Archive for the ‘Adventure bikes’ Category

Finding Riding Trails In Colorado

Thursday, January 25th, 2018

The TrailTaker site could be a good tool to spark riding ideas.

I owe Mark Odette on this one. He sent me an email way back in September and I forgot about it, but was digging through old emails today and ran across it.

For those of us who like to get off the paved roads (I include myself generously; since getting my V-Strom I haven’t been off the pavement nearly as much as I wish I had), one topic of interest is where to go to do so. Sure, there are gravel roads all over, but which of them are worth riding, and pack the best bang for your time buck?

Maybe you should check out Click on that link and go to their trails map and then click on one of the markers. That enlarges the map to show an area of the state and if you give it some time the map starts filling in with all kinds of trails.

For instance, I clicked on an area that runs from Lake George on the east to Aspen on the west and Alma on the north to Salida on the south. There are more trails than I can count, colored red, green, and blue. Red is advanced, blue is intermediate, and green is beginner. The legend also shows grey as unknown and black as expert but I don’t see any of those here.

And what are these trails? Well, I clicked on one that runs off US 285 toward the Collegiate Peaks. I’ve been down that road many times and looked at a road going off into the hills and wondered about it. I’m thinking this is that road. The site tells me this is Clear Creek and that it’s 9.18 miles long. It’s blue. Clicking on the “Trail Details” link it doesn’t actually give me that much more information, other than that it’s a gravel road suitable for a passenger car. And there is a link to download a GPS file (.GPX) of the trail. It also notes that the information is not verified because it has been imported from public date provided by the U.S. Forest Service. Many of these trails are like this.

Over to the east of Fairplay, near Tarryall Reservoir, there is the Packer Gulch trail (7.8 miles). Here the blue of the trail actually refers to being intermediate for 4×4 vehicles. For motorcycles it is rated unknown. It calls for high-clearance vehicles and the road is not maintained for passenger cars.

Let’s get to something a bit gnarlier. A little west of Buena Vista, with a southern terminus near Tincup, is the Timberline trail (30.3 miles). This is rated advanced for both motorcycles and ATVs and 4x4s are not permitted. This is listed as Trail Class TC4, Highly Developed. This appears to be a Forest Service designation meaning “high standard trail with significant structures, tread hardening possible.”

So you get the idea. Is that just a gravel road going off to nowhere or is it actually a trail? This site might be just the answer.

Biker Quote for Today

Why bikes are better than women: If your Motorcycle is misaligned, you don’t have to discuss politics to correct it.

Getting Off The Pavement

Monday, October 2nd, 2017
motorcycles on gravel

John’s driveway.

Some motorcycles are built to go off the paved road, even off any road at all. Generally, these have knobby tires for getting a good grip and serious suspension that can take big bumps without complaining.

Then there are street bikes. As the name implies, these bikes work best when you keep them on the pavement. And the fact is, many street riders are loathe to take their bikes anywhere near gravel. You can slip and slide and bounce like crazy on that stuff. In addition, you kick up dust and the guy behind you gets to eat it. It’s not like being in a car where you can roll up the windows.

But consider this: According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are 1.4 million miles of unpaved roads in the U.S. It stands to reason that there are a lot of really nice places you might like to go on your motorcycle that aren’t paved.

So, if you’re like us in the OFMC, sometimes you go anyway. Our experiences have been mixed in this regard. I’m the only one with anything close to an adventure bike, a 650 V-Strom, and everyone else just has street bikes. I have mentioned in the past (not any time recently) how some of our guys took a dirt road outside of Taos down to a hot spring. There wasn’t much to the spring and the road was very rough, with the result that Jason’s bike snapped an electrical connection and he had to make a quick stop at a dealership to get it fixed.

Another time, in the early days of the OFMC, John proposed that we take the road from Phippsburg, CO, over Ripple Creek Pass to Meeker. He had looked at the map and figured there were about 10 miles of it that were unpaved. We could handle that, couldn’t we?

Well, of course we said we could, only it turned out that there were about 40 miles of gravel, not 10. And it wasn’t smooth gravel, either, as is sometimes the case. No, there was a lot of washboard and we bounced and banged our way over this road for what seemed like a long, long time. John even managed to drop his at-that-time brand new Honda Shadow in some deep sand along the way. My luggage rack was shaken so badly that it broke in two places and I had to stop at a welding shop in Salt Lake City to get it fixed.

