With it was namely after a car accident in 1989. The associated paraplegia end. So the wish grew with every year. It should not be a trike, and it could not be a solo motorcycle. It should be a team. But I had no experience with that. Especially since a class A driver's license is required to drive a sidecar. After my accident, however, I no longer applied for it. At that time other thoughts were more important than riding a motorcycle. The help came from my friend Thomas Schucker. You really have to call him a sidecar maniac. The prospect of putting something on wheels for me in his garage drove him to peak performance: "Definitely BMW! Because I know my way around. In any case, a sidecar builder builds the whole thing, in any case a swing fork or better yet a steering knuckle, space for the wheelchair and for wife and dog. The whole thing should also have a reverse gear!" My task was to find out how to get a class A driver's license in Baden-Württemberg with my disability, and above all, how to pay for the project.
So the first weeks went by with calculations, vehicle search and driver's license research. One thing led to another. The BMW became concretely a BMW R1100S. There's no hot exhaust to get in the way when you get on; it's routed under the seat. The swing fork became a steering knuckle from the Ruko company. It is adjustable so that the steering forces can be adjusted to the handicap. For the gearshift we decided on a Tiptronic from Roland Herbig. Only the brake did not please us. Two brake levers can not be dosed well. Here we chose a thumb brake from racing sport. The original seat fell victim to a self-made one. The new seat was perfectly adapted to my size. Two armrests from the car accessories provide the lateral support. And the sidecar became a Ruko Racer. It is so nice and wide. Not quite so beefy. Only the reverse gear made problems. The offered solutions were either too expensive or ineffective. On a warm summer evening we disassembled a beautiful R 1100 S with a special paint job and mounted the shift solenoid and the superbike handlebars. Then we brought the bike by trailer to the company Ruko in Metzingen. The cooperation with the team of Ruko was really fun. We all learned a lot from each other. At the end of September we picked up a pre-assembled and primed chassis. Now it was our turn again. The character of the original motorcycle should be preserved in any case, and so the necessary steps were finely tuned to each other. The removable rear part of the racer was too clumsy and too heavy. It fell victim to the flex. After several adjustments, filling and grinding, a completely different rear end was created. The reverse gear was already in work at that time; well, at least in Dieter Hertl's mind. I can't remember how many hundreds of times he screwed the wheel on and off again. But with each time the reversing aid took a little more shape. It was a very simple solution: toothed belt, electric motor and release gearbox. Sounds simple, but has a long development path behind it. The brackets for feet and wheelchair were made by a friend who works with stainless steel. For the time being my friend Andreas Meier took care of the paint job. Andreas Zeller, our master saddler, put the finishing touches on the bike. I don't know what I would have done without the help of all my friends!
Everybody I told about it was eager to do their part. Last hurdle: The driver's license In the meantime, it turned out that no one in Baden-Württemberg had ever gotten a driver's license with paraplegia before. Many driving schools waved us off already in advance. I then found what I was looking for in my neighborhood at the Jim Engel driving school and at the Enzkreis district administration office. Here we got full support for our project. The district office worked out all the requirements for us such as medical examination. The associated suitability tests at the TÜV. Whereby at the TÜV first the answer came: Class A with cross section – impossible. Not until the head of the TÜV Süd Pforzheim took care of the matter. The statement made "Impossible appeals to me!", things got off to a perfect start. Now I had to wait, because I couldn't take driving lessons without a vehicle and the TÜV couldn't check the suitability either. The team went again to Metzingen to the frame coating and to the TÜV acceptance. Full of pride I took it back at the end of September. From now on daily guided tours through my garage took place. On a closed yard I turned the first rounds with the team. About 200 kilometers followed with circular driving. Because in addition to learning to drive a team, exercise is a factor not to be underestimated in the case of a driver who lacks abdominal muscles and has to do everything through the upper body. And in general there were so many buttons and levers: Besides horn, light, turn signal, throttle, brake, clutch, there was also a thumb brake and a shift lever. It was then but quite tight on the handlebars. But I quickly found the throttle grip. And it was also once again really great to drive after 16 years automatic transmission with clutch. In October followed the big day of the inspection by the TÜV. The head of the TÜV-Pforzheim Christof Karl came by personally to get an idea of whether I could sit on the bike and, above all, also ride it. So brake tests, slalom and driving curves followed. Somehow he didn't believe that I was a beginner. After consultation, the technical part of the training was changed so that a test with the team and the handicap was possible. For example, starting, stopping and putting the legs on the ground was replaced by parking with the reverse gear. Or the distance in slalom driving has been widened a bit. These things would then also be used in the test. I would like at this point also once the authorities. Thank the people at the TÜV. In my case they proved to be real service providers and partners.
Without a positive attitude this project would not have been possible. In January I completed my driving lessons. I passed the subsequent test – a super feeling! In the last years I have already covered a lot of kilometers, and it will surely be even more. I would be pleased, if still many people with a handicap or as it is called today DISABILITY would follow this way. If you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me. That my self-determined self. The team was the best decision for me.