Showing posts with label Rides - Misc. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rides - Misc. Show all posts

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Upcoming: June 12, 2011 - Ride for the Kids of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation

This year's Ride for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation for the Denver Metro Area is on June 12, 2011 and I will be riding Vikki, my 2004 Suzuki V-Strom Sidecar Rig.  I am planning once again to have as my "monkey" the same young man who rode with me during last years's event.

The registration fee is not much and it goes to help out kids with brain tumors, so I hope to see you out there on the 12th.  The PBTF hosts these rides nationwide, so please check out their website for an upcoming ride near you.

Here's James Briggs, my monkey last year and hopefully, this year as well.

Please click here for pics of last year's ride report.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Reluctance to Ride

The end of January for a brand new year approaches and I've not ridden every single day of the month.

It's not because of my current mechanical issues with Natasha, my Ural sidecar rig.

It's not because of snow-covered or ice-covered roads as Colorado is actually enjoying quite a mild winter so far, as opposed to the East Coast states.

It's not because of lack of time or opportunity for short rides, heck, for that matter, long rides on the weekends.

It's not because of lack of motorcycle to ride, as my Brigitta, the R80 Beemer Airhead stands ready and willing.

Really can't get my head around it really:

Maybe its because that even though the roads are clear, there's no places to go during the weekdays with worthwhile scenery; I live after all near the eastern plains of the front range; and one can only go so far within one's lunch hour even when "working from home" or telecommuting.

Maybe its because all the really nearby stuff has been visited over and over during short rides taken "just to be riding".

Maybe its because the weather has been so "nice" that it's not much of an adventure.  Sure, I've ridden to and from work in temperatures that kept most riders from riding, but its riding to and from work along the same boring path.

Maybe its all the research I've been doing on possible alternatives to the Ural, most of which are not panning out which have me thinking of other motorcycles to "inject" some newness to the rides.

All I know, is that being able to say I rode every day for the year 2011 is now not possible, but the worrying thing is "I don't care".  Not that I don't like to ride, far from it, but now the "urge" is somewhat controllable.

Weird huh?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bonneville Salt Flats Motorcycle Racing 2010

Back in March of this year, I was invited to attend the regular monthly meeting of the British Motorcycle Association of Colorado or BMAC, down in Colorado Springs.

I met some hard core British Iron enthusiasts there and have run into them at other events such as Bob Ohman's Old Bike Ride #7 and #8.

Recently, one of the BMAC members, Super_Chief, achieved quite a feat as part of a team running a sidecar rig down in the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.  Here's his story of the event:

Bonneville Salt Flats Motorcycle Racing 2010
    We found no fault, with the salt !

It was last year when my friend Kris got the bug, he was hooked. He just had to race one of his motorcycles at the Bonneville Salt Flats !  He had just returned from the 2009 “Speed Week’ at Bonneville as a crew member, helping one of our other motorcycle club members, Jerry, race his bike

At our next club meeting Kris approached me about joining with him to race one of his Harley Sportsters at Bonneville.  I not only said yes but, heck yes !  Then he told me that he was going to race in the sidecar class.  Whoa, wait a minute, I am not going to get in any sidecar at those speeds !  He then told me that they don’t allow a passenger for safety reasons, and that I would be his crew chief.

After a year of arduous work, myself finding the parts, race fairing, sidecar wheel etc., and Kris putting the whole thing together, we were ready.  With our one off ’69 Harley Sportster sidecar racer, sitting atop our open trailer and being pulled by our trusty Honda Station Wagon with over 200,000 miles, we were off !

13 hours later we were there, Wendover Utah is a place like no other. It sits right at the Utah/Nevada border, casinos on one side, the Bonneville salt flats on the other. We arrived too late in the day to drive out on the salt flats. So my first taste of salt would have to wait until morning.

At 8:00 AM I became a certified “salt-aholic”, it is truly amazing, the salt falts are like being on another planet, maybe Mars!  It is so white in all directions that you lose perspective, where am I?  Wait a minute Kris found a sign . . .

We nicknamed our sidecar rig “Bonneville Betty” and the name of our racing team is “Super_Chief”.  I designed up a T-shirt to announce our race team to the world of Land Speed Racing .

image source: google

Our first day on the salt was a busy one, setup the pit area, fill out the paperwork, get the race bike and our gear through technical inspection, fuel up the bike with the $10 per gallon mandatory race fuel,  man, when do we get to race down the course?

We could race the next day, but only after we passed rookie school, which we did. Oh no, it meant that now we were really going to go down the course!  Would the bike make us proud and at least go over the ton (100 mph)?

The record in our class was set @ 126 MPH, we surely wouldn’t beat that this year. No more waiting, we were next in line and it was now or never . . . 

