Archive for May, 2014

Six Years a Motorcycle Examiner

Thursday, May 29th, 2014
Motorcycles Examiner web page

My National Motorcycles Examiner home page.

It wasn’t my intention to write about this today but when I became aware of it just by chance it became the obvious choice. As of today, this very 24-hour period, I have been writing for Examiner.com as a “motorcycle Examiner” for six years.

A little background may be in order. Six years ago the social internet was in its infancy. Friendster.com was still around, Facebook was just getting going, and the idea of crowd-sourcing website content was getting a lot of attention. I got an email out of the blue from an outfit called Examiner.com asking if I would like to write for them as their Denver Motorcycle Examiner. Ernie, the guy who contacted me, had seen this blog and figured I’d be a good fit. I said sure, you bet. And, just so you know, “Examiners” is what they call their writers. I later shifted and became the National Motorcycle Examiner, and then they tweaked names and I became–and remain–the National Motorcycles Examiner.

Starting out, the pay was practically nonexistent and it took me three months to earn enough for them to issue me a paycheck. But my earnings kept growing and I started getting paid every month. Then I saw that they had a second motorcycle Examiner they had brought on, Mark Poesch, who was the Washington DC Motorcycle Travel Examiner. I got his email from Ernie and made contact and we agreed to work together to promote each other’s posts. After all, we got paid on page views.

More motorcycle Examiners joined and for quite a while I contacted each one inviting them to join our little community. We grew and grew, though there were plenty who didn’t stick it out when they saw how little money they made in the beginning. But for those of us who applied ourselves and kept at it the checks kept getting bigger and bigger. Along the way, my Examiner postings caught the eye of someone else looking for a motorcycle writer and I was contacted to write for RumBum.com as well. Of course I said yes.

Shortly after this my latest contract gig ended and I made the decision that with my Examiner and Rum Bum earnings, and other opportunities opening up, I would not seek another job, I would go full-time freelance. And that’s what I did for the next four years.

The only constant is change, however, and Examiner made a lot of changes. They were trying to figure out how to make money on the Web and one thing they apparently figured out was that they couldn’t pay us as much as they were and make a profit. So changes followed upon changes and every change had the same result: our earnings got cut. From sometimes making more than $100 a day, my earnings dwindled to where I was lucky to make $50 in a month. And then Rum Bum went under. By this time Rum Bum had become my biggest client, so with them gone and my earnings at Examiner down by 90% my finances were really hurting. Right at that time this gig at the National Park Service came along and I found myself working in an office again.

Through it all though, I have continued to write for Examiner, but only about once a month. The reason there is that if you don’t stay active, posting at least once a month, they quit paying you, even though everything you have written is still out there and still gets read. In other words, you’re still earning them money, so I don’t see why I shouldn’t continue to get my meager share. I can do a piece in half an hour or less once a month and it becomes like an annuity, though an extremely small annuity.

And now today is my six-year anniversary with Examiner. It has been quite a ride. There have been a lot of good things that have come my way through my association with Examiner. High on the list was the media tour I was invited on by EagleRider a few years ago where they put us on bikes and paid all our expenses and took us on a darn nice ride through California. I have received all kinds of free gear and motorcycle books and maps in exchange for reviewing them. I’ve met a lot of people and made a lot of friends through all these events I have covered. It’s been good.

So it’s too bad that the money part of it no longer works. But I will keep posting enough to remain active. And I guess in a year I’ll be marking my seventh anniversary.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Only a biker knows . . .: Motorcycle wit and wisdom, #32

Biker Quote for Today

Happy to still be working though it interferes with riding!

Loud Pipes Tick People Off

Monday, May 26th, 2014
Motorcycle Mufflers

Even if loud pipes do save lives, you better believe they seriously annoy a lot of people at the same time.

One of the biggest risks of excessively loud motorcycle exhaust systems is that influential people will get sufficiently annoyed that they will bring pressure to “do something about it.” Unfortunately, doing something about it all too often sweeps up the innocent along with the guilty.

