Saturday, March 31, 2012

An Impromptu ride with a Fellow Uralista

This morning I spent it putting new Metzeler Lazertec tires on Brigitta, my 1987 R80 Airhead Beemer.  The Harbor Freight tire changer I managed to score for $50 through Craigslist came in right handy!  No hassle, no fuss, no muss....and only one banged up finger when I foolishly didn't follow proper procedure when breaking the bead on the old tire.

No pics as I was moving too fast.  The hardest part, besides figuring out how to break the bead easily, was aligning the metal hooks which secure the wheel to the tire changer.  In other words, it was as easy as this video show:

Video made by Mojo Lever Customer.

I gotta say, buying the Mojo Lever shown above made this task SO much more easier!  Well worth the money, and I highly recommend it as the tool to have and use when changing one's motorcycle tires!

As I neared the end of the tire changing, I got an email from Darrell S., one of the Uralisti that I have recently ridden with, suggesting a short two hour ride.  I rapidly put all the tools away, and with my oldest son Patrick in the sidecar, headed off in the direction of Morrison, CO to meet up with Darrell and his Green Patrol Rig.

Shortly before 2:00 PM, we met up at the western end of the town of Morrison (which was crawling with tourists and Harleys).  We headed west on Bear Creek Canyon Road and twisted and turned our way just past the next town of Idledale.  I decided there was too much traffic on this road and turned off onto Grapevine Road.

This is a twisty mountain side road which takes one from CO74 towards I-70 and US40 to the north.  It is mostly gravel and has some decent drop offs for the unwary.

The view from one of Grapevine Roads many hairpin turns.

We arrived at US40 soon enough and after a brief conference with Darrell decided we had the time for me to show him the "Oh My God" Road that is near Idaho Springs.  So we boogied on down US40 it eventually makes you merge onto the westbound  I-70 Super Slab.  We then sprinted along at max Ural Speed for the three miles or so before we could take the easternmost of the three exits for Idaho Springs.  There we stopped for gas and to get Patrick some lunch to munch on.

We climbed out of Idaho Springs on the Virginia Canyon Road which I believe is also the "Oh My God" Road.  It's rough gravel and washboarded in parts but for the most part quite doable by street motorcycles.  The Urals were of course in their element!

 A view of distant peaks from the "Oh My God" Road

 An old mining structure from back in the day of Gold Mining

 A view of the mountainside road that is the "Oh My God" Road

One last view of the road as it was hewn from the mountainside.

As we neared Central City, we first came upon and briefly stopped at the "Ghost Town" of Russell Gulch.  Not sure it's really a ghost town since we saw evidence of folks living there but there are several run down and delapidated buildings in town.  We posed our Urals at the front of the IOOF building on main street.  IOOF stands for Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the building itself was built in 1895.

Russell Gulch's IOOF Building

Soon after leaving Russell Gulch, you pass through the remnants of a Gold Mine operation and are soon in the outskirts of Central City and its casinos.  We meandered through town and I elected to pose the Urals near this steam locomotive which serves as an eyecatcher for the nearby casino:

In Blackhawk, CO

We rode away from the gambling towns on CO 119, heading east towards Golden.  I did slip up and take a turn I shouldn't have so we briefly detoured through the canyon walls/tunnels that lead one back to where US40 and I-70 merge.

Turning back, we got back on US6 and twisted our way through this curve filled roadway all the way back to the outskirts of the town of Golden.  Here we said our goodbyes, and I headed South while Darrel headed North on CO 93.

Darrell and his Patrol

The rest of the ride was just boring slab time coupled with some light city riding.  Patrick and I got home around 6:30 PM, tired but glad all the same.  He was the perfect monkey, that son of mine and all it cost me was some chicken nuggets from McDonalds!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Beer Babe

Some of you might recall I'd recently learned of the O'Dell Brewery offering Myrcenary Beer.  I'd even, before I ever tasted their brew, bought a wall tacker with the Myrcenary Beer Logo, though you must wonder why:

Yesterday, my better half, Martha was out grocery shopping on Stewie, here Genuine Buddy Scooter.  I was working on Valencia (adding a tachometer) and happened to see her whip around the corner at speed and cruise smoothly to a stop just a few feet from me; a big grin on her face.

