Tuesday, November 18, 2008

We're having a Heat Wave

The weather guessers predicted a record-breaking warm day for today:

9News:Sunny skies across the state, and very warm temperatures expected for later today.We may be talking record warm high temperatures across the greater metro area this afternoon with highs in the upper 70s to near 80! The old record for Denver is 74 degrees, last set in 1995

It was 54F° as I rode into work on Brigitta, my '87 R80 Airhead and I was feeling quite toasty in my riding gear, probably could have done without one layer.

This song was running through my head as I rode, so I looked up the lyrics for the return ride back home:

We're having a heat wave,
A tropical heat wave,
The temperature's rising,
It isn't surprising,
She certainly can can-can.
She started a heat wave
By letting her seat wave
In such a way that
The customers say that
She certainly can can-can.
Gee, her anatomy
Makes the mercury
Jump to ninety-three.
We're having a heat wave,
A tropical heat wave,
The way that she moves
That thermometer proves
That she certainly can can-can.

Irving Berlin

It didn't take much imagination to imagine my motorcycle being the subject of the lyrics. Brigitta is very nimble and "She certainly can can-can", in spite of my meager skills.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sanoke's Snow Outrigger

Today I had the pleasure of visiting Sanoke, aka John, whom I regard as one of the motorcycling mentors I've been fortunate to have since I started riding in 2006.

He introduced me to long rides, down remote trails and roads, and got me thoroughly hooked on the concept of lone riding and exploration.

What occasioned this visit today was my finding a posting by John on the hondashadow.net forum where his great photography makes regular debuts to loud acclaim. John's got a great eye for photography by the way, you should check out his work at www.sanoke.com.

In this posting he mentioned using an "outrigger" to negotiate snowy terrain to escape his neighborhood when its snowbound. He, like me, has been known to snowblow a path out of his neighborhood, using cleared sidewalks to access the main roads once they themselves are dry enough for safe riding.

Now, he no longer needs to snowblow his way out and can actually do short rides on snow/ice covered roads with no problems or worries about falling over.

Great shot of a bike on snow!

Sanoke's Outrigger

I did some searching on the forum and found more information which led to an email exchange between us. He graciously allowed me to come by today and take the following pictures of the outrigger. All I can say is: "wow, john, what a cool way to get around the issue of snowbound access to main roads!" You rule! As my kids would say.

Four Motorcycles where one car would fit!

The Man himself!

John shows how he adjusts the toe-in for the third wheel

Here's some closeups of the bike and the mounting points and hardware that John created out of material he bought from the hardware store and he welded/crafted together. John designs electronic circuit boards for pacemakers but was an auto mechanic before that. Talk about a renaissance man!

Right Passenger Peg Mount Point

Upper Frame Mount Point

Upper Rear Shock Mount Point, check out the toe-in adjustment nut on the right!

Check out how he crafted the junction of the three 3/4 inch pipes to support the third wheel, very cool and functional.

John put a steel rod inside the middle tube for reinforcement

That's a 50LB weight to keep the wheel down during right turns!

John rode the bike out with the rig attached to show me its operation. It looked so simple but its not. He let me try it out and I promptly rode it up onto the sidewalk, almost hitting his neighbor's mailbox! Definitely not the same as riding a regular motorcycle. I got off and he rode it around some more for me to observe. I did not ask for another try as I'd probably have broken something! Still, he showed me it works fine and looks like a lot of fun!

He uses the outrigger to motor out of the neighborhood when its snowbound, three bolts and it comes off once he's on dry main roads and he leaves the outrigger chained to a sign or something and goes riding! Upon his return, he mounts the rig back onto the bike and rides the snow back to his home. What a great idea.

We talked some more after this, he went for a quick ride on Brigitta, my 1987 R80 Beemer and seemed to like it. Not shown in the picture of John's garage is a 1972 Triumph Bonneville motorcycle he's fixed up and gotten ridable for his brother-in-law in Arizona, very cool.

1972 Triumph Bonneville which he revived from having sat in a garage since 1986

Here's a shot of the auxiliary tank John's got on his "long distance" motorcycle, he definitely does not let gas station locations dictate his route if he does not want them to!

A short but very enjoyable visit with John, someday if I am lucky, I'll have a bit of his experience and skills. Thanks John for your time, and for having taken a neophyte rider under your wing more than two years ago!

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.

GS Handguards for Brigitta

In order to perhaps get more riding days with Brigitta, my 1987 R80 Airhead Beemer, I had ordered a pair of GS handguards for her. They arrived yesterday afternoon and I installed them onto the handlebars that evening.

I discovered the nut holding secure the right hand side mirror to be stuck and instead of risking damage to either the nut or the threaded portion of the mirror stem, I cut the plastic retaining ring on the handguard itself. I was able to mount it then and used wireties instead of the included hardware as I am still not sure I want to keep the handguards on permanently.

I took the following pictures yesterday afternoon, see what you think of how they change the looks of an R80 with an S fairing. I hope to get in a ride today with Brigitta to see how well they block the wind from my hands.