Archive for April, 2008

Fairings: In The Breeze Or Out Of The Blast

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

I’m going to state my preference right up front: I wouldn’t have a bike without a windshield or fairing. My Honda CB750 Custom has a windshield and my Kawasaki Concours has a full fairing. I love them.

Most of my friends don’t have either. We’ve swapped bikes at times and they’ll comment how nice it was not to have all that buffeting, but they don’t add windshields to their own bikes. I, on the other hand, am always relieved to get back on my own bike and out of that blast. There have been times, riding without a helmet, when I’ve been nearly blinded by the way the wind made my eyes water. How do you guys do this?

I especially appreciate a fairing when I ride in the winter. Oftentimes I’ll take both my bikes out for a spin back-to-back on a nice winter day, and it’s amazing the difference between that fairing and the windshield. How much colder would it be without either?

Don’t get me wrong, I have winter gear. I have thinsulate-lined gloves and an electric vest, full leathers, and a good helmet. Heavy, knee-high motorcycle boots help, too. It still gets cold. But at least some of the wind is blocked.

Of course in summer the cold is not an issue. But the wind sure is. I spent some time in California awhile back, riding a bike with no windshield and wearing a helmet, as per the law there. After riding all day my neck would be aching from struggling all day as the wind tore at my open-face helmet. I’m sorry, that is not fun.

So OK, I know a lot of you are saying I’m a big wussy. Go ahead and say it. But what I’d really like you to do is tell me why you prefer to ride without. I just don’t get it but I know way too many guys who prefer not to have a windshield or fairing. For some it’s an image thing–they just prefer the look of their bike without. Me, I’m not into image; I’m into comfort.

So what are the other reasons? Help me understand, OK? Because right now I just don’t.

My Day Riding Motorcycle Lead for the Bicycle Races

Monday, April 28th, 2008

In all the years I’ve had it I have never appreciated my electric vest more than I did Saturday, when I spent two hours in the lead of a bicycle race. To recap from my posting last week, I signed on to be a Motorcycle Lead for some bicycle races out at the little town of Deer Trail, about 50 miles east of Denver. As it turned out, it almost didn’t happen.

Saturday morning was chilly but sunny and I was prepared because the forecast was for possible rain or snow. I put on long underwear, my heavy boots, my electric vest, and plenty of layers. The cruise out to Deer Trail was extremely pleasant, and I felt like I would have loved to just keep on going, not stopping until I was somewhere in Kansas or Nebraska. I appreciated the Concours’s full fairing, too, because I knew my comfort had a lot to do with the protection it offered.

Arriving at the staging area for the races, they quickly outfitted me with a radio and told me what I would be doing. I headed for my bike and had not even gotten there when, over the radio, they called me back. On returning I was told they did not need me and other people needed the radio. Did I mind? “Not at all?” I asked. “Oh good, well thanks for coming,” she replied. “No,” I said, “that was a question. You don’t need me at all?”

Well, it turned out, they could always use Marshalls, where my job would be to just ride in front of the pack and be visible so motorists would recognize that a bike race was coming. Funny, that was what I thought I had signed on for. So I hustled off to the starting line and very quickly we were underway.

The course initially followed the frontage road along I-70, going out 8 miles to the Lowland exit and turning around, then turning around again in Deer Trail and right back out the frontage road, this time 12 miles to the Agate exit. From there it was back to Deer Trail again, through town and over to the other side of I-70 and out a ways, then a turn onto a county road, out 7 miles, and then return to the finish line. About 60 miles in all.

The first leg out was pretty brisk and I rode along at about 30-35 mph, with my eye constantly on the mirror. I had been warned to keep an eye on the riders because you never knew when someone would make a break and I needed to stay far enough ahead that they couldn’t draft off of me. Occasionally I was surprised to see how all of a sudden a small group of riders was indeed rapidly catching up with me, and I had to throttle up quickly to pull further ahead.

Turning around at Lowland and heading back, the entire situation changed. Suddenly we were facing a strong headwind, and it was cold. Obviously we had had the advantage of a good tailwind on the way out but now the tables were turned. For the 8 miles back to Deer Trail I had to get the knack of going very slowly. If I went 20 mph I would get too far ahead. I downshifted and worked at staying at about 15 mph, occasionally pulling in the clutch and coasting down to less than 10 mph, but even so there were times when I just pulled to a stop in the middle of the road and sat there and waited.