Now, with the decline of newspapers it’s hard to say anymore how influential someone like the editorial page editor of the Denver Post is. Years ago that person had a good deal of influence.

Which all leads up to the fact that Vince Carroll, that aforementioned editorial page editor, had a column in Sunday’s paper entitled, “Mobile Noise Pollution,” in which he made it totally clear that too many bikers have pissed him off for too long. While the loud portion of our rider community claims that “loud pipes save lives,” other segments reply that “loud pipes risk rights.”

I’ve never been a loud guy myself. I have three bikes and none of them are louder than the typical car. And they’re a lot quieter than a good many pick-up trucks I’ve seen and nothing close to making the noise a semi makes. So my reply to the loud pipes save lives argument has always been that hey, I’ve never been in an accident, so maybe attentive riding and practiced riding skills are really the main things you need to save lives–forget the noise. And there are a lot of people out there like me. Somehow we survive year after year despite our lack of noise.

Sure I’ve had some close calls. We all have, haven’t we? The road is full of idiots. That’s why you always ride defensively, as if you were invisible.

And at the same time, I’ve known people on loud bikes who have gotten hurt. Was it just that their loud bikes weren’t loud enough? Yeah, let’s try making them even louder and then see how rabid the general public becomes toward shutting us all down.

Now, I’ll give it to Vince that he was not lambasting all motorcyclists. He very carefully made the point that his grudge is with a minority. But here are the words of warning:

Yes, they (loud bikes) are much harder to ignore. We can agree on that. But if safety can be achieved only by becoming a public nuisance–a questionable claim–then maybe these hobbyists need to find another pastime.

As I said, it’s hard to say how much influence someone in Vince’s position has any more. But what if a few legislators read his column and they agree? Perhaps they’ve had similar experiences. And they do have the power to do something about it. Then what happens?

Biker Quote for Today

The great riding pleasure is “to crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women,” all from a smaller, less powerful bike.

It’s Riding Season, But Be Careful Out There

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014
Panther Crossing sign

At least in Florida they warn you what to look out for -- panthers.

It seems apropos to revisit this thread from the Adventure Riders forum, “What is the strangest thing you hit/almost hit?” The weather is warm, there are lots of bikes out on the road again, and at least many riders have had the bike put away for the winter.

So this is a cautionary tale, a reminder that stuff happens out there, often when you least expect it. Here are a few things that other riders have encountered.

  • A big fat woman in short shorts, about 11 pm doing her best Jesse Owens sprint across the highway. Missed her by a foot probably. Her drunk boy friend was on the other shoulder telling her to get across the road.
  • Last week on my way home from work at 3am the road was on fire. 2 small patches about 5 inches each and about 3 feet apart. And not another car to be found anywhere. Was too weird to even stop, went around and kept on heading home. Strange.
  • One time coming around a corner in some twisties I came across a sheet of plywood – it was too big to avoid, so had to go over it. As I went across, it started to slide, I started on the inside of the corner and came out near the gutter. I was still maintaining traction, kept my line and everything was normal…it was just that the the road I was on moved 3 feet.
  • I was on the Causeway (24mile bridge) coming back from NoLa, and someone threw a dirty (poop-loaded) diaper out the window – right in the face-shield, glad I had leather on that day.
  • An unidentified glob of gelatinous goo the size of a small pumpkin off the back of a garbage truck when it went over the railroad tracks. Hit me dead center in the chest. Had to throw away the riding jacket because I couldn’t get the horrible smell out. (even tried the pressure washer at the car wash).
  • Traveling down W bound I69 into Flint Michigan, someone had lost a load of pallets in the road. I choose a clear path and thought I had it made till the woman in the van next to me decided my lane looked better than hers. I took the shoulder and a pallet square on. Stayed up, but sent wood and splinters everywhere.
  • On I270S heading towards Washington, DC during the morning commute I saw a large wedge of geese heading east. There was a drainage ditch on the east side of the highway that they seemed to be aiming for. Unfortunately, the tour buses that were also heading south did not fit into their computations. The geese hit the buses and soon dead or dying goose missiles were coming at me from all angles. I do not have any idea how I managed to avoid getting hit. I just ducked (hah!) and rode through the onslaught.
  • Earlier this summer I hit a black garbage bag kicked up by traffic in front of me. It hit my handlebars and stuck there, flapping right in my face so I couldn’t really see anything at all. Not really a strange thing to hit, all things considered, but definitely not a pleasant thing to hit. At least it wasn’t something heavy or solid, I guess.
  • As a teenager years ago I was woods riding with a couple friends when a large black snake dropped from a tree ..and wrapped around my neck. I screamed like a girl, let go of the bike and was ran over by my buddy. Got a couple scars from that one.
  • I hit a muffler and later a Porcupine on the same night. Made me start riding a little slower.
  • A Dragonfly…well didn’t hit him but it came under my helmet and got trapped inside my face shield…..I couldn’t get it opened fast enough. Pretty weird feeling having a dragonfly bouncing off your face.
  • I was riding home from work on 66 from the beltway around D.C. I saw a 5 gallon paint bucket fall off of the back of a paint truck. It started to spin and bounce and I did what I have always heard, aim for it and by the time you get there, it will not be. It just caught my foot peg and broke open. I got just a little on the bike, but the car behind me caught almost the whole bucket worth on his windshield. Wipers didn’t do much and he wound up into the guard rail. I stopped to give my testimony to the Police. That one was pretty wild.

