• Last modified 1448 days ago (July 29, 2015)


Riderless motorcycle turns heads

News editor

A motorcycle without a rider has been cruising in and around Marion the past two weeks, but it does have a driver inside its bright red sidecar.

“A few people have looked back and had that look on them of, ‘What was that? Where’s the driver?’” Torey Hett said.

The sidecar is unique for more than its controls; it was custom-designed for its original owner with a back entry hatch for a wheelchair. Hett’s chair fits just right, he said.

“A friend from Newton called me up and said this one was for sale in Hesston,” Hett said. “It was always going to be on my radar if I came across one. My dad and I went for a test drive and it ran great, so I went ahead and bought it.”

Hett’s father, Davey, rode on the 1976 Hondamatic CB 750 for the test, while Hett piloted in the sidecar. Driving for the first time from the right side of a vehicle, Hett centered himself within his lane, which gave Davey an anxious moment.

“Dad tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to the right,” Hett said. “I was starting to get him and the motorcycle on the center line.”

Hett said he liked the motorcycle-sidecar configuration because he could have passengers ride with him.

Hett hasn’t adopted the unofficial biker anthem “Born to be Wild” for his driving style, preferring to ease into his new ride.

“I’ve only had it up to about 50,” he said. “It seems it tops out about 50 with the motor and configuration it has right now, which is good for me because I’m cautious and learning. I haven’t fully tested it yet, but I think it gets better gas mileage than my truck.”

He’s started riding with his dad and some friends and will probably drive the bike in the Old Settlers Day parade, he said. Longer road trips are a possibility once he’s gotten comfortable, Hett said.

“We’ll see where the future takes me,” he said. “We’re just living life, just like the next guy.”

Last modified July 29, 2015