Then we got back to Deer Trail and turned around again, and once again it was a fairly high-speed ride the 12 miles out to Agate. By the time we got to Agate I was really in the lead of just a small group of riders who had left the rest of the pack pretty far behind. We turned around and once again the blast hit us in the face and once again it was a very slow ride back.

Nevertheless, by this time we were passing the lagging riders from the race that started out on this same course 15 minutes before our group. It was no problem when it was just one or two riders but I wondered how this would be managed when we came up on a large pack of riders to be passed. No problem, though, they know the routine. Perhaps alerted by my presence, the pack edged to the right to make way, I zipped past, and the lead riders behind me pumped up their speed and blasted past.

By the time we reached Deer Trail again there were only three riders behind me, and a support vehicle right behind them. We passed through town and over to the other side of the highway and out the county road. At this point we were moving directly perpendicular to the wind, and it was brutal. On top of that, it was starting to blow snow. Even these top riders, who had now ridden more than 40 miles already, could only manage about 15 mph, although on a couple downhills I once again had to goose the throttle to stay out in front.

At this point I was ever more thankful for my electric vest but I was still getting pretty darn cold. On top of that, with the side-wind, my fairing was not doing a lot of good and the body work on the Concours was acting like a sail, making it hard for me to stay on the road, especially at 15 mph or less. Some of the bicyclists were actually being blown off the road.

Half way out to the last turnaround point, there were only two racers behind me. We turned and headed back in and as we drew nearer to the finish line these two guys, who had now ridden more than 50 miles in horrible conditions, started to sprint. I crossed the finish line at 30 mph with them right behind me and I just kept on going, straight back to the staging area and relative warmth.

Then a funny thing happened. As long as I was on the bike with the electric vest providing heat I was cold but not horribly so. As soon as I got off the bike and no longer had the vest to provide heat, I started to shake and shiver horribly. I know that feeling, I’ve experienced it before: hypothermia. Lunch was waiting, hot coffee, but no heat in the building. I know coffee is not a good thing to drink for hypothermia but it was all they had. So I ate and drank and shivered for about 45 minutes.

While I ate I talked with another guy who was one of the referees, who did his work on a motorcycle, too. He had a full Aerostitch suit, electric vest, heated grips, and all on his BMW, and he was just as cold as I was. He said he’d been doing this for years and this was the kind of day he dreaded. He was just glad it was snow and not rain, because you get a lot wetter in the rain.

When asked if I would be working the afternoon races I politely declined. Too cold! I collected my check and headed to the nearest convenience store and went inside where it was warm and got a big cup of hot cocoa. Finally when I was no longer shaking I got back on the bike and headed home, passing through intermittent snowfall along the way. At home I took a hot shower for about half an hour.

So the question is, will I work the second race that I initially signed up for, in Hugo in about a month? I can’t really say at this point. I could use the money, and the weather ought to be a lot nicer. We’ll just have to see.

Biker Quote for Today

Good coffee should be indistinguishable from 50 weight motor oil.

Helmets and Helmet Law Statistics

Friday, April 25th, 2008

I got the obligatory newspaper clipping from my mother the other day. You know, the one that talks about how motorcycle deaths are up at the same time that some states are relaxing their helmet laws.

Let’s face it, moms are just being moms when they send these things. They would rather you didn’t ride at all because “it’s too dangerous” but if you’re going to ride “you’d better wear your helmet every time.” They also tend to believe strongly that all states should mandate wearing helmets all the time.

I disagree. I do wear my helmets (I have several) a lot of the time. But there are times when I do not, and I would argue that I know more about the risk I am taking than someone who has never been on a motorcycle in their lives. I’m also a registered Libertarian, so obviously I believe the government has no business telling me I have to wear a helmet.

So let’s look at the information this particular article presents. It came from the Gannett News Service so presumably it appeared in a number of papers, maybe yours.

I’ll give them credit, it talks about deaths rising on the basis of per 1,000 riders. So many such articles say simply that deaths are up, but fail to mention that the number of riders is up as well. And if deaths per thousand riders are increasing then that is definitely of concern to us.

My issue is with the interpretations that people put on the statistics. They’re much too simplistic. Helmets are not some miracle cure for motorcycle fatalities. For example, the article states that “About 42 percent of riders killed were not wearing helmets.” What that means then is that 58 percent were wearing helmets — and they were killed anyway. It also implies that some percentage of those helmetless riders who were killed would have been killed even if they had been wearing a helmet. To me that says the cause of the accident should be more the focus than the gear the rider was wearing.

