Archive for September, 2012

Another Article Published In Rider

Saturday, September 29th, 2012
Article in Rider magazine

My article "Where the Mountains Meet the Sea" was published in Rider magazine in August.

My November issue of Rider magazine arrived yesterday. I just set it aside as I always do because I’m way behind on my reading. Then I headed for the gym, taking along the August issue. That’s how far behind I am.

I was on the stationary bicycle reading that August issue when I turned a page. I immediately thought that the main photo looked familiar and as I glanced at another photo I thought it looked familiar, too, and then a third, when I suddenly realized, “Holy crap, it’s my article!” So this article was published three months ago and I just found that out.

Last time Rider published one of my articles Donya Carlson was still there. I know Donya and she emailed me to let me know what issue it was going to be in and also sent me a PDF of the piece as it was laid out so I could check for errors. That was a good thing, because I did find some things needing correcting. I assumed they did that with all articles, but apparently not.

So this piece is titled “Where the Mountains Meet the Sea,” and is about the trip Judy and I took to British Columbia last year. I pitched the piece to Rider and Mark Tuttle, the editor, accepted the idea and later accepted the finished piece for publication. But the last time around it took so long before the piece was published that I didn’t expect this one to run until sometime in 2013.

It all clicks now. I exchanged a few emails with a fellow awhile back who mentioned that he had seen an article of mine in one of the magazines recently. I assumed he was referring to the first piece in Rider, about riding old U.S. 6 across western Colorado. But now I’m betting he had just seen the B.C. piece only days before.

So hey, I’m a little late picking up on this but it’s always a thrill to see your stuff published in a major national magazine. And there’s another one coming up. I just heard the other day from Teri Conrad, the editor of Kawasaki’s magazine Accelerate, that she is including one of my articles in her next issue.

Fun stuff.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Only a biker knows . . .: Motorcycle wit and wisdom, #23

Biker Quote for Today

Life is a journey. So take some trails.

A Fall Color Ride on the Peak-to-Peak

Monday, September 24th, 2012
motorcycle and fall color

Always a good ride, the Peak-to-Peak is an even better ride in the fall when the aspens turn colors.

It was a beautiful day and we had heard the colors were good up on the Peak-to-Peak Highway, so of course we had to go for a ride on Sunday.

Heading up via Golden Gate Canyon we had the road almost entirely to ourselves. Too good to last, however, as we had every expectation that the crowds looking for fall color would be thick. We weren’t wrong on that count.

The funny thing was, on the way up and then headed north, Judy and I were both struck with how the colors were just not as stunning and intense as we expected. I suspect it has something to do with the lack of moisture. I think I remember something about how in dry years the aspen leaves go pretty much straight from green to brown, and that’s what a lot of them were doing.

Still, there were a few spots with good color, and we could always tell when we approached these because of all the cars and motorcycles pulled off the side of the road. And oh boy, did I mention motorcycles? It was like a rally on the Peak-to-Peak. We saw hundreds of bikes. There were probably as many bikes as there were cars.

So we cruised on up to Estes Park and had lunch. In case we needed the reminder, you really don’t want to go to Estes Park on a day when there are likely to be hordes of tourists. A gorgeous Sunday in the fall is one of those days. We ate our lunch and quickly departed.

Rather than go down the Big Thompson Canyon or some other canyon and then have to take CO 93 through Boulder, we just backtracked on the Peak-to-Peak, on the theory that a road looks completely different going the other way. And boy did it! Something about the change in the light, and possibly the different views north vs. south, but it was a lot prettier going south. It still wasn’t the kind of color we’ve seen up there before, but it was a lot closer to what we had expected.

So the word is that next weekend is going to be the peak on the Peak-to-Peak. My recommendation, if you’re only going one way on that stretch of road, go north to south. And be ready for crowds.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Head of motorcycle crash study exits, expresses concerns

Biker Quote for Today

Have maximum fun while preserving bike and body.

Bigger Not Better For The Small Bike Ride

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

You don’t have to have a ton of horsepower to have fun on a motorcycle. And you don’t have to have a huge cruising bike to get out on the road. And let’s not even get into the times we’ve watched someone struggling to keep a behemoth from falling over and thought to ourselves how that guy has got too much bike for his size.

Girls on a Cushman

This Cushman would feel right at home on the Small Bike Ride.

In celebration then of smaller bikes, Todd Wallis has organized this Small Bike Ride, for this Saturday. Here’s what Todd has to say about his ride.

Small Bike Ride is coming out of the shadows and we are going to make it official. The event is open to all motorcycles but it is geared toward small, vintage machines and speeds will normally be down to about 35-40 mph which will make it a great opportunity for sidecar rigs and prewar motorcycles as well. We will be riding about 100 miles from the Deer Creek area up through Conifer and Pine and this year we have a chase vehicle in case anyone has trouble. We will be on paved roads and we’ll have a stop for lunch in the middle of the ride. We will meet on Deer Creek Canyon Rd near the intersection of C470 and S. Wadsworth Blvd. The ride starts at 10:00 so plan on getting there around 9:00 a.m.

