Archive for May, 2012

Skyline Drive Photo Makes EagleRider Finals — Please Vote

Thursday, May 31st, 2012
motorcycles on Skyline Drive in Colorado

The OFMC rides Skyline Drive.

I mentioned recently that I had entered the photo above in a contest EagleRider is having and now, of the 63 photos entered, they have selected 20 for the run-off. My photo is one of those 20 and I would appreciate your votes.

Here’s the scoop. EagleRider, the groundbreaking company that opened up the concept of motorcycle rentals, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. They ran this contest asking people to offer photos for their 20 Years on the Highway contest, with the winner to receive an all-expense-paid trip for two to Los Angeles for the celebration.

The winner will be decided by votes. The way I see it, at this point it becomes a matter of who can work their social network the best. Each person can vote once a day, every day from now until midnight on June 29. To see the finalist photos, go here and scroll through the entries. Whichever one you like the most, click the “Like” link. Of course, I’d be very pleased if you vote for my photo but if you like something else better you really should vote for it.

Then, bookmark the link and go back every day until June 29 and vote again. Please be advised that the page loads a bit slowly, so be patient. Thanks.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Call made to push Congress on motorcycle-only stops

Biker Quote for Today

You know you’re becoming addicted to riding when you almost crash your car in a turn because you were trying to counter-steer and lean rather than turn the wheel.

A Nice Memorial Day Weekend Ride and Hike

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
Alderfer Three Sisters Open Space Park

A map showing where Alderfer Three Sisters Open Space Park is in relation to Evergreen.

Judy wanted to do something different over the holiday weekend so I asked her what she had in mind. She said she wanted to take a motorcycle ride to somewhere where we could hike and have a picnic. Sounded good to me so I did some research.

What many people may not be aware of is that Jefferson Country has a sizeable number of open space parks in the mountains. We’ve been to a few but there are a lot of them we’ve never seen, so that seemed like the smart bet.

And it was. I ended up selecting Alderfer/Three Sisters Park, which is up by Evergreen. We headed out U.S. 285 and then north on C-470 to the Morrison exit, through Morrison and up to Evergreen. At Evergreen we took the County Road 73 fork south about half a mile and turned west on Buffalo Park Road. Then it was just over a mile to the park.

The three sisters are three knobs of rock sticking up from a ridge. There is a fourth set apart from the others and it is called the brother, so you’ve got three sisters and a brother. You can hike up and around them all of course the view is great. So we did. And up near the top of the sisters we ate our lunch.

Then we hiked back down, got on the bike and rejoined County Road 73, continuing south to the intersection of North Turkey Creek Road, which we took down to me U.S. 285, and then back down to the flatlands. Altogether, nothing spectacular but a really nice way to spend an afternoon.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Bullet points sum up sessions at Overland Expo

Biker Quote for Today

Never getting lost is fascist.

Making Contact Was Meant To Be

Friday, May 25th, 2012

I was passing through Mancos on Sunday, on my way home from the Overland Expo, and I noticed a motorcycle shop that I was not sure I had any familiarity with. It was Basin Motorcycle Works, a name that I’m certain was selected because the initials are BMW, and the shop is a BMW shop.

Basin Motorcycle Works

Basin Motorcycle Works in Mancos

As I hope you’re aware, I have a page on this website, Dealers and Repair Shops, where I try to list all the shops in Colorado. I know there must be some I don’t have listed, and I’ll bet there are some that are listed that have closed. This name sounded familiar but I had the idea that may have been because I had seen it mentioned in relation to one of the numerous BMW rider events going on in the state this summer. I figured I’d check when I got home to see if it was on the site already or not.

And then I forgot about it. I got home on Monday, flew to Philadelphia on Tuesday, flew home on Thursday, and this morning–Friday–I was at the computer playing catch-up and an email arrived. It was a guy named Mac Musick who is, get this, in charge of marketing and sales for Basin Motorcycle Works.

Mac greeted me saying, “I like your website very much in spite of the fact that we are not included among your listing of dealers and service shops.”

OK, that answered my question. They’re on the page now.

