Third ADVWoman Rendezvous Set For July In Granby

February 22nd, 2018

One of the advantages of being friends with the guy running this blog (me) is that you often can get your events publicized for free. Such is the case with Alicia Clickenger, who has created a career for herself organizing events for women who ride motorcycles and for women who might like to ride motorcycles. In this case, from what I see, it’s not actually Alicia’s event, but one she supports and I presume she will participate in it.

ADVWoman logo

The ADVWoman Rendezvous logo.

The event, put on in fact by Pat Jacques, is this ADVWoman Rendezvous, which will be in Granby, at the Flying Heels Rodeo Arena July 19-22.

According to the blurb, “the event will include dirt bike and adventure bike rider training, classroom training, a variety of local dual sport rides, camping or hotel facilities, catered meals, awards ceremony, and a DJ dance party. All instructors are women. Men and families are welcome.”


“Last year’s event exceeded our expectations!” said Pat Jacques, Rendezvous director. We had international students and students who took our BDR courses then joined us on the first ever, all-woman Colorado Backcountry Discovery Teaching Tour, a tour we are repeating this year following Rendezvous, July 22-29, 2018. The rider range classes at 2018 Rendezvous feature more advanced dirt bike training as well as more advanced adventure training.

“Our mission is to support women through off road riding and that definitely includes working with couples to so that they can fully enjoy riding together,” Jacques said. “Here is what one of our men attendees said of his experience at our 2017 event:”

The registration fee is $347, with a $277 reduced early bird fee. That’s if you get your registration in by March 31.

Further information is available on the website.

Biker Quote for Today

Why Motorcycles are Better than Men: Motorcycles don’t lay around the house on the couch with a remote and a beer.

High-Siding; Fickle February Weather

February 19th, 2018
snow on motorcycle

After perfect riding weather yesterday, this is what today is like. That’s February in Colorado.

I turned over 29,000 miles on my V-Strom Sunday. It was a fabulous, warm day to ride and there were a lot of bikes out. Temperatures were in the high 60s and everywhere I went there were motorcycles. Now today, Monday, it’s looking like that photo above. That wasn’t shot today but it may as well have been.

So yeah, I turned over that thousand-mile mark. Back in November all three of my bikes were very near turning over one thousand or another and I decided I would make it a point to turn each of them before the end of the year. Then in December my Mom’s illness and death stepped in and the only bike that made it past that 000 mark was the Concours. Of course I rode in January and again earlier in February, but I never did make it to that roll-over on the V-Strom till yesterday. I still haven’t gotten there on the CB750.

I had one bit of a thrill yesterday. It wasn’t part of my plan but I have been needing to stop in at some antique shops on South Broadway and I found myself in the area so what the heck. I was cruising fairly slowly up Broadway and spotted a parking space open in front of the shops I was headed for. I braked to pull over and Whoa! My rear tire locked up and slid out to the left and as I quickly let go of the brake the bike righted itself and shook the way it does when you high-side. I maintained control because I just wasn’t going that fast but it was a big surprise.

After I got parked I went over and looked at the pavement but there wasn’t even a skid mark to indicate my slide. I wanted to see if I had hit a bit of oil or sand or who knows what but the road all looked clear and with no skid mark I couldn’t be exactly sure where the slide happened. Oh well.

Now, I’ve taken a number of rider training courses and I know when your rear wheel locks up you are supposed to hold the brake on until you stop. If not, the result can be a high-side. And while I’ve never been thrown, I have had the experience leading up to it on a number of occasions, but ridden it out safely. It seems to be something I just haven’t gotten locked in my brain despite the training.

I think the reason it doesn’t come naturally is that it isn’t natural. On Sunday it all happened so quickly that I had no time at all to think. But another time I recall, I did have time to think. I was on I-25 in fairly heavy traffic and the car in front of me hit his brakes. I hit mine–I didn’t think that hard–and next thing I knew my rear wheel was sliding out. Well, I had time to think about riding it to a stop but I was on the freaking interstate in traffic and coming to a dead stop didn’t seem like such a good idea. So I eased off the brake.