And wow, I didn’t see it coming, but this is the end of this thread. I guess it will be quite awhile before I pull stuff off this one, until a whole bunch more people tell their stories.

Whatever. Be careful out there, you never know what you’ll run into.

Biker Quote for Today

After reading through this thread I’ve come to the conclusion that more people cruise the internet looking for reasons why X bike won’t work in Y scenario rather than actually riding their motorcycles. — RyanR

Resolving the V-Strom Handlebar Problem

Monday, May 19th, 2014
V-Strom handlebars

This diagram will help you understand this procedure.

When I went to work on it Saturday morning I was surprised how quickly and easily I resolved the various issues with replacing the handlebar end weight that got busted off when the bike fell over a couple weeks ago. Here’s how it went.

First I had to figure out how to put the whole assembly back in and have it stay. I had speculated that the nut on the very end (#9 in that diagram above) must screw into something inside the bar. Nope. I shone a flashlight up in there and there was nothing at all. Then it dawned on me: That rubber stopper (#8) is sandwiched between the nut and that washer (#7). Put the whole thing together but don’t tighten it down too much, slip the whole assembly inside the bar, and then tighten the screw such that it compresses the stopper, making it expand outward until it forms a seal with the inside of the bar. Presto! Solid and secure.

Then I turned to the other problem: how to get the broken bolt out of the damaged side.

Looking at the assembly from the undamaged side, I could see that flush with the broken end of the bolt was the rubber insert (#5). Maybe I could just grab that with some pliers and pull it out and that would make it easy to grasp the broken bolt.

I first used some needle-nose pliers to grip it and pull. It seemed to be coming but when I released it it drew back in almost completely. Almost. I worked at it on the other side and once again it came out and stayed out just the barest amount. Going back and forth I got it out enough that I was able to grab it with some regular pliers and then I really went to work on it. I got a bit more out on one side, then a bit more on the other, until the whole thing slipped out. Then it was easy to grip and twist the bolt and as soon as the pressure was reduced on the rubber stopper that whole assembly slid right out.

I then had an issue removing the broken bolt from that thin metal sleeve (#6). At the outside end it was right where the bolt broke, and it got damaged, too. Ideally I would have gotten a new sleeve, but I didn’t have one and wanted to get this resolved now, not later. I stuck the thing–with the bolt still in it–in the vise and did my best to bring it back close to round so the bolt could slide out. That worked.

Then putting the whole assembly back together with the new bolt was troublesome, too, because of the misshapen tube. I worked on it some more with the vise and got it reasonably OK, and then tapped the end of the bolt to get it to go through. Some more shaping in the vise and it seemed acceptably good. It went together and slipped into the bar.

