Archive for March, 2010

Loud Pipes May Save Lives But They’re No Substitute for Defensive Driving

Monday, March 29th, 2010

At the risk of raising a lot of people’s hackles I’m going to come right out and say that I don’t necessarily go along with the slogan, “Loud pipes save lives.” That said, I have to admit I was in a situation yesterday where I really feel that if I had had loud pipes, the guy who had no clue I was in the lane he wanted to be in might indeed have had a clue. I’ll describe the situation.

Harley pipesI was on I-225 coming past an interchange and there were a number of cars getting on the highway. I was in the left lane and they filed on in the right lane. It was a no-brainer that at least a couple of them were going to want to move over into the left lane. So as I passed each one I was extremely attentive to their movements.

Sure enough, just as I knew I was moving into this one guy’s blind spot I saw him take a look at his mirror. “Here he comes,” I said to myself. I immediately moved further left and goosed the throttle so I was quickly in a position where he couldn’t help but see me, and he swerved back into his own lane.

I really do believe that if I had been on some loud, rumbling machine he very probably would have heard me and done a head check when he didn’t see me in his mirror.

My point, however, is that quiet pipes did not cost a life in this situation, defensive driving saved a life. Loud pipes were not necessary.

I have a friend, Jungle Fuhrman, who insists that if you have an accident you screwed up. Period. It doesn’t matter if the other guy was very much at fault, it’s your skin and you have a responsibility to anticipate any and all stupidities of the idiots out there. If you have an accident, you didn’t do your job. No, they didn’t do theirs either, but you’re the one dead or broken.

So maybe, just maybe, loud pipes are in reality a lazy man’s approach to defensive driving. But if so, that’s false security. There’s no substitute for the real thing.

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Biker Quote for Today

AGTATT doesn’t mean much if you get run over by 60,000 pounds of truck and cargo.

Tour Jay Leno’s Garage Online for Eye Candy

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

It’s no secret that Jay Leno loves old, classic cars and motorcycles, and has the money to buy whatever he wants. But did you know that he has a website where you can look at what he’s got and read a lot about them?

BSA motorcycleUsing the poetic, symbolic title of Jay Leno’s Garage, the site is a treasure trove of classics. I suppose some people might view this as Jay showing off, rubbing people’s noses in what he has that you don’t, but I prefer to think of it as a true enthusiast doing what he can to share with other enthusiasts. And truth be told, I’ve never heard anyone accuse him of the former, I’m just saying I wouldn’t be surprised if someone did. And if they do, I am of a different mind.

So check it out. At the very least you may enjoy killing an hour or two drooling.

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Biker Quote for Today

It’s not the fastest bike out there, it’s not the most well behaved, but what it does is put a smile on my face every time I ride it and isn’t that what really matters?

Colorado Volunteers Needed for Food Distribution

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

unloading food for needy familiesABATE of Colorado needs volunteers to staff a huge food giveaway on May 12. Working with the Feed the Children organization, ABATE will be distributing eight truckloads of food to needy families. That’s going to be require a lot of bodies to unload the trucks, manage traffic, and pass out the food boxes, and just generally do whatever is necessary.

Distribution will take place in the parking lot of Invesco Field at Mile High. Anyone interested in helping out can contact ABATE at

ABATE District 10 did a similar food distribution back in December, distributing just one truckload of food. Feed the Children was very pleased with the organization and execution of that effort so they contacted ABATE to do it again, in a much bigger manner.

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Biker Quote for Today

Why? Because dinner always tastes better with helmet hair.

Motorcycle Story From My Vet

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

You never know when you’re going to hear a good story to pass along. We took the household critters to the vet two days ago and in talking with Doug, our vet, he had this one.

dirt bike in the airDoug is from Wyoming and he has always ridden motorcycles, mostly dirt bikes. Some time ago he picked up an old 350cc Honda dirt bike cheap. His partner at the vet clinic, whose name is Jeff, I believe, had never ridden so he came out to Doug’s one day to give it a try.

Doug went through the controls with Jeff, showing him the clutch, the gearshift, the brake, and explained one down, four up. Jeff responded, “Where’s my clutch?” That was probably a hint.

He turned Jeff loose in the pasture and Jeff putted around a bit, getting the hang of it. After awhile, Doug was standing up on the bank of a dry pond and motioned to Jeff to come over there. Doug figured he’d pull up and stop. Wrong.

As Jeff picked up speed coming up the embankment Doug signaled to him to slow down but Jeff launched over the bank into the air. “I could see him in mid-air pushing away from the bike.”

They both hit and slid, and the bike’s throttle did not disengage, so it ended up doing circles on its side in the dirt. I don’t recall how Doug said the bike got back upright, maybe a bump that lifted it up, but it hit the fence and with that for support it just kept going down the fence line until it hit a telephone pole. That finally put an end to its ramblings.