Later that same day, Bill turned off on a dirt road by a lake we were passing, which quickly turned deeply rutted, and John dropped the Shadow again.

With that day clear in our memories, it was something of a surprise a few years later when John suggested that he show us the Trough Road, another gravel road that runs from Kremmling, CO, over to State Bridge. He had been on it recently, he assured us, and it was smooth and hard packed. It was in fact every bit as nice as he said it was and a beautiful ride to boot that Bill and I had never been on. We’ve all ridden it at least a couple times since then, and I’ve been on it more than that.

So as much as John, especially, dislikes gravel roads, here’s the supreme irony. The worst stretch of gravel I’ve ever been on is John’s driveway. His driveway is a tenth of a mile of loose, unpacked, large stone. On top of that, it’s about 5 miles of better gravel from the main road to his driveway. More than one OFMC rider has biffed it going to or from his house.

We’ll all agree to ride gravel sometimes, but let’s just say we don’t make John’s house a frequent gathering spot.

Biker Quote for Today

Why bikes are better than women: Your motorcycle doesn’t get mad when you ignore it for a month or so.

Idaho BDR Keeps Going and Going

Monday, March 21st, 2016

You’re going to have to be a serious, serious off-road, adventure bike type of rider if you intend to do the Idaho Backcountry Discovery Route, as laid out on the Butler Maps map of that name. Not because it is so tough, but because it goes a long, long way. Not just from the bottom of Idaho to the top, but also because it takes a side-trip into Montana. I assume that is because that allows you to see some great parts of the state but also because there may not be any roads straight through–unless you want to do 50 miles of pavement. That would kind of defeat the whole BDR concept.

cover of Idaho BDR map

The Idaho Backcountry Discovery Route map from Butler.

The route starts at Jarbridge, Nevada, and heads north through dry desert prairie, which Idaho has a lot of in the south. Once you get past I-84 you get to the mountains and that’s where the fun begins. Plan on just running north through the hills for, oh, 700 miles. Now, how can that be? What I see tells me Idaho is only 479 miles from north to south. I’m thinking that’s the difference between going in a straight line and following the contours of the land. A lot of traversing up and down will do that for you.

When you reach the Clearwater River, a little outside of Grangeville, the route turns east and runs through the area of the Frank Church Wilderness. That’s about another 100 miles. Then you’re into Montana and have a lot of highway to get north to Lolo. There’s more pavement here than there would have been staying in Idaho so I’m guessing the route was determined based on not wanting to miss some great country. You came to ride, didn’t you?

From Lolo you go up over Lolo Pass on the pavement but on the other side you leave the highway and get back into the dirt. And a lot more mountains until you get to Pierce, where the road turns north again. And then it’s hills and more hills until you finally get near Canada, where the dirt options are limited. And if you do the entire thing, Butler says you’ll be covering a total of 1,253 miles. I said you had to be serious to do this whole thing.

It’s not all riding in the mountains, though. The map points out a lot interesting places to go and sites to visit along the way. There are hot springs, viewpoints, historical sites, waterfalls, and more.

Let’s face it: there probably aren’t many people who are going to do this whole ride end to end. So pick a section and do that. I’ve been up in that country and I can tell you, I’d be glad to take a couple weeks just enjoying the riding. And the sitting. And the camping. Idaho is an incredible place. If you haven’t been there you’re missing something. Go find out what.

Biker Quote for Today

Life without pleasurable pursuits is hardly worth living, and while the best things may be free, some pretty excellent ones cost money and have wheels. — Paul D’Orleans

Rocky Mountain Adventure Riders Plans ‘Ride With Respect’ in Utah

Thursday, November 6th, 2014
Rocky Mountain Adventure Riders website

The Rocky Mountain Adventure Riders website.

I don’t list motorcycle events outside of Colorado on my Colorado Motorcycle Rides, Runs, and Rallies page but I do go outside the state here on the blog. So I’m taking this moment to alert any adventure riders out there to something going on in Utah that you might find interesting.

The Rocky Mountain Adventure Riders group is exactly what the name implies, a group of folks who like to get off the smooth stuff onto where riding is more of a challenge. And on April 16-19 of next year they are planning a Moab Rendezvous. Organized in partnership with the Moab-based organization Ride With Respect, the event seeks to raise money for that group in order to help in their struggle to keep trails open to off-road riders.

