Archive for January, 2008

Flat Tires and Other Hindrances to Riding

Saturday, January 26th, 2008

Few things will put a damper on your riding plans as quickly as a flat front tire. I had ridden two weeks ago and had to put air in but today when I tried to roll the Concours out it would hardly move. Flat tires really don’t roll very well.

On inspection I found a sliver of metal poking out of the tread, something that looked like a wire from a wire brush–very small. OK, I put air in and took the bike to the dealer and they said it should be no problem to fix quickly. Meanwhile I availed myself of the proximity (next door) of the Piper Inn, southeast Denver’s favorite biker bar and hot wing concessionaire. The place was packed with black leather-dressed patrons enjoying one of the nicest days we’ve had in quite awhile. One beer and 10 Buffalo wings later I was back at Vickery expecting to get my bike and roll.

No such luck. First off, it wasn’t a puncture. That little sliver was nothing. Apparently the valve stem core was loose and letting air slip by. A bit of adjustment and everything was fine with that. However, when the mechanic was putting the tire back on, the speedometer housing split. Taking a closer look he found that it had split once before and been welded. Now it had split again. So that’s going to cost me another $70 plus labor when the part comes in. What in the heck makes a speedo housing split like that? Anyway, rather than weld it again just to get by until the new part comes in, he just put the wheel back on without hooking up the speedo, thereby saving me about $20. And by this time the coolness of the afternoon was coming on and all I did was ride back home.

I’ve got to tell you, I really love riding motorcycles but sometimes these get to be very expensive toys. At least this one won’t break the bank.

A Colorado Road I Need To Ride

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

I picked up the January 2008 issue of Rider magazine with interest as the covered touted a story about “Descending the Black Canyon in CO.” Of course I’ve been to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison many times. It’s steep and gorgeous and deep, and the first night out on one of our earliest summer motorcycle trips we camped there. But I’ve never been to the bottom. The only road I knew of going to the bottom was a very steep (7% grade) gravel road going down from the dam that forms the Blue Mesa Reservoir, and I couldn’t conceive of taking that on anything but a good dirt bike, with a lot more dirt biking experience than I can claim.

So of course I was very interested when I saw that the writer, Clement Salvadori, took some road to the bottom on a fully dressed Harley Ultra. What road is this? Why am I not aware of this?

Out comes the map, with the magazine open beside it. Where is this turn-off?

Aha! Now I see. Clem says to continue west on US 50 “a few miles west of Cimarron.” That would be about 12 miles west, and lo, there it is, CO 347, going off to the north. I have to wonder about this road. It’s right there on my new-for-2007 Colorado state map, but it doesn’t exist on the Microsoft Streets & Trips software that I use for the maps on this website. And Clem says it leads you up to an entrance to the park. I have to wonder how long that road has been paved.

Of course I’ve never been on this road so I’ll just share with you what Clem has to say:

. . . it is a well-paved road with a very, very steep descent; I heat up those three brake discs while having a high old time. Down by the river it is a few degrees warmer than at the top, with a small dam and a camping area. . . . I have a look around and then rush back up, which is equally fun and a little less adrenaline-inducing.

Who knew? I sure didn’t, but I’ll promise you right now that the first chance I get I’m going down that road and it will be up on the website soon afterward. Thanks for the heads-up, Clem!