The bike started just fine, the flagman waved Kris on and he left the starting line. Hang on, here we go !  I followed in the chase vehicle (can you say Honda Station Wagon) to pick Kris up after the 2 mile marker. 

When I got there Kris looked discouraged, he said when he shifted into high gear it felt like the bike was not accelerating, so he attempted to shift back down to third gear, then the engine quit, darn.  Back at the pits we discovered that Kris had merely hit the kill switch with his thumb when working the throttle during the downshift. The engine was fine, we repositioned the switch, but it was too late in the day for another run.  

We would have to wait until the next morning to run again, and run we did. Our next run netted us an average speed over the second mile of, get this,  111 MPH, WOW !  After yours truly, aptly nicknamed “Super Chief”, did some adjustments to the engine timing and mixture setting we went out to give it another go.  

This time the waiting line at the short course was really long , an umbrella can really help keep you cool out there, just ask Kris with all his race leathers on, it gets a bit toasty.  .  . 

Well, they don’t call me Super (Crew) Chief for nothing!  This time we hit over 115 mph, we were dancing in the pits.  We had met our goal of over 100 MPH, and knew our old engine had given us everything she had.

Another member in our motorcycle club, Jerry, finally got his BSA to run decent and set the production vintage 650 class record . . .

Jerry on his BSA

Jerry (black BSA 650) was going after an open record in the 650cc Production Pushrod Vintage (P-PV) prior to 1955 is vintage. So all he had to do is get down the track twice and he would have the record.

Problem is that many people think that BSA stands for "Bast*rd Stopped Again", and Jerry's BSA was living proof.  Over the past two years Jerry's BSA has seized 3 times, including right @ Bonneville this year !

It was only a mild seizure, once cooled down, it started. So he kept the revs down and managed about 50 MPH and got the record.  If nothing else Jerry is tenacious, he stuck with that old bike and we are proud of him for sure.

Another member, Jack, was going after upping his own record, but just missed it  . . . 

With his red/blue 250 Triumph, Jack holds the record in 250cc Class for Motorcycle Partial Streamliner - Pushrod Gas (MPS-PG).  His record is an amazing 101 MPH, he had reworked the cyclinder head on his bike for this year, but only managed about 97 MPH, the God Of Speed can be cruel!

George’s new bike, a beautiful bike which he designed himself, had some handling problems but still managed about 80 mph, not bad for his first year out . . . 

George (low slung black Triumph) was in the 650cc Special Construction Pushrod - Gas  (SC-PG). The record in this class is 126 MPH, so once George gets his handling dialed in I feel he is a shoe in.  His motor with those open pipes sounds really healthy, he'll get the reord next year !

Will we be back next year ? with a rebuilt engine ? and try our luck again?  You betcha we will !
Well that’s about it, one fun time, neatest people you’ll ever meet, and yes, if you go once you’re the real salt of the earth !


For more information about our motorcycle club here in Colorado Springs, visit our website:

My thanks to Super_Chief for this great story of their exploits on the Salt!


Ride Safe.  Ride Aware.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Some long distance riding tips

I thought I'd write down some of the tips I've learned, discovered, re-learned and put to good use as I've ridden both my motorcycles up and down Colorado's roads and the roads of several other states.

First and foremost, take care of your motorcycle and it'll get you home. I do my own services where I can, not only to save money but to get to know my motorcycle more closely in case it ever breaks down. Not only that, but when I do a service, I know it was done and done as right as I can possibly do it.

Speaking of working on your motorcycle, try and do the work with just the tools you normally carry on your motorcycle. You obviously won't have that fully stocked tool chest in your garage with you when riding, will you? If I find my onboard toolkit does not have a tool, I buy it and carry it from that point on when riding. I've accumulated quite a bit more tools/materials than what the motorcycle came with! LINK

Buy a good service manual, check your basic stuff at least once a week: Tire pressure, loose or missing fasteners, check the oil and brake fluid reservoirs, your lights and signals, the horn and lastly check for leaks. Keep your motorcycle clean so you can spot the leaks early! Buy your motorcycle the high octane gas, she deserves it.

Carry a tire puncture kit and know how to use it, heck, practice using it on an old tire. The side of the road, in the rain and late at night is not the time to try and read the instructions that came with the kit! Invest in a small air compressor, those CO2 tubes really aren't up to the job.

Carry a cellphone, along with a charger for the longer trips, more often than not, you'll have coverage and can call for a tow truck.

Now, for on the road:

Read up on and practice the Master Yoda Riding Position. Sound weird but it works! I've done many a 10-12 hour day, 600+ miles at a stretch, and still not hurt too badly at the end of the day, and this is with stock seats on both my motorcycles! If the link above is broken, just google the phrase!