The next issue was that the handguard had ripped off when all this happened, and the inside end of the guard that used to have a hole through the plastic/rubber/whatever now was an open notch. But the bottom side was designed as an open notch and the outer connector was, too. I figured that in all three cases if I could just get that bolt to cover and grip a piece of the guard it should hold sufficiently well. It did. More success.

Then finally, with the handguard in the position it naturally fell into, the little throttle lock I use no longer cleared the guard. I experimented with twisting it into less natural positions and found one where there was no interference. I tightened the bolts securely at that point.

And the job was done. Now all that remained was to take the bike out for a test ride. I know, this is one of those “it’s a dirty job but someone has to do it” kind of things, but hey, I’m up to the task. And I’m not one to leave a job uncompleted. So yeah, if you saw someone out of a blue V-Strom Saturday it might have been me.

Biker Quote for Today

My favorite ride is the one I’m about to start!

A Busy Motorcycle Weekend This Weekend

Friday, May 16th, 2014
Old Bike Ride 8

A stop up at Buffalo Bill's grave on Old Bike Ride 8.

Holy smokes there’s a lot going on this weekend. If the weather is sufficiently good–which it appears will happen–there are going to be a lot of people out on two wheels the next couple days.

To start with, the 12th annual Old Bike Ride is Saturday. This is a great thing to go to to see a bunch of nice old bikes that–obviously–are in good running order. There is no charge and this ride, as the website says, is “Open to all riders of (sufficiently) old motorcycles and all (sufficiently) old motorcycle riders.” That is to say, “a motorized vehicle with less than four wheels made in 1980 or earlier.”

I went on this ride a few years ago but have a habit of being busy when it’s happening. My 1980 Honda CB750 Custom barely qualifies as old enough, though that’s what I rode four years ago. No one told me to leave, you know. And the point of the ride is, “to encourage people to bring out their old motorcycles and ride them.” What could be more simple than that?

This ride starts promptly at 9:30 a.m. and leaves from one block west of Washington Ave on 13th Street in Golden.

Also going on on Saturday, of a totally different stripe, is the G-Force Powersport Bikini Bike Wash. I probably won’t be making it to this one but you might be interested.

Another Saturday event is the Fay Myers Block Party. They do this every year, with stunt riding and food and who knows what else. I’ve been to this and it was worth an hour or two for sure.

On Sunday morning, Erico Motorsports is sponsoring a very casual “Sunday Morning Ride.” Says Erico, “This is just going to be a couple hour ride through the front range.” Very casual. If you’re looking for a group to go ride with, this could be your ticket. The ride starts at 9 a.m. at the Butcher Block Cafe, 1701 38th St, Denver. RSVP to MatthewK@ericomotorsports.com if you will plan to go so they can get an idea how many will be coming.

As long as we’re going over upcoming events, here’s one on June 1. The 4th annual Vintage Motorcycle Show will be taking place at Heritage Square, no admission charged. Go and see what’s on display. This is another one I somehow manage to miss, though I intend to go every year. Maybe this year. Of course, that’s our wedding anniversary, so that may interfere. We’ll see. Maybe Judy would like to ride out there for it.

Of course, all these are in addition to the others I have listed on the website. I didn’t hear about these in time to get them up there.

So get out and ride this weekend. I’m planning to work on my V-Strom, trying to get the handlebar weights put back on now that I have the replacement parts in hand. Once I accomplish that, you bet I’ll have to take the bike out for a “trial run.”

Biker Quote for Today

If you cannot find a good companion to ride with, ride alone, like an elephant roaming the jungle. It is better to be alone than to be with those who will hinder your progress.

Motorcycle Repair: Making Easy Jobs Harder

Monday, May 12th, 2014
The broken parts

Right after the fall, the busted end, the hand guard, and the end weight: conspicuously, no spacer.

OK, this should have been easy but you know what they say, “When all else fails, read the instructions.” In my case I guess I should have done some research before picking up the tools.

I mentioned earlier that my V-Strom fell over and busted off the end weight that dampens handlebar vibration. What I guess I should have done was to go to the Stromtrooper forum first before fooling around with things.

