Archive for November, 2013

Guest Post: Join the Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Riders Club and Share the Beauty of Colorado

Thursday, November 28th, 2013
group of motorcycles on the road

Riding with a group makes motorcycling a social event.

If you’re looking for people to ride with in Colorado, then one of the most open and friendly groups you can try is the Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Riders Club. It’s an organization designed to welcome any model and age of bike. Really, it’s a club that’s concerned with combining a love of motorcycling with beautiful and adventurous treks around all of Colorado.

Founded in 2004, the Rocky Mountain Riders Club has been continuously active ever since its inception, now boasting more than 90 members. And, its open door policy means that anyone can join for a trek around Colorado, with guests also welcome. It also boasts a large number of female riders, proving that its welcoming atmosphere doesn’t split along gender lines.

Not only this, but the club also accepts any experience level, meaning that you can find some interesting routes and build up your experience with this diverse posse. And, with a lack of snobbery about the kind of bike you own, you can pick up any motorbike for sale and ride with the pack.

The great thing about joining a motorcycle club, generally speaking, is that, while you can still plan your own routes, it’ll be much easier to find new places to journey, and the added company can really enhance the riding experience.

The opportunity to meet other riders who know the lay of the land can be invaluable and it’s almost inevitable that you’ll make some friends as you journey through the mountains and forests of the surrounding area.

There’s an inherent beauty to trekking all around Colorado, with the wondrous mountain ranges at either side of you as you career through vast forest lands, eventually ending up in one of the bustling cities or by the wide open space of its many lakes. It’s always worth a ride through this diverse state.

And, with a pack of 90 members to help you on your way, there’s a much better chance that you’ll be able to appreciate all that you can from this varied and beautiful area. Everyone will have their favorite spot, motel, or diner that they can share with the rest of the group and broaden the knowledge pool of the club.

Where to find a meeting
Meetings generally take place on the first Thursday of every month at the Piccolo Restaurant, 3563 South Monaco Parkway, Denver, which is a great place to eat before a leisurely ride.

Offering Italian and Mexican food stuffs, there’s plenty on offer at Piccolo, with the Italian roasted chicken coming highly recommended. It’s certainly one of the most appetizing meals available, and is rich in the taste of olive oil and herbs. It makes the mouth water just to think about it.

The rides themselves are dotted regularly around the calendar and are perfect for the biker with a day to spare and a predilection toward good company on their ride.

But, for the rider with a little more spare time in their back pocket, some journeys can span multiple days, so if you’re looking to take in all of Colorado’s agricultural and urban beauty, you can set aside a few days for a trip with the club.

Essentially, the Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Rider’s Club is an ideal way to learn the finest biking routes of Colorado and, with a single annual membership setting you back a mere $25, it’s not going to set your wallet alight.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Only a biker knows . . .: Motorcycle wit and wisdom, #29

Biker Quote for Today

It’s not who dies with the most toys. It’s who wears out the most toys.

New MOST Legislation Taking Shape

Monday, November 25th, 2013
Rider Training Course

Revised legislation may help keep costs lower for beginning riders who want training.

I got the update on Sunday as to the revisions in the MOST legislation that are in the works.

MOST, as you may recall, is Colorado’s Motorcycle Operator Safety Training program and it has been under attack from various sides for a variety of reasons. Most recently the issue has been that the state administrators of the program have wanted to direct most of the money to motorcycle awareness programs and the like, away from the rider training programs for which MOST was created.

After attempts to bring about changes administratively, it was decided that the only way to deal with the situation was through legislation. According to Terry Howard, state coordinator for ABATE of Colorado, all of the training organizations who work with the MOST program, “including one of our enemies,” as well as the Colorado Confederation of Clubs, have agreed on some proposed wording for revision of the law. Now the folks who work to ensure that language is right before it gets enacted into law will take a crack at it and it is hoped that two legislators, a Democrat and a Republican, will introduce the bill in the two houses of the legislature.

Here are the changes, as proposed. I have put the new language in italics:

In the paragraph where it spells out the purpose of MOST, language would be added to say “that promotes motorcycle safety awareness including but not limited to, share the road and impaired riding programs and supports courses . . .”