Your feet are not meant to just be in one position on the pegs, move them around once in a while! Point your toes down a bit if your knees are starting to feel sore, it really helps. When I first started motorcycling, I thought you were supposed to keep your feet still and in the same spot on the pegs, wrong!

Move your butt back towards the rear of your seat if your knees are getting sore, I sometimes slide back onto the pillion seat to allow my legs to stretch out a bit during the straight runs.

If your motorcycle's clearance allows it, and you can get up on the pillion seat while still holding the grips, then you can let your feet dangle free for a few moments. You can also try resting the back of your booted ankle on the top of the pegs as well to give your knees some relief. Remember, be careful and do this when there's little traffic and no curves!

On the same line of long straight stretches of road with little traffic, invest in some kind of "wrist rest" device, sometimes referred to as cruise control for motorcycles. There's many types and brands but they all do one thing: They allow you to lock the throttle in place, letting your free your throttle hand for a few moments to stretch your fingers, wiggle your wrist and whatever else hurts from holding the throttle for long periods of time.

Personally, and I am not saying to try it, but sometimes with the throttle locked and going straight where I can see very far ahead, I'll lean back and rest one arm on the respective side case for a minute or so, it helps stretch the back and shoulder muscles.

Get a kidney or back support belt and wear it nice and tight under your outer riding gear. Speaking for myself and my bad posture, having some lower back support is a wonderful thing on the day long rides!

Consciously avoid using the death grip on your handlebar grips, a light touch is plenty most of the time. If your wrists are bent downwards, you're not doing it right. Try to form and keep a V shape with your thumb and index finger when gripping the throttle and left hand grips. Keep your elbows up and your back straight!

The cruiser riders like to stretch out their legs and rest them on top of their engine guards or on highway pegs they've mounted on their engine guards or frame. I like to sometimes rest, for a just about 30 secs or so, my boots on the engine guards that I mounted on my R80 airhead. No such luck with Maria, my 2004 R1150RT due to her fairing. Yes, they do make pegs that one secures to the valve covers but its not in my future.

Sometimes, if the road is really empty and straight, try standing up on the pegs, while securely holding onto the handlebar! Don't go blaming me if you crash for doing something this risky without at least giving it some thought! Just standing while riding, for 15 seconds or so, makes the world of difference for me and allows me to ride further on.

Note: You may attract unwanted attention from the local law enforcement, apparently they believe your standing is a prelude to popping a wheelie or a mark of being a squid up to no good.

Standing on the pegs, it's been floated on the Internet, is also a way to get that idiot cager who's been tailgating you to back off as you're exhibiting unexpected and possibly dangerous behaviour. I don't know how effective this is, just be careful.

Invest in good riding gear, use the layers concept to stay warm in hot or cold weather. Pack rain gear, because you will get rained on if you ride enough. Wear a helmet!

Yes, being ATGATT (All The Gear, All The Time) can be a PITA, can make you sweat on hot days but you damn sure won't have time to put it all on when you go down! Let the others make jokes, or try and tell you that you don't need all that gear. I am here to tell you, it's saved my butt a couple of times. Gear can be replaced....your body parts tend to be sensitive to pavement when contacting it at anything above say 5 mph!

Plan your meals around the traditional meal times, otherwise you get caught in the "lunch rush" and lose valuable riding time. I tend to not eat a big lunch when riding, it I eat at all....I get "food comma" where one feels sleepy after a big meal, not a good thing when riding a motor vehicle!

Spare key, carried somewhere independent of your regular motorcycle key.

Known how long you have, in terms of mileage, when either you have to switch to final reserve on your older motorcycle or the fuel low warning light comes on in your newer motorcycle. These things are a pain to push even for a short distance. It will, most times, pay off to top off when you reach the midpoint in your range, sometimes the planned for gas stop is not there or its closed.....

Keep hydrated, even in cold weather, you lose a lot of water through perspiration of course in hot weather, but you lose water as well in cold weather. I am bad about this but working on it, I do travel with a water bottle now, even for day trips. The cognoscenti say: "if you pee is a dark yellow, you're not drinking enough water". Signs of dehydration are headaches, sore throat, and impacts on your reactions and reasoning abilities. Be careful, if you stop sweating in hot weather, that's bad. There's more to riding in hot weather, I might do a posting on what works for me, later on.

Keep exposed skin to a minimum, to avoid sunburn, windburn, excessive evaporation due to wind. If you're doing ATGATT, this should not be an issue except for the back of you neck.

That's all that comes to mind for now, please leave a comment if you've tips I've not mentioned.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Results of the 2008 BMWMOA Mileage Contest are out

Well, of the 76 finishers from the great state of Colorado, I placed 15th in terms of mileage accumulated during the contest period of April though October. The only problem? They got my last name wrong, Change instead of Chang. Oh well.

The average miles ridden by men was 9,806 miles and women was 8,719 club wide.

