Archive for July, 2014

More Gear for the V-Strom

Thursday, July 31st, 2014
V-Strom Crash Bars and Skid Plate

The new SW Motech crash bars and skid plate make my V-Strom much more prepared for riding off the pavement.

I’m not much of one to add stuff to a motorcycle. The V-Strom is proving to be the exception.

Besides the throttle lock and top bag I already added to that bike, I’m now pleased to say that I have added crash bars and a skid plate. Next up is highway pegs, although that has proven trickier than I expected.

I wasn’t planning to take the V-Strom on the OFMC trip last week but the Concours had a rear tire that was so on the cusp of whether it would make it or not that I decided not to chance it. But I didn’t want to go on another long ride, like last year, on a bike with no highway pegs. We’re talking about you, V-Strom.

The problem was, there is nowhere on a stock V-Strom to attach highway pegs. A related problem with the V-Strom is that the radiator and oil filter are just hanging out down there, fully exposed to anything flying up off the road. I don’t understand Suzuki’s thinking on that. That’s just too vulnerable, especially if you go off the pavement.

Fortunately the solution to one problem provides a solution to the other. Put on crash bars, which gives you a place to attach a skid plate, and that protects the radiator and oil filter. It also gives you something to attach highway pegs to.

Thanks very much to Ben Kriederman at House of Motorrad, I got the crash bars and skid plate on on Thursday evening before we left town on Friday. I’m truly grateful to Ben for putting these things on for me because there was no way I was going to be able to do it myself.

I did try. The problem was, although attaching the bars was pretty simple, just four bolts on each side of the bike, busting those bolts loose was beyond my meager tools. I had an allen wrench and an extender but I quickly saw that if I applied enough pressure to bust the bolts loose, all that would actually happen would be that I would bend the heck out of my allen wrench.

It’s wonderful having the right tools for the job. Ben did and he quickly took care of the bars, but then the skid plate even gave him some trouble. It seems the (supplied) replacement bolts fit fine but the (not supplied) washers were just too small for the new bolts. They had to be drilled out.

Ben got ‘er done and even threw in an oil change while the bike was up on the lift. Nice guy.

The next day, on my way out of town, I stopped at Vickery and bought some highway pegs. I figured I’d put them on in Brush or in Chadron when I had a moment. Uh-uh. The pegs came with two sizes of strap to go around the bars, but the small (7/8″) was too small and the large, with the provided spacers, came completely together without being tight enough to hold the peg in place. So I made the whole ride without highway pegs again. Fortunately, this trip was mostly short rides so I didn’t miss them terribly.

I figure now the thing to do is put some rubber strips under the strap to both prevent scraping metal on metal and to take up room, making it possible to tighten things and have it hold in place. I was hoping to do that yesterday but it didn’t get done. It will get done this weekend.

Then, let’s see . . . what else does this bike need?

Biker Quote for Today

Money can’t buy happiness. But… it can buy a motorcycle. And you can’t be sad on a motorcycle.

The OFMC Leaves One Behind

Monday, July 28th, 2014
a hot day for a motorcycle break-down

It was a little toasty when Friggs broke down in Shoshoni.

Our summer ride continued as planned after leaving the Black Hills–except for one of us. We left Buffalo, Wyoming, and crossed the Bighorn Mountains, through Ten Sleep and Worland, on our way to Riverton.

A funny thing happened on the way to Riverton: Friggs didn’t get there. At least not under his own power.

I was bringing up the rear, with Brett in front of me and Friggs in front of him. The other guys were pulling away up ahead and I was getting annoyed that Friggs was not picking up the speed. Apparently Brett was, too, because he blasted around him. Immediately afterward, Friggs turned on his turn signal and pulled onto the shoulder. I followed. I stayed on my bike while he fiddled with the throttle a bit and then he started moving, slowly, along the shoulder. I followed.

After a ways Friggs picked up speed and we pulled back onto the highway. We hadn’t gone far when Brett came along going the other way, coming back to see what was going on. He turned around and pulled in behind me and we cruised into Shoshoni, where Friggs pulled into the parking lot of the local school. Turns out he didn’t choose to pull over there, the bike quit on him and he coasted into the lot.

Brett and Friggs got on their phones looking for assistance while I walked over to the police department, just across the street, where we nearly got lucky. I explained the situation and asked the officer if there was a towing service in town. He said no, there was not, but right at that moment a tow truck he had called to pick up an abandoned vehicle was 13 minutes late. He was going to Riverton and maybe he could load the bike on, too.

Just then the truck pulled in but the guy had to decline because he had no chains to strap the bike down. So close, no cigar.

So we hung out for the next two hours (it was hot; you can see the temperature on the sign in the photo) until the truck arrived and he had the Fat Boy loaded on. The bike had to go to Lander but he dropped Friggs off with us in Riverton. The next morning we rode on to Lander, John carrying Friggs’s bag and Bill giving his brother a lift. (He ain’t heavy, father, he’s my brother.)

The diagnosis was a broken rocker and there was no way to get parts today. And it was Friday. We left Friggs in Lander, where his lady friend was going to drive up and they would spend a few days vacationing, more or less. When the bike is ready they’ll make the trip back to Denver together. And to my knowledge, this event is still in the future.

We rode on across central Wyoming to Rawlins, hopped on I-80 briefly, and then turned south through Saratoga and Encampment, into Colorado for our night’s stop in Walden. Now here’s a sign of the times: the motel has signs posted saying no marijuana is allowed on the premises. I wonder if that’s legal. The times they are a changing.

Next morning was just the ride home. John headed southwest to his home in Montrose and the rest of us ran down the Poudre Canyon. The Poudre was at its finest, green and beautiful. We turned off on to the Stove Prairie road, figuring to connect with the Buckhorn road and get to Loveland that way but at Stove Prairie the road was blocked saying there was no access to Masonville in that direction.

We turned up toward Rist Canyon but at the top of the hill the road went two ways, something I don’t recall noticing before. I was in the lead and I turned left but that didn’t take us down Rist Canyon at all. It was a steep, curvy road that I liked but the Harley boys didn’t and it dumped us into LaPorte, where we picked up US 287. Most of these guys live on the west side of town so they didn’t want to go east to I-25 and then have to go west again, so we went down 287.

Oh my gosh, what congestion. Fort Collins has grown way south and Loveland has grown way north so there is almost no separation at all between them. And then there’s Berthoud and Longmont and everywhere there is huge growth. Along this route we split and went our separate ways and this year’s trip was at an end.

Biker Quote for Today

When I was younger I was afraid I’d die riding. Now that I’m old and falling apart, I’m afraid I won’t.

OFMC Moves On To Wyoming

Thursday, July 24th, 2014
Motorcycles down Spearfish Canyon

Cruising down Spearfish Canyon.

For the first time in the 25-year OFMC history we stayed in one place for three days. Hill City, South Dakota, was a very nice base for day rides but now we’re in Wyoming. How were the Black Hills?

Everything is very much in preparation for the rally. All the tighter curves on the roads in the area have been marked with orange flags to alert riders to be cautious, and in some cases they’ve even set up cones. I stopped at a Suzuki shop in Sturgis to get some assistance setting up my new highway pegs but they told me they just don’t have time to deal with small stuff like that now, “We’ve got a rally to prepare for.”

In Sturgis most of the shops are still empty but other vendors are already in business. I know that in a week there won’t be a bit of available space anywhere.

After doing the Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road one day, we went up through Deadwood and down to Sturgis, the next, returning via Vanocker Canyon and Nemo Road. Very nice to get off the very busy main highway. Stopped at a junction along the way we had one of the closest calls ever in OFMC history. We were parked faced left on a T and needed to go the opposite way. I pulled out and turned around and then Dennis started to follow. What he didn’t see–but all the rest of us did–was the gravel truck coming right toward us in the lane he was just starting to cross. Johnathon screamed as loud as he could, I yelled, others did whatever they could, but Dennis couldn’t hear any of us over the sound of his motor. Then he looked up and saw the truck as it was smoking its brakes, coming right at him.

The driver had seen him, and was no doubt cursing loudly, but he did manage to stop, as Dennis hurriedly scooted out of his path. “I didn’t see him,” Dennis said. “I looked back but all I could see was a bunch of bikes.” Take note that Dennis is quite short, so it makes sense that he couldn’t see past the throng. But oh man, what a bad thing nearly happened.

We did make it safely back to the motel, however, and then three of the guys decided they wanted more, so they set off to ride the Needles and Iron Mountain again. Mind you, it was late in the afternoon and a rainstorm was threatening. They leathered up, suited up, and took off. They got wet. Really wet, but they did have rainsuits on. Johnathon said it got so dark at one point that he thought the sun had set and he was startled a little later when the sun came back out.

They said there were no other bikes out on the super twisty roads, nor many cars either. It was a bit hellacious but very memorable, too. How many of us have memories of riding those roads in that kind of extreme conditions? Those guys were hard core.

Then this morning those three plus Ray got up early and blasted out to a gig in Cheyenne. The rest of us took our time, headed up through Lead to Spearfish Canyon, down to Spearfish and I-90, and on west all the way over to Buffalo. It was hot and windy and not the most pleasant ride, but tomorrow we’ll go up over the Bighorn Mountains and down to Ten Sleep and I know that’s a really sweet road. Hot diggety!

Biker Quote for Today

The car driver population sustains substantial mental stress from the continuing “lane weaving” antics of typical motorcycle riders.

The OFMC In The Black Hills

Monday, July 21st, 2014
motorcycle in tunnel on Needles Highway

Narrow tunnels are part of riding the Black Hills.

With 11 bikes–the most ever for the OFMC–we rode the Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road today. Tomorrow will be a ride up to Sturgis and Deadwood.

The initial seven were joined yesterday here in Hill City, South Dakota, by Johnathon–a regular–and Ray, Steve, and Kenny–all newcomers to the group. The first three all rode up from Denver yesterday and Kenny drove up late with his bike and keyboard in a trailer. Steve, Johnathon, and Kenny will be heading out early Wednesday to get to Cheyenne to play during the Frontier Days festivities. These guys are all part of Homeslice, a pretty darn good band.

We came on to Hill City yesterday from Chadron, Nebraska, on a pretty short ride. This trip is full of short rides, which is kind of nice actually. Our rooms weren’t ready so we strolled on down to the main street and went in the Mangy Moose for some liquid refreshment. Turns out that in preparation for the Black Hills rally, which starts very soon, the bar was clearing out its taps so they will sell only bottled beer. It’s just faster than drawing from the tap and changing out kegs constantly. But they managed to draw us a couple pitchers.

This close to the rally there are already a lot of bikes here. They’re intermingled with families, however, so we’ve been seeing plenty of mommies and daddies with the kiddies. This is just a popular tourist place at any time, although in September, once school starts, it’s pretty quiet.

So we took off this morning and boy, what a chore it is getting 11 guys ready at once. We rode the narrow roads that would be broad one-ways but which in fact have traffic going both directions. Speeds are between 15 and 25 so it’s pretty safe but then there are the narrow tunnels that only permit traffic one direction at a time. If you’ve been here you know the score. If you haven’t, you should. Several of the tunnels are aligned so that as you go through them Mount Rushmore is right there ahead of you on the other side. A fabulous image.

Come Wednesday we’ll be heading to Wyoming and we’ll be back down to seven. Right now we have seven Harleys, one Kawasaki, one Suzuki, and two Hondas. Then we’ll be back to five Harleys, one Suzuki, and one Honda. Ranging in size from 650 to 1800. We’re a pretty eclectic group.

It’s just so good to be out away from family and jobs and all responsibilities. And riding motorcycles.

Biker Quote for Today

Ride hard or stay home

Motorcycle Noise? At Least Talk Sense

Thursday, July 17th, 2014
Triple Pipes

I'm betting this is not a quiet motorcycle.

My wife sent me a link to a story on the National Public Radio website that she figured I would be interested in: Vroom, Vroom, Hmmmm: Motorcycles As Literary Metaphor. While I found the story interesting, I also found the comments interesting, but not in what these people had to say.

What was interesting was how predictable it all was.

Right off the bat was this remark: “It’s difficult for me to appreciate this story since I find the noise pollution produced by lots of motorcycles to be abhorrent. ”

Yeah, right from the word “Go!” the battle was on. And just as predictably, the riders lined up on two sides crying that loud pipes save lives and that skillful riders don’t need loud pipes to ride safely. The main point in my mind was that both sides were spouting some truth and a lot of bogus garbage. For instance, in some back and forth on loud pipes, the noise proponent said it helped make people aware of him in traffic when he was in someone’s blind spot. The reply was a blasting about “What the heck are you doing in someone’s blind spot in the first place!!!”

Hey, I’m sorry, but when you ride in traffic, such as when you use your bike to commute, you’re in heavy traffic a lot and you are constantly in and out of people’s blind spots. It’s inevitable. A skilled, attentive rider will make a point to be aware and to spend as little time as possible in blind spots but you are in and out of them constantly, if only for a second or two.

Heck, just today I was riding home and twice had people start to pull into my lane because they didn’t do a head check and at the instant they decided to make their move I was in their blind spot. I pay a lot of attention to blind spots but they are unavoidable.

But here’s what I have new to add to the discussion. A few days ago I was in my car going down a similarly crowded multi-lane street, and I knew there was a guy on a bike a little behind me to my left. And from what I could tell, this guy was not paying attention to where he was in my field of view. You know what? He was on a Harley and even when I couldn’t see him in my mirror I could hear him. I knew he was there.

Now, I’ve always been more inclined toward the skilled-riders-don’t-need-loud-pipes position. I have three bikes and they’re all quiet. Somehow I’ve never been in an accident; must be skill or attentiveness or something. And I know that most of the noise a bike makes is heard behind it, not in front of it where it matters most. But there I was, hearing this guy even when I couldn’t see him. I just don’t think you can deny across the board that no, loud pipes don’t save any lives ever. Maybe not as many lives as some people would like to think, but I suspect they do save a few.

Is that justification for making a lot of the non-riding population hate us by blasting them with mega-noise? Absolutely not. I didn’t say this guy was really, really loud, he was just on a bike that does make some noise–a good bit more than the Kawasaki I was on today. And that was enough. Just because some noise can be a good thing, that doesn’t imply that absolutely deafening noise is a better thing.

How about if we all just use common sense? You guys who want your bikes loud, don’t go overboard. Don’t go making us enemies everywhere you go. And you guys who think loud pipes are worse than useless, it won’t hurt you to admit that there’s probably at least a kernel of truth in the claim. And how about if we all make it totally clear to the real offenders that even other riders don’t care for the black eye they’re giving us all?

Personally, with those guys I really don’t believe that safety is the issue at all. They’re just using that as an excuse to hide the fact that they’re too self-centered to care about anyone but themselves. Don’t let them get away with it.

Biker Quote for Today

Turns gasoline into noise without the burdensome byproduct of horsepower.

A Ride from Eagle to Steamboat and Back

Monday, July 14th, 2014
Riders meeting up at Wolcott

That 2000 Concours to the left is what I rode, and that Honda Interceptor is Jungle's. Willie was on the Yamaha FJ1100.

We were in the mountains over the weekend and on Friday I had the chance to ride with Jungle and Willie, friends who live in Eagle. They have a spare Concours they invited me to ride so this was the ultimate in no-brainers.

What was not such a no-brainer was where to go. Of course they live up there, so they’ve been on all the roads in their area, but so have I. You can do the Minturn to Leadville to Aspen to Glenwood and home loop, or you can go Wolcott to Toponas to Kremmling to Steamboat and back. Or, a third option Willie suggested, was Wolcott to Toponas to Kremmling and then to Grand Lake and back via Winter Park and I-70 to Eagle again.

That third route is adding up to some real miles and I guess there are some other long-mile routes you could do but essentially, from Eagle your options are rather limited.

Here’s where Jungle got creative. We would to the to Steamboat and back ride that we’ve done before with some alternative roads mixed in. We headed up CO 131 from Wolcott, where we had met up with some other riders, and headed north. Just a little shy of Oak Creek we turned off onto the road that goes by Stagecoach State Park, Hudspeth Lane, and made it on to Steamboat via that route. I’ve been on that road a few times but it was a nice alternative to just taking 131 all the way.

In Steamboat we had lunch and I just have to comment on the lunch I had. Donna, one of the other riders, commented that it was silly how all of a sudden pork belly is the thing. Isn’t bacon just pork belly? Isn’t it just being snooty to refer to a bacon, lettuce, avocado, and tomato sandwich as pork belly when it’s just bacon? Sort of like calling green beans haricots vert?

So that was what I ordered but you know what? That was not bacon on my sandwich. It may have been the exact same cut of meat but it was not cured like bacon and these thick, fatty slices of meat were definitely not bacon. And they were quite fatty so frankly, I didn’t really care for it all that much. I will say, though, that the heirloom tomatos on the sandwich were pretty darn good. Oh, the fancy foods they serve in tourist towns.

Following lunch in Steamboat, the ride really got interesting. Out at the west end of Steamboat Jungle turned south off US 40 onto Elk River Road, which connected with Shield Drive, which crossed the river and picked up Routt County Road 33 going west. I’m convinced I have been on this road once before but that was going the other direction. The country this road goes through is gorgeous. It’s ranching land and even in mid July it was still just as green as could be and the road twists and climbs and drops and is wonderful. At this point in the afternoon we were wary of rain, with much of the sky looking pretty purple, but we only got a few drops on our visors at a couple points. We were keeping our fingers crossed.

After about 17 miles of sweet riding we intersected the Twenty Mile Road. I’ve been on this road plenty of times as it runs from Hayden down to Oak Creek. There is a point as this road comes down southeasterly from Hayden that it reaches a coal mine and the road either continues straight or you have to take a sharp turn to the right. That right turn keeps you on Twenty Mile Road and on to Oak Creek. If you go straight it puts you on the road to Steamboat that we were coming down on. We were definitely not headed to Hayden so we took the (for us) left turn.

This is really the pretty part of the Twenty Mile Road anyway. North of there it’s OK, with nice country, but it’s nothing like the southern portion. The southern portion sweeps up canyons, over canyon rims, and back down into other canyons. This is a great road.

We came over one canyon rim and found the pavement still wet from a rainstorm that preceded us but again we did not get wet. We reconnected with CO 131 and headed south on the road we had come up and the weather was holding for us. Approaching State Bridge the sky ahead was getting black so we hurried on. Descending into Wolcott there were drops on our visors again, but as soon as we turned west on old U.S. 6 the sky got blue, the temperature rose about five degrees and we were totally in the clear. Back to Eagle then and the ride was over.

What a great thing to be out riding like this on a Friday instead of sitting at some desk in some office. I then drove back to Vail, where my wife was attending a conference, and she and a bunch of these other real estate lawyers could only wish they had been out all day doing what I had been doing rather than sitting in meetings all day.

I’m fully aware–and fully appreciative–of my good fortune.

Biker Quote for Today

We hang around people who think these activities are normal.

The Article I Want To Write

Thursday, July 10th, 2014
Riding Off The Pavement

I just have to get out to places like this more.

I have my Google Alerts set to pick up articles with the word “motorcycle” and today it brought me to an article I find particularly interesting. Titled “On Motorcycles, the Real Fun Begins When the Pavement Ends,” it’s by a guy who is an experienced street rider who is not so experienced off the pavement. Kind of like me.

And what this guy did sounds like something I probably ought to do. He took his KLR 650 off for a few days in the mountains and just did it. The first day out he wiped out several times and had his confidence badly shaken, but he perservered and by day three, he writes, “By the third morning, the bike feels dialed in. . . . Off-road, headed up a rock-and-mud slope, I push maybe a little too hard and almost lose it a few times. Almost.”

He got it. You just have to do it until you’ve got it. I do understand this. This is exactly the sort of article I’m going to write some day–just not today. Not yet.

I remember when I first started riding seriously. I knew better than to take a passenger at first but eventually I did. It was not comfortable. I was pretty comfortable with the bike by that time but with a passenger it was different. I don’t want to be responsbile for someone else, someone who has trusted me, getting hurt.

It all changed after John and Bill and I went on our very first OFMC trip. By the time I had lived on the bike for a week, with luggage strapped on, putting a passenger on back there was not even a question. I got it.

Later, when I bought the Concours, I was very uncertain about it for a long time. It is just so tall. I was used to being able to plant both feet firmly, flatly on the ground. Not on the Connie. In the beginning I only rode that bike wearing my boots with the highest heels, to give me that extra bit of assistance.

Once again, the only real answer was to ride the thing. It wasn’t a clear-cut moment as it had been with the Honda and passengers, but gradually I got used to the height of the bike. I learned to be comfortable with that height and now I don’t hesitate to ride in sneakers if that’s what I have on. It’s just no big deal. I got it.

So now I’ve got this V-Strom. I’ve done a fair amount of riding off-road, even went over Cinammon Pass a few years ago on a similar V-Strom. And yes, I’ve gone down, and even got tossed head over heels one time. (It’s amazing how a bike can just flip you like a rag doll.) But it hasn’t been enough. I haven’t got it yet.

But I will. I’m just getting started. I swear the day will come when I’ve got this, too. I’m just not there yet.

Biker Quote for Today

It takes less time to do things the hard way than to be too nervous to even start at all.

Adventure Motorcycling Business Growing in Colorado

Monday, July 7th, 2014

That sales floor was pretty empty on Saturday but by the grand opening on Friday it should be full.

The growth in the number of outfits in Colorado renting off-road capable motorcycles–dual-sport and adventure bikes–has been startling in recent years. We have definitely been discovered.

Now for a twist: One of these outfits–House of Motorrad–is adding a retail store to its rental business. Although the store is already open, as of Saturday there was not much stock in the store, but owner Ben Kriederman says things have started arriving and by the grand opening on Friday he expects the sales floor to be full. In the meantime, he got his stock of bags from Wolf Man and has already had to reorder a few items.

The store is located at 5446 Conestoga Court, in Boulder, which is just off Arapahoe at 55th.

(For full disclosure, Ben has done some advertising with me previously on the Passes and Canyons website, and has an ad up now promoting his grand opening.)

The shop is still a work in progress, too, or at least it was when I was there. That particle board you see on the right in the photograph will be replaced with a glass garage door that will allow bikes to be rolled in and out. Not shown, but directly opposite that is the work area where bikes will be serviced. Ben has no intention of doing major work, such as engine replacements, but if you want to have tires put on or your oil changed he’ll do that.

The shop will be focused strictly on adventure bikes and gear for them. That said, if you want to order parts for other bikes through House of Motorrad that can definitely be done. The sort of gear that will be stocked includes helmets, jackets, gloves, boots, Butler maps, Garmin GPS units, bluetooth communicators, GoPro cameras and the like. Also with a focus on adventure riding, Ben will stock tents but not a lot else in the way of camping gear. I spoke to him about a JetBoil one-burner camp stove, which we see as filling our two-up motorcycle camping needs, and he suggested I go to REI. Ditto for more-compact sleeping bags.

While the store gets off the ground, the rental business is doing quite well. As of Saturday Ben had 20 bikes in his stable, though he said that changes constantly–the day before he only had 19. They are all BMWs, Triumphs, and KTMs. How well are rentals doing? So far this year he has had four riders who took bikes out for more than 25 days. These were all folks from other countries coming to the U.S. to do some serious riding. Most of the rentals are for shorter periods but he only had five in the shop when I was there.