I couldn’t get the broken bolt out so I removed it from the other side so I could take it over to Fay Myers and see about replacement parts. I had checked online parts places and could tell they didn’t have what I needed. The stock bolt is shorter than the one you need if you have the hand protectors, which I do. Plus, when I pulled the other one off I found that there was a spacer that apparently got lost in the confusion, so I needed that as well.

I worked with Barry at Fay Myers and he was terrifically helpful but ultimately unsuccessful in tracking down what I needed. He even emailed Suzuki asking about the parts and they said they aren’t sold separately. What should have been a five dollar repair was starting to look like a sixty dollar replace-the-whole-thing-because-you-need-one-small-part affair. Don’t you hate that kind of thing?

So I turned to Stromtroopers. Quickly and easily I found someone asking the exact same question and the answer was simple: My V-Strom is a DL650; if you buy the bolt for the DL1000 V-Strom, that’s the size you need, 6mm by 140mm. Plus, as I was looking at the schematic I saw that the DL1000 also uses the spacer I needed. Problem solved. I order one space but two bolts because I suspect this could happen again, though next time I’ll know to pick up the spacer. That thing doesn’t break.

Only the problem is not solved. I tried to put the good side back together and can’t get it to work. I unscrewed the bolt and the whole assembly pulled out, but now when I reinsert it there doesn’t seem to be anything for it to attach to. Examining it closely I found that the end piece is an open nut that I postulated must screw into something inside the handlebar and then you screw the 140mm bolt into the other side. I was going to shine a flashlight in there but checking on Stromtroopers I find that that’s exactly the case. And of course, they warn you about just this problem. Which only does you some good if you read the warning before you operate.

So I haven’t gotten back to it to see if I can get it to happen. And I still haven’t figured out how to get the broken bolt out. What protrudes is too short to get a grip on with vise-grips so I’m going to have to try something else. But at least I’ve got the parts on order.

Biker Quote for Today

“I’m always amazed at how smoothly a bike can idle while lying on it’s side.” Feo y Gordo

The Personal Side of the Intro to ADV Ride

Thursday, May 8th, 2014
Pushing a motorcycle back to the road

What's he doing riding out there in the woods?

On Monday I gave the basic run-down of where we went on this Colorado Motorcycle Adventures “Intro to Adventure Riding” ride I did with Scott Lee and the folks who signed up for it. That recitation left out any of the personality and interaction that went on, and that’s the stuff that makes things truly interesting. That’s where we’re going today.

The first little bit of excitement occurred when we had come down Foxton Road to reach the Platte River and South Platte River Road. I was bringing up the rear and the group pulled over and parked next to the Platte. It was sloping ground and the other bikes pretty much took up the more level spots. I jockeyed into a position I cautiously deemed satisfactory–maybe–and then proceeded to climb off the bike very carefully. Then I stood there a moment checking it out to be sure the bike was stable. It seemed to be.

Damage To The Motorcycle

This bolt broke but if that's all I have to replace I'm pleased.

So I turned around and walked over to talk with a couple of the folks. A couple minutes later someone yelled “Look out!” and I turned in time to see my V-Strom topple over. You probably know: No one likes seeing their bike fall. It gives you a horrible feeling.

Of course there were plenty of folks to help get it back up and then moved to a more level spot. Damage was pretty minimal. It apparently hit on the end of the handlebar and the weight at the end that serves to dampen vibration busted off along with the hand guard that was attached at that point and further in on the bar. I haven’t done anything with it yet but it looks like all I need to replace is the long bolt that holds that weight on and all will be fine again. I can’t think of a less expensive motorcycle repair. But I still hated to see that bike fall.

We took off and rode along the Platte and this time I was second from the rear. This road is gravel and even on the V-Strom I could feel my tires slipping occasionally. The guy behind me was going pretty slow and I didn’t want to leave him behind in case of trouble so I hung back while all the rest of the group passed out of sight ahead. They eventually stopped and waited for us, fearing trouble, but no, it was just a guy who wasn’t used to riding on gravel and was skittish. After that a more experienced rider took the sweep position so I didn’t worry when I lost sight of them behind me.