Naturally, I attributed the big grin to the fact she was riding in beautifully sunny conditions.  Turns out, she was sporting her "Beer Babe" Grin.  For what did she have safely ensconced in the scooter's cargo compartment but this:


Note: The above picture was taken AFTER she'd shed all the 
protective riding gear she wears when riding.

I sit here, beer at hand, typing this out and thinking how tasty this beer really is.  What makes it better is how it came into my hand, isn't it?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Random Thoughts and Pictures

No long rides lately, work has conspired to either preclude it through no time available or causing me mental paralysis in going riding when time is available.

So, here's some rambling thoughts and random pics I've taken since my last posting:


Where my mind is in relation to my job:

“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.”
                                                                                                                        John Pierpont Morgan

In the context of late night/early morning changes to the network, I'm really tiring of that part of my work.

Always On, Zero Impact and Zero Defects.....nice buzzwords, but reality is quite different.  Result: Toxic Work Environment.

"The beatings will continue until morale improves"


We made the national news, large wildfires in the tinder dry areas about 20 miles west of the Denver Metro Area.  Day one, the smoke cloud was so large and thick, it turned the sun "blood red".  Kind of cool in a apocalyptic kind of way....


Martha's Bimmer is in the shop for "klunking noises".  So the "girls" get to hang out with Stewie for a few days.


I finally rode enough miles to get Valencia through her "engine break-in period" as recommended in the owner's manual.  Per anecdotal evidence from fellow Uralisti though, things won't "open up" with her engine till somewhere between the 2500-10,000 Km mark.

Another 1000Km and it'll be oil change time again.

I am happy to report all is well with Valencia so far, some minor oil seepage in a couple of spots on the engine, but nothing major or unexpected.


Some of you might remember I sometimes ride with a fellow who owns a spectacular BMW 1200GS Sidecar Rig.  Well, he's come over to the dark side of motorcycling and bought himself a 2012 Ural Gear-UP in the Gobi colors....I think it's very cool and look forward to our next ride together:

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Riding with Patrick

Not Saint Patrick, mind you.  That was yesterday!

Today I set out for the vicinity of the Denver Zoo, where I would later meet fellow Uralista Darrell S so he could deliver to me the Myrcenary Double IPA Tacker from the ODell Brewing Company.  He and soon to be fellow Uralista Greg P (who presently rides a GS Sidecar Rig) had gone there yesterday to sample the brew and also to visit Randy at Unique Rides.

First thing though was a meandering rides on side streets to the visitor center of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge.  This national refuge within the city limits of Commerce City, Colorado was created due to the discovery of nesting Bald Eagles sometime after it was decommissioned as a US Army site where chemical munitions were manufactured back in the day.

Patrick and I briefly toured the visitor center, got ourselves a sparse paper map and headed out to see what we could find in terms of wildlife and scenery.  We wandered about on paved roads throughout the interior of the refuge but found not much.  It was a very windy day here in the Denver Metro area and this caused some dust storms as we rode about.

I think it was this same wind which caused most of the wildlife to take shelter.  All we see was some prairie dogs, one lone Coyote and some deer in one of the sparsely located copse of trees.

 Patrick and a Bison

 One of the few small lakes one can hike around within the refuge.

Arsenal Refuge Deer Herd

The rest of the refuge was basically rolling grasslands and sparse trees, add some dust storms and driving winds and it was not the best place for a motorcycle ride today.

We left the refuge around 12:30 and headed in a southerly direction towards the are around the Denver Zoo.  Lunch was at a KFC where I watched folks admire Valencia in the parking lot as Patrick and I munched on chicken.

Met up with Darrell S. soon after lunch and he gave me the tacker.  We chatted for a bit and he told me how he'd almost lost his spare tire-mounted cargo rack yesterday while riding home.  Somehow, the metal cap that kept things secured had gone missing!  Luckily, except for the cap, nothing else fell off andhe made it home just fine after securing things with some baling wire he found on the side of the road.

After we said our goodbyes, Patrick and I headed home by side streets and byways.  We were in the area of the Wings over the Rockies Air Museum which is located in the Lowery Air Force Base neighborhoods.  It's a "renewed" urban neighborhood setting with lots of new construction and houses where Denver's main airport used to be.

Art Display near Wings over the Rockies Museum

We stopped briefly at the entrance to the Air Museum to pose Valencia by the restored B-52 Stratofortress Bomber that's located there:

 At the Wings over the Rockies Air Museum

 Mr "Cool"

I bet you could fit a few of Valencia's kin inside this bomber.

