Archive for February, 2012

Bill To Kill MOST Program Defeated; Now It Is ‘Fix It Or Lose It’

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

ABATE representatives testify at Tuesday's hearing.

Senate Bill 89, which would have eliminated Colorado’s Motorcycle Operator Safety Training (MOST) program, died in committee Tuesday. But the senators who wish to give reform efforts a chance to succeed made it clear they will vote differently in the future if the program is not fixed.

The idea that the program has problems was not contested by anyone. The only discussion was on whether to kill the program outright or first let those involved with MOST do what they can to fix it. On a party line vote, the majority Democrats on the committee voted for the latter while the minority Republicans voted to kill the program.

In arguing for killing MOST, Sen. Scott Renfroe, the bill’s sponsor, challenged the need for such a program and said it was an area in which the government need not get involved. Sen. Renfroe made it clear he supports rider training, pointing out that he himself rides motorcycles, but that he feels the program has outlived its usefulness.

Opponents of the bill expressed concerns that killing MOST could result in the loss of an annual $100,000 grant for motorcycle safety efforts from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. They also said that in talks with the Colorado Department of Revenue (DoR), DoR had made it clear that if MOST was killed, the department would no longer accept Beginning Rider Course certification in lieu of the department’s own testing of riders seeking to get licensed. Sen. Renfroe said he questioned whether DoR would in fact do that.

If DoR did do that, opponents pointed out, it would mean that the expense of testing, which is currently borne by the riders taking the courses, would fall on DoR, driving up government expenses.

Sen. Renfroe pointed to results of a survey conducted among riders who had taken the courses, saying that the riders themselves stated overwhelmingly that an increase in the price of the class would not have deterred them from taking them. Speaking for the Colorado Department of Transportation, which supported allowing time for the program to be fixed, Herman Stockinger pointed out that in fact, the survey showed that nearly 50 percent had said a $70 increase would indeed have caused them to reconsider. Seventy dollars per student is the amount that rider training is subsidized through MOST.

“That’s perhaps 4,000 plus people (per year) who wouldn’t have taken the training,” said Stockinger.

So MOST has a reprieve but it is not out of the woods. It is now up to those involved with MOST to put into effect the recommendations of a legislative audit report. And if those recommendations are not enacted, the next time this issue comes up the outcome could be very different.

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Colorado motorcycle training program gets reprieve

Biker Quote for Today

It’s our job. Burnin’ gasoline, killin’ bugs, and wearing out tires! — StevenE Fristoe

Plenty of Colorado Motorcycle Racing In 2012

Monday, February 20th, 2012

motorcycle roadracing

I thought it would be a simple thing to put up a list of motorcycle racing events going on in Colorado this summer but boy was I wrong. First off, scratch that stuff about “this summer.” The first racing I found actually takes place in March, on March 11, just 20 days from now. And then there’s so much more it’s a bit mind-boggling.

That first event is put on by the Sport Riders Association of Colorado (SRAC), and it is an AMA-sanctioned motocross event. It will be in Berthoud, at the Valley Dirt Riders Motocross Park.

The SRAC has three different series running this summer, the Spring Cup Series, the Summer Classic Series, and the Supercross Series. That’s a total of 19 race weekends altogether, scattered around between Canon City, Grand Junction, Lakewood, Berthoud, Greeley, Colorado Springs, and more.

Then we have the Rocky Mountain Trials Association (RMTA). The RMTA lists 10 events running from March 25 through October 14. Maybe you have to be in the know, as I was not very successful at figuring out where these events will be held, other than names such as Coral Bluffs, Pine Nook, Stock Ranch, Pilot Peak, Sledgehammer Gulch, and more.

Of course the one organization I’m most familiar with is the Motorcycle Roadracing Association (MRA). That picture up above is from one of their races, at High Plains Raceway. Round 1 for the MRA will be May 5-6 at High Plains. Six more rounds through September 15-16 will rotate between Fountain, Pueblo, and High Plains.

The Rocky Mountain Motocross Association (RMXA) has 21 events on their agenda, beginning March 11 in Dacono and finishing on October 7 in Sterling.

Then, just to confuse me more, several of the tracks list events that don’t seem to be on any of these organizations’ schedules so maybe they’re just events the tracks themselves are putting on. So you get the picture. If you enjoy racing you’ve got plenty to choose from, and you won’t have to go far, no matter where you live in Colorado. Hey, get your motor runnin’!

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Biker Quote for Today

Chicken strips are for losers.