At lunch we had more opportunity to get acquainted. I was surprised to find that most of the group was from the Denver area. There were a father and son from California and a woman by her self who was also from California. Everyone else was local. I found that kind of odd; why sign up for something you can just go and do? But they did have reasons. One guy was looking to buy a new bike and wanted to try out a couple of the ones he was considering. He and Scott traded back and forth during the day so he could test both bikes. And another guy had had the idea that this intro to ADV was going to be more of a training ride. Maybe that’s something Scott will want to consider in the future for this particular ride.

After lunch we turned off onto West Creek Road and then turned off it to go down a dead-end road that was just nice riding. We got to the end and Scott suggested that anyone who wanted to make a more spirited run should go ahead and just wait for the rest back at the main road.

So the father and son took off along with a couple others and I was in about the middle of the pack. They got out of sight ahead but in a couple minutes I came up on them, seeing that they were stopped in a group. Then I saw why. Seems the son had gotten a bit too enthusiastic and had run off the road on a curve, right into the woods. Oops. I don’t know if he went down or not because by the time I got there the bike was upright and several people had run over to help him wheel it back to the road. No injuries and only minor damage to the bike.

It was funny for me how my perception of the whole thing evolved. At first I thought, why is he riding out there in the woods? It was only as it dawned on me that he hadn’t had any such intention that I realized, oh, he kind of screwed up, didn’t he?

Then we went on to where we were crossing water. Everyone did fine in the water, and if anyone had gone down it wouldn’t have been a major mishap, though it would have been uncomfortable. Wet. I raised my legs when I went through but a couple times it still splashed up enough that I got soaked below the knee. Glad I had high boots on. And there was that one time in the middle of the muck that my rear-end started sliding away, but I caught it and got through OK. Hey, what’s adventure riding without a little adventure?

So that’s a bit more of the human side of this ride. Now, of course, I need to take Judy out and show her these roads.

Biker Quote for Today

When noobs give up, they’re not quitters, they just stay noobs.

Taking the V-Strom Where I Intended

Monday, May 5th, 2014

These were exactly the kinds of roads I bought the V-Strom to ride. There are probably a couple thousand miles of these roads in Colorado alone, and I want to ride a lot more of them.

Crossing the creek on motorcycles

Yeah, we got a little wet.

As mentioned previously, Saturday was my day to ride with Scott Lee and a group he was leading on a Colorado Motorcycle Adventures tour. It was a good day.

We met early at Foothills BMW/Triumph and all the paying folks did their paperwork. As a tag-along there was no paperwork for me but Scott’s wife, Lorie, did insist that I take a T-shirt and a Butler map of Colorado, and I spent some time getting acquainted with some of the other riders.

Taking off, we went out Sixth Avenue to C-470, down to the Morrison turn-off and up CO 74 to Evergreen. We turned south on CO 73 to Conifer, jogged west very briefly on U.S. 285, and headed on south along Foxton Road. That brought us down to the Platte River where we headed southeast along the river to where we hit the road that comes over from Sedalia, via the Rampart Range. A turn-off from that road took us back into an area I don’t think I’ve ever been in before, because of course, all of this was on gravel. That’s why I bought the V-Strom, to ride these gravel roads.

We twisted and turned our way along these roads until we finally came out on CO 67 a little south of Deckers, and then went to Deckers for lunch.

After lunch we headed south again on CO 67 for about eight miles and then turned off onto a gravel road called West Creek Road. This road took us down into an area that, like so much else in the area, was burned out in the Hayman Fire years ago. You know that eventually the forest will regenerate but it’s surprising after this many years how few and small the young trees still are. At the same time, with the trees gone it opens up vistas that you never would have seen before, and which are pretty dang impressive.

We turned off onto one road that was a dead-end but Scott figured the area it went through was worth seeing so we went down and turned back. It was definitely cool. I really wanted to be shooting pictures but I needed to steer the bike. The two people in the group with the GoPro cameras undoubtedly good some good footage.