The rest of the ride was a long slog home in ever strengthening winds coming at us from the South.  These strong winds felt like someone was throwing soft body blows into me at times, it would have been no fun on two wheels I'll admit.

We home home safe and sound, Patrick tells me he had fun and I am thinking he must have....for at one point I heard him whistling in the sidecar.  I heard the whistling sounds first and thought there was something untoward with Valencia's engine!  Imagine my delight when I saw it was just my son whistling!

I look forward to tasting this Microbrew one day.
Thanks Darrell, for picking this up for me.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Here's hoping you all had a great Saint Patrick's was warm and sunny here in the great state of Colorado. I installed Oxford Heated Grips on Valencia.  Martha and I then went to lunch on Valencia, later on the Tangerine Tango colored sidecar rig took my youngest son a short ride for some fast food.  Short rides, good weather, it's all good.

Tangerine Tango according to Pantone

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Something useful to have around, when you own a Ural Sidecar Rig

I'm just saying.....

found on youtube: author is "indianbill"

Then, there's a less fancy solution:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Then and Now: Westminster University and Loretto Heights University

Coming home, southbound on US287, this past Sunday.  I spied several old time buildings along this somewhat frenzied with traffic but otherwise scenic highway.

One that stood almost alone on a hill caught my eye and I detoured from motoring towards home to get a closer look at it.  Turns out to be originally the Westminster University building from the turn of the last century!  A great stone building with dramatic architectural touches that are pleasing to the eye.

Westminster University 
circa 1903
Source: Denver Public Library (DPL)
Call # X-14085

Once was Westminster University
now Belleview Christian University, 2012

Pillar of Fire - DPL Call # Z-1084
circa 1915-1925
From DPL:  Panoramic view of Westminster University of Colorado in Westminster (later a Pillar of Fire Church preparatory school and Belleview College) in Adams County, Colorado.

The above building is located next to Federal Boulevard, aka US287 and the intersection with 82nd Avenue.  You can get a nice view of downtown Denver from this hilltop location:

Denver's Downtown Skyline

Further South on Federal Boulevard, one can see Loretto Heights University building, aka Colorado Heights University.  The below picture is circa 1893-1935, more information is available by clicking the link below the photo from the Denver Public Library:

Loretto Heights University
DPL Call #MCC-3521


I love how folks have managed to preserve these old buildings from Denver's early days.  They seem to be in full use today and hopefully will be around for generations to come.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Coffee with Sidecarists

I woke early and left the house in the dark pre-dawn hours to ride in somewhat cold temperatures towards the town of Lafayette, Colorado where Uralisti were meeting.

Taking advantage of the early hour, very light traffic and worried about deer on county roads; I took the E-470 Super Slab.  I could not manage more that 55 mph as I am still breaking in the engine but the light traffic made it easy for cars to drive around me.

Dawn was breaking as I got off the US287 exit and headed North on it till I got to South Boulder Road which I took East to the junction with South Public Road.  The meeting spot was the Cannon Mine Cafe which is located a few blocks North on South Public Road where it crosses Cannon Street.

I was second to arrive, shortly after Darrel and Nick on their dark green Ural Patrols, 2007 and 2005 year models respectively.  The rigs continued arriving and it looked like an invasion of Lafayette was underway by Ural Sidecar Rigs!  To keep things somewhat in balance, Greg showed up on his GS/Dauntless Sidecar Rig to join us for coffee.  The remaining rigs were driven by Tim and John.

 Six Rigs, five of them Urals....the UDF (Ural Delay Factor) effect on the town 
of Lafayette's residents must have been striking!

Joining us on two-wheeled steeds were John and Cookie on their BMW GS motorcycles and Jeff on his Yamaha FJR (I think).  The whole lot of us gathered at a couple of tables within the Cannon Mine Cafe and proceeded to get to know each other and tell tall tales to each other.  Rides were discussed and planned, coffee was consumed along with pastries and a really good time was had by all!

A stalwart gathering of Uralisti, Sidecarist and Riders
Starting from Jeff in lower right corner and going counterclock-wise:
Jeff, Darrell, John S, Tim, Cookie, Spat, Greg and Nick.

