Thursday, September 08, 2011

Sidecaring on the Shelf Road

This past weekend, I had been riding on Skyline Drive, near Cañon City, Colorado.

To return home that day, I chose to head out of town along Raynold's Avenue which leads one North out of the city and after a few miles past Red Canyon Park and eventually, onto the Shelf Road.

This road, back in the mining days, served as a stage coach road between Cañon City and Cripple Creek.  It's rated as a 4WD road and while some portions are a bit rough, it's still quite doable by most motorcycles with a bit of ground clearance.

The road is packed dirt, lots of loose gravel and rocks abound and of course, there's the stretches of road with a high precipitous drop into the canyon floor below!

The southern half, closes to Cañon City, has the best views of precipices and you can see how the road was carved out of the side of the mountain.  The northern half is a narrow roadway through the canyon walls, and is the site of Window Rock (pictured below) among many other cool rock formations.

Quite the road to ride on a motorcycle, not a big deal on a sidecar rig as expected.  I've ridden this road before on my 1987 R80 Beemer, so use that as a gauge as to whether your motorcycle can handle it.

Riding the southern half of the Shelf Road
The above video was "stabilized" using youtube's utility, made the captions behave
a bit weird but helped with the shakiness of my camera mount.

 You can't miss the welcome center for Cañon City, just look for this fellow
in the above picture.

 Here's Yoshie at the start of the northern half of the Shelf Road

 Yoshie near Window Rock

 A closeup view of Window Rock

 Heading towards the backside of Window Rock

 Pretty rugged terrain eh?

Eventually, the Shelf Road takes you to the outskirts of Cripple Creek.  I got onto CO67 and headed through town and ended up in the overlook above the town where I took the below shot:

The rest of the ride was just slabbing it on CO67, negotiating the traffic jams in Woodland Park and Colorado Springs.  I-25 northbound was really jammed up so I bailed at the North Gate exit and used CO83 or Parker Road to get me home.

I am happy to report Yoshie did great, no issues with the new chain or sprockets.  A total of about 282 miles ridden that one Labor Day.

Hope you got some riding in.

Note: yep, noticed that dust spot in the upper corner of the pictures, thought I'd gotten rid of it but menu display items obscured it.  It is more pronounced when zoom is engaged.  Just used a vacuum cleaner to get the dust out.  Must be more careful how I carry the camera I guess.


RichardM said...

That looks like a great road for riding. Initially, I was wondering if it was two-way as it looked like it was about 1½ lanes wide. As far as the software stabilization, I thought it was distracting. Not because of the jumpy titles (actually I liked that effect) but it appears to change the direction and zoom to the long views.

What are you using for a camera mount?

Charlie6 said...

Hi RichardM and thanks for the should see the original video, very very jumpy....

the camera mount? a telescoping pole used for installing/removing lightbulbs onto which I lashed the gopro camera. nothing fancy.

further video shooting in this manner will require a more solidly mounted mast.

motoroz said...

Every time I read your blog and see the photos I want to either get a dual sport or a sidecar and ride the dirt roads in Colorado. I love the state but I don't get on dirt much. Great photo and nice video.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

I think it is great that the local Chamber of Commerce has carved out all these interesting rock formations, while providing interesting vistas. I have noticed in several other of your blog posts that the Chamber has also arranged for impossible piles of rocks to be nicely situated alongside the road as well.

The Skyline Drive is one of my favorite of all your routes. I love its incredibly narrow track through the sky, nicely ending in sheer drops at the edge of the cracked pavement

Other than that, there is my usual complaint about the humdrum backgrounds that constitute the usual theme of your pictures. I should be so lucky.

Fondest regards,
Twisted Roads

bluekat said...

Okay, this one is great too! I love how lonely and remote it feels. Fantastic scenery.