Next it tweaks the mandates for how the money will be spent. The strike-out represents a change to the current language:

(e) The office shall not expend more than fifteen twenty percent of the total cost of the program for administrative costs, and not more than ten percent for promotion of motorcycle safety.

A new paragraph would be added that reads:

(f) Seventy percent of the total program funds shall be used for tuition subsidy for all MOST-approved courses, with the intent of keeping training accessible and affordable, thereby enabling more persons to enroll in and complete such safety training and to encourage persons to seek continuing training.

So now we’ll see where this effort goes. Terry says that, being bipartisan, there should be no reason it fails to pass, but who knows about anything these days.

Biker Quote for Today

We can’t crash an infinite amount of times, so you better learn from every one!

Odds And Ends

Thursday, November 21st, 2013
V-Strom in the snow

Not a day to go riding.

It’s snowing out so probably no one other than Dom Chang is going to be out on a motorcycle around the Denver area in the next few days. Check his blog and you’ll see he rode to work today.

For the rest of us, it’s a bit of down time and that makes it harder to come up with things to write about here. So it’s time for a few odds and ends that I’ve been hanging onto but that don’t have enough to them to make a full post.

Plug Pulled on Sugar Pine Ranch Rally
I never made it down there and now it’s too late–the Sugar Pine Ranch Rally is no more. This rally was down in the Mancos area, west of Durango, and every year I thought it might be a fun one to go to, but I never did. Maybe that’s the same for a lot of people, and that’s why they pulled the plug.

I had some email communication awhile back with a guy who is a volunteer working the rally and I’m sure he’s pretty disappointed. He told me that, “We have put in hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars to build a 1/2 mile of road and clear all the deadwood on this two hundred acre working cattle ranch.. it is all worth the effort.” I see from the email that that was way back in July of 2007. Well, at least they had a decent run. Here’s a full story in the Durango Herald.

Enterprise Will Now Rent Motorcycles
Do you remember when nobody rented motorcycles? A long, long time ago I was living with another guy, a roommate, and we decided we’d really like to do some motorcycle riding. So clueless us, we went to a nearby dealership figuring we would just rent a bike for a few months. They laughed us out of the store.

Times have changed, haven’t they? Now you’ve got the big guys like Eagle Rider and nearly every Harley dealership, plus all sorts of small-time guys like, here in Colorado, Colorado Mountain Moto, Sports Rent Colorado, and Western Dual Sport Motorcycle Adventures, and those are just three that advertise on this website.

Well, I guess it had to happen: Enterprise Rent-A-Car is now renting motorcycles. As the email I received with the announcement says, “This launch marks the first entry by a major car rental company into two-wheel rentals in the U.S.”

Initially, it’s just in Las Vegas where this is going on, and they’re only renting Harleys. It will be very interesting to see if the program rolls out across the country. Eagle Rider, you may have some competition.

Trying Out VikingCycle Warrior Motorcycle Jacket
I’ll have more about this later but just a mention here. I get contacted a lot by online motorcycle gear sellers wanting to send me stuff to try out and write about. Of course I’m happy to try out new gear and pass the word if I like it–or not. Although there have been a few times when the products I received were such crap that I decided not to waste my time or yours writing about how bad they were.

Well, most recently I’ve been in touch with some folks at and they sent me a leather jacket. The brand and model (I guess) is VikingCycle Warrior. Having, as I said, received some real crap at times, I didn’t know what to expect. I have to tell you, when I opened the box and pulled this jacket out I was pretty impressed. At the very least, my first impression is that this is one heck of a nice jacket. As I say, I’ll tell you about it in detail once I have a chance to really try it out.

OK. Now we just need for this snow to stop and for the weather to warm up a bit. I want to go riding this weekend. I have a new jacket to try out, and I received my cord to use my electric vest on the V-Strom. I have some motorcycling to do, for pete’s sake!

Biker Quote for Today

Crap! I think I got non motion sickness.

‘Driven To Ride’ Comes From a CU Denver Prof

Monday, November 18th, 2013
Driven To Ride

An excerpted image from the Driven To Ride site.

