Archive for April, 2017

Not So Much A Swap Show Anymore

Thursday, April 27th, 2017
used motorcycle parts seller

This kind of display may not be found at the Colorado Motorcycle Expo in the future.

For a lot of years the Colorado Motorcycle Show & Swap was a fixture in the Denver area. You could go and look at custom bikes, shop for used parts, and even buy new stuff. Meanwhile, its presence served to keep bigger organizations such as the International Motorcycle Show from setting up here. It was locally owned and run.

New management took over a couple years ago at what turned out to be a really bad time. Renamed the Colorado Motorcycle Expo, at their first event, in 2016, there was a conflict between two motorcycle clubs and a shooting that left one person dead. The last day of the show was canceled. Come 2017 and there was still bad blood hanging over things and the decision was made to nix the event for this year. But it should be back in 2018.

From what I hear, the 2018 event will not be like the events in the past. For one thing, the 1-percenter clubs will very possibly not be there.

The following information all came in a conversation at my ABATE of Colorado District 10 meeting a few days ago.

The question was raised as to whether ABATE should have a booth at next year’s expo. Apparently, the managers of the venue have said there will be no clubs or colors allowed. However, the managers of the expo say colors are OK but no 1-percenter clubs. So they’ll need to get that sorted out.

Regardless, the Colorado Confederation of Clubs (COC) says if these rules are put in place none of their members will attend. ABATE had had a confrontational relationship with the COC for many years but recently there has been a rapprochement. So if the COC is going to boycott, should ABATE support the COC by also not having a booth? Rules against colors are generally something ABATE has consistently opposed as discriminatory. What should we do?

The idea we get is that the managers of the event hope to elevate the expo to more of a new bikes, new gear, industry expo kind of thing along the lines of the annual Home and Garden Show at the Denver Convention Center. Or like the International Motorcycle Shows in other cities. No more old parts. No more booths for 1-percenter clubs. An attempt to appeal to a broader audience. Or to put it differently, not as much ink, not as much black leather and chains, and just generally more family friendly.

Of course that would only work if the general public was alerted that the clubs will no longer be there. And apparently the plan is indeed to advertise widely to that effect. So if the clubs want to boycott that seems to be just fine with the folks running the show.

I know this is fairly rough, and I can’t guarantee the complete accuracy of all of what I’ve presented. But you get the picture. Changes are in the offing. I’ll be watching with interest.

Biker Quote for Today

Here’s to the girls who make the other girls wish they could ride, too.

Riding To Alabama

Monday, April 24th, 2017
trip listing

The trip listing from the club website.

I did finally make up my mind to go on this “Pilgrimage to Barber” with others in the Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Riders Club (RMMRC). Barber, just to be clear, is the Barber Motorsports Museum and racetrack outside of Birmingham, Alabama.

It’s going to be an interesting trip in a lot of ways. In fact, so interesting–at least in my conception–that I pitched it as a story idea to Mark Tuttle, editor-in-chief of Rider magazine. Mark sent me a quick acknowledgement email saying he’d get back to me ASAP on my idea.

I’m not totally sure why I’ve had such uncertainty about going on this trip. Presumably it has to do with a) taking a long trip with folks I either do not know or hardly know, b) at least one 400+ mile day, and c) doing so many miles in such a short time. But I routinely go on trips of this length with the OFMC in fewer days and I have taken at least one other long trip with strangers and had a great time. So what’s the big deal? Why was I hesitant?

Frankly, I still can’t answer that question. I just was. I finally concluded that the best approach would be to just do it and see how it goes. If we really don’t like it we won’t do it again in the future.

What I pitched to Mark correlates to those issues.

The core concept is that the RMMRC is a particularly active riding club and such groups offer an excellent opportunity to connect with others who share your passion, not to mention actually go riding. That core is then fleshed out in addressing the issues I mentioned. At least part of the idea is helping other people facing similar uncertainties to resolve their concerns.

A sidebar point I hope to address–perhaps in an actual sidebar, written by her–is that Judy has never been on an extended ride with a bunch of other people. This is something I’ve been doing with the OFMC every year for more than 25 years but she has never done it. I’m hoping her take on it all will be fresh and interesting.