Wham! The bike stood up and shook violently, with the force that throws you forward and over clearly discernible. Again, I was able to maintain–or regain–control and I stayed up. But that was pretty scary. And what else could I have done?

I’m going to have to think this one over. Maybe I can contact some experts and get their thoughts. If I learn anything I’ll be back to pass it along.

Biker Quote for Today

Riding a motorcycle is 10% hands and feet and 90% mind and eyes.

Summer Is Coming: Roughing It On Two Wheels

February 15th, 2018
motorcycles in campground

Motorcycles are great for camping.

Days are getting longer, although the temperatures are still low. But summer isn’t that far off and that means it’s time for touring motorcyclists to start thinking about hitting the open road. For most that means planning routes and making motel reservations. And then there are the campers.

No, not those humongo Runnamucca RVs, we’re talking about two-wheeled travelers who prefer to rough it, with tents and sleeping bags.

For anyone accustomed to car camping, where you take the cooler full of food and drink, an axe to cut firewood, a two-burner Coleman stove to cook on, along with eating utensils and everything else you can throw in, camping on a motorcycle might seem impossible. How do you carry all that stuff?

You don’t. Motorcycle camping is an exercise in minimalism. In fact, there is very little that you actually must have, provided you’re really prepared to rough it. Let’s start with the essentials.

Staying Dry
More than anything else, you need to stay dry. Getting wet means getting cold and that means all kinds of misery. Generally you’ll need a tent. Sure, you can sleep under a bridge if a raging storm is beating down but that’s not exactly camping–that’s survival.

Obviously the smaller your tent packs up the better. A simple nylon one – or two-man tent will do the job, preferably of the pop-up dome tent variety with shock-corded poles. The kind with a rain fly that extends out to form a sheltered vestibule is especially good, particularly if there won’t be enough room inside for all your stuff.

Next, you’ll need something to sleep on that will cushion you from the rocks and/or uneven ground. An air mattress works well but may be bulky. A thin foam pad takes up less room and doesn’t require blowing up. It’s your choice.

Sleeping bags are probably the bulkiest item on your camping list, so choose carefully. Yes, a down bag stuffs down to the smallest possible size, but if it gets wet it is worthless. It’s probably better to accept the larger bulk and get a fiber-fill bag.

One tip: Be sure you have some way to carry these things on your bike that keeps them dry, or that, conversely, you can pack them into wet without making a mess of everything else.

Everything Else Is Extra
So what do you do about eating when you’re camping on your motorcycle? Some campers carry the small, one-burner stoves that take up about as much room as a two-pound coffee can. But that then requires that you also carry utensils and something to cook in. That works best when you’re riding something like a Gold Wing and pulling a trailer.

For everyone else, there are three options: eat at a restaurant near your campsite, pick up food that doesn’t need to be cooked, or carry one of those hand-held grills that fold over to hold food in place over the campfire.

And of course you need something to drink. A small water bottle or canteen is easy to carry, but hey, if you picked up a steak at the last town it’s pretty darn nice to wash it down with some red wine. Just be sure to carry a corkscrew or buy wine with a twist-off cap.

All that other stuff you throw in the car when you go camping? Excess. You don’t have room to carry it and you really don’t need it. Sure, if there’s something else you feel you must have, and you can find room for it, take it. It’s your ride. Yes, it’s nice to have a hot cup of coffee first thing in the morning, but knowing that that cup is 20 miles down the road is a powerful incentive to get up, break camp, and get rolling right away.

For the Hard Core
The bottom line on motorcycle camping, as long as the weather is good, is that all you really need to do is pull over and throw your foam pad and sleeping bag out on the ground. Or on top of a picnic table.

Two other tips: Lacking the enclosure of a tent, sleeping in your helmet keeps bugs off your face, provides a pillow, and keeps your face out of the dirt. And sleeping in your rain suit keeps your clothes clean and dry.

Biker Quote for Today

Feel safe at night, sleep with a biker.

Be A Model On Your Motorcycle

February 12th, 2018

This came in my email the other day.