I got a heads-up the other day about a program that will be airing on public television channel 12 (what used to be called KBDI, but I think it’s something different now) at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 24. It’s called “Driven to Ride” and “The documentary explores the spirit of six women who push the boundaries of two-wheeled freedom.” And it has been produced by Michelle Carpenter, an assistant professor in Digital Design in the College of Arts & Media there at CU Denver.

Says the note I received, “Carpenter’s camera exposes how the road stirs in their blood, a passion they follow down a thousand interstates, blacktops and dusty country roads. Carpenter has submitted ‘Driven to Ride’ to more than 30 film festivals. She is hopeful to screen it at the 2014 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, S.D. So far ‘Driven to Ride’ is an official selection in the East Lansing (Mich.) Film Festival and Indie Fest USA in Garden Grove, Calif.”

Riders featured in the documentary include Betsy Huelskamp, Erin Doherty-Ratay, Masyn Moyer, Janice Ferrante, Debra Conroy, and Julie Graff. Here’s a bit about each of them:

  • Betsy Huelskamp is a personal trainer, photographer and journalist. Betsy has been featured in Discovery Channel’s Motorcycle Women, National Geographic’s Hell on Wheels and TLC’s faking it. Betsy rides over 5,000 miles per year on her custom Harley-Davidson chopper.
  • Erin Doherty-Ratay is known for her Around-the-World tour with her husband Chris Ratay. Their adventure on two BMW motorcycles took more than four years (1999-2003) and covered 50 countries on six continents, while riding 101,322 miles. At the end of their journey, Erin and Chris discovered they had nearly doubled the record for Longest Motorcycle Ride (Team) and broke the Guinness World Records®.
  • Masyn Moyer is a free spirited custom Harley-Davison chopper rider and an entrepreneur. Masyn grew up driving tractors and snowmobiles on her grandfather’s farm in Minnesota. Instead of receiving a horse for her 10th birthday 
present, she received a 50CC dirt bike… the rest is history.
  • Janice Ferrante rides a BMW 650 GS and lives for off-road riding adventure. When the pavement ends… she begins her ride.
  • Debra Conroy rides a BMW 1100 S and she thrives on long distance riding. She has been known to attempt to ride 50 Colorado mountain passes in 3 days.
  • Julie Graff is a custom chopper builder and Julie was born to ride. Both her mother and father are avid vintage Harley Davidson riders and collectors. Julie began to ride at the young age of four and remembers being dropped off at pre- school on her mother’s 1969 Harley Davidson Sportster.

I normally don’t watch television but I may try to catch this. Could be interesting.

Biker Quote for Today

I bought it to ride it, not wax it.

Already Planning the 2014 OFMC Trip

Thursday, November 14th, 2013
Motorcycles at Wolf Creek Pass 2013

The OFMC at Wolf Creek Pass in 2013.

What do you get when you combine a motorcyclist, a map lover, and a government retiree living on a pension?

In our case, you get a route for next year’s week-long summer OFMC trip this far ahead of time. John, our resident map nut, had time on his hands so he has already plotted things out. Now, in years past I used to battle him on this because nobody elected him as the person who decides where we’re going. No one else cared though, and the trips were always good, so I’ve thrown in the towel. What do you have in store for us Johnny?

Next year is going to be a bit different than anything we’ve done before. We’re actually going to stay in one place for three nights and do a lot of riding in the area. We’ve stayed two nights at places frequently but that has almost always been so we could take one day and play golf. This time we’re going to be in the Black Hills and the agenda is riding.

Here’s the itinerary.

We’ll start out on Friday and just go to Brush. That’s a short day’s ride but a lot of us will be working so we’ll either have to get off a little early or show up late. That works fine.

Saturday we’ll press on to Chadron, NE, which is kind of in the middle of a tail end of the Black Hills in Nebraska. Very pretty place. Then on Sunday it’s on to Hill City, SD, for three nights. We’ll be staying in a lodge with cabins with kitchens and restaurants close by, too. On one day we’ll do Needles highway to Mount Rushmore and on the other we’ll cruise up to Deadwood. Got to hit a gambling spot, you know. That’s a must for most of these guys.