Another factor noted is the increase in the age of the average rider. Decreasing physical dexterity and slower reaction times are listed as the suspects.

Then it goes on to say that “Half of motorcyclists killed between 2002 and 2006 lost control and crashed without colliding with another vehicle.” This is what I’m talking about above. How did these accidents occur? Surely some involved other vehicles that may well have been the cause but were not involved in any contact. But in other cases, what we are talking about is rider error. This calls for better training but, again, has nothing to do with the gear the rider is wearing.

The article goes on to say that southern states have higher death rates, and they attribute that to the longer riding season. More time on the road equals more opportunity for accidents. That makes sense.

Then it talks about how the National Transportation Safety Board has taken the unprecedented action of unanimously recommending that all states mandate helmets at all times. Their justification for this is that “Medical and other costs for unhelmeted riders involved in crashes are staggering.” OK, then how about this: Let’s require all drivers and passengers in cars to wear helmets. There are a heck of a lot more of them getting into accidents and surely the costs are mega-staggering. Race car drivers wear helmets. Why shouldn’t mom and pop and the kiddies? Of course I’m sure they intend to imply that motorcyclists who do wear helmets and get in accidents cost the system nothing. That is what they’re saying, isn’t it?

And then finally, at the very bottom of this 51-inch article, they mention that, oh by the way, the two states with no helmet laws of any kind, Iowa and New Hampshire, have death rates of 3.5 and 3.0 per 1,000 respectively. Meanwhile, for example, Mississippi and Maryland, which require all riders to wear helmets all the time, have death rates of 20 and 12 per 1,000 respectively. Of course these numbers are discounted, and are explained away saying that in New Hampshire the riding season is short and in Iowa the ground is flat and visibility is good.

So thanks for caring Mom, I love you, too. But I’ll continue to make my own decisions and I’ll continue to belong to the American Motorcyclist Association and support their efforts to protect our right to decide.

Biker Quote for Today

Gray-haired riders don’t get that way from pure luck.

Riding Motorcycle Lead For Bicycle Races

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

I’m going to be doing something totally different this Saturday. I’ve signed on to be a Motorcycle Lead for some bicycle races.

In case you don’t know what a Motorcycle Lead is, they ride ahead of the pack of bicyclists presumably ensuring that other traffic stays clear for the racers. I say presumably because I’m not totally sure what else they might do. I guess I’ll find out when I get there.

This set of races is being held at the little town of Deer Trail, out east of Denver along I-70. I’ll need to be there at 8 am and will be there all day. The thing is, I get paid to do this. My wife, who is nuts about babies, says it’s as if she were getting paid to hold a baby. I get paid to ride my motorcycle.

The one experience I do have with the concept of Motorcycle Lead goes back to when I was a newspaper reporter and photographer. The Red Zinger Classic, which later became the Coors Classic, was held at that time around Boulder. One of the races came through our area, so I was sent out to cover it. I got to ride on the bike with one of the Motorcycle Leads and shoot pictures along the course. Some good action shots. I wonder if I’ll be carrying any photographers.

So anyway, this sounds like it could be fun. I’ll give you the report on Monday.

If anyone is interested in coming to the races, here’s the website:
http://www.cyclingevents.com/DeerTrailRR/Default.aspx

Biker Quote for Today

Four wheels good, two wheels better.

Wrenching And Retching With Concours Owners Group

Monday, April 21st, 2008

This may not be a big deal for most motorcyclists, but I just got highway pegs on my Kawasaki Concours. So why is it a big deal for me?

Because for many, many years there were none available. The fact that you can finally get highway pegs for a Concours is thanks to Murph, not Kawasaki. Who is Murph? Murph is a guy who has taken it upon himself to create and market a wide variety of accessories specifically for the Concours. With the first highway pegs he created for the bike you had to cut a hole through your body work, which a lot of guys did, but others were reluctant to do.

Murph's pegs on my bike

But Murph kept at it and now he has come out with a set that requires cutting through a bit of plastic underneath the body work (out of sight) but not the body work itself. You mount the main bolt to the spot where the radiator bolt normally resides, and then a bracket goes sideways from that spot and pokes out one of the vent slots on the fairing. That’s where you attach the pegs.