DATES: Multiple dates for each rider between April 10th & May 24th.
PAY: $500 dollars per riding day.
USAGE: Unlimited, all media.
RIDER TEST: Must be available March 31st &/or April 1st for riding test.
Rider test is in Denver, requires 1 hour of unpaid time.
TO SUBMIT: Email the following ASAP to
• Submit a one minute of horizontal cell phone video of you
talking about yourself, your occupation, your motorcycle
riding experience, any x-country you have ridden, how often
you ride, tell us about the bike you own.
• Submit two freshly shot photos of yourself –
one close up of your face & one head-to-toe shot.
• Submit your name, location (city), height, weight,
cell phone number and email address.

That’s all pretty self-explanatory. If you’re interested you need to submit your letter of interest by February 23. Could be fun. Could be long, hard days. But what the heck, it’s something different and if you actually get selected the pay looks pretty good. You can bet I’ll send my submission. Why wouldn’t I?

Biker Quote for Today

Motorcycles: Helping guys pick up chicks since 1907.

Getting In Some February Rides

February 8th, 2018
Rokon wheel in snow

Some people ride even in this kind of conditions. You’ve got no excuse at all not to be riding in this warm weather we’ve been having.

I was out riding Wednesday on that warm February afternoon. Is Colorado a great place to live or what?

As always at this time of the year, I was being opportunistic. It was warm; I rode. I make a point to ride each of my bikes at least once every calendar month and I can check February off the list.

But even if I didn’t have that incentive I would have been out. It’s just too nice not to. It has been quite cold in the morning but by 11 o’clock it has been in the 50s and that’s good riding weather. And there’s no snow or ice on the ground, unlike in that photo above. (I shot that photo at the Elephant Ride a few years ago. Yeah, there was plenty of snow then.)

Riding the fully faired Concours and then the unfaired CB750, back to back, it was pretty dang obvious how much benefit that fairing offers. I was perfectly warm on the Connie but definitely felt a chill on the CB. But I turned on my electric vest and all was just fine. Didn’t even need the electric gloves.

Now, I would hope that this is not the last of my February riding. I see nothing in the forecast that suggests we’ll be snowed in the rest of the month, but you never know. Assuming that doesn’t happen I should be out a bunch more times. I’m really counting on getting a lot of miles under me this year. And I’m not waiting till May to get started.

Biker Quote for Today

Whether rain or sunshine, heat or cold, my bike and I are on the road.

Motorcycle Touring Without The Pack

February 5th, 2018

I always enjoy the annual OFMC weeklong trip with the guys but beyond that I am largely someone who likes traveling alone. I can go where I want, stop when I want, and ride just as much or just as little as I want.

AMA Grand Tours logo

The AMA Grand Tours logo.

So I’m the kind of guy who is particularly interested in something like the AMA Grand Tours program. As explained by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), “AMA Grand Tours, which allow riders to travel to destinations on their own schedule, are the perfect choice for motorcyclists who enjoy traveling solo or with a small group of family or friends. Participants document their visits to tour destinations with a photo or a stamp in a travel log. For 2018, the American Motorcyclist Association is highlighting six AMA Grand Tour events.”

I’ll present the list below but first I want to mention one in particular: the Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge.

This is one of those times when you really know that things do change over time. Holy smokes! The Hoka Hey is now an AMA-sanctioned event!? Wow.

A little history here. In its first year–and it was initially supposed to be a one-off event–this event met with a tidal wave of skepticism, cries of fraud, and just general doubt on the parts of many, many people, including some who participated. I don’t remember all the twists and turns at this point but if I recall correctly, the two guys who reached the finish line at the same time were disqualified and I don’t know if the $1 million prize (was that the amount?) was ever paid out. I mean, I guess it was, but there were people who disputed that, saying the “prize winner” was in cahoots with the promoter. I don’t claim to know.

This must have been about 10 years ago. And now here it is an AMA-sanctioned event. An understatement: I guess they got the kinks ironed out.

So what are these tours for 2018? Here’s the scoop, straight from the AMA.