This is from the Ride With Respect website:

Ride with Respect aims to protect natural resources while accommodating diverse recreation on public land. We reach this goal through trail/restoration projects and educational programs. In combination, these initiatives work to concentrate vehicle travel to established roads and trails.

Off-trail travel most often results from confusion. Ride with Respect delineates appropriate routes through positive and negative trail marking. We improve trail conditions to minimize their deterioration and consequent widening. By documenting the effects of our trail work, we further general knowledge of techniques that ensure recreation is a renewable resource.

Off-trail travel is also caused by ignorance. We foster conscientious use by educating through interpretive signs and personal contacts. By offering certified rider-training classes, we instill environmental ethic and safety consciousness in children.

The founders of Ride with Respect are based in Moab, Utah. They have diverse backgrounds, with motorcycling as a common thread. They represent the interests of all recreationists.

Here’s what the RMA Riders site has to say about the event:

If extreme riding is your flavor, then the Moab Rendezvous will appeal to you. This ride will test your skills and your mental toughness out in the lonely landscape of the Moab, UT area. Yes, riding friends, we are putting on the first Rendezvous to be held in the most logical and friendly to OHV environments known to our community.

No matter the skill level there will be rides lead for all on various size Dual Sport and Adventure bikes.

Their will be lead rides of local trails. In fact we will be encouraging you to participate in the rides. We also encourage you to bring out your small bike and your large bike to enjoy both the single track trails like Slick Rock or the bigger big friendly trails like the White Rim Trail. We are proud to announce that we will be working with ‘Ride With Respect’ to raise them much needed money to keep these trails open to all.

And here’s more from RMA Riders:

Our sport is at risk!!!

Did you know that most of the treasured riding areas in Colorado are under constant attack? On an annual basis, we face losing access to ride on our public lands, both Forest Service and BLM. We need your support and partnership to continue the fight and defend our rights!!!

Rocky Mountain Adventure Riders is a Colorado-based non-profit American Motorcycle Association Group with a mission to positively impact and influence the lives of those that ride with us, respecting each other and supporting one another. Additionally, RMAR supports fund-raisers for state and/or local trail riding clubs or Associations/Coalitions/Alliances that champion our sport and/or fight legislatively/politically for public land access for motorcycling.

Sounds to me like a good event and a heck of a lot of fun to boot. I may just have to consider going on this myself. Of course, getting over to Utah on the V-Strom in April could be the real challenge. We’ll see.

Biker Quote for Today

Scientists call it C9 H13 NO3. You call it adrenalin. I call it my dirt bike.

ADV Riders on a Good, Long Ride

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
Motorcyclists at Echo Park Campground in Dinosaur National Monument.

Packing up to leave before the rains came in.

We went to Dinosaur National Monument this past weekend for three days and loved it. Besides seeing the place, I wanted to see how the roads would be if you were on a bike–a dual sport bike of course. I already had a pretty good idea you wouldn’t want to take those roads on a street bike.

We came in at the east end of the park, turning off U.S. 40 at Elk Springs onto the Bear Valley Road or County Road 14. From here to the Echo Park campground, where we were headed, it’s about 46 miles of gravel–some of it quite rough. This road later becomes the Yampa Bench Road, which runs alongside–but way above–the Yampa River.

I’ll tell you about the road some other time; it’s definitely doable on a bike as long as it’s not rainy.

What I want to tell you about now is the guys who showed up in the campsite next to ours our second night there. We had gone up on the rim for the day and when we came back in the evening there were four motorcycles right next to us. Judy headed back to our site and I plunged right in, having a good time shooting the bull with these guys for half an hour or so.

They were out of Texas and they connect with each other for these rides through ADV, the Adventure Rider forum. They had trailered up to Oak Creek, Colorado, and took off riding from there. Between them there was a smaller KTM–not one of those big new Adventures–plus a Kawi KLR 650, I believe a Suzuki DR650, and another bike I thought he told me was a BMW but the guy is a big Triumph fanatic so I’m not so sure. It definitely wasn’t one of the big, newer BMW adventure bikes. I don’t know; I just don’t know every bike on sight.

They’re on a 2,800-mile ride with no time constraints. They’ll take it day by day. One guy told me he’s got the whole month set aside but expects they’ll do it in about two weeks. Their route was prepared for them by a fellow in Utah who sells these sorts of plans. That’s an interesting concept. Heck, I map out Colorado rides for people frequently and I don’t charge a dime. I don’t plan to start charging, either.