Now, I’m pretty handy with a wrench, but trying to get clear on what I needed to do to install these things had me bothered. Fortunately, I didn’t have to go it alone. The local chapter of the Concours Owners Group, which I recently rejoined, has a yearly tradition of meeting at Rick Hall’s place up the South St. Vrain Canyon for Wrench and Retch. Folks ride on up to Rick’s and help each other out with the work they need to do on their Connies. Steve, whose last name I didn’t get, has a 1999 Concours, same as mine, and has the same pegs, so he helped me install mine. Rick supplies the tools and the workshop. Rick also cooks up a big pot of chili each year for after the wrenching is all done.

So finally! Now I can go out on these long trips we take each year and I’ll have a way to reposition my legs. Heck, I used them on the way home. From Rick’s I went on up the St. Vrain to the Peak to Peak Highway and on home that way. It was about 75 miles and my legs were ready for some shifting long before I got home. And by gum, they work! Thanks Murph.

Biker Quote for Today

Always replace the cheapest parts first.

On The Road Again: An Update

Friday, April 18th, 2008

OK, it took a new battery to get me running again. That’s after having put in a new battery in October. That’s just wrong.

Unfortunately, all the issues did not get answered. The first question is why did this new battery go dead after just five months? Then, why didn’t it take a charge at home? Why did it take a charge in a shop but then turn up dead again a few weeks later?

I bought the previous battery from Pep Boys in October. That store closed so I took the battery yesterday to a different Pep Boys. There I was told 1) anything sold from the other store was on an “all sales are final” basis since it was closing. 2) The battery had only a three-month warranty so they had no obligation to do anything about it. 3) We’ll be happy to sell you another battery.

Thanks but no thanks.

So I went to Performance Motorcycles down the street and described the situation. The very savvy woman behind the counter said what I was describing said that the battery took a surface charge and that was what got the bike started, but why it was then dead a couple weeks later. She also said this Energizer battery was a low quality battery compared to the Yuasa battery that is OEM on Hondas. So I bought a new Yuasa. It has a one-year warranty.

Then things got complicated when I got home. First I discovered that my battery charger somehow got switched from 12 volt to 6 volt. That could explain why the battery wasn’t charging properly, if in fact it was not defective. And then I found that I did not have good contact between the cables and the battery previously. The way it works, I have the cables coming to the battery posts, and then I also have the wires for my trickle charger and my electric vest to hook up there as well. When I removed the battery in March, the first time I had the problem, I did not connect the vest wires because it’s getting warm now. But what I discovered is that that meant the screws I used were too long, and when screwed in as far as they would go did not snug the contacts up to the posts.

So between 6 volts versus 12 volts, and not a good connection, it is no wonder that I couldn’t give it a charge, or even that it went dead between rides. That Energizer might have been perfectly fine after all. Except that it had gone dead the first time. No new battery on a bike that has been regularly ridden should be dead.

That means I’ll never know what the true situation was. But what I do know is that I’m running again and went for a ride yesterday. That’s what it’s all about, right?

Biker Quote for Today

A bike on the road is worth two in the shed.

Easy Way To Confirm A Defective Battery?

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

I was going to ride my CB750 yesterday, but it wouldn’t start. This is just like what happened a few weeks ago. The battery was dead.

The problem is, this is a new battery. I just bought it back in October. It worked fine then, it worked fine in November, it worked fine in December, it worked fine in January, it worked fine in February . . . and then in March it was dead. I put it on a trickle charge but after two days when that didn’t do any good I took it to a shop and they put it on a charge. A few hours later I took it home, put it in, and the bike fired right up. And now it’s dead again.

OK, I’m good at troubleshooting so here’s what I’m looking at. If anyone has any thoughts they’d like to offer please do.

It could be that the battery is defective. One sure way to confirm or refute that would be to buy another one and see if the problem arises again. That would confirm that it is not the battery. The problem with that is the expense, and if it turns out the battery is not the problem then I’ve got two batteries and still have a problem.

It could be a short. This is what I would expect if a second battery did the same thing, and if it is then that’s going to be a pain to track down. But I don’t think it’s a short. If it was a short I suspect the entire battery would be dead, but as it is, there’s enough juice to turn the light on and if it were a short I would expect it to have no power at all.