Hearing Set For Tuesday On MOST Repeal

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

motorcycle rider training

As mentioned previously, a bill has been introduced that would eliminate the state’s Motorcycle Operator Safety Training (MOST). There will be a hearing on that bill at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 21, in Room SCR 352 at the state capitol. ABATE of Colorado is urging all who can to attend and lend support for the continuation of the MOST program.

MOST is a program that was created at the request of motorcyclists to help defray training costs so that more riders will have better riding skills. The program is funded through a $4 per year additional fee on motorcycle license renewals and an additional $2 every time someone with a motorcycle accreditation on their driver’s license renews that license.

Aside from eliminating the program, SB12-089 makes no provision for what is to be done with the money already paid into the program should MOST be eliminated, which would presumably mean that money would simply stay in the state’s general fund.

The bill to eliminate MOST is sponsored by Sens. Renfroe, Cadman, Grantham, Harvey, Lambert, Lundberg, Mitchell, Neville, Roberts, Scheffel, and Spence, and in the House, by Reps. Holbert and Sonnenberg.

Anyone planning to attend the hearing should check first to ensure that it has not been rescheduled. The bill was originally scheduled for hearing on Feb. 14, but was postponed. If it is postponed there should be a notice to that effect on the ABATE site.

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Biker Quote for Today

The world is a book, those who don’t travel, read but a single page.

Stuff On A Motorcycle You Wouldn’t Expect To Break

Monday, February 13th, 2012

broken speedometer

Notice anything funny about my speedometer in the photo above? Yeah, that’s weird. The top portion of the face of the speedometer just snapped off and slid down on the side, exposing the gears and inner workings. Anyone seen something like that before?

I was out on my 1980 Honda CB750 Custom on Friday, making a run for the Tag-O-Rama game being played on Adventure Riders, and getting annoyed at the howling coming from my speedometer. For as long as I’ve owned this bike, more than 20 years, the speedometer has periodically made this squealing sound, but it has only been occasionally. Recently, however, it has been doing it all the time, and it has been louder than before.

So I was watching it closely to see when the squealing starts (around 20 mph) and when it stops (around 15 mph). And then one time I looked down and . . . WTF?

I happened to be near Mountain Thunder Motorsports, at 2670 W. Hampden, where I take my bikes for service, so I swung on by to let Joel take a look. I figured he could see what parts were needed and get them on order. Even Joel was surprised by what he saw so I suspect this is not a very common problem. Joel did say, though, that the squealing is definitely an issue with the speedo, and that replacing it will solve both problems.

He also looked at my mileage, 84,549 when I got home later and shot this picture, and remarked that even with a used speedometer my bike is going to shed a lot of miles. Hey, someone want to buy this 32-year-old bike with only 27,000 miles on it? Ha! Not for sale.

I’ve often wondered if the speedometer was going to break some day, considering the squealing and all, but I never imagined this would be how it would break. You never know.

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Biker Quote for Today

The faster it goes the faster it breaks. And high performance=high maintenance.

ABATE Lobby Day Is A Time To Make Our Concerns Known

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

The term “lobbyist” often carries a negative connotation but in fact, whenever you or I contact our elected representatives about an issue that concerns us, we are lobbying. If the citizens of a representative democracy–which is what we have–did not express their concerns their elected officials would be hard put to know what mattered to the folks back home.

ABATE D-10 patch

My ABATE D-10 patch.

ABATE of Colorado has designated April 20 as ABATE Lobby Day at the state capitol. As the notice states, “This day is to introduce ABATE to new legislators and say hi to those who already know us. We’d like you to get the experience of interacting with our public servants.”

What an idea. Get a bunch of folks who have common interests–in this case, regarding motorcycling issues–to meet with their elected officials and build a relationship. And in the course of building that relationship, make those officials aware of issues and concerns they may very well have no knowledge of at all.

Take the MOST program, for example. The Motorcycle Operator Safety Training program is a program that trains riders in riding skills. It is paid for by a surcharge each of us pays when we renew our licenses and plates. It’s something we requested. And now it’s being threatened by people who don’t seem to understand that this is how it came to be and who somehow feel it is wrong that they have to pay an amount less than what they would drop on a cup of coffee at Starbucks for something that benefits all motorcyclists.

Most legislators probably have never even heard of MOST. Go meet with your reps and talk to them about it, and other issues as well. Even if you also oppose MOST, it’s better if they understand what it is and why people support it and oppose it.

So the date is April 20. This is not something ABATE is setting up; you’ll need to contact your legislator on your own and make an appointment with them on that day. ABATE is just coordinating things so, with any luck, there will be a significant amount of black leather and such all there at the capitol at one time. Strength in numbers, you know?

Maybe I’ll see you there.

