Archive for April, 2016

Examiner Resurrection: Motorcycle Thieves Getting Their Just Desserts

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

LoJack, the makers of a tracking system for finding stolen motorcycles and other things, used to supply me with these fun stories on a regular basis. This was the first one. And of course, this is another Examiner resurrection.

Motorcycle thieves should be drawn and quartered. But first you have to catch them.


The LoJack logo.

One bit of technology that is helping catch bike thieves is the security system marketed by LoJack. A LoJack technician hides a radio transmitter somewhere on your vehicle. If someone steals the vehicle you contact LoJack, the transmitter is remotely activated, and police can often pick up the signal and track it to its source.

LoJack, in a totally self-serving but understandable move, likes to publicize its successes. Recently they published their 2008 list of best bike thief busts. Here’s their list. Kinda makes you smile.

  • Most Arrests Made in Recoveries – In less than 48 hours, LoJack for Motorcycles helped Las Vegas police and the Southern Nevada Auto Theft Task Force uncover two theft rings, leading to the arrest of ten suspects. Four stolen Honda motorcycles and a Yamaha ATV were recovered in the two raids.
  • Fastest Motorcycle Recovery Leads to Big Chop Shop – A Yamaha YZR was recovered just eight minutes after the LoJack for Motorcycles system was activated. The recovery led Los Angeles police to find seven other stolen bikes and parts with an estimated total worth of over $100,000.
  • Best Bust Reflecting the Trend of Selling Stolen Bikes Online – A potential motorcycle buyer saw an online advertisement for a motorcycle and contacted the posters about the bike. What the buyer didn’t know was that the poster did not own the bike advertised. Once the posters were contacted by the interested buyer, they allegedly stole a motorcycle that fit the description in the advertisement. Using this method, thieves could minimize the time they would be in possession of the stolen bike. LoJack’s recovery system located the bike ten minutes after activation about 75 miles away from where it was taken.
  • Bike Stolen and Recovered Four Times in Nine Months – A Tuscon, Ariz. resident’s Yamaha YZF-R6 was stolen and recovered for the fourth time since August 2007. LoJack for Motorcycles helped police locate the bikes 14 minutes after activation.
  • Best LoJack Early Warning Recovery – LoJack’s Early Warning system notified the owner of a Yamaha YZF-R6 after the bike was moved from his apartment’s parking lot without his permission. Police were able to track the system’s silent signal 20 minutes later moving on a local interstate highway. When officers closed in on the transmission, they had difficulty finding the R6. As officers passed a nearby cargo van, the signal’s direction arrow reversed. The police stopped the van and discovered the R6 and two other stolen motorcycles inside. Two suspects were arrested.

Biker Quote for Today

The necessities of life: 1. Air 2. Water 3. Food 4. My bike (And not necessarily in that order.)

Examiner Resurrection: Share The Road, Not My Lane

Monday, April 25th, 2016

I think we can all relate to this one, an Examiner resurrection from October 2008.

motorcycle on highway

Heading up into the hills.

No, you may NOT use a portion of my lane just because my motorcycle is not as wide as your car.

Saturday was a terrific Fall day to be riding up on the Peak to Peak Highway and we were there. It got blustery later but in the early part of the day it was wonderful.

Then we headed on down the Golden Gate Canyon road. Along the way I was looking for a good place to stop and get some photos. Coming in our direction was a bicyclist with a few cars behind looking for a safe place to pull around. If I had been driving defensively, as I credit myself with doing most of the time, I should have posed the question to myself, “What if that car tries to pull past the bicycle as I go past?”

But I was looking for a place to shoot some pictures, and I was cruising in the left portion of my lane, so I’ll let you guess the words that entered my mind when that car crossed the center line to come around the bicycle–heading straight toward me. I swerved sharply to the right and the jerk went on his way.