It could be that there’s a problem with my charger. The last time I let it charge for two days and still got no response at all when I pushed the starter button. A two-hour charge at the shop got me going. This wouldn’t explain why it went dead again but it would explain why two days of charging did nothing. Do I have two problems? There is definitely electricity coming out of the outlet I plug into–I checked that. How do you check a charger to see if it’s working?

It could be the starter. I wondered about that the first time but once I got the battery charged it fired up with no problem, so I don’t think that’s it.

It could be the fusible link, too, but I checked that and it’s fine. Plus, as with the starter, that was a non-issue last time.

This is all complicated by the fact that the shop I bought the battery from has since closed its doors. I can’t just take the battery in and ask them to test it and give me a new one if it’s defective. This is really a pain. Yesterday was a gorgeous day and I wanted to ride. Bah.

Biker Quote for Today

A good mechanic will let you watch without charging you for it.

MoTow Is A Lifesaver When You Need Them

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Have you ever had a problem on the road? Or have you gone out to start the bike and it wouldn’t, and it’s not the battery?

At times like this it can get expensive. Having your bike hauled somewhere to be worked on can easily cost you $100. Unless you’ve had the foresight to sign up for MoTow.

MoTow Roadside Assistance is offered by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) for the piddling fee of $25 per year. You have problems, you call for assistance, and they have “people who know how to tow motorcycles” available to help you out 24/7. The service covers all your bikes and it doesn’t matter what you ride.

Now, maybe you have a pretty new bike and don’t generally have mechanical problems. Good for you. On my old bike, my 1980 CB750 Custom, it can get dicey at times. There have been a couple times that bike has just quit on me. But the MoTow guy has showed up quickly and hauled the bike to the shop. Not a dime out of my pocket (not counting my annual membership).

It doesn’t have to be a problem on the road. A buddy of mine called just yesterday hoping I would have some great idea to get his bike running so he wouldn’t have to spend a bunch on it. He has a newer, more dependable bike, but it seems he left it parked all winter, never fired it up, and didn’t put in gas stabilizer. Bad decision. I’m no miracle worker. But he has MoTow so he called and got the bike hauled to the shop. He’ll have to pay for the carb cleaning himself. That one use of his MoTow membership will pay for his membership for three years.

There is a catch here. MoTow is only available to AMA members. AMA membership is $39 a year. So that’s not quite such a savings, right?

Well, you get a lot more from AMA than just access to MoTow. You get a monthly magazine, American Motorcyclist, which has a lot of good reading, but that’s not really the important thing. What you get with AMA membership is representation in government. We all know the limitations non-bikers continually try to put on us and it’s not pixies who fight those battles to protect our rights. It’s the AMA.

Here in Denver they recently passed an ordinance that allows the police to ticket bikers whose exhaust pipes are not OEM. The idea is to fight noise but it is so wrong in its implementation. It basically says that it doesn’t matter how quiet your bike is, you can get a ticket if it is not an OEM muffler and pipes. Never mind that while the cop is writing you a ticket, a really loud car or truck may pass by, ignored by the cops. The ordinance is clearly discrimination against motorcyclists. And the AMA is on the case. They haven’t gotten it changed yet but they’re still working on it.

I could talk a whole lot more about what the AMA does, I’m a real believer in the organization. But I’ll save that for another time. Right now, just think about the fix you might find yourself in if your bike breaks down on you and how good it would feel in that case to know that help from MoTow is just a phone call away.

Biker Quote for Today

A friend is someone who’ll get out of bed at 2 am to drive his pickup to the middle of nowhere to get you when you’re broken down.

Short-term Buy Better Than Long-Term Rent

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Do you ever spend an extended period of time away from home? And more importantly, from your bike(s)? For example, your job sends you somewhere for weeks or even months. Sure, that doesn’t happen to most of us but it does happen to some, and it did happen to me once.

So what do you do to feed your motorcycle need while away? I’ve mentioned this before in passing but want to spend a little more time on it today.

Certainly, if you are just gone for a week or a few days you ought to take advantage of the opportunity to ride somewhere new. That’s getting easier and easier thanks to there being more places that rent motorcycles. I did that when my company sent me to Nashville for a day, and I stayed over the weekend and rented a Harley.

But as we all know, motorcycle rentals don’t come cheap. You can pay that high price for a day or two, or even a week perhaps, but there gets to be a limit to how much you can justify spending.

Here’s a better alternative, and it’s what I did when my company sent me to Sacramento for a month. I bought a bike in Sacramento with the agreement that the dealer would buy it back from me for a specified price when it was time for me to go home.