The old bike wasn’t in very good shape to begin with but it was in a lot worse shape after all this. Doug didn’t say whether Jeff has any more inclination to ride. But hey, you know, it’s all about the stories.

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Biker Quote for Today

Passes and Canyons Maps Now on GPS

Monday, March 15th, 2010

I know I’m a bit behind the times but I still don’t have a GPS unit. I know a lot of people do, and I have been asked several times if the maps on the Passes and Canyons site are available in GPS. Up till now I’ve had to say no.

map of an area in ColoradoWell, the answer now is “Yes.” Thanks go to Gord Ripley, who has been using the site to plan his Colorado trip. He plotted the routes for the rides I’ve highlighted on the site and then sent me his GPS file. You can download it here.

Now, it won’t look like this map here; I just put that up for illustration purposes. Fact is, I can’t really say what it will look like because I don’t do GPS. But I suspect that for those of you who do, you know all about it so I’m not going to worry about it.

I really want to thank Gord for this. I have always welcomed any efforts you folks out there make to make this a better site for everyone using it. And I’ll take this opportunity to put in a plug for riding stories. If you make a trip to Colorado and have a great time, send me an email telling me about it and I’ll post it on the Riding Stories page. And if you’ll tell me about the places you stayed, good, bad, or indifferent, I’ll put that info up on the Motels and Hotels page. That way other people can benefit from your experience.


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Be a biker–kick start your day.

Glenwood Canyon Closure May Have Benefits

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

You’ve probably seen on the news that a rockslide has closed Glenwood Canyon, and repairs will take quite awhile. The latest news is that they do hope to get two lanes open as soon as today.

Glenwood CanyonWhat this means for anyone traveling I-70 between Debeque and Glenwood Springs in the next couple months will be facing delays, assuming they can get through at all. This is not generally a good thing.

But let’s look on the bright side. It may be interstate but Glenwood Canyon is a stretch of road that I include on this website as well worth riding if you’re coming to Colorado on your motorcycle. The problem is that you’re on the interstate and through most of the canyon you can’t stop to get a good look at the gorgeous rock walls or shoot pictures.

Well, now maybe you’ll be able to. Consider this image. You’ve got thousands of cars all bottle-necked at one spot, and the driving is stop and go as you move east through the canyon. The slowdown for westbound traffic will mostly be just before you enter the canyon, so that may not work as well for you.

But if you’re eastbound you could find yourself creeping through the canyon. And that will give you lots of time to take a good look and I’ll bet you can even get some shots.

I definitely want to go over there during this period just to test out this theory. I’ve been frustrated for years over my inability to get photos that really do the canyon justice. Maybe this is my chance. I’ll let you know how it goes, and if I do get those great shots I want I’ll definitely be posting them on the site.

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Biker Quote for Today

From hell hot days to cold blue skies, thru moonless nights with headlight eyes.

Daytona Bike Week–Living Vicariously

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Daytona Bike Week 2010

I had planned to go to Daytona Bike Week this year, but life got in the way and it didn’t happen. It turns out it may not have been a bad thing, considering the cold weather down there. From what I hear the crowd may have been as much as 50 percent smaller than last year.

I was able to attend vicariously, however. My buddy Friggs is spending time with his daughter, who lives near Daytona, and he went over one day and then reported back on the event. He also sent me a ton of photos. Friggs was there last year, too, and sent me photos then, but they were not all that good. I gave him a quick lesson on better photography and he seems to have listened because these shots show marked improvement.

I invite you to take a look at his photos. There are a lot of nice custom bikes and some good crowd scenes. And next year I am going to get down there myself!

Daytona Bike Week in pictures
Daytona Bike Week in pictures–The Custom Bikes

Biker Quote for Today

The best mods you can do will bloody your knuckles and empty your pockets, leaving a little tear in your eye.

Upcoming Rally in Sturgis–for Scooters

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

The streets of Sturgis, SD, are lined with two-wheelers–more of them than most people have ever seen in one place. Only these two-wheelers are not motorcycles, they’re scooters. Cushman scooters to be exact. Welcome to the rally in mid June.

Poster for 2010 CCA rally in SturgisThat’s right, the Cushman Club of America (CCA), which has a rally every year, is coming to Sturgis this year, from June 14 to June 18. It’s going to be just a bit different from what Sturgis is accustomed to.

“Come Play Where the Big Boys Play,” is the promo line the CCA is using and they’re looking for it to be the largest of their gatherings ever. Events will include a “Rough Rider Ride” that will be limited to 100 scoots, taking a route that will be challenging on a Cushman. And there will be other organized rides through the Black Hills. The Knuckle Saloon in Sturgis will be ground zero for rally activities.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tempted to drop in on this rally–on my Kawi, of course–just because it’s going to be so totally different from the usual Sturgis rally scene. And my calendar looks clear in mid-June. We’ll see. It could be fun. At the very least, I’m sure it would make for some great pictures.