We will have maps printed and available for everyone the morning of the ride. If you plan to attend please call me or send an email just so I know how many to expect.

Starting Location: 9880 West Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton, Colorado 80127

Hope to see you there.

So hey, time to get out that little guy you generally just zip around running errands on. Get your motor running!

Note: I mentioned awhile ago that I was turning commenting off on this blog due to the comment spammers. I have now added a new captcha feature that asks you to prove you’re not a computer in order to leave a comment. So please do leave comments whenever you please.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Head of motorcycle crash study exits, expresses concerns

Biker Quote for Today

Ural miles are kinda like dog years.

Stay Alert; We Really Are Invisible

Monday, September 17th, 2012
Motorcycles On Highway

Every one of us is responsible for our own safety in traffic at all times.

I had another of those experiences the other day that solidly reinforce what I already know, which is that it is up to us to keep ourselves safe on the road because the operators of other vehicles don’t see us on our motorcycles. And as has been the case in the past, this time I was the operator of the other vehicle.

I was in my car, getting onto I-25 northbound at Hampden. As I came down the entrance ramp I checked my mirror to see if the lane I needed to merge into was clear. I didn’t see anyone, but because I’m a motorcyclist and I know not to trust solely in my mirror, I did a head check. That is, I turned my head and looked back.

Oh my gosh!! There was a motorcycle right there. He had been perfectly positioned right in my blind spot. And if I weren’t a rider and knew I had to do a head check, he would have been taking evasive maneuvers to avoid me and cursing me as a dumb ass cager. Fortunately I didn’t force him to do that.

I give him credit, too, that he was obviously keeping his eyes clearly on me. He had seen me coming and he was ready to do whatever was necessary. And it wasn’t that he was being foolish riding in my blind spot. The on ramp angles toward the highway and it was just chance that his exact position was exactly where my blind spot was at that second. Another second either way and he would not have been.

So no harm, no foul. He sat back and let me pull in in front of him, which I did after I made absolutely certain that he was not coming on. We both did all the right things and all was well. But we all know that not everyone does that head check every time. It really is up to us to ensure our own safety.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Head of motorcycle crash study exits, expresses concerns

Biker Quote for Today

We are here to show those guys that are inching their way on the freeways in their metal coffins that the human sprit is still alive.

Drag-Race Your Motorcycle This Weekend

Thursday, September 13th, 2012
Drag racing at Bandimere Speedway

Take any motorcycle you want and go drag-racing this weekend at Bandimere Speedway.

Just a heads-up here about something that could be fun. Go to Bandimere Speedway on Sunday for the 2012 All Bike Drags and you can run your motorcycle is some drag races. And it doesn’t matter what you’re riding, you can even enter on a scooter. I don’t know how they pair racers up, but presumably you won’t see a Vulcan 600 running against a Ninja 1000.

Or if you don’t want to race, you can go watch. Admission is $15 and kids 12 and under get in free. If you want to enter to race, that will cost you:
Street Bike Racer: $35
Pro Bike Racer: $50
Jr Comp Racer: $35
ATV Racer: $35

If you want to compete they do require that you have a SNELL-approved helmet.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Head of motorcycle crash study exits, expresses concerns

Biker Quote for Today

Motorcycle racing: Because basketball, football, soccer, baseball, and tennis only require one ball.

A Good Time Not To Ride the Bike

Monday, September 10th, 2012

A vineyard in the Palisade area east of Grand Junction.

We were over in Grand Junction at my brother’s place over the Labor Day weekend and wanted to visit some wineries. I’ve been through here numerous times on the bike and have wanted to stop and do some wine-tasting but I’ve always had other things going on.

Good thing. It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that wine-tasting and motorcycles are not a particularly good combination. But now that concept is not only theoretical.

We headed out in my brother’s car, with him driving. We wanted to taste a bunch of wines, buy a few, and just generally enjoy ourselves. Which is to say, we don’t spit; we swallow our tastes of wine. Now, we made a point to have lunch before we left so as not to be drinking on empty stomachs. Nevertheless, by the time we left the fourth tasting room, I don’t know about the others, but I was feeling the booze. And I almost never drink so much that I feel the booze.

That was a good time to drop by the home of some friends of my brother. They have a peach tree and had harvested all the peaches they wanted and were glad to let anyone take as many of what was left as they wanted. I picked a lot of peaches. That provided a good break, so then we went on to our fifth tasting room.

