Archive for April, 2014

Some Bikers Are Nuts

Monday, April 28th, 2014

OK, this is going to be pretty brief. I don’t do a lot of passing along videos but Alan sent me this one and it blows me away. Before you read any further, watch this.

Now what the heck? Did that guy have that van totally packed with foam rubber to absorb his impact? Did he die?

I thought at first maybe they just set up the camera so it appeared that he went into the van, but actually went on the other side of it. So I watched it again and no, you can see underneath the van and he did not come down there, and when he flew into it the whole van shook. He really rode that bike right in there. Is he crazy? Is he still alive?

Beyond that, the guy did the thing really well. Would you be able to launch a bike off a hill and float it right into the back of a van? What if you were a foot too high–bye, bye to your head!

I’ve watched this again and again and it still just blows me away. So I figured it was something you might find equally amazing.

OK, a postscript. I just watched it again a few times and the dust that gets kicked up on impact makes me wonder. What caused that dust? Maybe they did the video equivalent of Photoshopping the van in. Maybe it was faked. I wonder.

Biker Quote for Today

“Without motorcycles, people live very boring lives.” – Malcolm Smith

Another Great Motorcycle Travel Network Visit

Thursday, April 24th, 2014
Michel and his GS

It was a little late when Michel arrived but he was in time for dinner.

Michel showed up a little later than planned on Tuesday night but was still in time for dinner. We ended up sitting at the dinner table talking with him till long past the time when we’re usually headed for bed. It was another good time with a Motorcycle Travel Network guest.

After five and one-half months touring the U.S. and Mexico, Michel is headed back to Toronto–but not before riding for a few days in Colorado with a buddy from Montreal who flew in today. And he’ll probably be staying with us one more day before he mounts the bike and starts the blast back home. Oh yeah, and what he’ll be mounting is a BMW 800 GS, not a Honda as I said before. Turns out his profile on MTN is wrong.

Of course he had some good stories to tell. Are you familiar with Mexico’s Copper Canyon? It’s like their version of the Grand Canyon, only bigger and deeper. And it has a road that runs through part of it.

So Michel was on his way to a town down there and saw some signs that the road was closed from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. That can’t be right, he figured, it must be incorrect or old or something, and he kept going. Twice he stopped and asked people and they assured him he could get through. I mean, he’s on this GS, so of course he can get through.

In the meantime, the road is getting seriously bad in places. On one side it is nothing but gravel about a foot deep and on the other side it’s hard-packed but there is a drop that goes a very long way down, with no guard-rail, of course. And it’s raining and getting foggy.

Then he encountered a guy going the other way in a truck who asked him where he was going. “You can’t get there,” he said, “the road is closed.”

“Sure I can,” said Michel, “I’m on this GS.”

“No, you don’t understand, we’re dynamiting. The road is really closed.”


“Of course, you can get through after 6 p.m.

“On this road? At night? Oh, no.”

So he had to turn back. But he didn’t have enough gas to get back to the last town. And he couldn’t get there before dark.

Nothing to do but to do it. He did find gas along the way but toward nightfall he could only find a place that seemed to rent rooms in season but that was closed at this time. There was a shed so he figured he’s spend the night there. As he unloaded and took off wet clothes a woman and child came around the house. He asked if he could please stay the night in their shed and the woman replied, “Well, yes, but do you want a room?” Salvation!

There was no heat, and it was cold, and he was wet, but it was a place to sleep. In the morning he pulled on cold, wet clothes and gear and set out, reaching the town he had left early the day before just as it started to snow. Two days of tough riding and he was right back where he had been, and he couldn’t have been happier.

These are the kinds of stories we’ve heard so many times from our MTN guests and hosts. We’re really sold on this organization.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Product review: VikingCycle Warrior jacket warrants a big thumbs up

Biker Quote for Today

Quoth Dorzok, it’s a BMW. Just activate the levitation function that’s part of the optional accessory outer space adventure package.

Anticipating Our Next MTN Guest

Monday, April 21st, 2014
Motorcycle Travel Network website

The Motorcycle Travel Network connects riders when they travel.

Got an email Saturday from Michel. He said he was in Cortez, heading toward Denver on his way back home to Toronto. Could he stay with us a couple nights?

Michel, of course, is a member of the Motorcycle Travel Network, as are we, and that’s what the network is all about. You join and then when you travel you have other members to contact about staying at their homes. Or you are at home and someone comes to stay with you. We’re all into motorcycles so there’s never any doubt about a conversation starter.