When we start moving again it will be to head to Buffalo, WY. And the next day it will be on to Riverton.

From there we’ll be heading back, with our last night in Walden, and then home the next day.

The next step is that everyone will be issued a lodging assignment. We’ll each make our reservations and no one person will be stuck doing it all. And we’ll get that done well in advance so none of the motels will already be full. You’ve got to do these sorts of things when you’re traveling with nine guys.

Now we just have to wait until late July.

Biker Quote for Today

I thought YOU had the map……

Any Excuse To Ride

Monday, November 11th, 2013
Widder Plug

Who knew this was a totally non-standard plug?

I talked about needing a battery cord to be able to use my electric vest on my sorta new Suzuki V-Strom; it was a beautiful weekend, let’s go shopping.

Sure, I could have called and asked, “Hey, do you have a Widder cord for an electric vest?” but that would have been cheating. I’ll just ride over and see.

So I went to BMW of Denver, knowing that they have sold Widder equipment in the past. Heck, I’ve bought Widder gear there in the past.

I also know, however, that Widder went out of business some years ago, but someone else has picked up their line. Surely they’ll have it in stock.


I also checked out Grand Prix Motorsports because they have a large inventory and I knew they carried electrics. Nope. Nobody carries that stuff any more.

My fall-back position was to go to Radio Shack and get the individual pieces and make my own cord. Surely this plug that Widder used (see photo above) is a standard item. And gosh, I’ll probably save money doing it this way anyway.

Wrong. The guy at Radio Shack had never seen a plug like that, and it certainly wasn’t standard.

Hey, at least I was out riding on a gorgeous day in November.

But I still need that cord. What to do?

Oh yeah, there’s this thing called the Internet. Seek and ye shall find. It turns out I was right about someone having picked up the Widder line, but who do you suppose that would be? Would you have guessed the Iron Butt Association? Yes, indeed. They sell everything you’ll need to keep your Widder gear operational through their IBA eStore.

And you know what else? I apparently knew this at one time–like probably the last time I needed something–because when I registered I got a message saying this email address was already registered; did I need them to send me my password? Yeah, I guess so.

So fine. The cord, this pig-tail thing that connects to the battery posts and then plugs into the cord going to the vest, is on its way. Maybe next time I’ll remember. But hey, I got out and did some riding on a wonderful fall day. Who can argue with that?

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Colorado rider training program ailing badly

Biker Quote for Today

The adventure is in the rider, not the bike.

The Downside to Running this Blog

Thursday, November 7th, 2013
Motorcycling In Colorado

Raise your hand if you love this kind of riding.

You wouldn’t believe the number of people who want to spam you–you, the readers of this blog–and the kind of crap they want to foist off. Or maybe you would.

I figure I get on average about 10 emails a week from people asking to do guest posts for the blog, promising the very best in quality and interest for my readers. My reply is very straightforward. I paste in my boilerplate answer and send. The boilerplate basically says that I know they get paid for getting links to their client sites placed on good sites like mine, and if they’re going to get paid I want to be paid, too. But first, even if they’re willing to pay me, the content has to be good. I’m not going to spam my readers.

For most of them that’s it; I never hear from them again. A few express interest in the paid post and they send me what they want me to run. I cannot tell you the dreck I receive. Let’s take the most recent one as an example.

In reply to my boilerplate reply, this woman said OK, she’d be willing to pay, but as a freelancer she only gets $40 for each placement, and I ask $50, so would I be willing to take $20? I told her no, I really don’t care if anyone pays me because for me the blog is not work. I’m a writer and I do it for my own pleasure and satisfaction. So no, I’m not going to cut my fee.

Somewhat to my surprise, I got a follow-up from her saying OK, she’d pay the $50, and here’s the piece she wants published. You can’t imagine what garbage it was. Right off the bat, it wasn’t a motorcycle-related piece at all; it was about mountain biking. Hello, do you understand that I run a motorcycle site. And then, even if it were a motorcycle piece, it was one of these totally basic things like “Three Must-Dos for Motorcyclists” with the three items along the lines of get training, wear the proper gear, and get insurance. Oh, now that is really useful information I absolutely must share with my readers. I’m sure none of those three things ever crossed any of their minds. Yeah.

