Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lunchtime Errands

Scarlett, my 2014 URAL Patrol Sidecar Rig and I took advantage of a gorgeous day here in the Metro Denver area.  Though the snow remains still covering grassy areas, the roads were just mostly wet to dry due to the bright sunshine we got today.

More snow forecast for the next couple of days so we headed out during the lunch hour to run some errands.

As I reached the junction of Orchard and Parker Road, I stopped for a few minutes to get these shots of Mount Evans from the southern end of Cherry Creek Park.

After dropping off the paperwork for the tax accountant, we rode over to the parking across the street from the entrance to Westlands Park in the Denver Tech Center:

Next, it was a ride over to PerformanceCycles where the replacement summer boots I had ordered after the gas-soaking incident were ready for me to pickup.  They were reported by reviewers to run small so I wanted to make sure my feet fit even though I'd ordered one size up from normal.

Fox Racking Comp 5 Shorty Boots
image source: google

They're classified as ATV Boots, short version of the full-up MX boots used by dirt bike riders.

The boots fit fine, I even wore them out of the store and homewards, no issues to report in terms of shifting gears.  I did feel some pressure from the inboard support cushion that had been reported by reviewers but it should go away after a few more hours of wearing the boots.

No zippers to have fail later on, just buckles and one small patch of Velcro at the top of the boots.

It was 44°F (6°C) on the way home, not exactly hot but not warm either and I was just starting to feel vague tendrils of cold inside the new boots as I approached home.    This is good, I don't want them to be cold-weather boots!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Not Quite the Snow-apocalyse Here, yet.

The storm system forecasted for us here in the Metro Denver area had everyone talking about the "snow-apocalypse".  Some of us, a bit more jaded due to the regular over-hyping of these events, had our doubts.

Yesterday in the early afternoon, I went out for a small bit of riding and was quite disappointed with the amount of snow to be had:

The dirt roads of the  ranching neighborhood I like to go to for pictures coated poor Scarlett in icy mud and I had to hose her down when I got her home.

Of course, about an hour after I got home, it started snowing in earnest and we all held out hope for a decent amount of snow to fall on us overnight.

We woke this morning, Sunday to about six inches of snow, more of less.  Not only that but for the first time since we've live in this cul-de-sac, the city had actually plowed the streets of the neighborhood!  Nice.

So, after a nice breakfast provided by my loving wife Martha, Scarlett, my 2014 URAL Patrol and I headed out to see what we could see.

We once again motored our way through snow-packed streets to the ranching neighborhood we had been at yesterday; and yes, there was a satisfactory amount of snow.

Skies were again overcast though, so no view of the front range mountains.  I would say visibility was less than a mile at most.  The distant scenery and houses looked shrouded in fog, which was apparently a light snow falling.

Temperatures hovered around the 10°F (-12°C) range so it was a bit "brisk".  However, my riding gear, warming layers, and Kolpin grip covers keep me nice and warm.  I would have to remove my right glove to manipulate the camera controls so I made sure to leave the glove itself resting on the engine's left side jug.  Ah, nice and warm when I put it back on!

I got home after about 90 minutes of wandering about and taking pictures.  A more satisfying snow ride today than yesterday.  Traffic was light, no idiot cagers riding too close behind me on the main roads and I verified the Go-Pro camera still takes decent video.  No video today, nothing exciting filmed but snowy roads.

It's supposed to snow the rest of today, so it should make for a messy and slow commute for cagers tomorrow.  Glad I don't commute anymore, not so much for having to ride on snow (that's fun) but for wondering which idiot cager would drive stupid and cause everyone trouble.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Review: The North45 Face Mask

In my continued search for ways to deal with how glasses and visors fog up on you while motorcycling in cold weather, I stumbled upon the North45 face mask for skiers using goggles.

Now, they don't market this product for motorcycle riders but I thought it might work; so I asked the manufacturer for a review face mask and he happily obliged.

Please see their website for full details and other pics on how the mask works for skiers wearing goggles.  LINK

Regular readers known, that I wear glasses and have been using a Skidoo Snowmobile Helmet with accompanying face mask when temperatures are below 20°F (-6°C).  It does the job 95% of the time but is very constrictive and sometimes uncomfortable to wear for prolonged periods of time.