We talked and socialized till about 10:30 or so then spent some time in the street outside chatting some more as we geared up for riding to our various destinations of the day.  However, true to form, one of the Urals had "issues" getting the engine started.  It was Nick's turn again to provide the centerpiece rig for the troubleshooting experience of the day.

Tim's rig decided she didn't want to start.  Lots of kibitzing later, he found
what appeared to be wire grounding on the engine case that lead to his
ignition system.  A little bit of electrical tape, and his rig once again started!

Crisis averted, the riders said their goodbyes and rolled on out of Lafayette.  Here's pictures of the riders and their steeds:

 Jeff and his Yamaha FJR, we'll see if we can convince him to come
over to the dark side and become a Uralista.

 Smiling Tim, the youngest member of the informal group and his new
Ural Patrol.  He's breaking the engine in same as me.

 John S. and his 2007 Ural Gear-UP, he's planning to ride to 
Alaska with this rig, promoting cancer awareness along the way.
More on that effort in future postings.

 Here's Greg with his beauty of a GS Rig, he's really thinking hard
about a Ural of his own though....we shall see.

Spat and his lovely wife cookie astride their Beemers.

A thoroughly enjoyable gathering of individuals who've discovered a love for sidecar riding or in the case of Jeff, know someone who's hooked on sidecars.  The day turned out nicely, with the sun coming out nice and warm as we left Lafayette.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Home Depot Orange

This morning was spent on a run to the local hardware store for some supplies and to get them to make me up a can of "touch up" paint for Valencia's orange coloring.  You see, the stuff that Ural packs along with the rig had dried up on the boat voyage to the US.

I took one of Valencia's side covers in, they put it on some machine and in a few minutes the paint machine had created what looked like a good match.  We'll see how it looks when the need arises for this paint.

As I geared up in the parking lot, where I had parked Valencia near the storage area for customer shopping carts, I realized how close Valencia's color was to the colors used by Home Depot for their carts!

Martha and I rode Valencia towards Northglenn to attend a good friend of ours daughter's Percussion Band Competition.  The ride was in beautifully sunny weather, nice breezes and moderate traffic as we were avoiding the slabs to get there.

We got near the school with time to spare for a lunch at a nearby Chinese Restaurant.  It was close to 2:00 PM at this point and we had the place to ourselves.  After lunch, I posed Valencia by a round glass window where she could admire her reflection on a large mirror located inside the building.

The Percussion Band Competition was held at the Northglenn High School's campus.  We sat on hard wooden benches and enjoyed the offerings of the various high school bands who were competing.  Eaglecrest High School, where Martha is a nurse, was the first outfit we saw and they played quite nicely.

 Eaglecrest High School Percussion Band


Band Dad: Eric

Martha and I watched several bands play and had a pretty enjoyable time overall.  I don't recall such competitions when I went through High School but the kids seemed to be enjoying themselves.

We left close to 4:00 PM to avoid riding back after the sun had set, it cools down pretty quick here in Colorado when one loses the sun!  

The winds had picked up as we cleared the city limits and buffeted the rig from the South/South East.  It made  for some suboptimal riding performance on the part of Valencia, especially when it was headwinds.  Still, even being wind-tossed and feeling dropping temperatures, it was still good riding with my sweetie.

We stopped along Picadilly Road near Buckley Air Force Base and took this picture of an abandoned house alongside the road.  Why you ask?  I'll be using it on where a thread called "Hack Tag" is ongoing.  

The last posting was of an abandoned house, so you have to get a picture of your rig by another abandoned house, then if you're the first to do so, then you get to name the next "tag objective" by posting a picture of what the next tag subject will be.

It gets the forum members out and riding on their rigs and seems like a fun way to reintroduce myself to the Uralisti at SovietSteeds!

Great day of riding, bonus was having Martha along.  She likes how Valencia rides by the way, more than Yoshie even though Yoshie's engine would have made the ride less "slow".

Friday, March 09, 2012

Valencia's First Service

I picked up Valencia, my 2011 Ural Patrol Sidecar Rig, with 39 Kilometers on the odometer less than one week ago.  Today she and I reached the 537 Kilometer mark and it was time to do her first maintenance service.

