Archive for March, 2015

Riding In The Rain

Monday, March 30th, 2015

I am frequently contacted by people offering me material to use on this blog, and most of the time it offers them some direct benefit if I do. Most of the time I just delete it because it’s not even relevant, but occasionally I’ll take a look and decide that it actually does have some value for motorcyclists.

With that intro you know what’s coming, right?

OK, so what we have here is what is called an infographic, that is, a graphic presenting information that, hopefully can be helpful and of use. This one is presented by Michael Padway and Associates, who describes himself on his site as “The Motorcycle Attorney.” It’s about riding in the rain: gear, safety tips, and checklist of things to have with you.

If you’ve been riding a long time there’s probably nothing on here that you don’t already know, but you never know. If you’re a new rider this is definitely good information. Because if you’re serious about riding motorcycles, you will ride in the rain.

So here it is; check it out. You just might learn something.

Motorcycle Safety Tips for Riding in the Rain

Biker Quote for Today

“The price of man in motion is the occasional collision. Motor racing is dangerous. In order to be competitive in this business it is necessary for both man and machine to operate at the outer edges of their respective performance envelopes. The closer we come to the edge, the greater the risk of falling off.” –Carroll Smith

I Don’t Getz To Be Gang Member?

Thursday, March 26th, 2015
Pee-Wee Herman on motorcycle

I guess this means the FBI doesn't consider Pee-Wee Herman a gang member either. Too bad.

Boy, that one blew up and over in a hurry.

The word hit the street: FBI Admits All Registered Motorcycle Owners Are On Classified Gang List.

Holy smoke, there’s some serious idiocy going on here if that’s true. And for those not detail-oriented, it seemed to be true because the story seemed to have been published by the Washington Post. Presumably an FBI spokesman named Darrin Cornia told a reporter that, “the FBI has been collecting and compiling Department of Motor Vehicles and Drivers License Division records for the purpose of adding those that own motorcycles to a classified gang list since 1994.”

O-o-o-o-o-o K-k-k-k-k-k.

Here’s where we get to the attention to detail part. This supposed Washington Post story was actually published on a spoof website with the url of “washingtonpost.com.co.” Notice that little “.co” after the “.com”? That’s your giveaway. Totally fake.

And it hit Snopes.com right away. If you’re not familiar with Snopes.com you should be. It is the number one place to go to check out whether outrageous stories are true. Snopes very quickly reported that it was false and that “The National Report, where the story originated, is a ‘satire’ site whose disclaimer states that ‘all news articles contained within National Report are fiction, and presumably fake news. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental.'”

That didn’t stop a lot of people from having fun with the whole thing. Jerry Pokorny passed this along: My affiliation is the “Sons of Arthritis.” What’s yours? Gang sign is bent fingers (age related).

So sorry to disappoint many of you. I guess you’ll have to go out and form your own OFMC. Not us, we’ve got the OFMC. We’re a bunch of stud bikers. You know we are, we’ve been telling people that for more than 25 years.

Yeah, we bad.

Biker Quote for Today

A bike is like sex: It’s better to have it.

Dark Clouds Lifting For ABATE Of Colorado

Monday, March 23rd, 2015
ABATE Bike Blessing

ABATE will hold its annual Blessing of the Bikes on May 2.

No one said it in so many terms but the total of what was all said Sunday at the ABATE District 10 meeting indicates ABATE of Colorado is moving beyond its recent troubles and will survive.

Having defaulted on its usurious loan, the group now has a judgment against it for about $32,800. Plus, following a complaint with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office in regard to alleged misuse of funds raised for downed bikers, the group will be required to bring the total in that account up to around $5,000 and then, having stepped completely away from the Randy Run–its former fundraiser for downed bikers–the money will need to be passed along to another group with that same purpose.

That would seem like a lot of bad news. How is it that the clouds are lifting?

Well, turns out, State Coordinator Bruce Downs was contacted by ABATE of Indiana, which is in need of training bikes, and ABATE of Colorado has arranged to sell 53 bikes to Indiana. These are bikes that are currently just being warehoused and are not needed here in Colorado for ABATE’s own rider training program. The money from that sale ought to go a very long way toward putting things right.

As a sign of better times, the group has taken one paid employee back onto the payroll and will also be bringing in an accounting temp to handle the day-to-day bookkeeping. And there is even talk of recreating the organizational newsletter, the Spokesman. Publication of the Spokesman was terminated in the depths of the recent financial crisis. While the decision to bring the newsletter back will necessarily have to wait till the future sorts itself out a little more, the discussion nevertheless points out the change in prospects for the future.