Rhetorically I might wonder, “What was that jerk thinking?” but I know what he was thinking. He was thinking that I was just a motorcycle and there was plenty of room for him, the bicycle, and me, all on the same piece of highway. Wrong!! Wrong, wrong, wrong!!

My motorcycle is a vehicle with the exact same rights to my piece of the road as any other vehicle. He wouldn’t pull that same stunt if I was driving a big SUV or even a Honda Civic. What makes him think it’s OK to do it when the other vehicle is a motorcycle? I was a little distracted already. What if I had been so distracted that I didn’t immediately notice him coming into my lane?

I know I have a responsibility to drive defensively, and I do most of the time, but I’m human. There’s no excuse for my lapse of attention but what the guy in the car did was darn close to criminal. And it was absolutely illegal.

So I’m going to repeat myself: No, you may NOT use a portion of my lane.

Biker Quote for Today

“We all undertake a modicum of risk every time we thumb the starter – it’s just inherent to the sport.” ~Sport Rider~

Examiner Resurrection: DNC Riders: The Best One-Day Motorcycle Ride From Denver

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

That title dates this old Examiner post: back in 2008 when the Democratic National Convention came to Denver. It’s still a great ride.

You ride motorcycles. And you’re coming to Colorado for the Democratic National Convention. There has to be a way to combine the two.

Map of day ride out of Denver

The route.

No problem. All you need is one day and a motorcycle. I’ve got the route and I can direct you to the folks who have the bikes.

(Big hint for the two-wheels challenged: This route makes a great ride in a car, too.)

Need to rent a bike? Check out these rentals:

Colorado Tourbike Rentals and Sales
Eagle Rider of Denver
Mile High Harley-Davidson

There are others. These are just the ones with websites. For others and their phone numbers, see this listing (Definitely see this listing–the info above is very incomplete–KB, 2016).

OK. Now you’ve got a bike, where do you go?

Funny you should ask. I just happen to have a terrific route mapped out for you. The starting point is in Golden. I won’t try to tell you how to get there because I don’t know where you’re coming from. Ask the folks you rent from how to get to Golden. It’s west of Denver, at the foot of the mountains.

You’ll be going up high so be sure to bring warm clothes. It can snow any day of the year at 14,000 feet. And plan on taking most of the day. It may only be 250 miles but you’ll be moving at a very leisurely pace.

The road you want going out of Golden is U.S. 6. Check the map. This road heads up Clear Creek Canyon so you’re immediately into some beautiful, winding roads. Take Clear Creek up to the turnoff to Blackhawk, which is CO 119. This puts you on what is called the Peak to Peak Highway. It’s actually pieces of several highways so just remember you want to continue north until you reach Estes Park.

From Blackhawk, CO 119 winds north along high ridges to Nederland. At Nederland you continue north on CO 72, which ends at the intersection with CO 7. Right would take you to Lyons. Left takes you to Estes Park. Go left.

At Estes Park you want to catch westbound U.S. 34. If you’ve been enjoying yourself already — and you should have been — get ready for the really good stuff. You’re headed up over Trail Ridge Road. Trail Ridge is the highest through road in the United States. Eight miles of this road is above 11,000 feet. Take your time; there’s a lot to see.

Coming down off Trail Ridge you reach Grand Lake. This is a really nice little mountain town and worth a stop. Lunch perhaps. Then continue on 34 to Granby, where you’ll pick up U.S. 40 eastbound. A few miles and you’ll reach Winter Park and then start the ascent over Berthoud Pass. This is another good one.

Just past Empire you will meet I-70. Go east a few miles to Idaho Springs and get off at the second exit, for CO 103. You’re now on your way to Squaw Pass, but we have a little diversion for you before you get to the pass.

As you wind your way up the pass you’ll pass a lake and then see the turnoff for CO 5. This road, the highest paved road in the U.s., takes you to the top of Mount Evans, one of Colorado’s 14ers. (Those are mountains over 14,000 feet.) There is a $3 fee for motorcycles. It’s worth it. Don’t be in a hurry. You can’t pass on this road. You want to take it slow. Otherwise you have no business being here.