The Skidoo Helmet's rubber face mask

It could be because I probably need the next size larger helmet to allow more room for the face mask that comes with the helmet.  Also, due to my small/flat nose, I've had to add insulation materials where the top of the rubber face mask hugs my nose.

Now, with the North45 face mask, it being basically a scarf one puts on over one's head and around one's neck and lower face area, it doesn't take up a lot of room under a motorcycling helmet.

There's a magnet, to help lock it in place with goggles but in my case I just used it to center the scarf on my face.

The sides of the helmet help hold it in place once you position the face mask.  In my case, I positioned the top edge of the face mask as close to the lower edge of eyes as possible, using the lower edge of my glasses to try and hold it in place.

Once you things lined up, the face mask does pretty good at keeping your exhaled breath from rising up and fogging up your glasses while wearing a helmet, with the visor down.  The face mask you see, is really two parts (see the website for full details).  The part that goes over your nose, is open at the bottom, allowing most of the hot, moist air coming out of you to be directed downward.


1.  Very comfortable to wear on face and even just as a neck scarf.  The merino wool material is not scratchy and is quite warm.

2.  Doesn't take up much room within the helmet, unlike the rubber "fighter pilot" type face mask that came with the helmet.  Much more comfortable!


1.  I would say it does pretty well, perhaps 85-90% good job, in my case, at keeping my breath from fogging up my glasses.  If I let the top edge of the face mask slip much lower than the edge of my glasses, it doesn't do as well.

2.  I did, sometimes, have to crack the helmet visor open while stopped at lights and such to prevent fogging of my glasses.  Once I started moving again though, the glasses if fogged, would clear quickly.

3.  Unlike using the rubber face mask, any kind of physical exertion on my part resulted in fogging of my glasses, whether visor was up or down.  Of course, physical exertion while wearing the rubber face mask results in shortness of breath very fast.

Overall, I like this face mask a lot.  It provides as warm, if not better wind protection as the neck gator I usually wear and the material it's made of appears to be much more long lasting than the neck gator.

The "drier" the cold, the better it performs, in my opinion.  Higher humidity in the air, seemed to lower its effectiveness as a water vapor barrier.

I wore this face mask in temperatures down 18°F (-7°C) so far, and it's done well enough for me to consider it part of my cold weather riding gear.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Communispace is recruiting Riders!

I was recently contacted by Kasey, a consultant with Communispace, an outfit who's forte is the creation/facilitating of private and focused online discussion communities.

What makes them different from say the myriad of brand-specific online discussion forums that exists on the Internet you ask?  While they do seem to use the regular mechanisms such as discussion threads, surveys and such, they're different in that they coordinate/facilitate the participation of business leaders in the focus industry.

For instance, in my case, Kasey was inviting me try out for a slot in a motorcycle riding focused communispace forum.  It'll be limited to about 300 members, and they are seeking:

This particular online forum is a place for motorcycle enthusiasts to express their opinions and be rewarded for their time with e-gift certificates, it’s a robust and engaging exercise in qualitative research. Members who participate will have their ideas heard directly by our sponsor, decision makers in the motorcycle industry.

In these communities, people can share their opinions of brands and products with members similar to themselves. The communities are private password protected sites and we don't ever use them for solicitation, so no one will ever be asked to purchase anything.  (the bold text is my doing)

Participating members will receive a $10 Amazon gift code for joining, as well as Amazon gift codes often for their participation.  Members can stay in the community as long or as little as they like, what matters is the impact they make with their experience and contributions.

This is an unbranded community. It’s focus and importance is the riders in it, not the brand sponsoring

Not seeing a downside to this, I took their survey (brief and to the point), and they said I qualified to be considered for membership.  I am now awaiting to see if I made the cut.  So yes, if asked, I will join!

If you've had a yearning to express your opinion on motorcycling subjects, and would like to see that opinion read and perhaps responded to by folks in the motorcycling industry, I invite you to take the same survey as I did.  Just click the ad below or the link.

Full Disclosure:

Even though I am intrigued by the discussion/interaction forum offered by Communispace, I am being given an Amazon Gift Certificate for posting this.  Call it a win/win.  I let readers know about this opportunity to be heard and the effort is compensated.

Bonus: We had us a pretty good sunset today, enjoy the pictures below:

 Sunset Mode on the camera

Sunset Mode again