Taking off from Oak Creek, which is south of Steamboat Springs on CO 131, their route guy did get them off to a good start by sending them over Dunckley Pass and Ripple Creek Pass. They were heading into Utah, then up into Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and then back to Colorado. And they’re doing most of it on the dirt.

These are not a bunch of young guys, either. They all have grey hair. The first one we encountered was heading to the outhouse just after they arrived and he said hello and “I’m getting too old for this.” Apparently not too, too old, though.

Riding to the rim at Dinosaur National Monument.

Heading up out of the canyon.

Their trip got off to an inauspicious start when one of them improperly engaged his clutch right at the start and before he had rolled eight inches, he told me, he dropped the bike. And then, they said, the guy we had met hadn’t gone a quarter mile on the dirt when he went down. Some people were starting to have reservations.

They got rolling though and things smoothed out. Coming over Dunckley and Ripple Creek, one said, it was gorgeous but the road was so rough you couldn’t look at the scenery, you had to keep watching the road. Bill and John and I rode over that pass once about 25 years ago and I do remember it being so rough that I didn’t remember much about the scenery. It’s truly is gorgeous, by the way. I’ve been over it in cars a number of times so I’ve had a chance to look.

Not sure quite what their route was from Meeker, where they came out, but they came into Dinosaur the same way we did, on the Yampa Bench Road. I believe they said one or two more bikes went down along this stretch. I remember there was one really muddy spot and that gave someone some trouble.

They made it in, though, and were thrilled to be out on the first night of this great trip. The next morning we all packed up around the same time and Judy and I left first. We were all going out via the road up to the rim so I was pleased to be ahead of them so we could stop and I could get some shots looking down on them as they came up the road. I picked a good vantage point, got shots of them below, then more shots of them as they passed us and went on up. We waved and they waved and that was the last we saw of them.

Biker Quote for Today

A good rider can overcome marginal equipment. However, even the best equipment can’t overcome a marginal rider.

The Article I Want To Write

Thursday, July 10th, 2014
Riding Off The Pavement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Biker Quote for Today

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

Adventure Motorcycling Business Growing in Colorado

Monday, July 7th, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Biker Quote for Today

Ride a GS, it makes your butt look smaller.

Adventure Rally Series Coming to Gunnison

Friday, July 4th, 2014
Adventure Rally Series 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And as for what it costs, there is this:

What do we mean when we say all-inclusive?

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

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

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

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

Biker Quote for Today

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

The Personal Side of the Intro to ADV Ride

Thursday, May 8th, 2014
Pushing a motorcycle back to the road

What's he doing riding out there in the woods?

On Monday I gave the basic run-down of where we went on this Colorado Motorcycle Adventures “Intro to Adventure Riding” ride I did with Scott Lee and the folks who signed up for it. That recitation left out any of the personality and interaction that went on, and that’s the stuff that makes things truly interesting. That’s where we’re going today.

The first little bit of excitement occurred when we had come down Foxton Road to reach the Platte River and South Platte River Road. I was bringing up the rear and the group pulled over and parked next to the Platte. It was sloping ground and the other bikes pretty much took up the more level spots. I jockeyed into a position I cautiously deemed satisfactory–maybe–and then proceeded to climb off the bike very carefully. Then I stood there a moment checking it out to be sure the bike was stable. It seemed to be.

Damage To The Motorcycle

This bolt broke but if that's all I have to replace I'm pleased.

So I turned around and walked over to talk with a couple of the folks. A couple minutes later someone yelled “Look out!” and I turned in time to see my V-Strom topple over. You probably know: No one likes seeing their bike fall. It gives you a horrible feeling.

Of course there were plenty of folks to help get it back up and then moved to a more level spot. Damage was pretty minimal. It apparently hit on the end of the handlebar and the weight at the end that serves to dampen vibration busted off along with the hand guard that was attached at that point and further in on the bar. I haven’t done anything with it yet but it looks like all I need to replace is the long bolt that holds that weight on and all will be fine again. I can’t think of a less expensive motorcycle repair. But I still hated to see that bike fall.

We took off and rode along the Platte and this time I was second from the rear. This road is gravel and even on the V-Strom I could feel my tires slipping occasionally. The guy behind me was going pretty slow and I didn’t want to leave him behind in case of trouble so I hung back while all the rest of the group passed out of sight ahead. They eventually stopped and waited for us, fearing trouble, but no, it was just a guy who wasn’t used to riding on gravel and was skittish. After that a more experienced rider took the sweep position so I didn’t worry when I lost sight of them behind me.