When you reach the parking area at the top you’ll still have about 150 feet to climb on foot to get to the peak. After that it’s all the way back down and you know, roads look totally different going the other direction so it’s like you get a two-for-one deal.

Back at CO 103 again, continue east to Bergen Park and CO 74. Follow this to I-70 and take the road east back to Denver. It’s perfectly acceptable to smile a lot as you return your rental.

Biker Quote for Today

Two wheels, one engine, no limits.

First Peak-to-Peak Ride For 2016

Monday, April 18th, 2016
Motorcycle along the Peak-to-Peak highway

Along the Peak-to-Peak.

Friday was hazy so the temperature never got up to what had been forecast but it was still nice enough I decided it was time to head for the hills.

I make it a point to just stay out of the hills all winter because even when it’s nice down here on the flatlands it can be cold and icy up there. Of course, if you ride on three wheels like Dom Chang then it doesn’t matter. I don’t, so it does.

I took the V-Strom up Clear Creek Canyon and it was a great day to be out. I didn’t wear any electrics because I figured it was warm enough I wouldn’t need them. That has been a mistake at times in the past but I was confident this time. Traffic was light and I didn’t have anybody behind me. I like not having anybody behind me on roads like that. And the people in front of me were making good time, no laggards.

Reaching Black Hawk it was still warm and I had not even seen snow in the shady areas. A little past Black Hawk and that all changed. Now the shady areas on the north-facing slopes had a lot of snow and the temperature dropped about 10 degrees. My legs were getting chilly because all I had there was jeans; on top I had layers.

All the way up Clear Creek Canyon and along the Peak-to-Peak the road was completely clear–no ice, no sand. But by the time I got to where the road down through Golden Gate Canyon peels off from the Peak-to-Peak there was snow everywhere (except on the road) and even cooler temps. I was looking forward to heading down.

And then there was sand in several places on the Golden Gate Canyon road. You’re definitely going to want to take it easy if you go up that road any time soon.

But what a great day it was to be riding up in the hills, nevertheless. Did you know the roads up there have a lot of curves? I’ve been riding down on the prairie the last few months and you don’t see near as many of those down here. Wonder why?

It was especially fun, too, being on the V-Strom. That bike is light and agile and you just zip around those curves. My other bikes are both heavier and just don’t have that feel to them. If I was in a place where I could only have one bike I could have the V and be plenty happy. But I’m glad I’m not in that place.

And then I was getting back near out of the canyon and I passed a guy on a Ural sidecar rig going the other way. I can’t help but wonder, was that you, Dom?

Biker Quote for Today

Meditation doesn’t mean you have to sit still.

Examiner Resurrection: Cripple Creek To Salida, The Long (And Really Nice!) Way

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

This is another resurrection of a post on that has been removed due to upgraded, incompatible technology.

Cripple Creek To Salida map

Our route.

We took a particularly nice ride last Saturday, and while I wouldn’t expect anyone else to take the exact same ride, I want to offer it here so you can consider pieces of it whenever it might work for you.

We started out from Cripple Creek, where we had ridden to the previous day. Most people just take the main road in to Cripple Creek from the north, Colorado 67 from Divide and then county road 61. What you may not realize is that there is another road that heads northwest out of the town, toward either Guffey or Parkdale. This is county road 1 and we took it as far as the intersection of county roads 12 (to Guffey) and 11. We took 11. This brought us out on Colorado 9 a little north of where that road hits U.S. 50 at Parkdale.

At U.S. 50 we headed west just a short distance to where you see the turn-off to the south access to the Royal Gorge. This was a left turn onto county road 3. This little road winds and climbs through some beautiful country. It’s a tiny, narrow little strip of asphalt and there is almost no traffic on it at all, and it comes out on the south side of the Royal Gorge Bridge. Now, to continue without backtracking you’ll have to pay the entrance fee to the Royal Gorge, which is $23 per person, but if you’ve never been there you really ought to go see it once, and there’s no better route than this one. And heck, if you ask for a motorcycle discount you might get one. We did.

