Archive for August, 2009

Heading to the Bonneville Vintage GP and Concours

Monday, August 31st, 2009

The coolest thing about building a career as a motorcycle journalist is getting to go to a lot of terrific events. I’ll be heading out on Thursday to cover the 4th annual Bonneville Vintage GP and Concours, in Tooele, UT, Sept. 4-6. Of course I’ll be telling you all about it.

Bonneville Vintage GP and ConcoursSo what exactly is this event? I’m still learning about it myself but I’ll tell you what I think I’ve figured out so far. It seems to be in essentially three parts, vintage motorcycle racing, sidecar racing, and a vintage motorcycle show.

The American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMA) is sponsoring the race events. Motorcycle Classics magazine is sponsoring the show.

There will be a two-stage “Battle of the CB-160s,” featuring two-time World Superbike Champion Doug Polen. Polen also offers a racing school on Friday. Saturday and Sunday, the two main days, will both feature a “Vintage and Legend Bikes Parade Laps” event, after which the day’s racing begins. The vintage bike show is on Saturday.

The location for all this will be Miller Motorsports Park, just outside of Tooele. That means it’s about 30 miles from downtown Salt Lake City. The venue is billed as “the newest world class racetrack – the largest in North America – that will very soon . . . also be legendary.”

Beyond that, I can’t tell you much – yet. Stay tuned.

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Biker Quote for Today

My theory, you only get one chance, go full fucking throttle, all the way, all the time.

A Disturbing Night Ride in the Mountains

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

I have some heated motorcycle gear I’ve been given by EXO2 The Heat Inside to test and do a product review on, so I was looking for some cold weather here in August. Not the easiest thing to find, except that in the mountains it gets cold no matter what time of year it is. At least at night, and up real high.

I already had plans to be up in Keystone one evening for the return of the Adventure for the CuresDirty Dozen” riders from their seven-day cancer research fundraising ride. Fine, I figured I’d stay as late in the evening as I cared to and then return home over Loveland Pass. At 11,900 feet, especially at 11 p.m. or so, I figured it would be pretty dang chilly–perfect weather for testing the gear.

Loveland Pass

So it got late and it was time for me to head home and I put on the heated vest and gloves, connected the wires, pulled on my leather jacket and helmet, and set off up the pass.

The gear worked fine. I’ll tell you all about that later, once I have more time to do more testing, but I certainly had no complaints that night. I did have some concerns setting out at night in the mountains that I might encounter deer, because they can be deadly if they run out in front of you and you are unable to avoid them. But none of them showed their faces.

What I did not anticipate was issues of equilibrium. Let me set the scene.

It’s a dark night. Cloudy, so no moon or stars. No electric lights going up over the pass, and no guardrails with their reflectors. On top of that, on the lower stretches of the road up the pass, no horizon. The blackness of the trees and mountains blended totally with the blackness of the sky.

What could I see? White and yellow lines. White and yellow lines that curved and rose and fell, all in relation to . . . nothing. In just a short while this started playing tricks on my equilibrium. Am I leaning or is the road curving? I know I’m leaning because I’m in a curve, but am I leaning too far or is the road rising through the curve? I could not tell. There was no point of reference. It was downright scary.

I got over the pass by going about 15 to 20 miles per hour and being super, super cautious, and I was glad I only encountered one other vehicle along the way. That ride was not fun. I’ll be restricting my gear testing to daylight from now on.

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Biker Quote for Today

I always slow down if my riding buddy in front of me disappears or launches skyward unexpectedly.

Guanella Pass Closed Until Further Notice

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Guanella Pass

September 2, 2009

The National Forest Service has announced that approximately 5 miles of the Guanella Pass Road has been reopened from Georgetown to the Clear Lake day-use area, but the road remains closed between the Clear Lake day-use area and the Clear Lake Campground. After further assessment, the Forest Service and the Clear Creek County Commissioners have decided this part of the road is safe for travel.

Guanella Pass and the Clear Lake Campground can be accessed through Grant, from U.S. 285. Please note that travelers cannot get through to Georgetown or to Interstate 70 from U.S. 285.

August 24, 2009

Be advised that Guanella Pass is closed until further notice. The U.S. Forest Service ordered the closure yesterday because unusually high precipitation this summer has created unstable conditions and provoked fears of a landslide.

