Wags and Wheels – The San Diego Union-Tribune


Randy Lazar is a 60-year-old adventurer suffering from a severe travel itch.

In 2015, after attending numerous presentations by travelers from the motorcycle world and welcoming over 25 travelers from all over the world to his San Diego home for ten years, he caught the virus himself and began to travel. in a custom sidecar with his dog Doc Holliday. In 2017 and 2018, the duo began touring the United States and, as design weaknesses became apparent, modified the platform to take advantage of future pavement as well as dirt.

The goal? Maybe by going around the world.

Randy and Doc are currently in Mexico heading south to Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America.

They share their adventures and photos online through Facebook posts, as well as on the San Diego Adventure Riders forums page at sandiegoadventureriders.com.

Q: Funded with your own money and little to no sponsors, talk a bit about your choice of bike for the rig. ?

A: I wanted a used but reliable shaft drive bike with good power. An older (Yamaha) Tenere cannot override the ABS, and the newer ones have complicated electronic suspensions etc. I felt the same with the new BMWs. After discussing bike choices with a friend over fish tacos in Ocean Beach, we figured a 2003 BMW 1150 GS would be ideal… no complicated ECU systems, no ABS, minimal electronics . I checked Craigslist that night and found a 2003 1150 GS with 9500 miles and bought it.

Doc wears protective goggles in the Arizona desert.

(Randy Lazar)

Q: The sidecar is a Dutch basic kit that you modified several times. Explain the mechanics.

A: The main parts – the wheels, subframe, and suspension arm front suspension – were sourced from EZS Sidecar in the Netherlands, and I ordered the construction and completion of the sidecar body in August 2015 We had the body built large enough for Doc to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably, and it has a removable canvas top for sun protection. Since the kit was primarily designed for street use, it has been modified as needed, including raising the rear storage box and modifying the subframe to increase ground clearance. I explored the possibility of changing the drive to power the two rear wheels, but it was not practical. The main link suspension and sidecar mods allow me to use car rims and automotive tubeless tires.

Q: Talk about Doc. What does he add to the ride that he needs?

A: I got Doc from (animal shelter) in 2013 so he’s now about eight years old. He is half German Shepherd and half Pyrenean. When I realized that traveling in a sidecar with a dog was possible, I planned the trip around him. He’s such a great traveler and an adventurous boy. He loves doing stuff like that, he loves the outdoors and he loves being with me. He attracts a lot of attention both in and out of the sidecar because he is an unusual looking mixed breed. I need to pack enough water so that when it’s hot I can get it wet and keep it hydrated. I have to plan for him and replenish the best food I can find for him. After a few weeks in Mexico, we ran out of kibble. In small towns, you can only find cheap, low-quality dog ​​food. So in the big cities I’m going to look for a Petco and buy the best kibble I can get. I supplement his croquettes with lightly cooked chicken, beef or fish because I want him to eat healthily and I also bring him supplements. Doc has goggles against dust and wind. He has a down jacket for the cold and a woolen blanket for our tent. It has a custom dog pillow that fills the sidecar floor for its comfort and goes into the tent as needed. My order of priority is dog-bike-human. He’s my boyfriend and my top priority. I have to take care of him first. Then the second platform. I come last.

Q: Tell a little about your relationship with the outside world. What do you need to stay in touch or in an emergency?

A: I have my laptop, my regular cell phone, as well as another Kyocera military grade vibration resistant phone that I only use for Google maps and GPS. I am using my backup Garmin GPS for speed and odometer as the BMW speed controller had to be disconnected due to the rim change. I download the maps of each country into the phone’s GPS as needed. I have a Garmin InReach emergency locator beacon that allows me to text people if I need help and to contact emergency services using the SOS button if needed. We have a custom solar panel on the top case that holds the bike’s battery. It has two USB ports that serve my phones and a backup battery. Unfortunately I can’t charge my (computer) on solar power as they don’t make a compatible USB cable so I rarely use the Mac unless I’m in a hotel or can get power regular, so I can catch up on my travel reports.

Doc admiring the view at Copper Canyon in northern Mexico.

Doc admiring the view at Copper Canyon in northern Mexico.

(Randy Lazar)

Q: Talk about everyday issues: food, accommodation, travel expenses. Do you have a planned route?

A: I have attended many travel presentations by motorcyclists all over the world and have often heard that a lot of people are overplaning. So I think it’s better to have almost no plan. Or maybe just a general plan. The platform is designed for dirt or pavement, so we’re ready for anything. Facebook has been a great resource for travel. I have received many invitations from people who have read my messages and who have offered their house or their services if I am in their area. Whenever someone replies to one of my messages with an offer of help or information, I copy their information into my notes so that I can refer to it in the future. Right now I’m staying with a friend in Mexico who also has a sidecar and a dog accompanying it. It is a great source of information. When we first entered Mexico, I traveled with a friend who I met four years ago. He recently separated from himself and headed for Mazatlán. We can meet and ride together again later.

Q: Do you have any concerns? Have you ever been uncomfortable?

A: People often worry about issues with certain factions here on earth, but many of these factions usually don’t bother motorcyclists and tourists alike. I learn all of this from experienced local riders. I know a lot of people who have been traveling to Mexico for years and have never felt unsafe. The danger comes from the budding villains, they are the ones who are going to rob you. I have received so much great advice from people I have met who have traveled here a lot. You can find yourself in a bad situation anywhere in the world, but if you are kind, polite, smiling, don’t act like a threat, stay out of shady areas and don’t go looking for trouble then most likely. it will be fine.

Randy Lazar had a montage specially designed for him and his dog Doc.

Randy Lazar had a rig specially designed for him and his dog Doc.

(Randy Lazar)

Q: What is the end goal?

A: Originally, we wanted to go around the world. We traveled to the United States for eight months to see friends and family and we completed this in 2018. But a lot has happened since then with the COVID shutdown, and we had some financial setbacks when Doc had to undergo two major surgeries. But we’re back and we’ve been in Mexico for two months now. So we’ll probably travel to Mexico for six months and then head south to Guatemala and Central America, as long as the borders open this year. Finally to the southern tip of South America to Ushuaia in Argentina. From there, maybe to Europe. When people do this stuff and run out of money, they find ways to keep going, so we’ll see how it goes. Doc will be 10 when we get to Ushuaia and I would hesitate to put him in the hold of a plane for a long overseas flight.

Randy Lazar and his dog Doc.

Randy Lazar and his dog Doc.

(Randy Lazar)

Travel along

Randy and Doc live a real adventure where the unknown becomes the experience. It’s not the kind of trip for everyone, but these buddies are prepared.

“Traveling in the United States is easy. There are no language barriers and the resources are everywhere. But traveling outside of the United States is a huge learning experience. The language is interesting. A few people speak a little English. Otherwise the internet and a cell phone with Google Translate help, or just hand gestures, ”Lazar said.

“We knew it would be an experience. That’s why we travel to discover other cultures and discover new places.

Lazar can be followed on Facebook and Instagram at Rad ‘n Doc Travel the World, and on his home page at radndoc.com on the San Diego Adventure Riders website forums.

Michaud is a San Diego-based motorcycle writer and restorer. Send an email to [email protected]


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