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Biker Quote for Today

Eliminate safety devices and let natural selection run its course, to help rid us of all these dumbass drivers on the roads.

A Cheaper Way to Ship Your Bike and Ride It Home

Monday, February 6th, 2012 ships motorcycles

If you’re like most touring motorcyclists you’re limited as to how far you can go by the amount of time you have off from your job. One way to expand your horizons is to ship your bike to some far-off destination, then fly out there and ride the bike home. But I’ve looked into this and it is pretty expensive. Not out of the question but darn pricey.

There’s another option and it could save you a lot of money. Using a website called, you can post a notice as to what you want to ship, when, from where to where. Then carriers bid on your load, trying to undercut the competition in order to win your business. Once you select the bid you want to go with you are put in touch with that shipper. Afterward you both provide feedback which builds confidence on both sides for future shippers/carriers.

I had never heard of this site until they contacted me recently to inquire about placing an ad here on the Passes & Canyons website. That’s their text link over in the right-hand column, just below my picture. When Carlos told me what their business was I said hey, I want to do a post about you guys just to let people know you exist, because I think what you’re doing is great!

As I said, I’ve looked into shipping the bike before and it’s not cheap. But looking at the listings on the site right at this moment, here’s what I see. There’s a guy in Cheyenne who wants to ship his 1997 Honda Z50 to Austin, TX, and he has a low bid right now of $225. There’s another guy in Grand Junction who wants to send his 2001 Indian Scout to Lancaster, CA, and has a low bid of $532. Then another guy there in Junction has 1975 Suzuki re5 Rotary that he wants to ship to Sydney, Australia. He doesn’t have any bidders yet.

There are a lot of bikes waiting for bids. As a matter of fact, there might be a business opportunity here for someone with a truck. String a few of these shipments together and you could make some money.

So it’s free to list your load, and presumably (I didn’t dig deeply here) the hauler pays a percentage of the shipping fee to the folks running the site. Clearly there’s no guarantee, so if you absolutely have to get a bike to particular place by a specific date this might not work for you. But it might. And you’ve got nothing to lose by trying. The more flexible you can be, the better, I’m sure.

Then couple inexpensive shipping with a cheap airplane ticket and you could be set for a terrific ride in places you’ve just never had time to get to before. I tell you what, I’m going to be checking this out myself this summer. Judy and I have spoken numerous times of shipping the bike to Seattle or somewhere like that, flying out, and riding back. It just might happen.

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Biker Quote for Today

I don’t ride because I have a death wish, I ride because I wish to live.

A Day Like Yesterday

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Concours with mountains

Snow is on its way. By the time it stops, sometime tomorrow, we could have as much as a foot. Is it any surprise I was out riding yesterday?

Never mind my commitment to riding both of my bikes at least once every single month, though that was a factor as well. When I have a great day on the first day of a winter month I’d better ride, because how wretched would I feel if I didn’t and it snowed the next day . . . and I never got a chance the rest of the month.

But the bigger factor was just that it was a gorgeous February day, and who wouldn’t want to go riding on a day that? I’ve been keeping the Honda on the battery tender, so it fired right up. The Kawi took a bit to get going, so I went for an extra long ride with it to get a bit more juice into that battery.

A good bit of that was on the highway, too, where I could get up some speed. At a motorcycle mechanics 101 session Alan and Dan and I went to last fall the guy said you really only start charging your battery once revs get up over a certain level, so just cruising around on city streets probably doesn’t do a lot for it. I wonder, though, if that means that if you deliberately stayed in a lower gear so you’d get higher revs you would get more charging. I tried at one point last year to get some definitive information on this whole matter but found that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of definitive info out there. Which means that I have to wonder where this guy was getting his information and how reliable it was.

But hey, charging the battery was a secondary concern. Riding was number one. And I had one of those odd experiences I have from time to time. I took off and was out for awhile and then at one point it hit me, “Wow, it’s really good to be on a bike!” This is a winter thing, when we don’t get to ride so much. You get away from it for a few weeks and you start forgetting how great it feels. Then you get on and go and it’s a surprise: Oh yeah, I forgot how much I enjoy doing this.

I have a friend who tells me his wife is like that in regard to sex. Whenever they do it she loves it but in between times she seems to forget how much she enjoys it. He figures if she remembered she’d want to do it more often, but she doesn’t. Then she’s surprised every time.

So I felt that surprise again yesterday. It makes me wonder how people get by living in places where you have to put your bike away for the entire winter. ‘Tis a privilege to live in Colorado.

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Biker Quote for Today

Warning: If you value your life as much as I value this motorcycle, don’t fuck with it!