So we crossed the bridge and got back on U.S. 50 headed for Canon City. Just before reaching the town we took the turn-off to go up and over Skyline Drive, which is this gorgeous little one-lane, one-way road along the crest of the hogback on the west end of town. No charge and a fabulous ride. Coming down at the other end you drop right into town.

Next we headed east to Florence on Colorado 115 and turned south at Florence on Colorado 67. Colorado 67 feeds into Colorado 96 and when we hit the junction of Colorado 165 we headed south on it to Bishop Castle. This one-man project stands probably 150 feet high and has towers and a smoke-breathing dragon, as well as all sorts of climbing and exploration possibilities. It’s totally unique and you really have to see it to comprehend it. It will blow your mind.

We backtracked on Colorado 165, rejoined Colorado 96, rejoined U.S. 50 at Cotopaxi, and rode on it to Salida for the night. As the crow flies we probably hadn’t gone 50 miles but it was a full day of riding, we saw some terrific sights, and we rode some terrific roads. How could it get any better than that?

Biker Quote for Today

The best path through life is the open road.

Performance Cycle Goes Big

Monday, April 11th, 2016
The new Performance Cycle store.

Performance Cycle's new digs.

As did many thousands of other motorcyclists–apparently–I received a card inviting me to the grand opening at the new location for Performance Cycle on Saturday. New location: 7375 S. Fulton, in Centennial. I figured I wanted to see the place, so I went.

trying on helmets

Just an eye-catching scene I noticed.

The card had promised a schwag bag for the first 100 in the doors and while that wasn’t a big motivator I did think it might be cool if I got one and it had some cool stuff in it. Ha! Doors opened at 9 a.m. and I walked in around 9:45. By that time there must have been more than 100 people waiting in line to make their purchases. The place was packed, and that’s saying something because it is huge.

I don’t know if this is the biggest motorcycle shop in Denver but if it isn’t it has got to be one of the biggest. Completely new building with about anything you could want. Including a lounge with complimentary beverages and an air hockey table so you can while away the time while your bike is being worked on. A section for helmets that is bigger than some shops I’ve been in. A storage area for tires that looked like it must have a couple thousand tires on hand. And of course, pretty much any motorcycle gear or apparel you could possibly be looking for.

And apparently there were a lot of people looking for gear. I was just there for a look-see but most people seemed to be there as shoppers. I would not want to stand in line that long to buy but I guess the today-only 20 percent discount coupons they were handing out made a persuasive argument to a lot of people.

Will I shop here? Yeah, it’s in my part of town and I figure they will probably have anything I’m looking for. I might want to do some price comparisons, though. We’ll see.

And one other point in their favor: they’re open on Mondays.

Inside Performance Cycle's new space.

The place is huge.

Biker Quote for Today

Note to self: Never ride a motorcycle in stilettos and a miniskirt. — Maggie Grace

Resurrections From Examiner

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

I no longer write for, but I did for about eight years. During that time they went through numerous tech upgrades, with the result finally that all the work I did for the first nine months or so was no longer compatible with their latest software. So all that very early stuff was removed and is no longer available. I consider that a shame because some of that was very good (my own not so humble opinion).

So I decided the thing to do would be to put some of the best stuff up here on this blog, and here’s the first. I will make note that one thing has changed radically in the interim, which is that the price of gasoline has plummeted. It’s a good indicator of how the future may not be at all like we currently envision it.

I Have Seen The Future And It Seems To Work Just Fine

Woman in skirt with scooter

They do things differently in Europe.

The middle-aged woman, wearing three-inch heels and a black cocktail dress, paused next to the little scooter. Popping open the storage compartment, she stashed the black shawl she was wearing and put on the denim jacket she took from the compartment. Pulling on a helmet, she shut the compartment, and shakily, on her high heels, rocked the scooter off its center stand. Finally, she unfurled the scooter’s protective skirt and draped it over her in order to ward off dirt or water and to maintain her modesty. Then she drove away.

Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas any more. Heck we’re not even in the U.S. My wife and I witnessed this vignette last week in Paris. Clearly they do things differently over there.

Welcome to the land of $11 gasoline. While we moan about $4 gas, the Europeans paid that much and more for years. Now we pay $4 and they pay $11. Scooters are king on the Continent and you really know that’s true when you see this sort of scene.

Of course, it’s not as if I didn’t know about this, but our recent two weeks in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands brought home a number of points I didn’t realize.

For one, you really see the most bikes of all sorts in Paris, at least of the places we spent time. In Toulouse there are many, many scooters, too, but a really phenomenal number of bicycles. In Bruges, Belgium, bicycles constitute an even greater majority. At the train station in Bruges they had racks and racks and racks of bicycles, thousands of them, apparently parked there by their owners who were taking the train in to Brussels or Ghent to work.

In Rotterdam, the city center was destroyed during World War II and has been rebuilt with wide streets. Consequently, there were nowhere near as many bikes, motorcycles, or scooters. Still, rather than sharing the streets with cars and trucks, bikes and scooters have a separate lane of their own on both sides of the street.

The key in all these cities, however, is public transportation and two-wheeled transportation. The Europeans saw the need for fuel-efficient transportation long ago. Now that we’re feeling the bite in gas costs we’re finally seeing the light, too. I have seen the future and it appears to work just fine.

Biker Quote for Today

The only thing better than a motorcycle is a woman riding one.

Motorcycle Self-Canceling Turn Signals

Monday, April 4th, 2016
Motorcycle Turn Signals

How nice it would be to have self-canceling turn signals on your bike.

We all know the story. Your buddy riding behind you or in front of you has forgotten to cancel his turn signal and so you ride along mile after mile with that thing flashing. Maybe you hold out your hand and open and close your fingers, trying to give him the signal that his blinkers are on but he’s not paying attention to you, either. Why can’t motorcycle manufacturers come up with self-canceling turn signals?

Actually, they have. Yamaha has had self-canceling signals for years, but they’re only based on riding a certain distance and then they shut off. Which is not bad, all in all, and definitely better than nothing. And there are also after-market producers who offer relays you can wire into your bike that will shut the signal off after a certain amount of time. But nobody has ever come up with a signal that works like those in cars, where it continues blinking until you make your turn and then shuts off.

It’s not hard to understand why–the physics of it all are very, very different with a car vs. a bike. We don’t have steering wheels that rotate one way and then rotate back the other way.

Abcs Sistem Ltd., a company out of Slovenia, has announced that it has cracked this nut and is now offering its Smart Turn System (STS) for use on any bike.

According to the company’s release, “The STS is a device that analyzes more than 300 different types of data to automatically cancel turn signals if a rider has forgotten to turn them off after making a turn or lane change. . . . The Smart Turn System is a small device directly wired into a motorcycle’s existing turn signal system and its internal sensors capture and send data through a complex algorithm to help determine the bike’s lean angle, heading, vibrations, and acceleration to detect if the turn has been completed and if the turn signals need to be canceled. All of this is done automatically, allowing the rider to focus on the road and enjoy the ride.”

The STS is supposed to be available for pre-order right now, at a price of 140 euros. That works out to about $170 at today’s exchange rate. They say installation is easy and you can do it yourself. I don’t know about you but I think this is a very welcome development. That said, am I going to pay $170 times three to put these things on each of my bikes? Not likely. But if it really works I have to believe the manufacturers will soon all either develop their own systems or perhaps license this one and put it on all their bikes. And that element of motorcycling will finally enter the 20th century.

Biker Quote for Today

Just once I would like to wake up, turn on the news, and hear “Monday has been canceled. Get out and ride.”