Mac continued that, “We would love for you to highlight hwy 145 south to Dolores (along the beautiful Dolores River) and Cortez, and also hwy 184 that goes south east from 145 just south of Dolores to Mancos and comes to the intersection of hwy 160 about a block from our shop.”

Here at least I was able to respond that I do already have most of that route on the site, as the Lizard Head Pass page.

And he gave me a bit of a pitch for the shop: “Our business is owned by Harry Hill who has been wrenching on BMWs and most other motorcycles since 1969. We moved the shop from Durango to Mancos about this time of year in 2009. Our location close to the entrance of Mesa Verde National Park and alongside the busy highway 160 makes us a valuable service and repair center for folks who are riding in the Four Corners.”

So there you go, now you know there’s a motorcycle shop in Mancos and you know something about it. Now I know these things, too.

By the way, if you peruse the Dealers and Repair Shops page and see that a shop you know is not included, please let me know so I can add it. Also, if you see a shop listed that you know has closed or moved, please let me know that as well. Thanks. I appreciate it.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Bullet points sum up sessions at Overland Expo

Biker Quote for Today

You’re a biker wannabe, if you set at least one mirror, if not both, to reflect yourself.

The Journey Truly Is The Destination

Monday, May 21st, 2012

I knew I had missed my turn when I saw Shiprock up ahead on my right.

I’m home after six days on the road and while I enjoyed the Overland Expo, the object of this journey, it could not be more clear that my favorite parts were the two day ride down to Flagstaff and the two day return trip.

The best parts of those days were the mornings. Each day I woke with the sun, rolled out of my sleeping bag, packed and broke camp, and got on the bike. And there I was, riding through forest and mountains with the day just beginning, with colors so vibrant–it was heaven.

This morning I started the day in a campground about midway between Creede and South Fork. I don’t know the elevation of the campground but South Fork is about 8,100, so the campground was higher. It was cold! Plus, the campground was in a spot where the canyon walls keep the sun off it until probably 9 a.m. I put on my long johns, plugged in my electric vest and turned it on, and hoped my hands didn’t freeze.

But it was glorious! It was so beautiful and I was right there in it all. The morning after my first night camping was the same, though not so cold. I had ridden from Denver to just a little east of Mancos and stayed in a campground there. Next morning I headed out and could not get over how beautiful it was and how happy I was not to be waking up in the city and heading for an office somewhere.

At Mormon Lake, in Arizona, the Overland Expo was good, I sat in on a number of good sessions that gave me more confidence if I ever find myself needing to change a tire on my bike and other useful things like that. And waking up there was nice, too, surrounded as we were in trees and hills. But it wasn’t the same as the morning I left and was out riding through it all. The beautiful morning light. The cold, crisp air. The deer that stood in the road and looked at me as I approached, only to scamper away as the sound of a car coming the other direction persuaded them it was time to go. It all came back to one thought: This is why I ride a motorcycle.

Trite as the phrase has become, it just doesn’t get any better than this.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Anticipating adventure at the Overland Expo

Biker Quote for Today

I have no idea where we are, but at least it’s getting dark.

Heading to the Overland Expo

Friday, May 18th, 2012
Bikes lined up at the Overland Expo

Bikes lined up at the Overland Expo

It has probably been 20 years since the last time I rode from Denver to Durango in one day. My recollection of that trip was an exhausting ride that was not a lot of fun. I was just trying to burn up the miles so I could catch up with John and Bill, who had left several days ahead of me because my bike was still in pieces in a cursed shop that fortuitously is no longer in existence.

I did that ride again Wednesday, except this time I went beyond Durango. The first time I was on my 1980 Honda CB750 Custom; this time I was on my 1999 Kawasaki Concours. There is a difference. The Connie is a much better highway bike, it cruises comfortably at a much higher speed, and I also wasn’t stressed out by being held up for days and being totally pissed at those jerks in the shop. In short, it wasn’t a bad ride at all, and I could have kept going, though I was glad to stop.

As I mentioned previously, I’m now down at the Overland Expo, at Mormon Lake, southeast of Flagstaff. This is an event for people who are into adventure travel, both two wheels and more, and the two-wheel portion is getting much bigger each year. If Sturgis is the place to see more Harleys than you’ve ever seen in one place, this is the place to see my BMW GSs than anywhere else, plus various other adventure bikes.