Just from what little I know so far, it’s going to be very interesting hosting Michel. He has been on the road for five and one-half months, in the U.S. and Mexico. Do you supposes he’s going to have some interesting stories to tell? I’d bet my three bikes on it.

Truth is, we’ve never had guests who we did not find interesting, or enjoy getting to know. And we (or I, traveling alone) have never had a bad stay with other members. So we’re looking forward to this.

Of course, one of the better points of the Motorcycle Travel Network is that you can check out the person who is coming to your place before they get there. I went to network website and looked Michel up so I know a bit more about him. Not like AirBnB where you’re dealing with total strangers.

He’ll be arriving on Tuesday and staying with us two nights. Judy read my mind and said she foresees some blog posts coming out of this visit. Well, this is the first one but there will be at least one more soon. And depending on how it goes, maybe more. Stay tuned.

By the way
Totally unrelated, I just want to make a note here that in case anyone reading this blog would like to register to have it emailed to them each time it is published, that can be done but you need to email me to let me know. I used to have it set up so anyone could register but I was forever getting scores of spammers who signed up just so they could get their links on my site. It never happened because I always deleted them before any comment went up, but that didn’t stop them from registering and entering a comment. I got tired of deleting them so I changed the settings now so I am the only one who can register someone. I’m really sorry for any inconvenience this may cause a real person but if you email me at that address at right I’ll set you up.

Biker Quote for Today

He who rides alone can start today.

UN Pushing Global Helmet Mandate

Saturday, April 19th, 2014
weird helmets

Proof that wearing a helmet doesn't necessarily keep your head safe.

Bureaucrats really should mind their own business. This is no joke: the United Nations General Assembly voted to urge all its members to enact mandatory helmet laws.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m all for helmets, and always wear one myself, but I do not believe government has any justification for requiring everyone riding a motorcycle to wear one. Yeah, I know this is beating a dead horse; either you agree or you don’t and nobody is going to change anyone else’s mind.

Of course, you know it doesn’t stop at motorcyclists. We were up in Breckenridge last weekend and I saw a lot of skiers wearing helmets. How long will it be before either the government decides to mandate helmets for skiers or, perhaps even more likely, the ski operators start telling people they can’t ski their mountain without a helmet?

And then there are equestrians. Many people who ride horses now wear helmets, and helmets are showing up at rodeos now. How long before those are mandatory?

And then the bicyclists. Of course many of them wear helmets now but those excuses for helmets are only effective if you go down and hit a particular way. Good luck on that. My sister-in-law was wearing one when she got hit by a truck and she suffered permanent brain damage. So do we mandate that all bicyclists must wear real helmets, helmets like those we motorcyclists wear, that actually offer protection? They’ll be happy to have that extra weight won’t they?

And to all those who say, “yes, but if it saves even one life it’s worth it,” I say, then let’s require people in cars to wear helmets. How many thousands of lives a year would that save? That has to be really worth it!

Or we could all just agree life is inherently dangerous and we’re all going to die sometime, so in the meantime, let’s just all enjoy life in the manner we see fit, providing of course that we don’t do harm to others. Shouldn’t the UN be doing something constructive, like keeping Russia out of Ukraine, rather than worrying about my head? No one cares more about my head than I do. I’ll take responsibility for it. You go do your job in Eastern Europe.

Biker Quote for Today

Ride safe, ride often.

More Than 10 Reasons to Ride

Monday, April 14th, 2014

I get a regular newsletter from the Sportbike Network and the latest one had a link to a piece on titled, “Top 10 Excuses to go for a Motorcycle Ride.” While the reasons listed are good, I found the comments from readers equally so.

Judy, the Concours, and the Mackinac Bridge

Nothing beats having a wife for whom excuses are unnecessary.

Some of the 10 I like best include, “Running Errands,” “Scuffing in New Tires,” “Warming Up A Chain For Lubrication,” and “Topping Off The Tank To Prevent Fuel Separation.” Yeah, those are all good, necessary reasons why we just have got to take the bike out. And then there is the final one, “Testing Motorcycles,” but you only get to use that if you write for a motorcycle publication or something like that. One reader had his own take on that theme that can work for everyone else. “Honey, I’m very worried cause of this noise in the engine. This could cost us big money later. I think I better go for a ride cause I think I can find the solution…”

Some of the other reader comments are better than what the writer gave. How about, “I have a 10:00 with my therapist. My motorcycle is the best therapist by far, she always listens and hums affirmatively.” And this: “My Favorite: Because I’m breathing.”