Then there’s the basic idea of a “pilgrimage” to Barber. Visiting the holy shrine. If you’re into motorcycles, Barber is one of the premier places to see a vast array of different bikes through the decades. Plus, one RMMRC member on this trip is a member of the Barber Board of Directors and thus will be able to get us possibly onto the track for a lap or two and definitely into the catacombs where bikes are stored before being rebuilt and put on display. In other words, a true fanatic’s dream.

So we’ll see what Mark thinks of the story idea. Either way, we’re going and I’ll be writing about it here.

Biker Quote for Today

A hundred years from now my great grandkids will not recall my bank balance, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove, but they will remember I rode a motorcycle.

Hey Dude, Back Off!

Thursday, April 20th, 2017
Motorcycles on the road

Be a nice person; don’t crowd the guy in front of you.

Riding with your buddies is one of the great joys of motorcycling but there are times when you just wish someone wasn’t with you. That happened to me recently.

I’ve ridden with this one guy a number of times and he was along this one day in a group. Initially I was in the two spot and he was third, behind me. For convenience I’ll call him Joe. While I don’t spend all my time looking in the mirror, I do check it periodically and I was a bit perturbed on several occasions to take a glance and find Joe really close–too close for my taste.

Now, I’ll give Joe credit that he was in staggered formation, so even though he was close he was not right on my tail. I’ve ridden with guys who get close AND get right up behind you. I totally hate that!

It was not a big deal, although there was one time when the leader moved into the lane to the left and as I threw out my left arm to signal I also looked back (like any smart person ought to do). There was Joe, staggered to my left but almost right up with me. I hesitated a moment and he dropped back and I safely changed lanes. That should not have happened. He shouldn’t have been there.

Later we were in a different order. Joe was in the two spot and I was third. Now I had the opportunity to really observe.

I had to feel for the leader. Joe stuck tight behind him, but now the road was more curvy that it had been earlier. And in the curves you don’t necessarily stay in staggered formation; you follow the curve where the line leads you.

What I saw was not pretty. Any number of times I saw Joe touching his brake because the leader was moving over in the lane on a curve and Joe was too close. Other times, Joe actually ran off onto the shoulder a little to avoid the leader as the curve carried him to the center of the road.

Come on dude, if you’re hitting you brake and running off on the shoulder in order to avoid the guy in front of you, you’re too dang close!! Back the heck off!! What’s going on in your head?

Biker Quote for Today

How are the brakes? Don’t know, I never touched them.

Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of Bikes

Monday, April 17th, 2017
motorcycles on the road

It’s the time of year to head for the hills.

Saturday was my first day on a bike up in the hills this year. I was not alone.

I headed out with a group of five others from the Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Riders Club, three Gold Wings, two Kawis (including mine), and one Ducati. Pretty soon, though, Donnie got impatient with the traffic and blasted off on his own, leaving five of us.

We headed out on Parker Road, CO 83, all the way down to Colorado Springs. That part of the ride itself was pretty interesting because I realized it had been a long, long time since I’ve gone all the way to the Springs on that road. I had forgotten how beautifully Pikes Peak rises up in front of you as you get down south. I was seriously wishing I had my camera with me to get a shot of the rider in front of me set off against the mountain.

Oh, and I want to mention that by this point we had already seen many dozens of other riders. This was a day to be out on the bikes.

Reaching the Springs we jumped on I-25 briefly until we reached the exit for US 24, which goes up through Manitou Springs, past Pikes Peak, to Woodland Park. Here again I was struck with the realization that I had not been up this road in this direction in many years. I know I came down it somewhat recently but all roads look different when you’re going the other way. So it was almost like going down a road I’d never been on, especially coming into Woodland Park.

Normally my experience of Woodland Park is to come in on CO 67 from Deckers and turn west when I hit US 24. So there’s that whole portion of Woodland Park east of CO 67 that I almost never see. Holy smokes, there’s a whole town there.

The whole deal with these RMMRC impromptu rides is generally “Ride to eat, eat to ride,” so we stopped for lunch in Woodland Park. Ross, who was leading on his Ducati, pulled into a bank parking lot. I thought that was odd, that the bank might object, but he said he parks there all the time. And considering how huge this lot is, it’s hard to see how the bank could object too strenuously.

We had lunch at the Ute Inn. The service was slow but I still recommend it because the food was definitely good. I enjoyed what I had but I looked enviously at what some of the other guys had, too.