As ABATE backs off somewhat from the former size of its training program, it is at the same time turning its focus back more to being a motorcycle rights organization (MRO). And its moves to work more cooperatively with the Colorado Coalition of Clubs (COC)–with which there had been antagonism for some years–the very first prominent result of that rapprochement is the National Coalition of Motorcyclists annual convention being held here in Colorado, as I mentioned last week. Seems NCOM has a rule that it only holds its conference in states where the local MRO has a good working relationship with the COC.

So the optimism is still guarded, but the signs are saying that ABATE is back. Which, considering that we do need someone at the state capitol advocating for our interests, is good news for all motorcyclists in Colorado.

That said, I will make the aside here that in recent weeks I have been in communication with two different people who are talking about creating alternative MROs. It could be very interesting to see where these efforts go.

Biker Quote for Today

Murphy’s Motorcycle Laws: 2. The fact that your keys are still in your pants pocket will become apparent after you put your gloves on.

Introducing Matt Wessels, A New Contributor Here

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

For nine years now I have operated this blog single-handedly, with the stray guest contributor along the way. Today I’m announcing something new and very different.

Matt Wessels is, among other things, a blogger and like me he is a journalism school graduate. And he rides. Boy, does he ride. We’ll get to that in a moment. The point right now is that Matt can write. That’s important to me and I would hope it is important to you. I do this kind of work professionally so it is important to me that the writing is clear, intelligent, interesting, and not chock full of misspellings, punctuation errors, and all that. I’m expecting Matt to bring that kind of writing that you and I, too, will want to read.

Matt Wessels

Matt Wessels

Now, here’s a bit about him. I asked some basic questions: What kind of bike do you ride? What kind of riding do you do? How long have you been riding? Here’s what Matt gave me back.

Me and riding… Let’s see. I started riding at age 20 on a Kawasaki Eliminator 600. I’ve had a slew of road bikes including cruisers, standards, adventure tourers, and sport bikes. I’ve been riding my Ninja 250, which I bought new in 2008 since then, and it currently has over 64,000 miles on it. Personally I’ve clocked over 100,000 in the decade I’ve been riding and crossed 38 states. The 250 has seen both US coasts and every weather condition on earth. I have not spent a lot of time on the dirt as the motorcycle was usually my primary transportation. I’ve always ridden my bikes year round. I’ve ridden down to -15F on ice and snow. I’ve ridden in cross winds that forced me to lean right going around a left-hand turn. I’ve been pelted with 45mph salt flying across the Bonneville Salt Flats and I’ve experienced a lithium fire on a bike. I don’t say these things to impress, most of the time they were due to my lack of planning, experience, or know-how. I’ve messed up a lot and I’ve learned a lot. Through each difficult experience I’ve learned we’re stronger than we think, that we can endure more than we think, that we can go harder, faster, and better than we ever thought possible, if only we dare try.

Riding to me is being in harmony with life. When I’m on my bike going somewhere, anywhere, I’m moving, and that is how I should be. I like to learn, and am curious about everything in life, and you can’t learn when you’re not moving. I live by the mantra that “I’m never lost, I’m exploring” because life too short to be scared, or unhappy, or bored. I hope I can bring some good information to this site and help riders discover something they didn’t know about the glorious state of Colorado.

In case you’d like to see some of what Matt has written previously, you can check him out at https://thedandooligan.wordpress.com/.

Welcome Matt.

Biker Quote for Today

The perfect man? A poet on a motorcycle. ~Lucinda Williams

Colorado Motorcycle Events Of Interest

Monday, March 16th, 2015
Motorcycles In Parking Lot

Can you tell there's some kind of motorcycle event going on here?

I was updating the Rides and Rallies page the other day and was interested to see that there are several events coming up this summer that are beyond your everyday poker runs and charity rides. So I figured I’d bring them to your attention.

Taking things chronologically, from May 7 to 10, there is the National Coalition of Motorcyclists 30th Annual Convention, which will be held at the Denver Marriott Tech Center, 4900 S. Syracuse.

The first thing I asked myself was “What is the National Coalition of Motorcyclists?” And I’m still wondering a bit. Going to that site I found that this is something connected with that motorcycle lawyer you’ve probably heard of or seen advertising for, Richard Lester. OK, for me that immediately ignites skepticism. Is this just some self-promotional thing? But this is supposed to be the 30th such convention, and presumably they wouldn’t keep holding them if there wasn’t good attendance, so what is this really? If anyone has information they could provide to me I’d appreciate it. I’m very curious.

