Archive for June, 2012

Fires Across Colorado Affect Riders And Events

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

A lot of Colorado is in flames. Obviously the impact that has on motorcycle riders and motorcycle events is nothing compared to the impact on the people who have lost their homes but that impact does bear mention. Fact is, I got an email the other day while I was up in Eagle from a rider who asked me to provide some info about the fires because, “We are set to head to South Fork, CO, and are concerned about the current wildfires!”

So I’m going to try to pull together some information here that is reasonably current.

First off, however, is this. I just received an email from the organizers of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) announcing that this event, scheduled for July 8, has been indefinitely postponed. Of course, the worst fire raging at this point is the Waldo Canyon Fire down by Colorado Springs, so this should not be too much of a surprise to anyone. No new date has yet been set but they say the PPIHC will be run at some point yet this summer.

So what about the fires? Here’s what I can find.

Durango area–There is a fire northwest of Durango, the Lightner Creek Fire, but traffic along U.S. 160 and U.S. 550 should not be affected. Further west, near Mesa Verde, the Escarpment Fire is about 75 acres on the Ute reservation. That does not appear to be causing problems on the highway. A little further west, near Mancos, the Weber Fire is at about 10,000 acres but only impacted travel on the county road heading south out of town.

Pagosa Springs area–The Little Sand Fire 13 miles northwest of Pagosa has burned 22,000 acres and is 29 percent contained. It is not near any of the main roads and should not be an issue for travelers.

Leadville area–The Treasure Fire started up near Leadville on Sunday, along the Fremont Pass route to Leadville from Copper Mountain. I was in Leadville on Monday and didn’t even see any smoke but apparently this fire is still burning. Traffic was moving normally.

Boulder area–The Flagstaff Fire is burning behind the Flatirons. That could create problems if you want to use Flagstaff Road or other roads back there but otherwise should not be a problem. However, up on the hill at the National Center for Atmospheric Research there is some danger as the fire moves rapidly in that direction.

Fort Collins area–The High Park Fire continues to blaze and to spread but is gradually coming under control. Firefighters are projecting complete containment by July 15. This fire can have some real impact for riders. The Poudre Canyon–CO 114–should be avoided. Also, the road up past Masonville and over through Stove Prairie will not be open. Stove Prairie has been hit especially hard. The same with Rist Canyon, coming into the hills out of Fort Collins.

That seems to about cover it for now. But as dry as it has been, and as many beetle-killed trees as there are up in the mountains, it’s a safe assumption that there will be more fires yet this summer. It’s just going to be a matter of staying on top of what’s happening and planning your trips accordingly.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
STAR 2012 kicks off

Biker Quote for Today

Talk less, ride more.

On The Road At STAR 2012

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Independence Pass is a natural destination when your starting point is Avon.

Day Two of STAR 2012 and I went riding, along with just about everybody else here. “Here” is Avon, where the Motorcycle Sport Touring Association (MSTA) is holding its annual rendezvous, with STAR standing for “Sport Touring Association Rendezvous.” This is the 30th year for the event.

Approximately 400 people from across the country are here and these folks came to ride. None of this strolling down main street checking out booths of farkles or black leather, or doing some hardcore drinking at bars with semi-naked waitresses. No, this is not Sturgis. Heck, there’s hardly any leather to be seen here. It’s all textile, and most of these folks are serious ATGATT people.

And what they came here for is to ride. Hang around the headquarters hotel in the day and there aren’t too many people there. The garage where the bikes are parked is nearly empty. Come evening, though, it’s social hour and time to compare notes on the day’s ride.

Come here alone, not knowing anyone, as I did, and it’s easy to find someone to ride with. Just walk around and start talking to people, ask where they’re headed, and if it sounds good, just say, “Hey, do you mind if I come with you?” I don’t think anybody says no. Though you do want to make sure the group is into your style of riding. Considering that many of these people came a long way in a short period of time, that gives you a hint that some are into hard, fast riding. If that’s not your style, keep looking.

STAR 2012 goes on until Thursday, though I won’t be here for all of it. Now, if I had come 1,000 miles I’m sure I would stay, but when it was only an easy 100 miles to get here, you’re not as committed. But it’s sure nice to get away into the mountains for a few days.

Note: If you are a real person and wish to leave a comment, let me apologize for making that temporarily impossible. These damn comment spammers are swarming in such numbers that I just turned commenting off. But if you’re a real person and want to leave a real comment, send me an email and I’ll make it happen for you. I always appreciate real comments; I just get really fed up with the spammers.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
STAR 2012 kicks off

Biker Quote for Today

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

A Great, Cool Day Riding In The Hills

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Along the Switzerland Trail.

It was blazing hot on the prairie Tuesday but could not have been a more perfect day to be riding in the mountains. Fortunately, I was riding in the mountains.

Meeting up with Ron Coleman, of Western Dual Sport Motorcycles Adventures, we took off on a couple of the bikes he has for rent. Ron was on his BMW F800GS and I was on his Suzuki DR 650. Ron also rents out five Suzuki 650 V-Stroms and one 1000 V-Strom.

