May 16, 2013

Alan Lees’ Yamaha XJ900 Sidecar Outfit


Alan Lees from Ayrshire suffers from chronic inflammatory Arthritis.  Over recent years it had become increasingly difficult for him to mount and dismount and keeping his balance when the bike was stationary was also becoming problematic.  When these problems reached a critical stage he began to look at his options and wrote to the NABD.

In his letter he explained:

“Having been riding motorcycles for 50 years this is the last thing that gives me any sense of freedom after a lifetime of physical activity and I am very reluctant to let it go!”

After taking some advice on his options Alan decided that he would have a sidecar fitted to his Yamaha XJ900 to give it stability when stationary and to allow him to use that inherent stability to help with mounting and dismounting.

Alan managed to source a vintage motorcycle chassis and began designing the sidecar. After being let down by a motorcycle dealer in Ayr who had initially said they could fit the sidecar but eventually admitted they couldn’t, he once again contacted the NABD and was given contact details for several sidecar specialists.

After some further enquiries he got in contact with Girders Motorcycle & Scooter Workshop Ltd in Airdrie and they agreed to take on the job.

With the help of a grant from the NABD, Alan finally had his motorcycle and sidecar outfit on the road and his sense of freedom restored.  But the story did not end there….

Alan had been a highly skilled woodcarver by trade but his disability had forced him to give up work.  Not being one to be idle he then began painting and was soon producing very high quality work.  One painting that he contributed to his local hospice raised £3,000.00.

Alan then offered to paint a picture for the NABD to raffle to raise funds, and as good as his word a few months later a picture arrived at the NABD office.  I think it fair to say that we were all massively impressed with the rally scene Alan had painted for us.  It even features an NABD marquee in the background and NABD Patron Billy Connolly amongst a group of figures in the foreground.

It did not take a lot of discussion by the national committee before we decided that this excellent piece of original art had to be the first prize in the annual prize draw for 2012/13.

The winning tickets for that draw will be drawn in just a few weeks at the You’ve Been Nabbed rally on May 11th and some very lucky bugger is going to be the owner of an exceptional and unique piece of art.  Not forgetting, of course, that the money raised will then enable other disabled people to gain, or regain, their own sense of freedom and independence.

Now that’s what I call a happy ending.

The sidecar fitting and ancillary work was carried out by: Girders Motorcycle & Scooter Workshop Ltd, 105 Carlisle Road, Chapelhall, Airdrie ML6 8AG.  Tel; 01236 753 995

This NABD grant of £913.03 was sponsored by a donation from The Shifnal NABD Supporters ‘Café Run”.


Rick Hulse

P.S.  Being the person named on the NABD licence to hold raffles and draws I am the only person who cannot take part in the NABD Prize Draw.  I think this is the first time I have really regretted that position.

Alan’s painting is a lovely piece of original art and I would have loved a chance of winning it.  But it is not too late for you to buy tickets; Just call the office on 0844 415 4849.  (See advert elsewhere in this issue for details of other prizes).