2018 AMA Grand Tours Schedule
AMA District 2 Polar Bear Grand Tour: Jan. 7-Dec. 23
Residents in the Northeast can join riders starting in the winter season, when groups ride to points each Sunday in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Connecticut. Even though they start during winter, the rides continue throughout the year. The 2017-2018 tour marks the program’s 40th year.

Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge: July 13-Aug. 13
Starting in Medicine Park, Okla., this route continues for nearly 10,000 miles, entirely within the lower 48 states, before returning to Medicine Park for the finish. The tour traverses scenic byways and passes through several National Parks and Native American reservations.

SCMA USA Four Corners Tour: Jan. 15-Dec. 15
This AMA Grand Tour offers two USA Four Corner Tours: the “Regular” and the “True X.” The organizer provides a package containing the ride materials and reviews the completion of either ride when they receive the finisher’s package.

SCMA USA 15 Best Roads Tour: Jan. 15-Dec. 15
This challenge started in the spring of 2011 after the AMA published a “Best 15 Roads” article in American Motorcyclist. Two riders took the challenge that year: Kathy and Larry Lamarche from Canada. Since then, many riders have accomplished the feat. The list was updated in 2016 with three replacement roads and a route change to an existing road group unit.

SCMA California Adventure Series: Jan. 15-Dec. 15
The California Parks Adventure challenges riders to visit all the national parks in California. There are 25 national park sites, stretching from Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma in San Diego to the Lava Beds and Redwoods in northern California. The 25th and newest park, Caesar Chavez National Monument, was created in October 2012. The challenge is to ride to each park within a calendar year and document the visit with a photograph and a stamp from the visitor center in the SCMA Passport.

For the California Missions Tour, riders add a photo of themselves at each location in their passport book, purchased from SCMA, detailing all 21 locations. Riders submit the completed passport and attend an annual awards banquet, where SCMA presents them with a California Missions pin and plaque.

Tour of Honor: April 1-Oct. 31
In this unique AMA Grand Tour, riders take any route they wish to stop at seven memorial sites in each state. Riders can visit as many selected memorials as they choose, meaning they can complete one state or several. After registering and receiving their rally flag, riders travel to the sites and photograph the flag, alongside their motorcycles, at the memorial. Visit any seven memorial sites to receive a finisher’s certificate.

I’m not sure at this moment but maybe I’ll discuss the several tours on this list that interest me.

Biker Quote for Today

Two wheels, one engine, zero limits.

Are You A LongRider?

February 1st, 2018

I’m not one for patches; I don’t have a riding vest covered with those things the way a lot of people do. And I don’t care about reaching artificial goals just for the bragging rights. Nevertheless, I do like events and programs of that sort for their ability to give me ideas about riding I might like to do.

AMA LongRider program logo

The AMA LongRider program logo.

In this case I’m thinking about the LongRider program organized by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA).

Here’s how they describe it:

The AMA LongRider program is your chance to show others that you’re serious about riding your motorcycle. AMA members are invited to earn patches for various mileage milestones.

Mileage awards are available at 10,000, 25,000 and 50,000 annual miles. In addition to the awards, AMA LongRiders will be recognized on the AMA website.

If you don’t get a chance to ride that often, let your miles accumulate for a Lifetime Mileage award at 25,000, 50,000, 100,000, 250,000, 500,000, 750,000 and 1 million miles. Riders who achieve 1 million miles will earn a special AMA LongRider plaque.

OK, so this thing doesn’t actually offer ideas about where to ride so much as an incentive to get in some extra miles. There have been a couple years when I could have earned a 10,000-mile patch, and certainly I would now be holding some of the lower lifetime mileage awards. Shooting for that 250,000-mile award would definitely demand that I get serious. Please don’t throw me in that briar patch!

The AMA has rules about participating, such as AMA membership, registering for the program, and abiding by their verification rules. All that info is on that page linked above. And heck, for me, I make note of my mileage every January 1 anyway. All I’d need to do is sign up and register my current mileage.

Maybe I will. As I said, I’m not big into patches and such but it’s still kind of a fun idea to do an I’ll-show-you-mine-if-you-show-me-yours thing. I know lots of riders will outdistance me by many miles but I don’t care. Just something to think about.