Of course the whole excuse thing is a pain to start with. Thus, this response: “Who needs an excuse? Got my wife her own bike.”

That’s really the way to go. It wouldn’t work with my wife, because she’s afraid to even ride a scooter, but I don’t have to make excuses. She’s the one who’s telling me, “What a beautiful day! Why aren’t you out on a bike?” She’s the one who, when I was considering whether or not to buy the V-Strom, told me, “You should buy it. You’ve wanted it for a long time.”

No, none of you guys can have my wife. Don’t even think about it.

Biker Quote for Today

Love is the feeling you get when you like something as much as your motorcycle. Have you ever been in love?

Three-Wheeled Scooters and the Scoop Behind ‘No Motorcycles’

Thursday, April 10th, 2014
Three-wheeled scooters

The latest for the tourist set: Three-wheeled scooters.

We went down to Myrtle Beach, as I mentioned before, and I did ask the property manager why motorcycles are expressly forbidden at this condominium where we stayed. She was very nice, I was not confrontational, and she was not defensive. I just asked why.

They have to go with whatever the homeowner’s association, or HOA, says, and “I think it’s the noise factor or something like that.”

I mentioned that I have three bikes and none of them are any louder than a car. She responded, “Well, they have to go with regardless of what kind of bike it is, if they’re not going to allow one type of bike they can’t allow a different with the association rules.”

(I’ll make note that I was recording this whole conversation. I love my little digital recorder. It’s small, discreet, and has incredible sound quality. And if her answers are kind of choppy, that’s because they’re verbatim and people do talk that way.)

She said there are a lot of condos that do not allow bikes at all, while others allow them only in their overflow parking lots. This is an issue for the property management company she works for because, “We have three bike weeks a year and we can’t rent to them because they can’t bring their bikes there. And a lot of these bikes are 30 and 40 thousand dollar bikes, they don’t want to put them in an overflow that’s not monitored or whatever, but unfortunately . . . Now, your hotels and resorts, because they make their own rules, they allow them but the condominium associations, they go with whatever the HOA . . . whatever they want. A lot of them say no trailers, no boats, and a lot of people would like to bring their little Sea-doos and things like that when they come down and they have to find a safe place where they can park them.”

Their loss is someone else’s gain, however.

“We have the different storage companies, where they have the buildings and stuff . . . they make a killing during bike week because people will rent out one for that week, they can store them out there, and they can enjoy them while they’re here, and they can store them while they’re here, they just can’t park them outside, and they’re probably safer. Because during the bike weeks it’s unbelievable how many bikes get lifted. You’ll see where people have come in trucks–big trucks–and just load them up.”

So that’s the scoop. Now, those condo owners are within their rights saying no bikes. But we’re within ours saying fine, we don’t want to rent from you even when we aren’t in town on our motorcycles. I estimate that along that long stretch of beach, what they call the Grand Strand, there must be at least 5,000 hotels, motels, condos, and whatever that you can stay at. There’s just no reason to give your money to people who don’t want us. Check before you make your reservation, presuming you’re ever going to Myrtle Beach.

Meanwhile, as to that photo above, this seems to be the new thing for the tourist, non-biker set: three-wheeled scooters. I can understand how a lot of people are leery of riding even a scooter but would feel safer on three wheels. What I have to assume, however, is that these little 49cc no-license-necessary scoots are total dogs with the power loss they must incur from that change in the drivetrain. It’s not as if a 49cc scooter was going to be super hot in the first place. But hey, you never know when someone is going to try it out, like it, and get all enthused and go buy a motorcycle. If this gets them over the hump, good deal.

Biker Quote for Today

Some people will tell you that slow is good, and it may be on some days, but I am here to tell you that fast is better… Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube. That is why God made fast motorcycles, Bubba…. — Hunter S Thompson

Going Riding With Colorado Motorcycle Adventures

Monday, April 7th, 2014
The Colorado Motorcycle Adventures website

The Colorado Motorcycle Adventures website.

I find it amazing how the number of motorcycle rental and tour outfits in Colorado has grown. Not many years ago I could have named about four but now there must be about ten of them. Is there enough business for them all to keep going? That is a really good question.

But for the moment, none of the companies in business when I started this website or that have come into being since then have folded. I wish them all great success.