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Biker Quote for Today

It’s more fun to ride a slow bike fast, than a fast bike slow.

Three Days Riding Colorado

Monday, March 1st, 2010

I am asked frequently to suggest routes for bikers planning to come ride in Colorado, and I’m always happy to comply. Chris Peterson is the most recent and here is his (abbreviated) question and my reply.

From there (Laramie) I was going to take three days to travel Colorado from north to south on the way to Arizona. I’d appreciate any can’t miss or gotta see’s or suggested routes to take.

Here is the map I sent him and my reply.

Map of three-day Colorado ride

Chris–Always happy to offer my suggestions. Here’s a map; I’ll run through it step by step.

Starting at Laramie, head southeast into Colorado on US 287 until you hit the mouth of the Poudre Canyon a little northwest of Fort Collins. Turn up CO 14 through the Poudre, over Cameron Pass and down into North Park and Walden. From Walden stay of CO 14 until you hit US 40 at Muddy Pass, between Kremmling and Steamboat Springs.

Go west on US 40 over Rabbit Ears Pass to Steamboat. Each lunch, perhaps. Then backtrack a bit to catch CO 131 that split off from US 40 just south of town, and head south on it to Toponas. From Toponas take CO 134 over Gore Pass to Kremmling, where you will reconnect with US 40. Take US 40 east to Granby and then turn north on US 34 through Rocky Mountain National Park and over Trail Ridge Road. This brings you down into Estes Park.

Take CO 7 south out of Estes Park, on the first leg of the Peak-to-Peak Highway. Where CO 72 takes off from CO 7, take it to stay on the Peak-to-Peak. After passing through Black Hawk you’ll intersect US 6 coming up out of Clear Creek Canyon. Go west and get on I-70 just east of Idaho Springs. At the second Idaho Springs exit, get off and so south on CO 103 toward Squaw Pass, but make the turn-off before the pass and go to the top of Mount Evans. Then backtrack to Idaho Springs and continue west on I-70 until you reach the Loveland Pass/US 6 turn-off just before you get to the Eisenhower Tunnel. Take US 6 over Loveland Pass, down past Keystone and turn off on the Swan Mountain Road that takes you along the south side of Dillon Reservoir.

This will connect you to CO 9, which goes up through Breckenridge and over Hoosier Pass, down to Fairplay, where you’ll meet US 285. Take US 285 west to Johnson Village and turn north through Buena Vista on US 24 to Twin Lakes. At Twin Lakes (Balltown, really), go west on CO 82 over Independence Pass and down to Aspen and Carbondale. At Carbondale, take CO 133 over McClure Pass down to Hotchkiss. At Hotchkiss, take CO 92 south through Crawford and along the north rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Cross the Gunnison over the dam that forms Blue Mountain Reservoir and then, if you desire, take US 50 east either into Gunnison (if you wish) or to the turn-off for CO 149 at the east end of the reservoir.

Take CO 149 south through Lake City and over Slumgullion Pass, down to Creede and to South Fork. At South Fork, pick up US 160 over Wolf Creek Pass and over to Pagosa Springs. Continue west on US 160 to Durango and then go north on US 550 over Red Mountain Pass to Ouray. From Ouray, continue north on US 550 through Montrose and now, on US 50, continue through Delta to Whitewater, where CO 141 goes off to the west to run down through Gateway as the Unaweep Highway. Stay on CO 141 to Vancorum and Naturita and then pick up CO 145 to Telluride. South from Telluride you’ll cross Lizard Head Pass and come down through Dolores to Cortez. From there you’re very close to the Four Corners area and Arizona. Also very close to Mesa Verde.

My mapping software shows this entire route as about 1,300 miles. That’s a lot to do in three days. Here are some shortcuts you could take. Rather than going over Rabbit Ears to Steamboat and then over Gore Pass to Kremmling, instead, turn south from Walden on CO 125 directly to Granby. Then pick up as before over Trail Ridge Road.

You could skip Mount Evans, but I wouldn’t.

Rather than take Hoosier Pass to Fairplay and then to Buena Vista, get back on I-70 briefly at Frisco, get off at Copper Mountain and take Fremont Pass through Leadville over to Twin Lakes and Independence Pass.

From Ouray, rather than doing the Unaweep loop, just go north as far as Ridgway and then take CO 62 over to Placerville and south from there to Telluride.

That should at least give you ideas to think about. I’d love to hear about your trip afterward.
So there you go. That’s all good riding. If you don’t have three days pick any part of it and you can’t miss.

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Biker Quote for Today

If you can’t get it going with bungee cords and duct tape, God’s telling you to stop for the night.