Biker Quote for Today

You’re a biker wannabe if you carry a lap-top in your saddle bags. (Hey, I do carry a lap-top. I don’t always agree with these quotes, I just collect them and put them out there.)

Dueling Motorcycle Expos

January 29th, 2018
motorcycles in parking lot

Here you see nearly every single bike at the COC event. But the big Expo wasn’t exactly swamped with people, either.

I was surprised on Thursday last week to read in The Denver Post that there was to be a second, competing, motorcycle expo in the Denver area in the upcoming (now past) weekend.

The first, of course, was the now 40-year-old Colorado Motorcycle Expo, formerly the Colorado Motorcycle Show and Swap Meet, held at the National Western Center. But this show had trouble two years ago when members of two clubs–the Mongols and the Iron Order–had a fight that resulted in one death. Then last year, with issues on how to proceed still unresolved, the show was canceled. It was back this year, but the two clubs involved in the fight were both banned.

three-wheeled Sportster

One of the more interesting bikes at the COC event was this three-wheeled Sportster.

The second was held at Mile High Harley-Davidson of Parker, and was sponsored by the Colorado Confederation of Clubs (COC). The COC is just what the name suggests, and they have a reputation for solidarity with their members. If the Mongols were banned then the COC would have its own expo. Surprise: the Iron Order was banned.

So how did they both go?

First off, it doesn’t seem to me that the COC did a very good job getting the word out, although I’m sure all their member organizations knew about it. I pay attention to these things and the story in the Post was the first I heard of it.

I headed to the COC event Sunday about noon and when I got there there were no more than 50 bikes in the parking lot. Plus, there wasn’t a lot to see or do. An area for vendors held about 10-12 booths and that was it. I spent about half an hour there and had seen it all. One thing I did note, that I suspect you did not see at the Expo, was a booth for a gun dealer. I could be wrong but I’m guessing those folks don’t want weapons even as for sale items, whereas the COC event definitely did.

So I headed up to the other show. Mostly I wanted to see how many people were there. And that answer was pretty obvious as soon as I came down the exit off I-70. In the front, close-in parking area reserved for bikes there was gaping open space. Usually, if you want to park in this area you better get there early.

I cruised all around the complex and out in the extended parking area, where you usually find a lot of overflow parkers, the gate attendants were sitting looking totally bored. Inside their gates there were just a handful of vehicles in an area that can accommodate probably a few thousand cars. Still, there were easily a lot more people here than at Mile High Harley.

I didn’t go in. Frankly, I didn’t want to spend the $5 to park and $15 admission. I’m sure there were many, many more vendors set up inside than at expo 2, but the place must have been like a ghost-town with so much space and so few people spread around in all those acres. I suspect a lot of people lost a lot of money on this event.

This can’t bode well for the future of these events. Maybe next year the two clubs will no longer be banned and the second event will go away. Maybe the promoters of the big show will decide they don’t want to lost any more money and the new gig will become the only one.

But maybe the public just got broken of the habit of going to these things at all, and Denver just won’t have a show anymore.

It will be interesting to see what next year brings.

Biker Quote for Today

Does he have a motorcycle? Because if you’re going to throw your life away he better have a motorcycle.

Finding Riding Trails In Colorado

January 25th, 2018

The TrailTaker site could be a good tool to spark riding ideas.

I owe Mark Odette on this one. He sent me an email way back in September and I forgot about it, but was digging through old emails today and ran across it.

For those of us who like to get off the paved roads (I include myself generously; since getting my V-Strom I haven’t been off the pavement nearly as much as I wish I had), one topic of interest is where to go to do so. Sure, there are gravel roads all over, but which of them are worth riding, and pack the best bang for your time buck?

Maybe you should check out Click on that link and go to their trails map and then click on one of the markers. That enlarges the map to show an area of the state and if you give it some time the map starts filling in with all kinds of trails.