I’m still not the most experienced dual-sport rider so I was glad to have a decent gravel road, going up Sunshine Canyon, to get accustomed to the gravel. In the meantime, it was extremely interesting to see this area and how it has changed since the devastating fire that swept through here two years ago, especially in light of how hazy the sky was due to the High Park fire still burning a bit to the north.

About the time I felt reasonably comfortable on the gravel we turned off onto a segment of the Switzerland Trail and oh boy, I felt like a total beginner again. I didn’t push myself to keep right on Ron’s tail but I’d have to say I was pushing harder than I should have been. At one point I hit a patch of loose stones about the size of bricks and lost control. I careened to one side, certain I was going to crash, but corrected, only to over-correct, and careen off in the other direction, certain once again that I was going down.

After about five of those backs and forths I miraculously managed to get stabilized and was still upright. At about that time I was thinking how, as much as I want a dual-sport bike so I can explore the gravel roads that are so plentiful in Colorado, I really don’t have an interest in doing these really rough ones. It just wasn’t fun!

So we rode on and it was a beautiful day to be out in the woods, up in the hills, and I didn’t have any more close calls. After awhile we turned back and this time I was in the lead because I wanted to shoot some photos and wanted to be in a position to stop and get set up before Ron rode on into the shots. This was when I saw it really had been a ride-your-own-ride situation. Taking it nice and easy because I was focused on looking for a spot to shoot, I had no trouble at all on that rough road. And that was pleasant because that told me I can ride off onto these tougher roads as long as do it at my pace.

Back at the main road we crossed it and followed the trail on the other side to a place called Mt. Alto. This is a spot where a hotel once stood, though all that remains of it now is the stone fireplace. It’s a vary nice spot, though, and there are now picnic benches for people who want to come up and use the place.

After lunch in Nederland we got on the Peak-to-Peak Highway to Rollinsville and then headed up toward Rollins Pass. This dirt road we were on was one of the best I have ever seen. It goes up to the Moffett Tunnel, so maybe the railroad maintains it, I don’t know. But it was so good I wouldn’t hesitate to take my Concours on it and that’s really saying something.

About a mile from the tunnel, though, we took a sharp right turn and headed up the much rougher Rollins Pass road. I was over this road once, more than 30 years ago, in a jeep but had no recollection of it at all. It was kind of rough. But you know what, by this time I was feeling much more confident on the rough stuff so we just cruised along. Contrary to my thoughts from the morning, I was perfectly happy to be on some rough stuff. A challenge is a good thing, and when you meet that challenge successfully you feel good.

We didn’t go all the way to the top but it was a good ride and some good scenery. Then it was time to head back down and scoot back to Boulder.

Cool and comfortable as it had been up in the hills, it was blazing hot down in Boulder, really emphasizing how nice it had been to be riding up somewhere higher all day. Yeah, for Ron and me it was business. This is what we do. Dang, someone has to do it so I guess we’re both pretty happy that those someones are us.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Spending a day on a Suzuki DR 650

Biker Quote for Today

Sometimes wheelies happen.

So Did You Ride Today?

Monday, June 18th, 2012
Ride to Work Day 2012

Ride to Work Day 2012 was Monday.

I work at home so I couldn’t ride to work today, but I did get out on my bike just so I would be seen. What I’m wondering is, how many other riders got out today? I have a feeling it just wasn’t that many.

That is to say, I really question whether many people take this thing seriously. I have promoted it for years, and I always get out an ride, but I think I’m in a minority. The idea is great. Swamp the roads with motorcycles and scooters and really impress other motorists with how many of us there are. For a variety of reasons (see previous post). But at least here in Denver I get the impression people either ignore it or don’t even know about it.

Although I don’t ride to work, I did make a point to ride around down in the Denver Tech Center areas, figuring that’s where a lot of commuters go. As I cruised around I surveyed the parking lots and while I saw a few bikes, there weren’t that many. It looked like the random few you would probably see any day.

Oh well. At least I got out on a ride today. I hope you did, too, but if you didn’t, hey, your loss.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Ride to Work Day is Monday

Biker Quote for Today

You’ll never see a biker going down the road with screaming kids arguing in the back seat.

Monday Is A Day To Ride Your Motorcycle

Thursday, June 14th, 2012
Ride to Work Day 2012

Ride to Work Day 2012 is Monday.

This coming Monday, June 18, is a day you ought to plan to ride your motorcycle to work. Why? Because it is the 21st International Motorcycle & Scooter Ride To Work Day. It’s a day to demonstrate to everyone else–and even to ourselves–how many of us there are.

Along with demonstrating how many it also demonstrates that because there are so many of us, drivers need to be aware that we are there sharing the road with them and that they need to look for us.

Or, as the organizers say on their site:

Ride your motorcycle or scooter on this day to demonstrate:

  • The number of motorcyclists to the general public and to politicians.
  • That motorcyclists are from all occupations and all walks of life.
  • That motorcyclists can reduce traffic and parking congestion in large cities.
  • That motorcycles are for transportation as well as recreation.
  • That motorcycling is a social good.

