wet gear?" But it turned out that the concours had been called off by the shire council in the interests of protecting the grass on their showgrounds. We watched hundreds of bikes arrive and depart and then said to each other: "Let's go to the Samford Show instead. The weather was gloriously sunny. I filled the tank as we passed through Brisbane, and we arrived out at the show at about 11:15.
Lex Jepson on his Norton twin came out and joined us and took this photo of our bikes.
Lex took a photo of me on my bike.
A much better day for photography.
The Ariel Leader was years ahead of its time.
Another view of the Ariel.
Details about the Ariel.
We were invited to ride in the Grand Parade on the main oval and lined up in front of the crowd for the presentations. To my surprise, I was awarded the trophy for "Best Vintage Motorcycle". Later we were rounded up by the press for photographs for the various papers.
 
It seems I'm always riding but never remembering to bring my camera. I rectified that the other day when I rode out along Samford Road to Wahminda Park and went mad with my camera. It was a dull and dreary day, so dim that the flash went off automatically for most of the photos, but I got a few good shots before the rain set in.
Low-down view while sneaking up behind.
Similar view but without breaking my back to bend down.
A view from around to the left.
Ah, that flathead really looks beautiful from side on. [Indeed, it does.]
Getting around nearer the front.
I turned the bike around to get my front view.
The "traditional" view of a sidecar.
I'm probably biased, but I reckon it just looks beautiful. [Agreed!]
Yep. Beautiful!
From this angle, too!
Another shot from the rear with the bike pointing the other way.
It's beginning to rain, and time to ride back towards Brisbane.
Back to the golden arches...
 
Last year, a film company contacted me as they were planning the filming of a movie which is a comedy partly based around a bunch of WWII Nazi soldiers who suddenly find themselves transported to the moon. After much negotiation, my CJ is being hired to star in the film.
It was the only left-hand-drive bike they could find for the job as every other CJ they could locate in Australia was either an OHV or had its sidecar on the left.

Today was the day in which the bike was picked up to be transported to the film studios which are about 80 km from here.

Now my shed is empty and only the oil slick on the floor remains to remind me of my bike!

I should receive it back again at the end of this month.

The technicians from the film company have already demonstrated to me how they will convert my bike to genuine Wehrmacht grey and then restore it again afterwards: The frame and all metal tinware will be coated with a plastic film. The grey will be sprayed on over the plastic coating. After filming, the grey coat will be removed leaving the original PLA flat green underneath.

Filming on the moon (actually a replicated moon surface that has been used for other movies near Movie World at the Gold Coast) will commence on 10th January. The funny thing is that this month my bike will earn more than I will!
 
Today, at long last, it rained. It rained while I was wearing my Struten and riding my CJ. For the very first time in four months I was able to test out my Struten by wearing it in the rain.
The story starts in mid-November last year when a parcel arrived by air mail all the way from Sweden.
I turned the parcel over and observed that it had come from Mr Seasword.
Inside, carefully wrapped up in a soft wrapping material that feels like chamois but isn't, I found the Struten.
It took only moments to assemble the Struten: What a strange looking thing.
But there was not a cloud in that clear blue sky, so I carefully wrapped it in its shipping materials again and stored it in the boot of my sidecar. About a fortnight ago, on a Friday evening, it was raining as I pulled my outfit out of the shed, so I quickly put on my Struten. By the time I had pressed the starter button, the rain had stopped. So I still wore the Struten to Ascot and back, but not one drop of rain fell while I wore it. I was able to report that the feeling of wind in the face that one normally has while riding with an open-face helmet was strangely absent and my vision was crystal clear. But still there had been no real test in the rain. Today, even though the sun was shining brightly at home, I felt I should wear my Struten, so on it went. As I headed towards town, people were pointing at me as I wore my Struten.

As I topped the hill near Flockton, the rain came down in bucketfuls, but I just kept right on riding. All the way to Michelton it rained and rained and my glasses stayed clear all the way. When I stopped at the traffic lights, a few spots of rain blew inside the Struten and made a few spots on my glasses. The traffic lights changed and the glasses soon dried out as I rode on through the rain. I picked up my 13 years-old daughter who had the cheek to say I looked like a duck in my Struten.