The 1st place male rider racked up an impressive 68,072 miles during the contest. He was from Texas and his mileage included less than one thousand miles in inclement weather by riding in the direction the Weather Channel told him had good weather. He achieved the Iron Butt National Parks award (62 parks in 26 days), several rallies, the MOA national in Wyoming, the Top of the Rockies Rally and the Black Hills Stampede for the "Hat Trick". Now there's a rider!

The first place female rider accumulated an equally impressive 58,328 and was from Panama City, Panama. Her riding included The James Dalton Highway and the Haul Road to Prudhoe Bay in Alaska as the destinations, starting from Ushuaia, Argentina! She also managed to rack up several iron butt rallies, other assorted motorcycling rallies and completed the "48+" Ironbutt event. Wow.

The BMWMOA magazine listed all finishers by state, just for grins and a secretly seething competitive spirit, I counted up how many riders I managed to beat by counting which had better mileages than me: 344. Out of a total of 1571 finishers, not counting myself, that puts me in the top 21% of riders club-wide. Not bad!

The BBIR or Bavarian Black Ice Rally is ending soon as well (April 10). I'll have to make sure to get my winter riding mileage results in before 10May2009!. I hope to do better at that one.

16MAY09: finally received my "BMW MOA Mileage Contest Finisher 2008" pin today.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

My First Published Motorcycling Article

Ok, first and ONLY published motorcycling magazine article. Unlike the prolific and entertaining articles written by Jack Riepe which he's gotten published in the BMW Motorcycle Owner's Association's Owner News magazine, I've submitted only one article for publishing. I really do have to get my butt in gear and generate more stuff if I want to be more than a one-article author.

Be that as it may, I'd mentioned before that I did get my first overnight motorcycle trip published in the JAN 2009 edition of the Owner News.

This past weekend I sent an email to the editor, Vince Winkel, asking for a pdf version of my article. He responded today with some kind words and the pdf itself!

For those of you unfortunate enough to not own a Beemer and also be a member of the BMWMOA, here's a link to the article: LINK

Note: Yes, I am counting on some readers being trapped by snow/ice conditions where they live and being so bored and eager for motorcycling content that they'll actually want to read the article.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

2008 in Pictures

Today, its presently 16 degrees and very light snow, probably not riding, instead: Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, I took a cue from Gail's sheridesabeemer posting in which she compiled pictures from 2008 into a movie presentation. Thanks for the inspiration Gail!

Link to her posting.

Here's a video of some of the pictures from my rides in 2008, hope you enjoy them.

Update: 1527hrs: The "snow", really freezing drizzle or "frizzle" was not sticking and very very light. So I headed out for about 50 minutes of riding, a little over 23 miles of travel on dry roads. Had to re-coat my glasses with "cat crap" anti fog coating and after that all was well. Still had to crack open the visor during stops but that's it.

As you can see, dry roads. It was more than brisk though, average was about 18 degrees but not much wind so it was all good.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Look at a Sidecar Rig on Craigslist

Some of you are probably familiar with the online classified services provided by You can post ads for free and they're searchable of course.

A couple of days ago, I spotted this ad for a 1979 Honda CB750 Motorcycle with sidecar for $1300. The price got my attention, the picture used by the owner was not that great and my knowledge of Honda CB750s was nil.

I asked John, aka Sanoke, if he'd come along and take a look at the motorcycle from a mechanic's point of view since he is quite the wrencher and used to be an aircraft engine mechanic.

We met at the guy's house in Littleton, CO this morning, at 11:30 and we looked the rig over. Initial impressions were that it had some amount of surface rust where you'd expect it. The sidecar needed to have its paint removed and redone, the interior was "ok" and the seat would need some work as it had a tear in it.

Here's some pictures of the sidecar and what we assumed are mounting points from a "universal kit".

The sidecar itself had minor scratches and flaking of the red paint areas

Front Mounts

Interesting "universal" brackets, this is the topmost rear mount

Bottom rear mount

As you can see above, not exactly "concours" level condition in terms of appearance but then again, the price was pretty accurate according to Sanoke. He pointed out I could buy the rig, sell the motorcycle and keep the side car for eventual mounting on Brigitta, my 1987 R80 Beemer.

Front attachment point for the frame under the "tub"

A view of the bottom rear of the sidecar's tub and frame

After we were done looking at the rig, we were chatting by my motorcycle and an older gentleman drove up to look at the rig too.

We'd found out, from documentation provided by the seller's wife, that the sidecar was an American Brand sidecar. I'd inquired about these sidecars before via email to Dauntless Motors who specialize in sidecars and their mounts. They mentioned that the early American sidecars with torsion bars suspensions (which this one had) were known for "issues". That and the fact that parts are no longer made led me to decide to pass on this sidecar. Hopefully someone buys her, although we did not get a chance to ride her to see how her engine worked, it would not take too much work to make it a good looking rig.

