The Sleeper Story
How we came about ‘The Sleeper Caravan’.
Many moons ago I used to race pushbikes. I wasn’t particularly good at it, but I enjoyed the hard training. The hundreds of miles in all weathers didn’t bother me, and the races and time trials were hard but enjoyable. Then age takes over and you start to find aches and pains where before there were none. I moved onto motorbikes at the tender age of 17 whilst still racing pushbikes. I retired from training and racing at the grand old age of 32, due to developing problems with my spine. During these years, my motorcycling developed from a 125cc Honda, to Honda 400 four, a BMW R80 and R80RS, a plethora of MZ’s as winter bikes and finally a lovely Ducati 750SS. Sadly that had to go as my spinal problems developed further and I found I just couldn’t cope with two wheels anymore. I did try again, when I was loaned a 500 twin, during a warm summer, and I took my good lady out for a ride up the Dales. When I got home after the 2 hour ride, I found I could hardly walk. After spending the next 2 days in agony I finally accepted that two wheels were too much.
I missed the motorbike rally scene and my heart yearned for joining in the festivities and club camaraderie. I watched Billy Connolly doing his tours on various Trikes and realised there was more out there. I researched Trikes, Trike Builders, Trike Sellers and finally got my hands on a WK Devils Trike from Marc at UK Triker. The WK has a lovely supportive seat that cradles my back. I can outride the petrol tanks without getting aches and pains. I was at last back on the scene.
Then as Atilla and I started to get out and about, we met various characters who became close friends, and we joined Yorkshire Trikers. We bought a trailer for all the extra’s we have to carry. We bought a tent, then a BIGGER tent, then a f***ing HUGE tent, as I found I couldn’t cope with being doubled up or scrunched up in a little two manner. The extra’s began to be accumulated. The tent got BIGGER, but this led to aches and pains when it came to putting it up or taking it down. Finally after a particularly sore back and cold wet rally combination, I realised that further drastic steps were needed in order to keep rallying.
I had seen an advert for a Teardrop Trailer. The company concerned imported them from the US of A. After weeks of emails and contact, the Director of the company said he wouldn’t be importing any of the smaller lightweight Teardrops that would be suitable for towing with a Trike.
The search went on. I finally found, contacted, and eventually met Mike and Paula from Sleeper Kit Caravans. Instead of buying one, I took on the North UK Dealership for them and started to promote and advertise the Sleeper.
Now for the ‘sales pitch’ and technical bit.
The Sleeper weighs in at 100Kg in its bare ready to roll form. This makes it one of the lightest Teardrops currently available anywhere. It can be supplied in kit form for a self build or ready built. The body is fibreglass and can be colour matched at the mould stage, or sprayed to whatever design you have in mind. Almost any RAL coded colour can be done as well as Glitter or special finish. It stands on 8” wheels and after towing the demo around with me behind the Trike, it rolls along nicely balanced and draws a LOT of attention. But we decided not just to stop at that. The interior is basic and as weight is THE main issue for towing with Trikes, Sarah and I researched option after option of fitting out the Sleeper with some home comforts.
The idea of getting to a rally with your bed made up, dry, and insulated from whatever the UK weather decides to throw at you is a pleasant thought as you trundle along. The Sleeper is lockable and offers that little bit more security than leaving your gear in a tent.
Mattress Foam was sourced. It all has to have a fire rating now, but there are options on the ‘firmness’ of foam you can use which then reflect on the cost. We settled on a medium firm combination and found it to make an ideal bed. We sourced a foam/material combination stiff enough and yet light enough to insulate the walls and roof panels which is still to be done. Sarah went on a ‘material’ hunt and came back with some material suitable for decking out the interior. This was to be treated with fire retardant for sales models. All this wasn’t done by just us two, we had plenty of willing volunteers, and I feel we have to thank Chorley Paul for his building assistance, his good lady Donna (kebab) for her ‘interior design’ tips, Tony (Flash) for just giving a hand when needed, and his good lady Debs (AKA Mother) for helping with the sewing. Again due to weight issues, we opted for battery LED lighting which weigh nowt and give brilliant lighting as the sun goes down. All touch control so no messing with switches and adjustable for all occasions.
The basic Kit with fixed windows, comes in at around £1200 (+ delivery) and a ready to roll version is around £1500 (+ delivery). Then the internal fit out costs whatever you decide to go with and just how extreme you wish to be. The round opener windows are extra but offer more ventilation and a better level of security and privacy.
Additional options are door awning, full dome awning, jockey wheel, leg stays and many other ‘want to have bits’. We are also working with a company who manufacture gas struts to develop a door opener for easier use by handicapped users. The internal fit-out is extra and as it is all down to personal choice, prices have to be discussed on a one to one basis. But we aim to keep weight and costs down specifically for the Trike market. We have one Sleeper in development for the small car market where weight isn’t as much of an issue, and a 12V flip down TV is a possibility.
So the development goes on, but if you see us out and about and want to have a look, give us a wave.
© Two Showers July 2007.Sleeper Caravans North UK Dealership can be contacted on 07977 426305 or email firstname.lastname@example.org