At lunch we had more opportunity to get acquainted. I was surprised to find that most of the group was from the Denver area. There were a father and son from California and a woman by her self who was also from California. Everyone else was local. I found that kind of odd; why sign up for something you can just go and do? But they did have reasons. One guy was looking to buy a new bike and wanted to try out a couple of the ones he was considering. He and Scott traded back and forth during the day so he could test both bikes. And another guy had had the idea that this intro to ADV was going to be more of a training ride. Maybe that’s something Scott will want to consider in the future for this particular ride.

After lunch we turned off onto West Creek Road and then turned off it to go down a dead-end road that was just nice riding. We got to the end and Scott suggested that anyone who wanted to make a more spirited run should go ahead and just wait for the rest back at the main road.

So the father and son took off along with a couple others and I was in about the middle of the pack. They got out of sight ahead but in a couple minutes I came up on them, seeing that they were stopped in a group. Then I saw why. Seems the son had gotten a bit too enthusiastic and had run off the road on a curve, right into the woods. Oops. I don’t know if he went down or not because by the time I got there the bike was upright and several people had run over to help him wheel it back to the road. No injuries and only minor damage to the bike.

It was funny for me how my perception of the whole thing evolved. At first I thought, why is he riding out there in the woods? It was only as it dawned on me that he hadn’t had any such intention that I realized, oh, he kind of screwed up, didn’t he?

Then we went on to where we were crossing water. Everyone did fine in the water, and if anyone had gone down it wouldn’t have been a major mishap, though it would have been uncomfortable. Wet. I raised my legs when I went through but a couple times it still splashed up enough that I got soaked below the knee. Glad I had high boots on. And there was that one time in the middle of the muck that my rear-end started sliding away, but I caught it and got through OK. Hey, what’s adventure riding without a little adventure?

So that’s a bit more of the human side of this ride. Now, of course, I need to take Judy out and show her these roads.

Biker Quote for Today

When noobs give up, they’re not quitters, they just stay noobs.

Going Riding With Colorado Motorcycle Adventures

Monday, April 7th, 2014
The Colorado Motorcycle Adventures website

The Colorado Motorcycle Adventures website.

I find it amazing how the number of motorcycle rental and tour outfits in Colorado has grown. Not many years ago I could have named about four but now there must be about ten of them. Is there enough business for them all to keep going? That is a really good question.

But for the moment, none of the companies in business when I started this website or that have come into being since then have folded. I wish them all great success.

One of the most recent of the newcomers is Colorado Motorcycle Adventures (CMA), which is owned and run by a guy named Scott Lee. As a fair number of these companies do, CMA advertises on this site, so this is my disclaimer.

And as I try to do as much as I can with these outfits, I’m going for a ride with Colorado Motorcycle Adventures. CMA rents bikes and leads tours. As the word “adventure” in their name implies, they are focused on adventure motorcycling. They rent dual-sport or adventure bikes. They lead backcountry tours.

The tour I’m tagging along on, on my own 650 V-Strom, is their “Intro to Adventure Motorcycling Tour.” Business seems to be pretty good because the tour was sold out, but as I say, I’m just tagging along. It will be a 135 mile, seven-hour loop heading out of Lakewood going south on a route I can’t really figure out from the small map I have at the moment. The sheet says the total dirt mileage will be 30-40 miles, taking about three to four hours. You can bet I’ll have a lot more info to share with you after I’ve done this ride.

One intriguing note: the sheet says lunch is included “at a small, local restaurant off the beaten path — remember this is an adventure ride so it applies to our meal as well!” I’m very curious.

What’s going to be really interesting about all this is that the date is set for May 3 and we all know what the weather can do in early May. I asked Scott about this and he said that short of really horrid weather–like a blizzard–we’re going. He has people coming in from out of state for this and rescheduling is just not an option for them. Keep your fingers crossed and bring all the appropriate gear. I’m glad I’ve got my V-Strom outfitted to use my electric vest. But mostly I hope the weather is gorgeous. If it isn’t then I’ll probably get some good experience in mud. That’s something I have zero experience with so far.

So I’ve got something to look forward to. Four weeks off. Gonna be a good one.

Biker Quote for Today

A straight road never made a skilled rider.