Says said John Bustos, spokesman for Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forests, “With the amount of moisture we have had the rock mass has loosened up and there is concern about it sliding across the road.”

The closure is on the north side of the pass, down from the summit between Georgetown and Clear Lake Campground. That stretch of road is also undergoing extensive reconstruction, so it has been a rough road to ride for quite awhile. The lower portions on both sides of the pass are paved but the stretch of road going over the top is gravel. Although rough, motorcycle of all sorts, including Harley baggers, commonly ride the pass road.

I’ll update this post when the pass reopens.

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Biker Quote for Today

Remember… It’s not how FAST you get there,… It’s how FAST YOU GO, getting there.

Watch “On Any Sunday” Online

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Everyone who rides a motorcycle has heard of the classic movie, On Any Sunday. Produced by Bruce Brown in 1971, the film is the icon of motorcycle movies, depicting the joy of riding, whether in top-dollar races or around the sand lot down the street.

I’ve heard of On Any Sunday for years, and for years I have intended to rent it and finally watch it. Well, wouldn’t you know it, while looking for trailers for Dust to Glory, which is the film that inspired Chuck Shortt to enter the Baja 1000, I found On Any Sunday available for free online.

Now, you have to watch a few commercials along the way but I can deal with that. I finally get to see this movie!

You can too. Here’s the link. Enjoy.

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They cannot be built any bigger or faster without leaving the road. — Thomas Krens

My Introduction to the Baja 1000

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

If you’re like me you’ve probably heard of the Baja 1000 but you don’t really know much about it. Well, let me tell you, this thing is pretty dang interesting and I’m going to be learning a whole bunch more about it.

About a year ago I met Chuck Shortt, who builds custom motorcycles and owns Rocky Mountain Custom Bikes. Chuck emailed me several months ago to tell me he was going to compete this year in the Baja 1000 and did I want to do an article about him and his team for I said sure, you bet. But I never made the time to do anything about it until a few days ago.

I finally went down to Larkspur to meet with Chuck, see the bike and his shop, and talk about the race. He told me then that he was inspired to do this race by the movie Dust to Glory. He got hold of it on DVD and ended up watching it five times in one night. Then within a week he started putting together a team to race in it.

Of course I had to watch the movie, and oh man! You’ve got cars and trucks and motorcycles and custom built vehicles all racing at the same time on the same course, as well as spectators who decide they want to ride along with you on their own vehicles. It’s crazy! And it looks like more fun than any human should be allowed to have.

Here’s a couple trailers. You may find yourself tracking this movie down soon to watch it all. You won’t be sorry you did.

Here’s another.

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Biker Quote for Today

You live more in a few seconds at 150 miles per hour than most people do in a lifetime — Anthony Hopkins in The World’s Fastest Indian

Pikes Peak Motomarathon Is Second in Series

Monday, August 10th, 2009

I reported in April about the inaugural Motomarathon event and series put together by Boulderite John Metzger. Well, John and the Motomarathon Association are back with the second event in this first season, the Pikes Peak Motomarathon, scheduled for Sept. 11-14, 2009.

Here’s the skinny on the event.

Motomarathoners Arise!

You have nothing to lose but your chicken strips!

Pikes Peak Motomarathon

September 11-14, 2009

This 4-day endurance ride starts and stops at Pikes Peak Motorsports in Colorado Springs. It is on paved roads (with dirt options), averaging about 400 miles each day.

5867 N. Nevada Ave., #150
Colorado Springs, CO 80918

Motomarathon Association staffers will be taking a scouting ride this week to line up hotels and conduct route research and experimentation (no animals will be harmed).

Go to to register and watch for updates.

The Colorado Motomarathon was the Central Rockies at their finest.

This ride captures the essence of the incredible San Juans and the immensity of the Pikes Peak region…

…and perhaps a dip into the Land of Enchantment (New Mexico). The Ancient Sport-Touring Ones considered these Sacred Places.

Wanted: Those who rode the inaugural Colorado Motomarathon, send us your photos to start our Gallery Section on the Web site, and…

We’re going to start tracking members’ bikes, so please let us know your year/make/model.

Stay tuned.

Anyone up for a ride?

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Biker Quote for Today

Never do less than 40 miles before breakfast.