Next up is the Old Bike Ride 13, which takes off from downtown Golden, on May 17. This is something I do know about. I rode it a few years ago. It’s a ride for old bikes and/or old bikers put on through Colorado’s Brit bike folks and it’s a great chance to see a lot of really different old bikes out on the road. And hey, this year my old 1980 CB750 Custom is actually old enough to qualify, though I didn’t hesitate to ride it a few years ago. It’s not like they run you off the road if your bike isn’t old enough.

Then, June 11 to 14, we have the Steel Horse Sisterhood Summit going on in Loveland, at the Embassy Suites there by the events center just off I-25. I had never heard of the Steel Horse Sisterhood before but as you might guess, it’s an organization for women riders. Guys can attend, however, just as men were welcome a few years ago in Keystone at the International Women and Motorcycling Conference put on by the American Motorcyclist Association.

And then, near and dear to my heart, the Concours Owners Group (COG) is having its national rally June 15 to 19 in Cortez at the Baymont Inn and Suites. I guess this group likes to come to Colorado because they had this annual event up in Frisco just a few years ago. You’ll never see more Concours-s (what the heck is plural for Concours?) than you will at this event. And by definition, this is a group of long-distance riders. I went to that last one in Frisco and I’m going to try to make it to this one, too. I do ride a Concours, after all.

Then one last thing, and this is for you hard-core dirt bike guys. On July 26, what is now apparently called the Colorado Trail Race, but which I believe used to be the Colorado 500, will run on the dirt or gravel all the way from Denver to Durango. No, I’m not good enough yet on my V-Strom to even consider doing this one, but maybe some day. But it sounds like a heckuva ride. And they do tell you what the route is. Maybe what I ought to do is start exploring particular stretches of this route bit by bit.

(Oops. I had put this thing up about the Colorado Trail Race but was informed that that was a mountain bike event, not a motorcycle event. Gosh, maybe someone could come up with a motorcycle event that would be similar. That would be a kick. And whatever did happen to the Colorado 500? Oh well, moving on, back to the original post.)

Now, what’s really nice is that I do know for a fact that there are several other equally interesting events going on here in the state. I just haven’t had time to track them down and get them onto the listing yet. There’s going to be a whole slew of good riding to be done. Ain’t it grand to live in Colorado?!

Biker Quote for Today

Murphy’s Motorcycle Laws: 1. A motorcycle cannot/will not fall over without an audience.

Terry Howard Moving Forward

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Her legal matters cleared away with charges now dropped, Terry Howard, former state coordinator for ABATE of Colorado, is seeking “to reclaim her good name.” And it appears that she has plans to remain active in the motorcycling community.

Terry Howard

Terry Howard

That last statement is based on the fact that she recently emailed me some materials regarding the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Most Operator Safety Training program. I haven’t had a chance yet to discuss with her the source of these materials or her intent in sending them out but this doesn’t strike me as something that would be done by someone who just plans to fade away. More on all that in some later post.

Regarding the first item, I was recently copied on a letter Terry’s attorney sent to the Southwest Scooter News following the dropping of the charges. Terry has been on bad terms with the Scooter News for a long time, so it seemed to be with considerable joy that the publication put up a detailed recitation of the charges and allegations she faced at that time. The attorney, Wade Eldridge, addressed various issues and asked that the Scooter News treat Terry according to the American concept that a person is deemed innocent until found guilty in a court of law. Here is the letter.

Tim Anderson
Southwest Scooter News
P.O. Box 16304
Golden, Colorado 80402-6006

RE: “ABATE leader charged with theft”; All charges DISMISSED

Dear Mr. Anderson:

My law firm represented Terry Howard in connection with the recent charge of felony theft filed against her by the Denver District Attorney. It is important to remember that, in this country, a defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until he or she is proved guilty of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. That presumption of innocence is one of the main differences between American law and that found in other countries, but it is too often forgotten.

The allegations of the charging documents were reported in the February edition of Southwest Scooter News. Before discussing some of the details of the case, it is appropriate to recall a speech from the character Iago in William Shakespeare’s play Othello.

“Good name in man and woman, dear lord, is the immediate jewel of their souls. Who steals my purse steals trash; ‘tis something, nothing; ‘twas mine, ‘tis his, and has been slave to thousands. But he that filches from me my good name robs me of that which not enriches him, and makes me poor indeed.”

The Southwest Scooter News article contains many references to the affidavit in support of the arrest warrant. As is often the case, that is only part of the story.