I said my goodbyes to John and headed in to work to get some stuff done. He headed off for a ride, destination unknown. Lucky.

On the way back to US285 from the seller's house, I saw a large lake to the East and stopped to take this picture:

Marston Lake

So, the search for a decent sidecar continues, the need for one is's just a "want". Oh well.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Relearning a Lesson: Remember the Straps!

Just a short entry today.

I had to go to Denver International Airport today to finish a survey of communication closets owned by UAL. The weather was in the high 30s to low 40s and sunny so riding my motorcycle was the obvious choice.

Great ride in, a bit windy as I approached DIA but no big deal. A bit of a hassle going through the TSA security checkpoints since I'd forgotten about the metal clasps on my suspenders which held my waterproof liners for my riding pants. I had gone through the metal detectors before on other trips and the riding gear itself is fine.

Now I have to figure out some way to wear cold weather liners and NOT have to strip off all the riding gear before I get to a storage location at work when working at DIA.

Anyways, to get back to the title of the posting. I found out, once we started working, that I would have to pick up a print job from Kinko's along with a mailing tube. No problem I said, assuming my straps were in my system cases.

Well, I get to Kinko's and no straps. A bit of fast thinking and I took off the suspenders which had given me such problems at airport security. Using them I was able to secure the mailing tube and get it home in brisk riding conditions with no problems.

Who needs a cage when having to transport awkwardly shaped packages? Now if only I remember to transfer the cargo straps between one motorcycle and the other!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Published in the BMWMOA Owner News

Well, it took over a year since I submitted it for publishing but the Owner News Magazine folks of the BMW Owners Association to which I belong, did publish my first overnight motorcycling trip that I did back in October of 2007.

I'd had Maria for about a year at that point and the planets lined up correctly (to paraphrase Jeff Munn) leaving me an opportunity to ride down to Monument Valley in Arizona by way of the Million Dollar Highway in Colorado.

Here's a link to the blog posting, some of the shots therein made it into the magazine article. LINK

Here's the pictures that made it into the article:

The start of the Million Dollar Highway

Million Dollar Highway, between Ouray and Durango

North side of Molas Pass, CO

Mexican Hat Rock Formation

Gooseneck State Park

This is the opening credit picture for the article, which had caught my eye as I was perusing the magazine. It had been so long since I'd submitted the article that I'd given up on having it published. The first thought that came to mind when I saw this picture was, ironically: "Dang, someone used my picture for their own stuff!".

On US106 enroute to Kayenta, AZ from Teec Nos Pos

There's more shots in the blog link above if you're interested. What a nice way to end what had been a pretty boring week in terms of riding, just commuting back and forth to work.

04FEB09 Update: I asked for and received a pdf version of my article from the editor of the BMWMOA ON Magazine, so if you want to read the actual published article, go here: LINK

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Test Riding the F800GS and the F650GS

This past Wednesday, I found myself with some free time mid-morning and rode on Maria over to the Beemer dealer to test ride a 2007 pre-owned F650GS Thumper I'd been eyeing.

The salesman, Tyler, was very accommodating and things were slow so there was no waiting on my part. Signed the disclaimers, and away I rode on the thumper.

2007 F650GS (courtesy of BMW of Denver)

There's plenty of thorough reviews of this neat motorcycle on the Net so I'll just note some impressions I got:

Nice and light. Very nimble, and its performance was very much like my R80 Beemer, Brigitta. Being a thumper, her tach runs a bit higher but it likes it. About the same wind protection as the R80, which is really nothing. No real increase in buzziness from its being a single cylinder motorcycle. Nice motorcycle.

I got back to the dealer and made the above comments, then asked to ride their Demo F800GS motorcycle which is BMW's newest dual-sport offering in the mid size category.

2008 F800GS (courtesy of BMW of Denver)

I have to admit, a much more "powerful" motorcycle on first impressions (it's got like 21 more horses than the new F650GS). Very nice sounds coming from its pipes and great pick up! I had to use the "lowered" seat in order to almost flatfoot it so bear in mind its a higher seating motorcycle. Still, it was a lot of fun to ride. Both the 650 and the 800 have very narrow saddles, creating some pressure points in one's thighs/buttocks area.

After the second test ride, I watched this rider come in on his brand new F800GS with only 800 miles on it. He and I chatted for a bit and the only negative was that his butt gets sore after about two hours in the saddle.

Neither though is in my immediate future though. Nice as they are, they fall into the local commuter with the occasional ride down mild dirt roads category for me. In other words, I've a motorcycle that can do that now: Brigitta.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Discovering a new twisty road

Temperatures ranging from mid-30s to low 50s, sunny.