Of course, insurance is the really key thing here. She wants to get a link to an insurance website on my blog. So I fired an email back to her telling her how abysmal the piece she sent me was, and that no, it will not be running on my blog. To my great surprise she emailed right back apologizing for disappointing me and including another piece for me to run. I didn’t even read it; I just hit the Spam button so with any luck anything else she sends me will go straight to that folder.

And that’s the way it goes, week after week. On the rarest occasions I actually get something good, or at least good enough that I don’t feel I’ll be totally insulting you publishing it. If you’re read those in the past and not been impressed then I suggest you just skip over them; I won’t be offended. I mean, the occasional 50 bucks is nice but if in the future I run something and you think I should have turned it down I’d be pleased to hear from you to that effect. Turning off my readers is not worth $50.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Colorado rider training program ailing badly

Biker Quote for Today

“The engine settled into the climb, with that relaxed ticka-ticka-ticka old BMWs have. It’s not the sound that makes you want to race; more seductive, it tempts you to quit your job and ride to South America.” Riding with Rilke by Ted Bishop

Winterizing the Motorcycles

Monday, November 4th, 2013
My three motorcycles lined up in the driveway.

My three motorcycles lined up in the driveway. This is the first time I've gotten some shots of them all together.

No, this is not a piece about getting your bikes ready to put them away for the winter. I never do that. There’s not a single month that goes by that I don’t ride every bike I own.

Nope, winterizing in this case is getting my bikes prepared for getting through the winter and being ready to run any time we have a nice day. That was my main objective on Sunday.

The first thing I figured I needed to do was make sure each bike had a full tank of gas, with fuel stabilizer in it. That meant running the Kawi and the Honda over to get gas and adding the stabilizer. Of course I then had to go for a short ride on each of them, After all, it’s November, a new month, so each needed a chance to run and keep that battery charged.

The Suzuki didn’t need gas as I had just filled it the last time I was out on it, but I put in some stabilizer and went for a ride. What an incredibly gorgeous day! Temps were at least in the high 60s and I saw one clock that said it was 73 degree. This is why we love Colorado.

The next thing I do is make sure to put each bike on the trickle charger periodically. Getting the seat off the Honda to get to the battery is a bear so I had a pig-tail connected to it. For the other two it’s easy to pop the seat off and access the battery. I only have one trickle charger but I figure if I rotate it around the bikes regularly that will be fine. There’s nothing worse than having a fabulous, warm day in February and not being able to get your bike started! Your battery will live longer, too, if it doesn’t just sit for long periods.

And make no mistake, they do sit for long periods. In the middle of winter it’s cold and I don’t ride as much. (You, too? Who’d a thunk?) And even though I ride each bike every month, I just rode all three on Nov. 3 and in theory at least it could be Dec. 31 before I ride again and that will still meet the criteria. That’s not generally how it happens but there have been a few times over the years when it did. Sometimes the weather is not a friend.

The next part is winterizing myself. I have an electric vest, with pig-tails for it on the Honda and Kawi but I don’t yet have a pig-tail for the Suzuki. That is on the top of my priority list and I just have to remember to do it.

I also have battery-powered electric gloves and for them it has been the opposite. That is, I’ve periodically charged them over the summer because I don’t want those batteries to die any sooner than I can avoid. I really don’t want those batteries to die because they would cost almost as much to replace as the gloves themselves. So I try to keep them charged, and of course during the weather when I wear them they go back on the charger immediately after each use.

I also have some fleece-lined chaps and they’re cozy in cold weather. They don’t keep you warm the way electric gear does but they’re way better than just going out in jeans.

So OK, I’m about ready. Just need to get that pig-tail for the Suzuki. Then eventually it’s going to be spring again and I’ll need to do a bunch of other things. The Honda is going to need new tires next year and the Kawi will need a new back tire. And the Suzuki still needs highway pegs and . . .

It never ends, does it?

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Colorado rider training program ailing badly

Biker Quote for Today

You’re a biker wannabe if you’ve never had to replace a worn out tire.