And if, like me, you can’t ride to work because you work at home, then ride wherever else you need to go that day. Or just go out for a cruise.

See you on the road.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Details firming up for Lake Tahoe Adventure Motorcycle Ride & Rendezvous

Biker Quote for Today

Women love men with big KTMs.

Another One Bites the (Harley) Dust

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Something over 20 years ago the OFMC started out with three guys on two Hondas and a Yamaha. My, how times have changed.

John's new Harley on the dealership floor.

John's new Harley on the dealership floor.

A much larger group now, we got an email from John a couple days ago with pictures of his new Harley. As John noted, on our upcoming summer trip there will now be six Harleys, two Hondas, and one Kawasaki.

John was the one on the Yamaha–a Virago–in the beginning. It was just a few years later that he bought a Honda Shadow and he rode that for 19 years. The Virago went to his son, Johnathon, who only rode it a few years before buying his own Honda VTX.

Bill started out on a Honda Shadow but it has been a number of years now since he gave that to his son, Jason, and bought a Harley. That one got stolen so he bought another, and after a couple years Bill decided he was ready for a change. So he sold that Harley to his brother, Friggs, and got a new Harley.

Friggs had been on a newer Virago that was his first bike, but when Bill made him an offer he couldn’t refuse he became a Harley owner.

Dennis was riding a Gold Wing when he joined the OFMC, but after a few years he traded it on a Harley. Does anyone see a trend developing here?

Johnathon’s friend, Randy, joined the group, and like Johnathon he rides a VTX. And Jason’s friend Brett joined, mounted on a Harley.

Which leaves only me. I was the second of the original members on a Honda, my CB750 Custom, which I still have and still take on the trip occasionally. But in 1999 I bought a new Kawasaki Concours and that is still my preferred ride. No, I will not be getting a Harley any time soon. I probably won’t ever be getting one. That’s just not my kind of bike. But hey, if those guys want one, good for them. There comes a time when it’s time to stop putting things off. As John said recently, “The rainy days we’ve been saving for are here. It’s time to spend some of that money.”

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Details firming up for Lake Tahoe Adventure Motorcycle Ride & Rendezvous

Biker Quote for Today

Bikes are better than women because you don’t have to pay child support/alimony to an ex-motorcycle.

Randy Run Helps Downed Riders

Thursday, June 7th, 2012
The Randy Run is named for Randy Savely.

The Randy Run is named for Randy Savely, who lost his leg in a crash.

Motorcyclists are far more vulnerable than cagers and as often as riders go on poker runs to support other causes, it would seem that it should be a no-brainer to raise money to help other riders who have been hurt.

That’s what ABATE of Colorado’s Randy Run is all about, and it will take place this weekend on Saturday.

The Randy Run is named for Randy Savely, that fellow in the photo above, who lost his leg when a car turned left and hit him as he was passing through an intersection. Randy is the district rep for ABATE’s District 10 and the run was originally a D-10 event. Last year the decision was made to make it a state-wide event and the state organization took it over.

The Randy Run takes off from the Frontier Club, 18881 E. Colfax, with sign-up beginning at 9 a.m. The ride fee is $15 per poker hand and that includes admission to all events. There will be the poker run, a bike rodeo, door prizes, auction, live music, and more.

As the flyer says, “You don’t have to be a member of ABATE to apply for Randy Run funds. Pay it forward now and help fellow motorcyclists in their time of need.”

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Book review: The One Percenter Code is full of contradictions

Biker Quote for Today

Ride to lean. sets new traffic record

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Permit me to boast a little bit here, there were some really good numbers on this website last month. For the first time ever, had more than 15,000 unique visits in one month in May 2012.

Concours On Wolf Creek Pass

One reason why so many people are interested in riding motorcycles in Colorado: Wolf Creek Pass.

What is especially exciting about this (to me, at least) is that this is only the beginning of the season and customarily the numbers continue to rise each month through August, so that record is likely to be beaten, and soon. In fact, just a few days into June, if the entire month goes like these days have it would come out to 18,000 unique visits in June. I’m not going to count on that, but if it’s anything close that suggests it could hit 20,000 by August. Yow! That’s just incredible.

Before this the best month ever on the site was 14,860 visits in August 2011. The exact number in May this year was 15,247. That compares with 11,740 in May of 2011. It’s that kind of growth year after year that continues to blow me away.

So once again, as I have other times when I’ve announced big numbers, I want to thank you–all of you folks who have come to the website and found it useful–for making this possible. I built this site for you and nothing can be more gratifying than to see that you find my efforts valuable.

Note: On a totally different subject, in case you saw my recent post about the EagleRider photo contest in which I have a finalist entry: You may have clicked on that link to go and vote for my picture and had problems. It seems a lot of people are having problems. I learned first off that Facebook, where the contest is in operation, had a server failure and was offline for awhile. But even since they got their operation back up there continue to be problems getting in to vote. I wish I could explain it but I can’t. All I ask is that you try again and perhaps bookmark the URL so you can vote each day through June 29. Here’s that link again:

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

Biker Quote for Today

A day without a wheelie is like a day without sunshine.