Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wandering around Castle Rock's periphery

Got a late start on riding today, I had decided to reposition the two 15LED light clusters to form a "light triangle" with the headlamp on Natasha, my 1996 Ural Sportsman. Supposedly, this "light triangle" helps cagers notice you more as opposed to just a single headlamp.

Then again, I've read and seen some of the more idiotic and/or inattentive cagers not even see police cars with their emergency lights on, so really one should not depend on bright lights too much to help being seen. Yeah, I know, blasphemy! I've mentioned before though, I believe one has to ride like one is invisible and position yourself on the road accordingly. Oh, and headlights are not required to be on in daytime here in Colorado.

I headed south on Parker Road, past the town of Parker and further on, the town of Franktown. Pretty soon I went past the entrance to Castlewood Canyon State Park and stopped Natasha for pictures of her lights while she was facing into the sun:

Here's Natasha with her LED lights on, facing the sun, they're much more noticeable at night

Here's Natasha with her 60W bulb turned on, I use it in heavy city traffic and at night

Far off Pikes Peak

Now with the sun at her back, here's Natasha with only her LED lights on, they really are a bit brighter to the naked camera's light sensor was affected by shooting into the sun.

Finally, with her 60w light bulb turned on

Once I am gainfully employed again, I'll be replacing the 15LED lights with these: Bikevis Bullets with the modulator pod made for them.

I then headed back towards Franktown and turned west at it's main intersection for a little bit till I was able to turn south once again and enter Castlewood Canyon Park via it's back entrance. No real photo ops that weren't there the last time I was in this park: LINK.

Once I got to CO11, I headed north on this road till I got to the outskirts of Castle Rock. I bypassed the usual curvy parts of CO11 aka South Lake Gulch Rd by taking South Ridge Road instead. It turned into a dirt road pretty quickly past the water tank place but being on three wheels, I managed speeds in the mid-30s to 40s with no issues.

I came across the fairgrounds for Castle Rock and turned in to get a picture of Castle Rock's namesake with a bit of snow in the foreground:

At the Castle Rock Fairgrounds Parking Lot

I somehow found myself after a while on Plum Creek Parkway which I took across the I-25 super slab and onto the western outskirts of Castle Rock.

I followed this parkway to explore a couple of mesas I'd seen from the distance, got real close to both but both were protected by "no trespassing" signs. Oh well, at least I tried.

On Meadows Parkway, to the west of Castle Rock

I made my way back towards Founder's Parkway and took Crowfoot Parkway back towards the town of Parker. From there, it was the usual back roads back home. About 3.5hrs in the saddle under bright sunshine and temperatures in the 40s! It felt positively balmy!


Richard Machida said...

I've noticed that some Urals have a headlight on the hack. I guess that mus be only some years or models. I've been looking at the LEDs but was never sure how much light they put out. They seem to add to your visibility.

Charlie6 said...


yeah, some models have spotlights on the hack....since I am stuck with using LEDs, its not an issue for me.

My LEDs do fine at night, daytime, not so much. There's only one headlamp out there that's all LEDs, and it costs well over $250! And it still uses 3amp/hr vice a regular headlamp using 5amp/hr so not much savings there.

Just have to live within my energy budget until a reliable alternator solution comes along....

motoroz said...

The LEDs help and look good. I have ridden by Castle Rock on I25, but I never knew about Castlewood Canyon SP. I will have to check it out the next time I am up that way.

Chuck Pefley said...

I'm curious about why you're limited to LED lights. You mention an alternator issue ... is that the reason?

Charlie6 said...

Motoroz, as state parks go, it's not bad...the main attraction for me is the site of the failed dam....

Chuck....yep, I don't have an alternator on the Ural....have gone to a total loss system:

TLS Installed

and here's why I did so:

natasha's swan song?

Chris Luhman said...

Have you considered upgrading to the current belt driven alternator from a newer Ural? I'm told they are quite reliable being the same design as in small cars.

Charlie6 said...


I was unaware the new models were "belt driven". Got pics? I thought the new ones were using the Nippon Denso alternators with a Russian adapter to mesh with the timing gears under the engine's front cover.

Chris Luhman said...

You are right about the alternator, denso with crush gears to save the engine if the alt fails. I must have been thinking about something else.

Charlie6 said...

Chris....crush gears? I am unfamiliar with the you have a link that describes them?

One uralista, gummiente, has gone through over 10 of the ural alternator adapters....he finally gave up and went total loss like I did....

Chris Luhman said...

"The alternator above is the solution to all the problems of the previous Russia alternator. It is made by Nippon Denso, and has a rubber cush drive between it and the gears. Totally reliable, one will fail one day, but so far non have. The good news is these will fit straight on as a direct replacement for the hand grenade unit. You do need to slightly modify the wiring, so get instructions if you are swapping them. All Urals made after Jan 2005 and sold in the UK have these alternators."

Charlie6 said...

Thanks Chris....I'd seen that before, was not aware it's design was intended to save the timing gears if the alternator seizes....the Nippon Denso's have their issues as well apparently, something about the grease leaking out of the bearings under hot conditions. Uralisti hae recommended repacking them with some heat-resistant grease called Krytox.

I dunno, I think I'll stick with my total loss system for now.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

I was amazed at the size of the LED light accessories (from Britain) that you are looking at for the Ural. I went to the sight and noticed the photo in the upper right hand corner, captioned "Ultra Miniature." It appears to be the size of a quarter, or smaller. Is this the unit you are considering?

I like small light accessories. But I need mine blazingly bright. I have not regretted mounting the PIA HID lights on the K75. But I'm glad I did it when I had a real income. (The lights were $600 without installation.) I mounted those not only for visibility, but also to light up the road ahead of me too.

When I get some money again, I'm thinking about installing those funny colored LED lights around the engine. I'll get the red ones.

Fondes regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads