Archive for February, 2015

Is The Time For Lane-Splitting Coming?

Thursday, February 26th, 2015
Lane Splitting In Paris

Lane-splitting in Paris.

Maybe it’s like gay marriage. Maybe it’s like legal marijuana. Maybe lane-splitting is riding a new wave of public acceptability and is something we’ll soon see all over.

What? Why would I say something like that? Right now the only state in the U.S. that allows motorcyclists to filter between cars that are stopped are plodding in traffic jams is California. Where’s the wave?

How about Washington. Oregon. Tennessee.

I get emails from the American Motorcyclist Association whenever they have news they want to pass along and I was recently interested to receive one that was titled, “American Motorcyclist Association supports lane-splitting legislation in Tennessee.”

That was on a Friday.

The following Tuesday there was another email in my inbox with the title, “American Motorcyclist Association supports lane-splitting legislation in Oregon.” Not only that, that same day there was a second email in my inbox with the title, “American Motorcyclist Association supports lane-splitting legislation in Washington.”

Holy smoke! It’s looking like a movement!

Of course, if history is any predictor, all of these bills will fail. In fact, I’d bet on it. But I’m also willing to bet that within 10 years California will not be alone, and once that dam starts to give way there won’t be anything that can hold it back.

Sort of like gay marriage and legal marijuana. Those waves took years to build up but gay marriage is sweeping across the country and legal marijuana is just getting started, but with a vengeance. I don’t care what you think about either of those movements, they’re happening. Their time has come. And just maybe lane-splitting is not far behind.

I personally support lane-splitting. I’ve ridden in California and I’ve traveled to a number of countries around the world. The U.S. is one of the few where lane-splitting is not simply the norm. That photo above is something I shot in Paris. You could stand at a street corner and watch it happen again and again: The light would turn red and cars would stop. Then a motorcycle or scooter would come between the cars and take a place in front of the cars. Then more bikes and scooters would join the group. Finally the light would turn green and the two-wheelers would blast forward, leaving the four-wheelers in the dust. And then the light would turn red and the whole scene would play itself out once more.

Nobody got hurt, nobody was in any danger, everybody considered it to be perfectly normal. In the meantime, each of those scooters or motorcycles represented at least part of one car that was not on the road adding to what was already a significant traffic jam. Those drivers were benefiting from the lane-splitting.

Of course the bikers were benefiting more. They got where they were going in probably half the time it would have taken them in a car. At a significantly lower cost. And they were on bikes, for pete’s sake. What’s not to like about that?

Some day these benighted states of America may join the rest of the world. The encouraging thought is that it may come sooner than we expected.

Biker Quote for Today

Born to ride; forced to work.

Another Colorado Route Recommendation Request

Monday, February 23rd, 2015
On the road with the OFMC.

On the road with the OFMC.

People are planning their motorcycle trips for this summer right now. I tell potential advertisers on this site that if they are not going to do a full year of advertising they need to do it now, not during the summer. Year after year my lowest traffic month is November and in December it starts picking up again and then climbs and climbs. This is when people are doing their planning, and if you want them to stay in your motel, this is when you should be reaching them.

I frequently am asked to offer my thoughts on a proposed trip route, such as the post I just did a few days ago. Well, here’s another request and my reply. (By the way, it was suggested that I might have routed that last group over Guanella Pass, and that was what I would have done, but I know they are doing work on that road, finally paving it all the way over, and it is going to be a mess this summer. So I chose an alternate route.)

Here’s the request:

Hi Ken,

I have been riding quite a lot in the States, have done some rides in Colorado too. Colorado is among my favorite states when it comes to motorcycle riding, but this time I am having difficulties figuring out what to do. My dilemma is that my wife and I want to spend about 8 days riding, starting May 1st. Basically the itinerary we are looking at is:

Denver – Estes Park – Steamboat Springs – Keystone – Aspen – Durango – Gunnison – Black Canyon. I am confused as what kind of road closures we may expect at that time. I understand it all depends on the snowpack, but still. Is there any suggestion, you could do ? Like: don’t do it, it is way too early in the season, many roads will still be closed and your fingers will get frozen or do you think it could well be done. It is hard to find this kind of information.

I look forward to receiving your opinion.

Thank you,

In case you’re wondering, Ed is from the Netherlands. So here’s my reply:

Ed–Always happy to try to assist. Here’s what I think is likely.

Denver to Estes Park, no problem. Whether you take the Big Thompson Canyon or the Peak to Peak Highway, it will be clear (unless we get a spring snowstorm, which is always possible).

Estes to Steamboat, depends on your route. The direct route would be over Trail Ridge Road but that will almost certainly not be open at that time. You could, instead, go south from Estes to I-70 and then over Berthoud Pass to Winter Park and on to Steamboat. Or go through the tunnel to Silverthorne and then take the road through Kremmling to Steamboat.

Steamboat to Keystone, should be no problem, whatever route you take.

Keystone to Aspen, doable on I-70 but Independence Pass will not be open yet.

Aspen to Durango, no problem.
Durango to Gunnison, no problem.
Gunnison to the Black Canyon, no problem.
Black Canyon back to Denver, no problem.

It always hinges on the weather, and you could get the most gorgeous weather imaginable. Or you could get a blizzard. I would certainly recommend that you bring heated gear. I love my electric vest and heated gloves. I ride all year round and use those. The middle of the day is fine but as soon as it gets dark it gets cold, especially in the mountains. When it’s snowing there’s just nothing you can do. And there’s no way to know this far in advance what is likely to happen.

Hope that helps.

[end of response]

I enjoy it when people ask me for my thoughts on this. I’ve even had the chance to meet some of them when they’ve gotten out here. It’s just one of the things I enjoy about running this website.

Biker Quote for Today

Not sure if riding is good therapy or an addiction.

Route Recommendation For Three-Day Colorado Ride

Thursday, February 19th, 2015
The OFMC on a ride

The OFMC on a ride.

It’s common for me to receive emails planning Colorado trips, asking for suggestions on riding routes. It’s interesting for me because everyone’s plans are different, everyone has different interests, amounts of time to spend, and starting and ending points. I look at their particulars and see what I can come up with.

Here’s a query I received recently, and my response. I’m always hoping that other folks who read this will say, “Wow, I’ve never done that road. Maybe I will.” Or maybe you’ll leave a comment telling me what you think a much better route would have been. Maybe you’ll turn me on to something I’m not aware of.

Anyway, here’s the exchange.

Hey Ken!
Love your website!!
I don’t know if you have the time to answer individual inquiries but we thought we’d give it a shot!

We’re planning a mid-July 2015 ride to Colorado after our yearly ride to Red Lodge, MT and the Beartooth mountains.

Our plan is to leave Red Lodge and ride to Estes Park (stay in Estes Park) and then ride Rocky Mountain National Park.
After our tour of RMNP we’d like to go down and ride Pikes Peak.

There are a lot of roads leading from Estes Park to Colorado Springs but since this is our first ride to CO – we have absolutely no clue which ones would be the absolute best for a day ride from Estes Park to Pikes Peak and back again the same day.

Unfortunately we’ll only have about 3 days for the Colorado portion of our ride.
Some of the young ones have to get back to something they call work!

If you have any time to help us out – it’d be GREAT!!

Thanks much!!


My reply:


Here’s what I would suggest. It appears to be around 325 miles, maybe a bit more. In July if you get an early start the days are long so it could work. It may be a bit longer than you would like. I’m attaching a map.

Head west out of Estes over Trail Ridge Road, down to Granby, and then take US 40 to Winter Park, over Berthoud Pass, down to I-70 and take I-70 west to Georgetown. Go into Georgetown and take Guanella Pass over to US 285 at Grant and then east on that to Pine Junction, where you go south on 126, to 67, to Woodland Park and US 24. That will take you to the well-marked turn-off to Pikes Peak. Once you come down off the mountain, continue east on US 24 through Manitou and catch I-25 briefly north to Monument. Get off at Monument and take 105 north to Sedalia, where you’ll hit US 85. Continue north. In the Denver suburbs you’ll hit C-470. Take that around Denver to the north and west and where C-470 ends you’ll be on US 6. Take that up Clear Creek Canyon to the Peak to Peak Highway and take the Peak to Peak the rest of the way back to Estes.

Be advised, that’s a lot of riding. A possible different approach would be to take the Peak to Peak out of Estes and at the turn-off past Black Hawk, where the road splits and one way goes to Golden and the other way goes to Idaho Springs, go to Idaho Springs and on to Georgetown and then back on the route. You’ll be backtracking on your way home that evening but you’ll save a good bit of time not going the Trail Ridge/Granby/Berthoud Pass route.

Whatever you do, have a great time!

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Motorcycle race where you would never expect it

Biker Quote for Today

PMS – The Silent Killer. Parked Motorcycle Syndrome symptoms include pacing back and forth in the garage, irritability, headache, and nausea. If you or a loved one is suffering from any of these symptoms, get out for a ride. Prolonged exposure to a parked motorcycle can drive you completely insane.

Motorcyclists Wanted For Online Community

Monday, February 16th, 2015
Motorcyclists wanted promo

Read the info below to see what this is all about.

Are you a rider looking for a new challenge? Motorcycle enthusiasts are wanted for an exclusive online community. Members who qualify will have the opportunity to interact with riders like them, as well as make an impact in the industry by advising decision makers on their products and services. Contributing members will receive Amazon gift codes for their participation.

See if you make the cut here:

Just so you know, this is a sponsored post and the agency is called Communispace. Here’s the scoop on them:

Communispace, a consumer collaboration agency, has built an online community for 300 riders to share their experiences and opinions with members like them, as well as interact directly with decision makers in the industry. Members who qualify for this exclusive group will have the opportunity to weigh in on products they use, what’s most important to them about their riding journey, and anything else they feel would be beneficial to the community. Participating members will receive a $10 Amazon gift code for joining, as well as Amazon gift codes often for their participation. Members can stay in the community as long or as little as they like, what matters is the impact they make with their experience and contributions.

Biker Quote for Today

Life is a limited time offer… Live deliberately. Ride often.

Bits And Pieces Of ABATE Answers Emerging

Thursday, February 12th, 2015
motorcycle with fringe

Riding along, with a thousand leather strips flapping in the breeze.

One of the biggest questions I’ve had since this whole brouhaha about ABATE’s financial crisis erupted was simply, “How the heck did we ever get to this point?”

Based on some information posted over on The Dandooligan blog and some materials Terry Howard sent me after the second of two charges against her were dropped, I feel like that question has an answer: No one was properly minding the store and when it could no longer be ignored it was too late to get a reasonable financial lifeline, so an unreasonable one was accepted. Terry arranged for the loan but she did so with the express thanks from the board of directors.

I think it’s really that simple. And by no one, I mean the board of directors and the officers. I largely exempt the general membership because we simply had no idea this was even going on, even those of us who attend meetings regularly. In fact, one of the documents Terry sent me was an email in which she told the board members, “Please keep this within the Board. We don’t need members panicking at this point.” I have no doubt her intentions at the time were good, and readily admit that hindsight is always 20-20, but gosh, maybe if the members had been made aware of the problem some other solution might have been found. There’s a saying I strongly believe in: All of us are smarter than any of us.

OK, so what’s done is done and can’t be undone. Now we need to move ahead, because Colorado motorcyclists still need some sort of lobbying group, a motorcycle rights organization (MRO) as they are known, standing up for our interests in matters of the law.

Clearly ABATE’s State Coordinator Bruce Downs believes ABATE should be that MRO. Not everyone agrees, however. Some believe ABATE needs to go away and a new MRO arise in its place. Making that happen would be a challenge, to say the least.

Anyway, backtracking just a bit, I want to refer you to The Dandooligan because Matt Wessels over there has put out some extensive information about this whole affair. I wasn’t even aware, because I hadn’t been following him closely, but that link above is to a piece written by Deb Craig giving a pretty deep inside look at ABATE’s inner workings. Supporters of Terry Howard–and I know there are a lot of them out there–will not like some of what she says because she does not paint a pretty picture of Terry, but at the very least the straight-out factual information she presents is quite interesting. Frankly, it doesn’t paint a very pretty picture of ABATE.

And that is the one thing that seems universal. There are the former rider training folks who dislike Terry Howard and ABATE for wrongs they feel were done to them. There are the Terry Howard supporters who don’t like ABATE because they feel the organization threw Terry under the bus. And there are the continuing ABATE members and supporters who nevertheless feel that the leadership has been, to use a very, very kind word, remiss in its duties. It makes it easy to understand the thinking of those who think ABATE needs to just go away.

I suspect that’s not going to happen. Let’s see what does happen. It’s going to be interesting.

Biker Quote for Today

Education is important, but racing is importanter.

Motorcycle Humor

Monday, February 9th, 2015
Bikes On The Highway

Ride we must.

I was diddling around on Sunday and googled “motorcycle humor.” Do you have any idea how many sites there are out there with biker jokes?

It seems the all-time champion in the most-told category is the one about the heart surgeon and the mechanic. You know (don’t you?), the one where the surgeon gets the last word in saying his work is like replacing the engine while working through the tailpipe with the engine running.

That one gets told everywhere.

So if case you’re interested, here are a few more, with links to the sites where I found them.

This is from
Stranded On An Island: A man is stranded on a desert island, all alone for ten years. One day, he sees a speck in the horizon. He thinks to himself, “It’s not a ship.” The speck gets a little closer and he thinks, “It’s not a boat.” The speck gets even closer and he thinks, “It’s not a raft.” Then, out of the surf comes this gorgeous blonde woman, wearing a wet suit and scuba gear.

She comes up to the guy and she says, “How long has it been since you’ve had a cigarette?”

“Ten years!” he says.

She reaches over, unzips a waterproof pocket on her left sleeve and pulls out a pack of fresh cigarettes.

He takes one, lights it, takes a long drag and says, “Man, oh man! Is that good!”

Then she asks, “How long has it been since you’ve had a drink of whiskey?”

He replies, “Ten years!”

She reaches over, unzips her waterproof pocket on the right, pulls out a flask and gives it to him.

He takes a long swig and says, “Wow, that’s fantastic!”

Then she starts unzipping this long zipper that runs down the front of her wet suit and she says to him, “And how long has it been since you’ve had some REAL fun?”

And the man replies, “My God! Don’t tell me you’ve got a motorcycle in there!”
Here’s one from
Once upon a time there was a frog who lived in a lake all by himself. He had been given special powers by a local witch. One day he finally ventured out of the lake to get his first glimpse of the world outside. The first thing he saw was a bear chasing a rabbit and so he called out to them and asked them to stop. Then he said to them: “I am a magical frog and since you are the first two animals I have ever seen, I am going to grant you both three wishes. You will each take turns using them and you have to use them now.” The bear (being greedy) went first. I would like for every bear in this forest to be female except for me.” A magical sound and it was done. Then the rabbit. “I would like a helmet.” This confused both the frog and the bear, but after a magical sound there was a helmet. It was the bear’s turn again. “I would like for every bear in the neighboring forest to be female.” A magical sound and it was done. The rabbit went again. “I would like a motorcycle.” Both the frog and the bear wondered why the rabbit didn’t just ask for a lot of money with which he could buy himself a motorcycle, but after a magical sound there was a motorcycle. The bear took his last wish. “I would like for all the bears in the world to be female except for me.” A magical sound and it was done. The rabbit then put on his helmet, started up the motorcycle, and said “I wish the bear was gay” and took off like a bat out of hell.
Next there’s this one from
An engineering student is walking on campus one day, when another engineer student rides up on a shiny new motorcycle.
“Where did you get such a functional bike?” asked the first.
The second engineer replied: “Well, I was walking along yesterday minding my own business when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike. She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes, spread her arms wide and said: “Take what you want.”
The second engineer nodded approvingly: “Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn’t have fit.”
There are a lot more. Here are some more links.


Even Pinterest gets into it.

Here’s Motorcycle Specifications.

It’s endless. Just search.

Biker Quote for Today

On a motorcycle no one ever asks “are we there yet?”

A Good Day To Ride Or Not?

Thursday, February 5th, 2015
Motorcycles on a gravel road

Sometimes we do ride where it's crunchy.

Tuesday was looking iffy. Sure the weather forecast said 60 degrees as a high, but it also said snow later and much colder on Wednesday. What if the cold weather came in early?

I was thinking about riding to work but we had just had a bunch of snow and I wasn’t even sure if our own street was clear or not. I intended to take a close look when I came home on Monday but forgot. Then at dinner I mentioned it and Judy said let’s go for a walk after dinner and we can check it out. But then we forgot that.

So Tuesday morning I got up and decided to give it a shot. Of course I wore all the warm gear.

Turned out our street was clear, so no problem getting out of the neighborhood. I knew the main roads would be clear so the only part I had any concern about was the last two miles to the office. While everything else is arterials, that last bit would probably be called a collector street, and not as likely to be clear. Plus, when I rode to work last week it was along there that I encountered a little ice.

I often compose these blog posts in my head as I’m riding and I was envisioning hitting some ice and going down, thinking about a title for the post along the lines of “Not A Good Day To Ride.” But I didn’t need to use that one. And it appeared I might get all the way to work without seeing one single other motorcycle. That’s very unusual, especially on a day with a predicted high of 60. But I did finally see one other bike eventually. Just that one.

I was also wondering about the parking lot. I knew I was likely to run into ice there. Oh well, if avoiding the ice meant I parked in a car space rather than in the motorcycle parking area, so be it. And yes, there was some ice–not a lot–but I just rolled across it safely.

So it was a good ride in. I love the idea of riding the motorcycle to work in February.

Heading home I knew there would be no problem. I still only saw two other bikes. Where were the rest of you guys on Tuesday?

And nobody tried to kill me. Although one person about three cars ahead did start to pull into my lane without looking to see if someone was there. But that was another car he almost hit, not me. Dude, you need to turn your head and look. And if a car can get swallowed up in someone’s blind spot what does that tell you about a motorcycle?

And now it’s cold and snowy again. But have hope: the weekend forecast looks very good. I will be seeing you out there on Saturday, won’t I? I’ll be there.

Biker Quote for Today

Am I the only one around here who doesn’t think twice about riding in the rain?

Motorcycle Organizations Turning Against MOST

Monday, February 2nd, 2015
Motorcycle Riding Course

Even the pros need training and practice, as this officer has demonstrated.

Some motorcycle groups never supported the MOST program in the first place but now even those that have are turning against it. Look for it to be an issue at the state capitol this session and next.

MOST, or Colorado’s Motorcycle Operator Safety Training program, was created to make motorcycle rider training more affordable, with the expectation that lower costs would encourage more riders to get trained. In order to fund this, an extra $2 is tacked onto the motorcycle registration fees we all pay each year. While some riders have objected to paying out of their pocket for someone else’s benefit, others have been willing to pay the extra to make riding safer and, by doing that, forestall any moves by legislators to reinstate Colorado’s helmet law.

Of the money raised by this $2 fee, 15 percent of it has been earmarked for the administrative costs of operating the program. The rest is to be used to reduce training costs for students.

Now, ABATE of Colorado and others are upset that the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), which administers MOST, has put out a request for proposals with the intent to bring on a contractor to oversee MOST. And the money to pay that contractor would come out of the 85 percent that is supposed to go for training, not the 15 percent for administration.

ABATE’s legislative liaison, Stump, explained that they feel it is too late to be getting a bill in this session that would terminate the $2 fee, although that is definitely a likelihood for next session. In the meantime, efforts are being made to have legislators put pressure on the MOST bureaucrats to justify their intended use of this money in ways not specified in the legislation.

One fly in this ointment, however, seems to be that the actual legislation was not specific about this intent. While the debate and discussion at the time MOST was created clearly held reducing rider training costs as the intent, that wording never made it into the bill.

We’ll see now how much influence motorcyclists have with the state legislature.

(Not related to MOST, but regarding rider training, if you’re in England and want to feel more confident riding there, they do have rider training companies over there, too. We suggest visiting London Motorcycle Training.)

Biker Quote for Today

A smart rider knows what he knows, a wise rider knows what he does not know.