A late start today, didn't leave home till well after 0900hrs. I took US285 through Denver and transited off it near Morrison onto Bear Creek Canyon road and it's nice twisty curves through the usual towns of Idledale, Kittredge and Evergreen.

It was at Evergreen that I diverged from staying on CO74. I instead went onto CO73 at Evergreen and moved along this nice little two lane highway south, past its junction with North Turkey Creek Rd and ending up where it goes under US285 at the town of Conifer.

Again, I avoided the usual routes and saw/followed the signs for a road I'd not taken before: Pleasant Park Road. A very nice two lane road I must say but its many shady areas kept reminding me that it would not be smart to cruise too fast through them as the danger of ice was present. Not much but I did spot it occasionally enough to slow me way down.

Once you pass Critchell, the road becomes High Grade Road, skirting the steep southern side of Sampson Mountain with wonderfully tight twisting curves that would have been exhilirating but for the constant presence of loose gravel which kept me going slowly. The two lane road is narrow and lacked safe spots for me to park Maria so sorry, no pictures this time.

This road curves and descends rapidly towards the Phillipsburg where it junctions with South Deer Creek Canyon road. This road I know well and I took it East towards Chatfield Reservoir. I proceeded at a cautious pace again as the shaded areas where a bit iffy in terms of traction, promising but not delivering ice but delivering on gravel down the center of the lane forcing me to take the curves with caution.

I will have to go back to High Grade Road sometime this coming late spring/early summer, it promises to be quite the fun road to take at speed once the gravel and chance of ice disappear!

Rest of the way home was the usual combination of back roads and super slabs, unremarkable at best. I got home in time for a late lunch courtesy of my loving wife. Tomorrow its supposed to be even warmer here in the Rockies, might even make it into the 60s, damn near a heat wave this time of year!

Turns out High Grade Road is a popular motorcycle route for the fitness fanatic masochists once sees bicycling their way up the steep grades in the foothills/mountains west of the Denver Metro area.

Here's a blurb from a local rag: Westword:

Begin at Chatfield State Park on South Wadsworth Boulevard. Head west into the foothills on Deer Creek Canyon Road. Turn left at Phillipsburg (which consists of an abandoned gas station). The road starts out easy enough, but soon turns into a series of killer switchbacks, climbing up what will seem to you like a sheer cliff. When you reach the top of this, you're not even close to done. Stay straight as the road turns into Pleasant Park Road. This climbs steadily (and, apparently, forever) into Conifer.


I think I'll stick to doing such roads on my motorcycle.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Late Night Changes at Work

In my line of work, a lot of the changes one makes or is involved with others in making, have to happen at night to minimize impact to the company's bottom line.

I am presently contracting with United Airlines doing network design and implementation stuff and last night was the latest in many a sleepless evening working on network changes to hopefully improve things for UAL.

Anyways, we were finally done at almost 0300 hrs MDT, aka O'Dark hundred in old army parlance. I donned my gear in the dark parking lot at the UAL Cargo Building's parking lot and headed off into the cool night air for the 30 minute ride home. My onboard thermometer recently died but I figure the temps were in the low 50s.

The roads, as you might surmise, were pretty devoid of traffic. I elected to bypass the E470 superslab which is my normal route to/from DIA and instead took surface roads all the way home. Surprising, or perhaps not, I made very good time even with catching several traffic lights as I made my way through the empty streets.

There's something rather nice about riding empty streets at night, the occasional car reminds you you're not alone but otherwise when compared with the chaos of my normal commuting patterns, it was very refreshing. I was riding Maria, my 2004 R1150RT with her full fairings protecting me from the cool early morning air, didn't even have to turn on the heated grips.

No deer or other wildlife spotted in spite of several signs posted warning one of such. The only thing was some dude, dressed in black, crossing the street a couple of blocks ahead of me on airport blvd. I saw him in plenty of time as I was scanning forward aggressively, but I have to wander what the heck he was doing walking about at 3 o'clock in the morning.

Got home at 0330hrs with no issues, about the same time if not better than if I'd taken the E-470 slab and saved myself the tolls each way.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cycleport: A Warm Weather Report

I went riding today with my recently received Cycleport ultra II air mesh kevlar 3/4 jacket and pants....went riding in temps that ranged from 82-90 degrees according to my onboard thermometer. It was sunny and definitely warm.

What I found is that at 85 and below, there was a noticeable cooling effect while moving. Standing still, heat just starts to build up obviously. At temperatures 86 and below, there was less of a cooling effect and more of a feeling of warm air blowing in through the mesh kevlar.....still, it kept things manageable in terms of temperature. I felt "warm" but not hot if that makes any sense.