Terry Howard joined ABATE District 10 (Aurora) in 1998 as general member. She became an officer (rep from District 10) in 2002, and the Northeast regional rep in May 2003. By the end of 2003, she was elected as State Coordinator (then a volunteer position) for 2004. In 2004, the ABATE State Board hired her as the State Manager (a paid [position, and then hired her as ABATE State Coordinator in 2010.

The arrest warrant for Ms. Howard was filed on December 3rd 2014, and she turned herself in of December 7, 2014. She retained my law firm to represent her, and was released on a personal recognizance bond on December 9, 2014. The case was scheduled for a preliminary hearing to be held on February 3, 2015.

There is a provision in Colorado law (Section 18-4-401(6), C.R.S), which says that in a theft case, the prosecution must, upon request, provide the defendant with a “bill of particulars” which spells out the precise manner in which the defendant is alleged to have committed theft. On December 19, 2014, my office filed a motion requesting such a “bill of particulars” from the District Attorney.

While the motion for Bill of Particulars was pending, we reviewed ABATE documents that had been provided to my office by the District Attorney. One of those documents had the words “Forged checks with No Receipts” at the top of it. This document referred to twelve (not 22) specific checks that were considered questionable, in the three years from 2010 to 2013 (a time when probably 100 various checks were written).

I explained to the District Attorney that, by virtue of her position with ABATE, Ms. Howard had the authority to write herself checks in order to reimburse her for cash expenditures she had made for ABATE. For each one of the twelve checks in question, my office provided the District Attorney with corresponding receipts, bank records and credit card statements which showed that each one of the suspect checks was a legitimate reimbursement.

The office of the District Attorney never did provide the “bill of particulars” that I had requested. Instead, on January 23, 2015, the District Attorney filed a motion to dismiss the case against Terry Howard. This was not part of a ‘plea bargain’ in which a defendant pleads guilty to some lesser charge, but a straightforward dismissal of all charges.

I have enclosed a recent photograph of Ms. Howard, taken after the case against her was dismissed. Ms. Howard and I ask that you print that photograph, as well as this letter. Terry Howard wants to reclaim her good name.

Very truly yours

Wade H. Eldridge
Attorney at Law

Biker Quote for Today

If you want to be happy for a year, marry. If you want to be happy for a lifetime, ride a motorcycle.

Filling Two Tanks For $13.50

Monday, March 9th, 2015
Bike At Cherry Creek Res

There's still plenty of snow but that's no reason not to ride.

Saturday was the first good day to ride in March so of course I did. I hadn’t seen the extended forecast, however, which says that it was just the first of a string of even nicer days. That’s OK. It’s not as if I regret having been out on the bikes. And now I get to look forward to probably riding to work on Tuesday and Wednesday (assuming I go to work both those days, which is not certain).

I had just filled the tank on the Suzuki the last time I rode it, so it didn’t need anything, but both the Honda and the Kawasaki were down a bit on fuel. Of course, in winter, when you ride less, it’s best to keep the tank close to full, with some fuel stabilizer mixed in, so whereas I might not have filled both of them, in this case I did. You know, go ride and then plan your route so you’re coming by the gas pumps on your way home.

Do you love the way gas prices have dropped? I filled both tanks for a total of $13.50. Heck, not that long ago I was paying that much to fill just the tank on the Honda. And the Kawi has the big tank. Gotta love it.

I know we’ve all read about how lower gas prices are not an across-the-board good thing, because some folks in the oil and gas industry are getting laid off. I’m sorry for them, but they have to be aware that they’re in a boom and bust industry. I’m a contractor and it’s the same with me. When the economy starts choking, contractors are the first to be cut loose. You know that going in. It’s how the system works.

For the rest of us, in regard to gas prices, I love feeling annoyed when I have to pay some outrageous price higher than $2.00 a gallon. Highway robbery! It’s so easy to forget that just a little while ago we were paying more than $3.50 a gallon.

So the news reports say that truck sales are up now that gas prices are down, and people are driving more. Prices will inevitably rise as demand picks up. You won’t see me buying a truck, though. You will see me riding my bikes more and more as the weather improves. And the price of gas will have no influence on that whatsoever.

Biker Quote for Today

I ride because it lets my soul out to play.

Careful Out There On The Road–More Weird Encounters

Thursday, March 5th, 2015
Gator On Road

Yeah, aren't you glad you weren't coming the other direction right at this moment!

It’s been quite a while so I figured it was time to see what weird stuff people have encountered on the road lately. This is from an Adventure Riders thread. Weirdness ahead.