After we arrived home, we got the camera out and she took the last three photographs.
I reckon I might wear the Struten again even if it does make people laugh! Special thanks to Mr Seasword!
Seasword is none other than Mattias Sjösvärd who you know from CJE and this site. He has written about the Struten on his blog which you can read by clicking on the image.
 
It's time I sent more photos to show I'm still alive and kicking. We went out riding in the pouring rain this morning. Victor, my 18 year old son was in the sidecar, I was riding. Notice the adverse camber on our driveway. That was scary four years ago, but I have gotten used to it now.
My crutches can be clearly seen in the sidecar. I broke my leg in August so I'm wearing a moon boot until November. And no, I didn't break my leg on a motorbike; I was out walking and stepped in a pothole I hadn't seen: it's walking that's dangerous, not motorbikes!
 
A package from Jimbo's Classic Sidecars — military green M5 wheels—spokes and all!
When the next package arrives with the brake parts, I'll have to dig out the bike from under six months of junk. I'm expecting four packages altogether and the brake parts and other stuff will be in one that's still coming. So I am still awaiting a slow boat from China.
 
More photos from Australia are long overdue. Last night, I took the two girls to the fish and chips shop for dinner with a whole bunch of other riders from WeekendRiders.net (I counted 22 heads around the table at one stage). After dinner someone took these photos as we were leaving.
Selecting reverse gear. Note the ex-army motorcycling mittens which I bought at Aussie Disposals for only $19.90: ideal for keeping hands warm while riding at night.
Checking behind. (You'll need to enlarge the image to see Phil doing that!)
Reversing into street. It was amazing while sitting there eating to watch all the passers-by on the footpath stopping to inspect the CJ while all those expensive sportsbikes and tourers hardly got a second glance.
 
I wonder if someone ran over a Chinaman with my bike in Beijing before it was shipped? I was only a couple of miles short of home when there was a series of severe mechanical bangs from the rear of the bike. I pulled up to have a look but couldn't see anything in the dark other than oil had covered the rear wheel.
I carefully rode very slowly home and put the bike in the shed. When I rolled it out to have a look, the casing of the final drive unit had split itself nearly in half as you can see in the attached pictures. As I am still looking for work, I shall not be ordering a replacement rear drive unit until I am working and earning money.
So my outfit shall be shed-bound for a while. To run over a Chinaman is an Australian slang expression dating back to the 1850s and means that someone has an inordinate amount of bad luck.
Phil's theory on what might have happened:

I think it might be related to driving a left-hand-drive outfit in a right-hand-drive country.

The first final drive failure last year happened after the rear wheel had hit a hole very hard with a loud bang. Then about five kilometres later, when there was a lot of side pressure from taking a sharp right curve on an off-camber road (bike wheels a couple of inches or 50mm lower than sidecar wheel), there was another smaller bump in the road which set off the dreadful noise. This time, however, I was travelling on a motorway at 85 km/h when the series of bangs came from the rear. However, I had swerved to change lanes to the right when it failed. Australian roads tend to be very rough and bikes with cast wheels often need dents removed from rims while bikes with spoked wheels often need spokes replaced. I have already had to replace a large number of rear wheel spokes which have been broken by the rough roads - thank goodness I got plenty of spares when I bought the bike!

If anyone else is thinking of bringing a bike with the sidecar on the right to Australia, I would strongly advise them to have the sidecar on the left instead. This is because the camber of our roads feels to be putting a constant stress on the wheels and suspension of the bike so that every time there is a bump on the road, this stress is magnified. There is now another CJ outfit near here with the sidecar on the left, and when you ride it, it feels more normal and without the side stresses.

 

Yesterday, I took my M1M on its longest run to date: from McDowall to Toowoomba and back, about 300 km (186 miles) and actually remembered to take a camera with me. I left home at around 09:30 and travelled via Metroute 5 to bypass Brisbane, then via Ipswich Motorway and then the Warrego Highway. Crossing the ranges near Marburg saw third gear necessary and the CJ pulled all the way up to the top of each at around 50 km/h. The Great Dividing Range at Toowoomba called for second gear all the way up and she cruised up at around 30 km/h easily able to pass all the trucks which were crawling up at a snail's pace. As always while out and about I had to explain about the CJ to plenty of curious onlookers. I arrived at Tony's place at about 12:45 having taken 3 hrs 15 mins to cover the 140 km. While at Toowoomba, I met Dale Warner, who has just taken delivery of a brand new M1S with a left hand two-seater sidecar. We also pulled Tony's bike out of the garage for some photos. Roscoe also arrived on his Kwaka.