He’ll be renting pretty much the entire fleet as chase vehicles for the USA Pro Challenge Professional Cycling Race in August, and Edelweiss Tours will be hosting its first Colorado adventure tour and using his bikes for that. As I said, adventure riding is becoming a booming business in Colorado.

And Ben is nothing if not a dreamer. He’s just getting the shop opened and is already planning expansion. The adjoining space is coming available and he hopes to put in a motorcycle-themed cafe there. And then as other space also opens up he expects to take it and add extra bays for the mechanical stuff. The shop is open for retail business Thursday through Monday but only by special appointment on Tuesday or Wednesday. Bike rentals go in and out every day.

Biker Quote for Today

Ride a GS, it makes your butt look smaller.

Adventure Rally Series Coming to Gunnison

Friday, July 4th, 2014
Adventure Rally Series 2014

The Adventure Rally Series 2014 is happening this month in Gunnison.

This is the kind of thing I’m more and more interested in but once again it’s something I will miss.

Seems a bunch of interested parties–Bonnier Motorcycle Group brands, Cycle World, Motorcyclist, and Dirt Rider magazines–put together something last year called the Adventure Rally. The idea, they say, is “The Adventure Rally Series is for passionate adventure riders to explore epic roads and become better riders while making new friends.”

And now this year they are having two, one of which–the Rockies edition–will be operating out of Gunnison July 24-27. Of course, those days conflict with our annual OFMC bike trip, so count me out–darn! Not that I would necessarily do it, though. I’m still new enough to this off-road riding thing that I’m not sure I’d be particularly welcome. I could easily be the guy who better riders have to watch out for rather than getting out and doing the serious riding they want to do. I swear I will get more competent at this. At least right now I can say that I am really comfortable and familiar with riding the V-Strom. I’ve been out on it three times this week alone and I’m loving it.

But maybe your schedule doesn’t conflict and you’re more experienced than I am. This Adventure Series thing could be just your ticket. Here’s a bit more of what they have to say about it:

This year’s Adventure Rally-Rockies Edition will be based at The Inn at Tomichi Village on the edge of town, smack in the middle of Colorado’s best adventure riding. Competitors will be treated to both paved and dirt road options, which include twisty mountain passes, flowing two track and difficult off-road sections. There is limitless potential for exploration in this area for riders of all skill levels.

In addition to the navigational element, which will send each team on their own unique adventure, this year’s Adventure Rally – Rockies Edition will feature special tests hosted at The Inn at Tomichi Village. Judges and instructors will be on hand to challenge competitor’s adventure bike skills and teach new ones.

At the end of the day, this unique event format, combined with the stunning backdrop of The Inn at Tomichi Village and the Colorado Rockies, provides an atmosphere that is designed to be both competitive and casual—putting as much emphasis on the campfire camaraderie as the desire to win the coveted Adventure Cup.

And as for what it costs, there is this:

What do we mean when we say all-inclusive?

Well, for $550 (double occupancy) $650 (single occupancy) you get:

Three nights at the exclusive The Inn at Tomichi Village
Three breakfasts
Three dinners
Two drink tickets per day for post-ride libations
Chance to compete for the Adventure Cup
Custom Adventure Rally road book & keep sake
Custom Adventure Rally Map of Bonuses
Special tests and rider training
Adventure Goodie Bag

So it ain’t cheap, but you get a lot for the ticket price, including food and lodging. You’d have to pay those yourself if you just went out and rode. And Gunnison is a great area. My friend Kevin Smith, who runs Colorado Mountain Moto out of Gunnison, reminded me some years ago that on my own website I say that “If you’re in Gunnison it really doesn’t matter which direction you go, every road is a great motorcycle road.” How true; give that guy a medal. (Oh yeah, that was me.)

So OK, maybe next year for me. Surely by then I’ll feel more competent. And all I have to do is ensure that the OFMC doesn’t schedule its trip at the same time again. That could be the harder thing to do because we set that date in December. So many roads, too little time.

Biker Quote for Today

But I have to lead, because I’m very allergic to dust!