  • We pulled out of the restaurant and headed down the road with a little bit of on-coming traffic. One of those vehicles was a small pickup truck (think the old Rangers or Toyotas) with a canoe on a top rack and tied to each bumper. As we closed on the truck, the rope on the rear bumper came loose, the canoe lifted off the rack, came down on our side of the truck and swung out across our lane, sweeping the road. Not much of a shoulder on those country roads so we all headed for the ditch. I don’t remember anyone getting hurt but I do remember having to pull a couple of those bikes back up on the pavement.
  • Two traffic barrels with the ST1300. I thought I was being clever… just a tad too fast for the maneuver. I got to look like a jackass in front of a bunch of stopped traffic. Had to stop about a mile down the road to re-attach my mirror housings.
  • Whilst riding through some of the most beautiful New Zealand scenery early one winters morning just out of Queenstown a sheep fell from an 40-50 foot cliff and landed on my handle bars sending me an my new Suzuki GT750 down the road. I didn’t have a clue what happened but a following driver reported it as she saw the lot. Damage was surprising minimal to the bike as the sheep some how fell under the bike and literally wore itself out protecting my bike.
  • While riding down an icy back road at 45 mph on my 125 Honda following a snowmobile his track broke and came out and up right at my head. I ducked and it just barely cleared my head. He crashed in a ditch, no brakes!
  • Almost got decapitated once by a slab of ice 7 feet wide by 18 feet long that slid off the roof of a bread truck.
  • My dad was giving a guy a ride one time, and a bird was flying across the road… He yelled duck! And then pasted himself to the tank. The guy on the back, he was looking straight up trying to find the duck… Took him right off the bike. Just a little bird – imagine what a flying turkey could do!
  • Big fat buzzard at 60mph. It blasted about $500 worth of lights right of my bike. Stupid jerk buzzard.
  • 17 yrs old…driving home from work on the QEW in Burlington, ON….averaging around 125km/h on my ’78 CB750F Super sport….pickup in front of me hits a bump and an empty 5 gal bucket goes straight up out of his box and tumbles end over end in the air and takes me full in the chest…. felt like I got hit with a 2×4 across the ribs…kept on trucking and now have a bucket sitting straight up on my gas tank against my chest between my arms…wtf??…. took the next offramp and threw it in the ditch….a few bruises…
  • A green heron, from behind. I was riding my KTM along the edge of a corn field. There was some tall grass and a small stream on my right. He bolted out of the stream, then turned and headed in the same direction as me, but I overtook him and he landed in my lap. I’m still not sure who was more surprised. He donated a few feathers, squawked a bit and then thundered off.
  • Many Moons Ago I Decided to race a small (3ft) kangaroo hopping parallel to a dirt road I was riding. When we got to about 30mph he decided to hop on to my tank! WTF for a moment there we were eye ball to eye ball. Not wearing the right cloths he gashed my leg as we crashed, he left me to ride my bike into the ground.

____________________________________

OK, those last three have some interesting similarities. Strange stuff.

And now I have a quote that I also pulled out of this thread.

Biker Quote for Today

When it comes to deciding to hit or avoid animals, the rule is if you can eat it all in one sitting then hit, if multiple then try to avoid.

Want To Get Paid To Ride A Harley In Europe?

Monday, March 2nd, 2015
Harley rider wanted

Somebody's in for a heck of good time.

You know this is going to be a long shot, but hey, someone has to win, right? Might be you.

Alan passed this along to me. Seems Harley-Davidson is having a contest where the winner gets to ride a Harley they provide through Europe for two months, all expenses paid. They want you to tell everyone about your ride and at the end they’ll give you 25,000 euros and you get to keep the bike. How totally sweet would that be?

And yeah, like I said, your chances of being picked, or mine, are pretty dang slim but you cannot win if you do not play.

Here’s a bit of what H-D has to say about your entry:

Sounds good doesn’t it?

Think you’ve got what it takes? Send your application to discovermore@harley-davidson.com and tell us:

  • A bit about yourself and why you want the job
  • The dream ride you’d like to do in Europe
  • Your passion for motorcycle riding
  • What makes you the right candidate

A great way to tell us your story is to upload a short video online (send us the YouTube link) that tells us exactly why you are the best person for the job, but how you submit your application is completely up to you! Just remember to also share links to your social media profiles with your submission.

If you’re interested you have until March 20 to get your entry in. Of course they want you to promote the whole thing on your social media venues. It’s all about advertising, and doing so pretty inexpensively. That’s how things work these days. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

Biker Quote for Today

I don’t always ride my Harley, but when I do I take my tools and cellphone.