Cruisers old and new: Tony's new Yamaha cruiser beside my CJ.
Another view of old and new.
Old CJ meets new CJ: Dale arrives in Tony's driveway.
Another view of the two CJs as Dale also takes a picture.
The LH and RH CJs lined up side by side. The black one is normal and legal in Australia, the green one can only be registered (licensed) because it is a Historic Vehicle.
Two CJs and the Yamaha, as Tony takes a photo.
Rear view of three bikes lined up as Roscoe arrives on his Kawasaki GTR with his son as pillion.
Three bikes lined up.
The four bikes and L to R Dale (CJ), Roscoe's son, Tony (Yamaha), Roscoe (Kwaka).
The fourth seat in the boot of Dale's sidecar.
Driveway full of bikes with Tony, Roscoe and son, Dale.
Two CJs just before departure.

After taking the photos, Dale rode his CJ back home and at 16:00 (4pm) the rest of us headed back down the range as far as Gatton. The other two riders were pleasantly surprised at how much more of the countryside they got to see while limited by the CJ to cruising at around 65 km/h. At Gatton, the other guys turned back towards Toowoomba while I continued on towards Brisbane. I arrived home at 19:00 (7pm) having covered the 140 km in exactly 3 hours. The CJ travelled without a hitch although I ended up with a badly sunburned face, this having been my longest ride in about twenty years. Altogether, a very enjoyable day's ride.
These photos were taken at the meeting place for the start of a Brisbane Bikers group ride up into the mountains near my home. I swapped yarns at the meeting place but didn't go on the ride because that day I had to get ready to fly to Hong Kong.
Soaking up the sunshine before the other bikes arrived. Note the Changjiang 1962 front licence plate which I have added since my last photos.
 
Phil meets up with his new bike for the first time after it was delivered to Oz! Freshly uncrated and parked in my driveway.
Three quarter view photo the same day.
From right rear.
From the rear.
From left rear (with open door of my messy garage in the background.)
Gerald rode it 118km around Beijing (I asked him to do so).
A rider's eye view.
My children arrived home from school and my son Victor took this shot of Dad trying the saddle for size while daughter Nina looks on.
Another view.
Nina tries out the pillion seat. Click here to read Phil's posts on OzCruisers.com regarding his ifrst encounters with his new bike.
 
Gerald sent these photos after I was in Beijing. Here's the Christmas tree effect from attempting to satisfy the Australian Design Regulations. The red light is the original charging light. Green is the neutral light and blue is the high beam indicator. Yellow is the turn signal indicator.
Most vehicle inspectors probably would not look up the ADRs to see which year each requirement came in, but it would be just my luck to strike one who worked by the book. I the second photo are the roots of the tree from inside the headlamp shell. Turn signals were not mandatory for a bike built in 1962 but if signals are fitted they are required to have an indicator. I need the turn signals because I'll be driving a left bike in a right drive country.
 
As this image from 1974 might suggest, Phil Smith is not a stranger to, uh, wrenching?


I appear to be attacking this poor little Honda with a tool meant for a Chang! I can't remember who the step-thru belonged to but I do recall arriving home on my Harley, seeing the plumbers at work in the yard, the Honda parked right beside their tools, and borrowing their pipe-wrench to pose for some photos.
 
On 22nd. January I flew to Beijing. The announcement as we taxied towards the terminal told us the temperature was -2ºC. Gerald and Clay were there on Alpha to pick me up and take me to LRM. I think it was one of the coldest rides I have ever enjoyed. Blood circulation to my brain froze so that I was quite dizzy and found it very difficult to actually get myself out of the sidecar when we stopped. My digital camera is rated to use between 5ºC and 50ºC so the batteries froze and I was only able to take a couple of shots. These photos of my bike currently undergoing assembly at LRM speak for themselves.
 
The photo of Gerald with Alpha was the last successful photo when my batteries died.
The view from Alpha's sidecar when Gerald stopped to pick something up from a shop.
 
The next day I used some Chinese batteries to take a few more touristy type photos and upon hearing the familiar fart of an approaching Chang I was able to capture a quick shot as it fanged by loaded high with whatever he was delivering.