There's not much involved, change out the fluids, check fasteners for tightness, check the spokes for tightness as well and finally, the tightness of the steering head bearings.  This last task was one I'd not done before and so I sought out the 750 Engine Maintenance Video repository on SovietSteeds:  LINK

The task of checking the steering head bearings was demonstrated and it seemed easy enough:

Reality of doing this task proved not quite as easy as shown in the above video but it was quite doable in the end.  Just a little patience, and judicious application of a hammer's "persuasion"  I'd forgotten how many maintenance tasks on a Ural involve a hammer!

I am really impressed with the quality of the high strength steel fasteners now used by Ural on their rigs.  The use of nyloc nuts to keep said fasteners secure is also a plus.  Even the few slotted and crossed tip screws used on the motorcycle are of good quality steel and not the "pot metal" used on the older Urals.

The benefit of such nice fasteners?  Found only a few fasteners requiring a slight bit of tightening.  Nice!  

Oh, and the use of Allen head fasteners, glorious!

It may seem a bit weird to you, gentle reader, my seeming orgiastic enthusiasm; but fellow Ural owners understand completely.

Finally, the tool kit has vastly improved from the meager "pot metal" set of tools that came with Natasha, my '96 Ural Sportsman Sidecar Rig.  I had to "supplement" that set of tools with my own stuff!  Now, the tool that comes with new Urals comes in a very nice tool roll, the tools are made of DIN 895 High Grade Steel, in Italy and supposedly you can do about 95% of all repairs on the rig with just these tools:

Italian-made Ural Tool Kit
image source: LINK

Riding around the last few mornings though, have shown the need for heated grips, time to go shopping for some online.

Yep, easy first service, Valencia is running like a champ so far, it's a great first start with my Ural Rig!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Showing off Valencia

Spent the day riding about the Denver Metro Area, to show off Valencia, my 2011 Ural Patrol to some of my fellow Uralisti.

First stop was to Spat and Cookie's place in Lakewood where he showed me how to remove the bench seat from my Patrol.  Yes, I had to ask, I'd failed to spot the nut which secures the front of the seat onto the motorcycle.  After a bit of chatting about the motorcycles, their dog and upcoming plans, it was time to head south.

Morrison Road led me to one of my favorite ride destinations, Red Rocks Park.  The place was packed with cagers and bicyclists as the weather was quite warm today.  I even met a fellow examiner, Ray, his byline is as Classic Motorcycle Examiner.  He was riding a gorgeous Phantom Black 2011 Triumph Street Triple R that he rescued after it was "totaled".

Valencia near Creation Rock

The crowds precluded much photography on my part.  I left Red Rocks Park and continued heading over to another fellow Uralista's place.  Craig H. has been instrumental in the conversion of Yoshie, my V-Strom Sidecar Rig to using car tires and is a highly experienced Ural driver and fellow rider.

There was more chatting about our rigs, he pointed out some things to watch for...showed me a good technique to learn in terms of engaging and disengaging the 2WD on my Patrol.  

After taking up too much of Craig's time with my questions, I went on with my "showing off Valencia" tour by riding over to Oscar's house which was pretty close to Craig's house.  You may remember Oscar, he's rescued my rigs several times in the past, and his mechanical skills and tools have always been readily offered and accepted by me.

Oscar and Janet, Oscar didn't believe a big guy like him would fit in
the sidecar, I corrected that belief.

After visiting with Oscar and Janet, I left to take a picture of a sign at the intersection where I was hit on the 24th of February.  The driver of the Corolla, aka Fat Cow, really was oblivious to everything that morning, to include blowing past the sign that said: No left turn at next intersection!

 The above is looking south, the lane closest to the curb is governed
not by the stop lights but by the sign by the crosswalk.

Using the silver car above as an example; the Corolla which hit me
was in same position when I spotted it.

So basically, she not only ignored the "no left turn" sign, didn't look to see if she was clear and just went to cross over the solid white line and three lanes, ending up side-swiping me.  Nice huh?

I think I'll email these pictures to her insurance representative, to help them finalize their "investigation".  As it is, I somehow managed to retrieve the police report faster than the insurance reps, and ended up sending same to them.  

Anyways, enough of that.

I have managed to rack up over 300 Km since I picked up Valencia from the dealer yesterday.  She only had 39 Km on her odometer when I became her owner.  So, I'm a fifth of the way to ride her past her 1500 Km engine break-in period.

Everyone seemed to like Valencia's looks very much, it was interesting as they pointed up the differences and upgrades between their Ural's and mine.