I was wearing one of those close fitting long sleeved t-shirts that help one migrate heat from one's body to the outside so that helped a bit. I rode for two hours straight in city and suburban traffic and the only time I felt sweat build up was between the back protector and my back....everything else stayed dry and you could feel the great venting this gear gives you.

It's going to get warmer here in Colorado, we'll see how the gear does in 95+ degree commutes.

Note, I just had casual shorts on under the kevlar pants and the long sleeved t-shirt under the jacket. Helmet of course and Oxtar riding boots. Both the jacket and pants were black. I passed many bikers who were out in their t-shirts and jeans, no helmets and wearing sneakers. I am sure they took a look at me and thought I was nuts, the feeling was mutual as I saw what lack of ATGATT they were riding with in the heat.

I did see a couple of fellow riders with proper gear on so I was not the only nut out there doing ATGATT in spite of the heat. Following ATGATT is much more doable with the right gear and so far, this Cycleport stuff is working out great for me.

I used an infrared thermometer to measure the heat on the outside and inside of the jacket when I got home. Outside it was 85 degrees and inside it ranged from 85 to 91. Pretty good I have to admit, specially for an all black riding outfit. Wayne Boyer of Cycleport had said that black was no more warmer than the other available colors and I am becoming a believer.

I switched to a regular cotton t-shirt after returning home to get some stuff, then rode over to a friend's house, it felt much better with the short sleeve shirt than the long sleeve. It was a short ride to his house, longer rides will demand the long t-shirt soaked in water of course.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

2008 Two Bits Rally, I'm signing up!

Found out today about a rally hosted by COG or the Concours Owners Group.

It's called the Two Bits Rally and its a six hour ride introduction to the kind of events done at regular Ironbutt Association 1000 miles in 24 hour competitions. What's with the name? Well, it's Two Bits which is also what a quarter coin is known as, six hours is a quarter of the 24 hrs for an IBA SaddleSore Run, and there you go.

This year's Two Bits Rally happens on Friday, June 6, 2008, meeting/starting/ending at Frisco, Colorado. There's still time to sign up!

The above pin is one of the items every participant receives, you can also get a hat with the design on it but that's extra. As it is, you get to play for the small amount of $20! As with most rallies, there's prizes at the end and you get to see how you ranked against the other riders.

Randy, the guy who organizes this rally for the COG, sent me the picture above. Thanks Randy! He's got a great writeup about this rally and past rallies. Go on over to the COG site and read up on it, heck, sign up to attend it! LINK

You don't have to ride a Concours motorcycle to participate, Randy tells me there's almost as many Beemers as Kawasakis already signed up. He describes it as a scavenger hunt on two wheels, should be a lot of fun.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

My LongDistanceRider.Net Stuff has arrived!

Wow, less than two months after sending in my documentation for my "Easy Rider" 500 miles in 12 hours Ride I received my certificate and assorted mementos from!

As you can see below, your very reasonable registration fee gets you a nice certificate detailing your accomplishment, a quality looking patch, a license plate frame showing your achievement ride, a sticker for the motorcycle's side case and a drink coozie with the LDR logo. Cool Stuff. I shall be wearing the patch proudly soon enough.

This organization is just getting started, oh readers of mine, notice I am but #8 for the Easy Rider certification! Don't waste any time in qualifying for one of your own or one of the longer rides! Become a sort of plankowner!

Link to LDR site: LINK

Monday, November 19, 2007

A better map for future passbagger rides

Hindsight being 20-20, I should have researched and produced the second map below BEFORE I set off on the overly ambitious passbagger ride yesterday. Oh well.

Thanks to the great website run by Randy Bishop of the Colorado COG: LINK.

Randy Bishop's site not only shows the passes he's accumulated towards his previous earning of the Passbagger 50 achievement from the ColoradoBeemers Motorcycle club but includes pictures and written assessment of each pass that includes very helpful data such as what kind of motorcycle he says should be able to handle getting to each respective pass! This would have been most helpful with some of the passes I encountered yesterday! My fault for not doing my homework.

It is this site where I got the spreadsheet that I originally imported into Microsoft Streets and Trips and which got me going on my own Passbagger 50 effort. Here's what the spreadsheet looks like after being imported into Microsoft's mapping software:

Over 500 "Named" passes!

That's a lot of passes isn't it? I did not realize that some of the passes shown were really difficult passes to get to and traverse. Some of them I found are really only passable on foot! So I made my previous passbagger attempt with little research besides checking out likely candidates on the map that seemed to be near roads....what a mistake that was.

Today I did more research, eliminated the stuff that Randy Bishop lists as reachable only via dual-sport or dirt motorcycle, took out most but not all of the passes that were not on a state level road or better, and made sure to include the passes he'd been to that were deemed doable by road motorcycle.