After lunch we headed up CO 67 through Deckers and on to Pine and US 285. Then back to Denver on that road. This was my first time in the hills this year and I guess I knew it could get chilly but I didn’t wear the electric vest. I could have used it, though it was not very chilly without it. Still, it was nice to get back to lower elevations and warmth.

And oh, everywhere we went in the hills there were hordes of bikers, too. Seemed like everyone was out. I guess winter is definitely over. Time to start putting some real miles on the bikes.

Biker Quote for Today

There exists a set of people who believe 2 > 4.

Creeping Gear Envy

Thursday, April 13th, 2017
motorcycle jacket ad

This is the ad that caught my eye.

There is very little I desire that I don’t have. I’m a past master at the idea that happiness is wanting what you have, not what you don’t have. Plus, at this point in my life, if there is something I really want I generally go buy it. But generally, there isn’t much I want so there is very little I buy.

This is frustrating for my wife because she likes to get me things for Christmas and my birthday, so when some rare thing comes along that I want, she gets annoyed when I just go buy it rather than wait for one of those two occasions so she can buy it for me.

Which brings us to here. I’ve gotten a little envious in the last few years when I see guys who have riding jackets that are waterproof and for whom rain is unimportant. As long as I’ve been riding and up until this very moment, when it starts to rain I have had to assess whether I thought it was going to rain enough that I ought to stop and put on my rain suit. A waterproof jacket is appealing.

Of course, I have a jacket with a waterproof liner, but that’s altogether different. Either you still have to stop to zip that liner in or else you have to have been wearing it all along, and those things get hot and sweaty in hot weather. A ventilated jacket that stays cool when desired, stays warm when desired, and sheds water is a very different animal.

So it caught my eye recently when I saw an ad in Rider magazine for the Tourmaster Transition Series 4 jacket. First off, it looks good, plus it has a lot of nice features. And it’s waterproof. Then going way beyond that, it is listed for only $270. OK, I’m interested.

I checked the local bike shops and found that both Performance Cycle and Fay Myers carry Tourmaster so I hopped on the Honda and cruised on down. I wanted to see this thing for real and try it on. Maybe come home with a new jacket, or at least come home and tell Judy if she wants to buy me an early birthday gift I know what that gift might be.

No dice. In both cases, the shops had a great many jackets but each had only one Tourmaster and it was not the one I’m interested in.

I looked at the jackets they do have. And they have some very nice waterproof (which basically means Gore-Tex) jackets. And they will only set you back, oh, $500 to $900. OK.

I do like to shop locally. I like to patronize the businesses in my area. But if they don’t carry the product I want I don’t have a lot of choice. I hate ordering something online, receiving it, and then finding it is not something I want to keep and having to package and return it. But I guess maybe I’ll start that ball rolling. Hopefully I won’t want to return it.

Biker Quote for Today

Teach your child the love of motorcycles and they will never have money for drugs.

More Sweet New Mexico Motorcycle Roads

Monday, April 10th, 2017
Road to Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.

One part of this nice road.

We didn’t plan it this way but Judy and I spent two nights at Silver City, New Mexico. We heard great things not just about Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument but also about the road to get there (40 miles, two hours, through great scenery) that we decided to stay an extra day and go there.

First off, Silver City was a real surprise. I’ve been there before, but a long time ago. At this point Silver City is doing its best to become the next Taos but it’s a long way from getting there. What that means is that the very nice old downtown is intact and partially renovated, with several very good restaurants, a brew pub, galleries, and a lot of other upscale stores. But these stand side by side with empty storefronts. So it’s a nice place but it won’t break your budget.

The first half of the run up to the monument is on an extremely narrow, winding road that follows the contours of the land. This is NM 15. Very nice. After awhile NM 15 connects to NM 35 and from there the road is more cut and fill so it’s not as twisty but still very nice, and wider with actual lane markings. This dead-ends at the monument.

The monument is pretty interesting. The Mogollon Indians lived very briefly in a series of caves in the side of a hill, above a beautiful river valley. Not your typical cliff dwellings; these are really more like caves that go deeper back into the rock without the extended sloping ceiling/overhang you associate with cliff dwellings.

Once you’ve been to the monument, you backtrack at least as far as NM 35. From there you can take NM 35 as a different route down to San Lorenzo and there pick up NM 152 to US 180 and back to Silver City. We did, and it’s a nice route, too, though nowhere near as twisty as NM 15. Whatever routes you take, this is a beautiful part of New Mexico.