That was it for our tasting trip and we headed back to my brother’s place. And the point here is simple: I was really glad I wasn’t on a motorcycle at this point. I’ve heard about people doing wine tours on motorcycles but I don’t see how they do it. Unless they spit. And spitting just seems wasteful to me. So go to Palisade and taste wines, just don’t do it on your bike. And even in your car, don’t overdo it.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Riding is the star of the inaugural Tahoe Rendezvous

Biker Quote for Today

Give big space to the festive dog that makes sport in roadway. Avoid entanglement of dog with wheel spokes.

Ensuring Motorcycle Safety by Using the Correct Tools

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

The following is a guest post provided by ProTool Warehouse.

sport bike

Using the correct tools helps ensure your bike is safe.

When discussing motorcycle safety, we usually only think about riding gear. There is another aspect of motorcycle safety that isn’t thought of as often though, and that is to make sure that you use the right tools when repairing your motorcycle. This is a very important part of motorcycle safety that when done correctly can help to prevent mechanical failures that could lead to an accident that could have easily been avoided. This article will touch on some of the most basic points to ensuring that you are using the correct tools to do the job.

Be Prepared for the Job Before Starting

To start, you want to make sure that your area is uncluttered and it helps to have the tools that you will need for the job set out beforehand. If you are unsure about which tools to use, you can always check with your repair manual, or find a guide online. Also, you will want to make sure that you have your motorcycle sitting safely upright, using a motorcycle wheel chock stand. If you don’t have one you can find them easily on the internet for under $200. Just make sure that you have the motorcycle locked firmly so as to avoid a tip-over when using force to remove a part or tightening and loosening nuts and bolts.

Use the Correct Sized Wrench

When using wrenches, make sure that the part of your engine that you will be working on is clean and free of oil. There have been many sore knuckles as a result of the wrench slipping off the bolt. And make sure that you always use the right size wrench that the job calls for. If it is a metric bolt head, it would be best not to substitute it with a standard sized wrench because it’s possible to strip the head of the bolt, leaving it looser than is required; not to mention that it would make the bolt harder to remove in the future.

The Benefits of Using a Torque

Speaking of tightening, it’s best to use a torque wrench when tightening nuts or bolts on your motorcycle. Your repair manual should give you the specifications of each nut and bolt. This is important because engine vibration can cause bolts to loosen if they aren’t tight enough to withstand the vibrations. If you can’t find the torque specifications in your manual, you can always call your local shop. They will be glad to help you.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
More motorcycle thieves arrested thanks to LoJack

Biker Quote for Today

I always pack the bungee net. You never know when you might pick up something that needs to be strapped down.

Taking Spins On Three Victory Motorcycles

Monday, September 3rd, 2012
Victory Demo Rides 2012

Victory brought in the truck loaded with bikes and I went riding.

I did make it over to Grand Prix Motorsports to ride some Victorys, as I said I was going to, and of course it was fun and interesting. How can riding some new motorcycles not be?

But what was particularly interesting was the way the whole event was so unstructured. Maybe the ride leaders hadn’t done this sort of thing before, I don’t know. Usually you register and sign the waiver and then you sign up for particular bikes on particular rides. Before each ride the leader runs through everything you’ve already heard countless times before, such as ride staggered, no passing, no slingshotting, no wheelies, and on and on.

Not in this case. Heck, they didn’t even have the bikes lined up in any systematic way. They had about 12 bikes to ride and early on there were maybe 10 of us to ride, so at one point the leader just said, “OK, everyone pick the bike you want to ride and mount up.” As far as the rules, he pretty much just said no wheelies and he asked us to ride in a staggered formation. Not that they actually enforced that latter part. Some people did try to ride staggered but others ignored it so you were pretty much on your own.

And guys were passing. Don’t like where you are in the line? Zip on ahead to where you want to be. I’m not offering this as a criticism, I’m just remarking about it because I’ve never seen this before on a demo ride.

It got fairly comical at some points. One time we were about to head out and everyone began pulling their totally disorganized bikes into readiness. Two guys backed out of where they were and turned the opposite direction of everyone else. Are you guys blind or what? We’re not headed that direction. Finally by about the fourth ride they had decided they needed to get that part more organized so when the third ride came back they had us line the bikes up all in a row, the way you would have expected it to be done all along.

Anyway, no big deal. It was fun and I rode three bikes, a Boardwalk, A Hard-Ball, and a Hammer 8-Ball. I’m not going to rehash my take on the bikes; I’ve already done that on Suffice it to say that I’m not a cruiser guy so while they were all capable machines, I won’t be buying any of them. I like my pegs underneath me, not way out front. But if you like that type of bike you might like having a Victory. My friend Randy, who accompanied me (not the Randy who left me behind out by Rifle a few weeks ago), didn’t care for the Victory Vision he rode. He said, “If I want a bike that shakes a lot I’ll buy a Harley.”

Doesn’t matter. It was fun and interesting to ride some new bikes. And sometimes when I do this I discover a bike I love. Just not this time.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
More motorcycle thieves arrested thanks to LoJack

Biker Quote for Today

I Vote Like A Motorcyclist.