One of the most recent of the newcomers is Colorado Motorcycle Adventures (CMA), which is owned and run by a guy named Scott Lee. As a fair number of these companies do, CMA advertises on this site, so this is my disclaimer.

And as I try to do as much as I can with these outfits, I’m going for a ride with Colorado Motorcycle Adventures. CMA rents bikes and leads tours. As the word “adventure” in their name implies, they are focused on adventure motorcycling. They rent dual-sport or adventure bikes. They lead backcountry tours.

The tour I’m tagging along on, on my own 650 V-Strom, is their “Intro to Adventure Motorcycling Tour.” Business seems to be pretty good because the tour was sold out, but as I say, I’m just tagging along. It will be a 135 mile, seven-hour loop heading out of Lakewood going south on a route I can’t really figure out from the small map I have at the moment. The sheet says the total dirt mileage will be 30-40 miles, taking about three to four hours. You can bet I’ll have a lot more info to share with you after I’ve done this ride.

One intriguing note: the sheet says lunch is included “at a small, local restaurant off the beaten path — remember this is an adventure ride so it applies to our meal as well!” I’m very curious.

What’s going to be really interesting about all this is that the date is set for May 3 and we all know what the weather can do in early May. I asked Scott about this and he said that short of really horrid weather–like a blizzard–we’re going. He has people coming in from out of state for this and rescheduling is just not an option for them. Keep your fingers crossed and bring all the appropriate gear. I’m glad I’ve got my V-Strom outfitted to use my electric vest. But mostly I hope the weather is gorgeous. If it isn’t then I’ll probably get some good experience in mud. That’s something I have zero experience with so far.

So I’ve got something to look forward to. Four weeks off. Gonna be a good one.

Biker Quote for Today

A straight road never made a skilled rider.

Motorcycle Cannonball 2014 Will Come Through Colorado in September

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
Motorcycle Cannonball

The Motorcycle Cannonball logo.

It was such a hit as a one-off idea that it has become a yearly event. This is the Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run, a coast-to-coast ride that is restricted to bikes that were built in 1936 or earlier, which is to say, that are at least 78 years old. This is an event you’re going to want to turn out for just to see all this old iron actually out running.

The riders will be crossing Colorado on their way west from September 13 through September 16.

I heard about this thanks to Gary Wright, from Falcon, who will be one of the riders. If you see someone with the #57 that will be him.

I’ll let Gary give you some of the details.

it’s the 2014 Cannonball Endurance Run. being the third one ran. over 100 Pre 1937 motorcycles (78 to 102 year old bikes) with riders from 11 different countries in a coast to coast timed endurance run from Florida to Washington this coming Sept.. Sept 5th. threw 21st.. it enters Colorado on the afternoon of Sept. 13th in Burlington Colo.. leaves early am 14th., makes its way to a mid day stop in Colo. Springs at the Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum then ends its day in Golden Colo.. early morning (15th.) leaves Golden Colo. crossing the Continental Divide Three Times before that days end in Grand Junction Colo.. leaving the state early morn of Sept. 16th 2014. there may be folks interested in seeing this moving museum?

No one is claiming that these bikes are all stock; being that old that would be pretty much impossible. However, “The bike must be powered by an original engine. Many things could be changed on a machine, and updates made for safety sake, but the core of the machine must be 1936 or earlier.”

Brakes are one thing that not only can be changed, but which you are encouraged to upgrade. “We are all aware that 100 years ago brakes were not that good. If in any way you can improve your braking ability, to the point of even adding a front brake, then it is highly recommended.”

This ride started in 2010, so this will be the fifth year.

Gary will be on his 1930 Indian Chief. Scanning the list of riders it looks like most of the bikes will be Indians, Harleys, and Henderson, with a reasonable number of BMWs mixed in and a lot of onesies: a 1929 BSA Sloper, a 1931 Sunbeam M9, a 1928 Velocette, a 1935 Sokol 1000, a 1923 Neracar, and a few others.

A particularly interesting rider is Claudia Ganzaroli, #105, who will be shipping her 1928 Moto Frera from Italy, where she lives. And she’s not the only one coming from another country. These folks are out for an adventure!

I’m looking forward to this. They’ll be coming through on a weekend so there’s no reason in the world why everyone close by shouldn’t come out to see this rolling museum. It’s gonna be great.

Biker Quote for Today

The older I get, the faster I used to be.