I came to this thing last year, down in Amado, AZ, but it was an afterthought tacked onto my main trip, which was to Arizona Bike Week, in Scottsdale. I only got to spend one day at the Expo then and came away feeling I had wasted my time at Bike Week and missed out on a lot at the Expo. So here I am again.

I truly am not an adventure rider type, I have no desire to ride a bike around the world, but it is so amazing listening to these speakers who tell and show pictures of their incredible journeys.

You learn all sorts of new terms. Here’s one: human dip-stick. That’s when you have to ford a river on your bike and you want two people, one to ride the bike and one to walk ahead. If the person in front, the human dip-stick, drops out of sight, you know you want to change course or else be prepared for some serious riding. Yow! I might have considered that when I was 20 but at this point I’m just not interested. But hearing other people’s stories is pretty dang interesting. And this place is full of those stories.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Heading overland to the Overland Expo

Biker Quote for Today

Full face helmets: Because you can’t get laid with dead gnats on your teeth.

Motorcycle Expo Over, Old Bike Ride 10 Coming Up

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Motorcycle cops show their stuff

Motorcycle cops show their stuff at the ABATE Motorcycle Expo

I did make it to ABATE’s Motorcycle Expo at Aurora Town Center yesterday. While the cool weather and the conflict with Mother’s Day presumably diminished the crowd somewhat, the event showed a big step forward from last year.

I’m not sure if they had more booths or whether they just had the booths clustered more tightly together, but the overall effect was of a fuller, more vibrant event. In the middle of it all were cones that motorcycle cops would periodically ride, demonstrating their terrific control of their machines. I wish I could ride that well.

Off outside the cluster of booths was another slalom course and over there you could also see some non-police riders who demonstrated control right up there with the cops. Heck, I had trouble doing tight u-turns on a 250 when I was taking the RiderCoach training class last year. These guys were doing it on big baggers.

So anyway, I hung around awhile but then took off. Too many other things I needed to do.

Old Bike Ride 10

The next event coming up that I wanted to go to, but won’t be able to, is the Old Bike Ride 10. I missed it last year but did make it out two years ago. This is just a fun outing of older bikes put on by the Norton club of Colorado each year. It starts out from Golden and ends up back there sometime later. Not sure what route they’ll be taking because the announcement says it will be different this year.

It’s not that I’ll be crying my eyes out over missing it, though, because the reason I’ll miss it is pretty good. I’m heading out on Wednesday to go down near Flagstaff for the Overland Expo. This is an event for people who are serious about their adventure travel, and who are planning things such as trips around the world on their bikes. I have no such desires, but I do hope to learn a bit about things like road-side motorcycle maintenance and also hope to have the opportunity to do some dirt riding. Check back here and you’ll see just exactly how that all works out.

Oh boy, my first big trip of the summer.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Only a biker knows . . .:Motorcycle wit and wisdom, #22

Biker Quote for Today

Motorcycles are better than men because if your motorcycle is too soft, you can get different shocks.

Motorcycle Expo Is Sunday At Aurora Town Center

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Lots of motorcycles at Laughlin River Run

No, it probably won't be this packed on Sunday at the Motorcycle Expo but wouldn't it be cool if it were?

I know where I’m going to be at least part of the day on Sunday. ABATE of Colorado is putting on a Motorcycle Expo at Aurora Town Center, which is what they now call what used to be the Aurora Mall.

I know that Terry Howard and the crew at ABATE have put a lot of effort into this thing. Here’s a list of what will be going on.

  • Noise testing — See how loud your bike really is, and how it compares to legal limits.
  • Police demos — These guys are some of the best bike handlers you’ve ever seen. You wish you were this good.
  • Ride in bike show — Enter your bike and see how it compares.
  • Riding gear vendors — See what’s new, what’s too cool to pass up.
  • Swap meet vending for used parts — A must-check-out for those of us on older bikes.
  • MOST and SmarTrainer display — Learn about rider training opportunities.
  • Motorcycle games — Set up by Don Gunn. Have fun on your bike.
  • Motorcycle dealer displays and demos — See what’s available all in one place.
  • Riding organizations — Colorado Sportbike Club, Motorcycle Roadracing Association, dirt-bike school info

And more. The groups sponsoring this event include:

Huh? Don’t know what the scoop is with Erica Rae’s kids. Maybe I’ll find out.