Sgt. Clark’s Bike Is Coming Home

Friday, August 7th, 2009

I received a request from John Rollins, who is an active member of the Colorado Victory Riders Association. I’ll just pass it along verbatim.

Sgt. Clark

We have a Victory rider who gave his all and we are asking for some exposure to escort his bike home. Here is the announcement if you can please let the motorcycling community know.

Sgt Clark’s bike is coming home!

I think everyone knows the story so I won’t go into the details. If you don’t please visit the following site

The point of this message is that the bike is back in Colorado and she is making a trip from Westminster to Fort Carson where the family will get the first opportunity to see her. Our focus is to get as many riders as possible to escort her down.

Who: We need you so if you’re in the area come join us…don’t ride a Victory we don’t care, just be a patriot.

Where: Meeting at 9:30 a.m. MDT at the McDonald’s on the south west corner of 100th and Wadsworth

When: August 9th, 2009

Thanks and ride safe….see ya on Sunday!

Here is our online conversation,com_fireboard/Itemid,35/func,showcat/view,threaded/id,477/catid,4/

Here is a photo of the bike.

Sgt. Clark's bike

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Biker Quote for Today

Life is short, and best savored . . . every day, hour, minute. Especially when motorcycling is involved. — Clement Salvadori

Tanker Fire Closes Loveland Pass

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Update Aug. 8, 2009

The pass is open again.

Aug. 6, 2009–

Loveland Pass is currently closed due to a gasoline/diesel tanker truck that rolled and caught fire yesterday. The alternate route is I-70 through the Eisenhower Tunnel. The Colorado Department of Transportation says that you should “Expect minor delays along I-70 at the tunnel at the top of each hour.”

Trucks hauling hazardous materials, such as gasoline, are routinely routed over the pass. With the pass closed, these loads will pass through the tunnel, but at such times the tunnel is closed to other traffic, thus the delays.

The rollover occurred about one mile below the summit on the Keystone side of the pass.

I will update this notice when the pass reopens. Here’s a shot at the top of the pass, coincidentally showing two tanker trucks crossing the summit.

Loveland Pass summit

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Biker Quote for Today

Everything works out in the end. If it hasn’t worked out, it isn’t the end.

Models of Safety We Are Not

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

After nine days on the road as one of nine guys on bikes I have to say that you do not want to use us as your riding safety model. In the early days, when there were just three of us, we worked out some simple safety procedures and it was easy to follow them.

riding the Beartooth

As new guys have joined the group we simply have not done a good job of inculcating those concepts and the result is a hodge-podge group that doesn’t follow any one set of procedures. We’d be safer riders if we did.

For instance, one of the newer guys seem to target-fixate on the tail-light of the guy in front of him. He’ll move in to about 2-3 bike lengths behind and just sit there. If the guy in front moves left, he moves left. If he moves right, this other guy follows, always staying right behind, and way too close.

Some of us try to set up a staggered riding pattern but all it takes is one guy to make a mess of that. I was two back of one such guy at one point, and the guy between us was trying hard to maintain a staggered position. Move left and he goes right, move back right and he goes left, and then sit in the middle. No attention to lane position. I sat back and observed all this and knew exactly the frustration he was feeling when he finally goosed the throttle and pulled ahead of the wandering rider.

It’s not that we don’t talk about these things. It’s just that we don’t seem to ever have the conversations when the full contingent is present. For instance, one night on this trip we talked about how to pass through a town as a group. I said the leader needs to slow down when approaching a traffic signal, while those behind should speed up. This then allows the leader to make a determination of whether everyone will be able to make it through the green and to take appropriate action. Everyone present agreed, but we all knew the worst offender in this strategy was not present for the discussion.

Ditto the discussion about maintaining proper speed so we don’t build up a long line of impatient cars and trucks behind us, and making sure to leave spaces so they can pass one or a few rather than all nine of us at once.

I admit it, I’m as guilty as the next guy in terms of not insisting that we have a full discussion with everyone present. Instead, I just tend to take up position in the rear where I can ride my own ride without needing to be concerned with what the folks ahead of me are doing. And I make damn sure not to be directly ahead of the tailgater. Every year before this trip I tell myself I’ll try to organize the meeting to hash this all out, and every year it doesn’t happen. Maybe I’ll actually do it next year. Somebody kick me in the butt, OK?

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