Think about the options this opens up. Most rental companies have a fairly limited selection. But what if you walk into a dealership and make your selection from all the used bikes they have for sale? And if one dealer doesn’t have anything you’re interested in, move on to another. You ought to be able to find exactly the bike you want at a price you can manage.

So how does the repurchase arrangement work? First of all, both parties agree up front that if you drop the bike or bring it back in any condition different than when you took it, except with a few more miles on it, then the whole thing is up for reconsideration. You have to understand that there is a possibility that you will have acquired a new bike, or that the repurchase price will be less than you originally agreed upon.

The other key is finding a dealer to agree to this. Not all of them will. I got lucky that the first place I walked into, when I asked to speak with the manager and told him what I wanted to do, he was willing. He told me that not all dealerships would do this.

The key was, he rides and is a motorcycle lover himself. So when I presented myself as someone who just had to have a bike to ride while I was out there, he understood. Of course he wasn’t just being altruistic. I paid full price for the bike and if anything had happened to it he would have had a sale. As it was, he got a nice chunk of cash and put the bike back on the floor for the same price it was listed at before.

And my benefit was that I had a bike to ride for a month at a fraction of what I would have paid for a rental. As I recall, he made $400 off the bike for the four weeks I had it. I’d call that a bargain. And because I only had it for four weeks I could ride with just the dealer tag and didn’t have to get plates on it. Of course I contacted my insurance agent and had it insured.

As I said, I got lucky because the first place I tried I found someone who was willing to do this. If I was going to do it again I would call the local dealers in advance and see who might be willing. I’d be prepared to give all the reasons why it would benefit them, in case they were reluctant. And who knows, maybe you wouldn’t find anyone. But it doesn’t hurt to try it, and boy did I love having that bike for that month.

Biker Quote for Today

Every day is a good day to ride! Some are better than others.

Big Dog Ride Is One I’ll Miss. And You?

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

How hardcore are you anyway? Hardcore enough to do the Big Dog?

First let me tell you what the Big Dog Ride is. OK, first of all it’s for BMW riders, so that lets a bunch of us out. What they say on their website is this:

The BIG DOG RIDE is a BMW “Invitational Ride” for owners of BMW G/S and GS model motorcycles. It is neither a race nor a rally. It is an annual gathering of a fraternity of BMW aficionados of G/S and GS styled motorcycles that mutually appreciate riding their motorcycles with like minded philosophers in the best environment for on and off-road riding in the world, the Rocky Mountains of North America.

Then there’s this:

Each year an entrant can expect to ride between 800-1,200 miles on the BIG DOG RIDE over some of the highest, toughest mountain passes in the Rocky Mountain range, sometimes reaching 14,000 feet above sea level. Rain, snow and sleet can be encountered in August, as well as 100-degree heat. The BIG DOG RIDE has been to Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Montana. Riders often make numerous crossings of the Continental Divide, sometimes fording swollen streams, and riding over snow fields and shale cliffs. It is not unusual for a rider to be in a single-track path no wider than 24 inches, with a drop-off of 1,000 feet on one side and a sheer rock cliff on the other.

And then this:

The BIG DOG RIDE is not for the meek, mild or poseur GS rider. It has rightfully earned the description as being the “highest, toughest BMW motorcycle event in the world.” It is dangerous, and fun. BIG DOG riders can be heard laughing from mountain tops at the start of the event to the finish, as well as from and to their homes, often as far away as Vermont, Florida, Canada and California.

Here’s where the name comes from:

On the second ride one of the errant participants found himself stuck on a snowfield. He had to disassemble his motorcycle to turn it around, then with the help of several others; they pushed, pulled and dragged both rider and BMW back up and over the pass he had come down. The “helpers” were likened to the big Saint Bernard dogs of the Alps famous for rendering assistance to stranded hikers and skiers. After several more mishaps where riders had to be helped by their fellow entrants as they pushed their personal riding envelopes past points of explosion, all the riders came to be known as “BIG DOGS.” The event in the third year was called the BMW GS BIG DOG RIDE, and that’s the name that has remained.

OK. I could go on quoting their website but you can go there yourself and read and see it all. This year’s event is Aug. 14-17. Any Big Dogs out there?

Biker Quote for Today

You start the game of life with a full pot of luck and an empty pot of experience. The object is to fill the pot of experience before you empty the pot of luck.