So as I say, I’m definitely going to be there on Sunday. If you’re there at the same time, say hi.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Zero Motorcycles reports massive sales growth in first quarter 2012

Biker Quote for Today

I ride, therefore I am.

Ball O’ String Tours Offers Far-Flung Riding Options

Monday, May 7th, 2012

I meet a lot of people in this work, and among my favorites are Jungle and Willie Fuhrman, who operate Ball O’ String Custom Adventure Motorcycle Tours and Sports Car Tours from their home in Eagle. This is a shameless plug for them and their offerings. If you’re looking for some out-of-the-ordinary rides, check these out. And just so you’ll know, Willie and Jungle like to eat really good food, so there’s no stopping at McDonald’s on their tours, they go gourmet all the way.

Ball O' String Motorcycle Adventure Tours

Nice logo for Ball O' String, no?

North to Alaska — Willie and Jungle are leaving June 10 for Alaska and while there is no official tour planned, if you’d like to join them, they’d be glad to have you.

Colorado Rocky Mountains Tour
— Eight nights luxury lodging with riding everywhere from Trail Ridge Road to Independence Pass, the Million Dollar Highway, Telluride, Crested Butte, Vail and more. This trip will be running July 7-15.

Vail Ride & Dine — Judy and I are going to join Jungle and Willie and others on this 3-night adventure, August 10-13. As always, luxury lodging and dining. You should join us.

Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and Glacier Park Ride and Dine — Running from August 18 to September 1, you’ll visit the places mentioned as well as Flaming Gorge, Waterton Lakes Canadian National Park, and various other stops in Montana and Idaho.

Fall in Love with Italy — Willie and Jungle fell in love with Italy a long time ago, and so every chance they get they go back there, preferably leading a group of riders. No hard and fast dates yet but this tour will be in September.

Colorado and Utah National Parks Tour — Including eight nights of luxury lodging, you’ll visit Bryce Canyon, Zion, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and other scenic spots in these two states. This trip will run October 6-14.

If one of those catches your fancy, check it out. And I guarantee you’ll enjoy the time you spend with Willie and Jungle, in addition to the riding.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Pennsylvania consider requiring rider training for young motorcyclists

Biker Quote for Today

You’re a biker wannabe if your saddle bags say “Gucci.”

Show Off Your Riding Pix, Win A Trip

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012
motorcycles on Skyline Drive in Colorado

The OFMC rides Skyline Drive.

This just in from the folks at EagleRider. They’re celebrating their 20th anniversary this year and have set up a contest to bring the winner a nice prize and bring themselves some good PR. (I assume you know that EagleRider rents motorcycles; I don’t really need to explain that, do I?)

So in this social media era, of course the first step in entering the contest is to “like” EagleRider on Facebook. When you’ve done that, right below the Like button you’ll see an EagleRider emblem, with text below that reads 20 Years on the Highway. Click that. What they want you to do is enter a photo from one of your rides. Ultimately, one person’s entry will be declared the winner, “voted on by the fans,” and that person will receive an all-expenses paid trip to EagleRider’s 20th anniversary celebration in Los Angeles. They don’t say exactly when that will be. Also, once a week, some random entrant will receive an EagleRider t-shirt.

So what the heck, I went ahead and entered. That photo at top is my entrant. That’s Skyline Drive down by Canon City. And just so you’ll know, apparently you can only enter once. I tried a second time with a different photo and got a message that I had reached the limit on number of entries.

The deadline for entry is May 15. Even if you don’t feel like entering, what’s really kind of interesting is looking at what other people have entered. To do that, look for the little link near the bottom of the page titled “See the entries.”

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
May is Motorcycle Awareness Month

Biker Quote for Today

You know you’re becoming addicted to riding when you now leave for work early because you are now riding around the town instead of driving directly to work!