Sunday, July 05, 2009

Riding with a Fellow Rounder

This weekend, I had the pleasure of riding some of my favorite routes with a fellow yearround rider from S.E. Texas. We call ourselves rounders, and met with other like-minded individuals online at

Ken hails from Beaumont, TX where he and his Suzuki Bandit, show the mostly HD cruiser crowd in the area what it means to be a yearround rider. Ken was even seen out on his motorcycle after the snow they had down in Beaumont this past winter, a rare event for S.E. Texas. The snow pretty much locked everything down from schools to businesses but not Ken, he was out riding....the snow did not stick to the streets you see.

So Ken got himself a kitchen pass from his loving wife this past week and journeyed up to the great state of Colorado to see for himself some of the rides I'd documented in this blog. I was fortunate to have time to go riding with him on Saturday and Sunday. Ken is a great rider, can ride for hours with no apparent issues, and was maneuvering his overloaded Bandit on muddy roads with not one fall while cruising through the Rocky Mountain National Park.

On Saturday, we met at Idaho Springs at Noon and we rode up to the top of Mount Evans. We had great weather and I have to say, Ken has great karma in terms of attracting photogenic animals to appear for his camera. I counted over 12 mountain goats near the top of Mount Evans, some even trotted right by his stopped motorcycle! In all my times up this road, I've seen only one lousy goat, and he was begging for snacks at the visitor center on top of the mountain!

Ken and his Bandit, on the way up the Mount Evans Road

Ken at Summit Lake, near the top of Mount Evans

Notice how close this one of several mountain goats just casually walked in front of Ken's motorcycle! Photo courtesy of Ken.

Ken took a picture of me as I looked on in disgust at his luck in attracting the mountain goats for pictures! Note the clouds below our level! We were at times, riding above the clouds!

Our riding on Saturday was cut short though as we were winging our way down CO 103 towards Bergen Park. Brigitta, my 1987 R80, while I was engine-braking down the mountain road; started making the most awful metal sounds and I lost the ability to shift gears.

I coasted to a stop and Ken and I determined that either the transmission or the clutch throwout bearing were probably toast. Dammit! Oh, and to add to things, no signal received on either of our cell phones.

I was able to get her into first gear after several tries and we road/limped on down the mountain, making it all the way to Bergen Parkway before Brigitta refused to go into gear anymore. Depressed, I called for the tow truck while Ken waited with me in the strong rain and lightning and thunder that then occurred. Poor guy had to follow me on his Bandit in the rain while I sat nice and dry in the tow truck. We left Brigitta to be diagnosed at Bavarian Motorcycles West. Pete Homan was guessing it sounded like the transmission input spline gears were sheared away and the clutch plate would also have to be replaced. Dammit! Almost 23 years old and that's all the thing lasted? : )

I learned, the hard way as usual, that while Airhead engines might go 100K before needing an overhaul, transmission will only last about 50K before needing an overhaul. Not only that but that pesky transmission input spline has to be lubed every 10K miles, 15K miles max!

Ken took this shot of me by poor Brigitta, right after it had stopped raining/hailing on us while we waited for the tow truck to arrive.

So now we shall see what the repair costs will be. : (

Sunday, today, went much better. Maria, my 2004 R1150RT, though a bit out of tune due to my hamfisted efforts to change her idle speed; stepped in as the "spare motorcycle" and Ken and I rode about 340 miles or so. We made a big loop, starting at Red Rocks Park near Morrison, riding then on US285 all the way down past Buena Vista and the Collegiate Peaks, getting down to Salida and riding east on US50 to CaƱon City so Ken could ride Skyline Drive. We had to make up for yesterday's lost time you see.

Red Rocks Park, near Morrison, CO

Along the Arkansas River, riding on US50 heading East

On Skyline Drive

Man, I was tired at the end of today's riding! Ken looked like he was ready for more! And more is what he's going to get....he's still got the ride back to Beaumont, Texas over the next two days.

It was great riding with Ken, the first yearrounder I've met in person! He's now thinking of planning a yearrounder get-together for New Years down in Palo Duro Canyon near Amarillo, TX. Could be fun!


LumpyCam said...

Looks like you covered some great country! Thanks for sharing the pictures. I must make to to Colorado sometime.

bobskoot said...

one nice thing about having a riding partner is that you get some pictures of yourself to post. I hope that your repair is not too serious, but I suppose that parts are not designed to last forever. Luckily you were not stranded in the middle of nowhere without cell phone service and you had a spare bike to carry on

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Sojourner rides said...

What an exciting adventure, to be able to ride with a friend whose style appears to fit well with yours. Except for your bike giving out--I thoroughly enjoyed this tale. Always nice to have a spare ride around!

irondad said...

I read the latest post before I read this one. Is that a special hollywood type requirement? The bike breaks down so the sky has to get dark and dump rain and hail? Glad you weren't alone.

The internet is a great thing in that we can meet like minded individuals easily. The down side is that we are so far apart!

Charlie6 said...

Lumpycam, glad you liked the pictures...

Bobskoot, Brigitta is fixed and back in the stable, all it took was lots of money and my spare transmission. Lucky my riding buddy was with me indeed as my cellphone had no signal but his did!

Sojourner....glad you didn't have mechanical issues in your recent long ride, thanks for reading my stuff.

Irondad, yeah, it was a like a hollywood standing dejectedly by my ride, dark skies overhead and rain and hail showering my riding buddy and me with lightning/thunder occuring within a mile of us.....

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

Work has been crushing my skull with assignments which are changed so many times before they ever get completed that it seems as if I am dealing with one endless task that I have no control over.

It leaves me with no desire to read or write anything on this computer.

How is it that any of the great BMW models seem to be nothing but super expensive splines separated by hard to find connectors that all require special tools?

There are transmission splines, clutch splines, and drive shaft splines that all require some degree of mystical balm, to be applied during off phases of the moon or during other astrological events, according to a sacred and secret book of service bulletins written by Siegfreid The Thunder God.

Reading this post, I thought "Wow! A transmission failure out on one of those remote roads!" But then I saw the picture of your sad face next to the bike. I printed it out and have it on the wall over my desk. You look like the poster child for "Shi* Happens."

I got new tires slapped on the bike tonight... That was just moments before the mechanc told me the brake pads were shot. Got them replaced too.

I'm so sorry I am not going to meet you at this rally.

Fondest regards,
Jack "reep" Toad

Ken Phenix said...

Hey Dom,
What great fun this was! I find myself revisiting this blog entry to sustain me until I can find my way back to Colorado.

I thought your blog friends might enjoy seeing the rest of the story too.