Biker Quote for Today

Riding a bike doesn’t make me a bad person, just like going to church doesn’t make you a good person.

Legislative Update On Motorcycle-Related Bills

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

Is it a car? Is it a motorcycle? The Colorado Legislature still says motorcycle.

Not much happens quickly at the Legislature. We were gone for three weeks and while there is an update in order, there isn’t that much to it. Pulling from the alerts I get from Stump, we have the following.

The Autocycle Bill, HB-1044, has been passed and signed by the governor. So now three-wheelers like that one in the picture above are a class of their own, not motorcycles, right? Well, no. Under this new legislation autocycles are still classed as motorcycles. That means the eye protection is required. However, you do not need motorcycle accreditation on your driver’s license to drive one. The bill also requires a child restraining seat for kids under 8, so that pretty much prohibits them from riding in one as there is generally no good way to install such a seat in an autocycle. (At least that’s what Stump tells us. I’m not familiar enough with them to understand how that would work or not work.)

The MOST bill is moving along, but slowly. Per Stump:

Basically, the only elements in the bill are: the MOST Program will be under the Colorado State Patrol; and it will have a 3 year sunset clause. CSP was very adamant about not having any other changes in the bill and they would only accept ownership of the program if it was transferred over as is. The next important step is to pass the bill through the rest of the process to get it to the Governor’s desk. Once that happens and CSP takes control, the rules will have to be re-written. That is when we have to be ever vigilant and see if we can get our concerns heard and some changes made. Initial conversation with CSP sounds like they are open to hearing from the stakeholders so we can only keep our fingers crossed at this time.

One other thing going on that really would seem to be of concern to all, not just motorcyclists, is the Automated Driving Systems Bill, SB-213. This bill has been passed through the Senate and is now in the House. ABATE’s concern is in protecting riders while the kinks in these systems get worked out. Stump is telling legislators that there needs to be a requirement for a live person behind the wheel while testing is proceeding. “When the time comes and the technology proves it feasible, it would be easy enough to change the law.”

That’s all. Not a big year at the legislator, at least for those who ride motorcycles.

Biker Quote for Today

A blind spot is the point where your vehicle is invisible to the drivers you’re behind and next to, unless they turn their heads, which is difficult while texting. — Nick Ienatsch

First Time, Repeat Visit To Great New Mexico Motorcycle Roads

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

Judy and I were recently in New Mexico and though we were in the car, not on a bike, we made it a point to hit some great motorcycle roads. The simple fact is, a road that’s great for a bike is generally pretty darn good for a car, too.

motorcyclist on Emory Pass

A rider heading down on the east side of Emory Pass.

We spent a couple days in Ruidoso and boy if there is one thing you learn right away it is that Texans love Ruidoso. In Colorado it is common knowledge that Texans by the horde come to Lake City. Well, for Ruidoso, think Lake City on steroids. A waitress we spoke with said it’s commonly accepted that at any time of year, not just particular seasons, there are more Texans in Ruidoso than New Mexicans.

So we’re not into crowds and we headed south to Cloudcroft and the road from there to Timberon. This was a route I learned about on It was a good trip, and would be a really sweet ride. You’re up high, in fact, so high that along the way you encounter several observatories. Not the look-at-the-stars kind, however, but solar observatories. For looking at the sun.

Then from the main observatory it’s down and down and down through one of the longest series of S-curves I’ve ever seen, to Timberon. There is food here but no gas. Have lunch and turn around.

From Ruidoso we headed over toward Truth or Consequences, turning off the highway for Hillsboro to take NM 152 over Emory Pass to Silver City. This is a terrific road I wrote about some years ago on At that time I called it New Mexico’s tail of the dragon. Yes, there are curves.

Things change, though, including your memory. I’ll need to dig that old article out to see what I wrote then but I would have sworn that on the western side of the pass the road went for 20 miles or more twisting, twisting, twisting along the creek. In fact, it does a phenomenal amount of twisting on the east side of the pass, and going up the pass, but on the west there are probably fewer than 5 miles along the creek.

Doesn’t matter. It’s still one of the twistiest roads you’ll ever see. Then there is one thing that has changed since I was last there: forest fire. Back in 2013 the area got hit hard by a fire, so it’s just not as green as when I saw it last. But it’s still a good ride. As that guy in my photo above would attest, I’m sure.

Biker Quote for Today

Some paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.