Target List

The pushpins in green are passes which I've ridden already and have the required photographic proof for submission/validation. The yellow pushpins are passes that I plan to ride AND take a picture of Maria at for eventual submission/validation for the Passbagger 50 achievement. Some of the yellow pushpins I've actually ridden over but did not take a picture dang it. Oh well, more riding for me I guess.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

An inspiration to ride, just ride

Today I discovered this thread on the advriders forum. It's about this amazing rider named Makiko Sugino of Japan. Here's a snip from the thread which intro'ed her and hooked me into reading the rest of the now unfortunately closed thread:

She has been traveling solo around the world on her motorcycle continuously for the past five years. She has logged over 250,000 miles on this trip and is still going. She has toured every continent, most countries, and has been hospitilized three times due to accidents, and yet she still keeps going. As of May 8th, she is in the South West U.S. and is now headed through Texas to Key West then up the Eastern Seaboard, across Canada to Alaska, then back down to California. She is riding a black and blue Yamaha 250 with haphazard luggage, she is pretty easy to spot as I don't think she ever goes over 40mph.

Her travels through North/Central America


This woman is amazing and if you read the thread, you'll find as I did that she amazed and awed a group of riders who had once thought of themselves as "adventure riders" but now saw themselves as noobies and unworthy in relation to her accomplishments.

And yet, Makiko is reported as the most unassuming person by those riders fortunate enough to have met her on the road. She's got no plans to write a book about her journeys to make money or make herself look great; to her it was just a journey for the sake of doing it.

A Riding Machine!

My regret was finding about this thread too late, she's back in Japan now and I missed the chance to perhaps meet her when she traversed Colorado this Spring. Dammit.

So what's the big deal you ask? After all, famous actor Ewan McGregor and his actor friend Charlie Boorman have done similar things haven't they? Well, that's addressed in the thread above but guys like McGregor and Boorman did it with support crews, cameras, corporate sponsors, big BMW 1200 GS bikes, GPS and some amount of whining I thought. But hey, they did it at least, in spite of my misgivings re some of their commentary, they are still way and beyond the kind of rider I someday hope to become.

However, Makiko did her riding over 250,000 miles, around the world, ALONE, went through three bikes, none of which were above 250cc in engine size!. She worked her ass off for two years to save $33,000 and did the riding on a budget of $10/day! It's just amazing.

Although the thread leaves you with the belief she's not going to write a book/journal/blog about her travels, I hope they're wrong. I hope she does write of this journey, it's the stuff of legends!

Update: And here's yet another woman's who's done something similar! LINK

Saturday, October 28, 2006

28OCT06 - Master Yoda's Riding Position

I'd seen references to the above in all the riding forums I'd been frequenting of late so I thought I'd post a link to the most extensive description I'd seen of it so far here.

The keynotes to "the" Riding Position are:

* Bend at the HIPS, not waist
* Maintain a SLIGHT arch to the back, not allowing it ever to "curve"
* Move the butt AFT so the weight is OVER YOUR FEET.
* Apply pressure to the feet, using the THIGH muscles, so you are sitting "lightly"
* ELBOWS BENT, now DROP the hands to the bars.

I am planning a day's worth of riding tomorrow since I was trapped at home, with gorgeous riding weather outside, because of work-related crap. I'll be trying to apply the principles above during the ride to see if they help with the comfort level and such.

Going to try to go South through Colorado Springs, and take the 115 to 50 and Canon City and past that to the Royal Gorge Park to see the highest suspension bridge in the States.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Riding in the cold

I've been riding the last two days with the temps in the high 20's and low 30's during the morning commute. Two days ago was the day after the first snow fall this season. The voice of reason, aka my loving wife, convinced me not to chance it and I ended up taking the car to work. The day however brightened beautifully and although it was cold I could not resist going back home during lunch and swapping my car for the motorcycle. I rode Maria back to work, the temp was around 31-32 degrees or so but my riding gear kept me warm along with the heated grips on Low setting. By the time I went home the roads were dry and temps were now in the upper 30's. Nice ride.

Today, it was 28 degrees at the house when I set off for work in the morning around 0700. Roads were still dry and traffic not too heavy. It was a nice ride in again and the sun came up as I rode along, I saw the temps go up to 32 degrees when I arrived at work. Again the riding gear kept me warm along with the heated grips and the awesome protection Maria's fairing provides her rider. I checked the wind chill charts later and I figured I was at best doing 45mph during the commute so the worst wind chill I was exposed to in the areas not protected by Maria's fairings was 11 degrees! I could feel a layer of cold on the windward portions of my arms but it never made me shiver or feel cold if that makes sense.

The ride home today was in the mid-50's! I skipped wearing the overpants and I think I could have even done without the jacket liner. I stopped by the post office and picked up the letter from the Sturgis BMW dealer with the title to my motorcycle! I can register her now.