Back on the through-road again, we continued on into an area that is designated for dirt biking. I’m really not at all sure what this area is. It’s not the Rampart Range, and it’s over on the back side of Pikes Peak so that we got a great view of the peak as I’ve never seen it before. We did see a couple dirt bikers whizzing along.

We stuck to the road, which by now was pretty narrow and uneven–exactly what dual-sport bikes excel at. We were having fun!

The route looped around and we picked up a stream that wove back and forth across the road. There were no bridges; we rode through it and definitely got wet. This was the first time I’ve ridden the V-Strom through water. I’d crossed little bits of water other times on other dual-sport bikes, and then there was the time on my Concours when we were coming down Hoosier Pass toward Breckenridge and there was water running eight inches deep across the highway, so it wasn’t my first time with water. But it was an adventure just the same, especially the one time when my back end started slipping sideways before my traction hooked up again.

After looping around through all this fire-scarred terrain I was surprised when we emerged back out onto CO 67 less than half a mile from where we got off it. So from there it was just back to Deckers, back along the river and up over and down to Sedalia. At that point people started peeling off and heading their own ways home. It was a good day to be out riding.

Biker Quote for Today

Always take the road less traveled, unless the riding is better on the other roads.

Deer Declare Open Season On Bikers

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

I don’t see Alan frequently; mostly we communicate by email.

Alan on Harley in the Big Thompson Canyon

This is Alan, and this is probably a whole lot like what Dan saw of Alan just before the deer attacked.

But we did get together last week, while Michel was here, because Alan was interested in meeting Michel. That was on Wednesday.

Imagine my surprise when I got this email from Alan on Monday.

Hi Ken,
Bambi got her revenge on me! I was riding with Dan Leffert Friday morning down by Cripple Creek, when I was the object of a hit and run, by a deer! Fortunately I was in the lead and Dan saw the diagonal path of the deer run up behind me and then cut in front of me and knock me over. He was able to help me off the road, call 911, get me to a hospital and have my bike towed. Bike is a mess as to be expected and I am bruised up on one side with 4 broken ribs, but it will all heal with time. Tell everyone to wear ATGATT and watch for deer! The Kilimanjaro jacket, overpants and a full face helmet definitely saved me from serious injury!

Holy smokes! Two days later! Eating Italian on Wednesday, eating pavement on Friday. Ouch!

Now, I don’t know what revenge it is that Alan is talking about. What did he ever do to Bambi? Maybe he hunts.

I remember well my own closest encounter with a deer while on a bike. We were up in Idaho, had spent the night in Stanley (??), and were heading out in the morning. I took the lead and hadn’t gone far when I saw a couple deer along the side of the road. On my guard, I slowed down a little and kept my eyes on the leader. He started trotting alongside me, about 25 feet to my left, matching my speed.

Then he bolted across the road in front of me. I nailed my brakes and he got by safely. The guys behind me told me later I put up quite a bit of smoke from the rear tire as it locked up and slid. But I was in control the whole time and never at risk of going down.

What is it in an animal’s brain that makes it do something like that. Why couldn’t it just wait till I was past and then go? Why did that deer just have to cross the road right when Alan was there?

Another really scary time was once when we were setting off on the annual OFMC trip and we were headed for Montrose our first night out. It was getting dark as we came to the Blue Mesa Reservoir along U.S. 50. Johnathon was in the lead and I was pretty far back, so I don’t recall exactly what happened. I believe some deer gave Johnathon quite a scare. What I do recall is how our headlights were reflected from so many eyes out there alongside the road. It was “Oh my gosh, don’t let your guard down for an instant.”

And another time I was coming back from Utah, very late at night on U.S. 40 a little outside of Dinosaur. I was whizzing along and just for an instant saw the flash of a couple deer standing right at the edge of the road as I went by them. Maybe five feet away. Maybe four. They didn’t move a bit. Thank goodness. I went a little slower after that.

So yeah, they’re out there. And unlike us humans re. deer, deer don’t kill humans only in season. It’s open season all the time. Be careful out there.

Biker Quote for Today>/h3>
Motorcycles are like chlorine for the gene pool.