For instance, I clicked on an area that runs from Lake George on the east to Aspen on the west and Alma on the north to Salida on the south. There are more trails than I can count, colored red, green, and blue. Red is advanced, blue is intermediate, and green is beginner. The legend also shows grey as unknown and black as expert but I don’t see any of those here.

And what are these trails? Well, I clicked on one that runs off US 285 toward the Collegiate Peaks. I’ve been down that road many times and looked at a road going off into the hills and wondered about it. I’m thinking this is that road. The site tells me this is Clear Creek and that it’s 9.18 miles long. It’s blue. Clicking on the “Trail Details” link it doesn’t actually give me that much more information, other than that it’s a gravel road suitable for a passenger car. And there is a link to download a GPS file (.GPX) of the trail. It also notes that the information is not verified because it has been imported from public date provided by the U.S. Forest Service. Many of these trails are like this.

Over to the east of Fairplay, near Tarryall Reservoir, there is the Packer Gulch trail (7.8 miles). Here the blue of the trail actually refers to being intermediate for 4×4 vehicles. For motorcycles it is rated unknown. It calls for high-clearance vehicles and the road is not maintained for passenger cars.

Let’s get to something a bit gnarlier. A little west of Buena Vista, with a southern terminus near Tincup, is the Timberline trail (30.3 miles). This is rated advanced for both motorcycles and ATVs and 4x4s are not permitted. This is listed as Trail Class TC4, Highly Developed. This appears to be a Forest Service designation meaning “high standard trail with significant structures, tread hardening possible.”

So you get the idea. Is that just a gravel road going off to nowhere or is it actually a trail? This site might be just the answer.

Biker Quote for Today

Why bikes are better than women: If your Motorcycle is misaligned, you don’t have to discuss politics to correct it.

Stick These In Your Pocket

January 22nd, 2018

Do thermometers lie? I was out riding on Saturday, a sunny 48 degrees and my fingers were turning into ice cubes. And I was wearing my non-electric winter gloves, with Thinsulate© lining. How could I be so cold on such a warm day?

I understand that the 60 degrees showing on our thermometer out front is not to be trusted because it is sheltered and has a southern exposure. But I trusted the 48 degrees the thermometer out back, in the shade, told me. Of course I wore my electric vest–I never ride without that at this time of year.

chemical hand warmers

Put some of these in your jacket pocket.

So I took off on the V-Strom and hadn’t gone three blocks when I realized I would have been happy to have had long underwear on. Sure I could have gone back but what the heck, I can live with it. So I won’t whine about my legs being cold, although they definitely were.

But then by the time I was gone about five miles my hands were really getting cold. And it was a sunny day! I don’t get it. This is Colorado.

Oh well, I was going for a ride. So I did.

I headed down Jordan Road to Arapahoe Road and turned east. I crossed Parker Road and decided to follow Arapahoe further and see where it went. I knew I’d been out that way before but just at the moment I couldn’t remember. And it did go on straight pretty far, until just before reaching C-470 it started wiggling. Then I remembered, it twists around and then heads north and intersects Smoky Hill Road.

Yep, that’s what it did, but then, where does it go beyond Smoky Hill? I guess I’ll have to find out.

Well, the answer is not very far. It winds around through a shopping area briefly and then dissolves into a housing development, becoming nothing more than a small collector street. And then it just ended where new development is still going on and there are more empty lots than new homes.

I turned south on Titus Way, which quickly brought me back to Smoky Hill. OK, my hands are cold enough, I’m turning right and heading home. It wasn’t as long a ride as I might have liked but at least I did get out. Friday would have been better–it was warmer–but we were just coming home from Grand Junction and I missed the better, warmer part of that day. So I rode on Saturday.

I had a realization though. There I was with freezing hands and while, sure, I could have worn my heated gloves but I didn’t, still, there is really no good reason why I didn’t have some of those chemical heat packs stuffed in my jacket pocket for just this sort of occasion. I have some, and once you buy those things there is no reason not to use them because if you keep them too long they lose potency. Why weren’t they in my pocket?

They are now.

Biker Quote for Today

Missing: Husband and motorcycle. Reward for motorcycle.