Archive for the ‘Motorcycles’ Category

Motorcycle Perks At Red Rocks

Monday, July 24th, 2017

We went to Red Rocks to see Amos Lee performing with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and though we went in my car it made me wonder about the perks that motorcyclists used to get there. The answer is yes. Are you aware of these?

motorcycle parking at Red Rocks Park.

Plenty of parking, few takers at Red Rocks.

In the past, motorcycles were sent for parking to the very top circle of the amphitheater, which is pretty dang nice. The thing I hate most about going to concerts at Red Rocks is parking and then hiking up and up and up to get first into the seating area and then more up to get to where you actually get to sit. Parking right at the top and walking down to your seat is nice. I’ve done this, though not any time recently. Heck, I haven’t been to a show at Red Rocks any time recently until the other night.

Now, as it turns out, they no longer send bikes to the very top, but do send them to the larger lot just below, which is where that photo above was shot. There were 12 motorcycle parking spaces and at this show there were only two bikes. Unless you get there very, very early, the line for admission goes down the stairs to this lot so it’s not like you’ll do any extra stairs starting from here.

The other advantage of course is getting out quickly. Huge numbers of people who hiked and climbed all the way to their seats are now, at the end of the show, faced with hiking all the way back to their cars, and then waiting in long lines to file out slowly.

With your bike just up at the top you can get to it quickly and get going in a hurry before most people are even near their cars. Plus, although lane splitting is not legal in Colorado, on a motorcycle you can easily slip past the creeping line of cars and get out in a hurry.

In fact, it has been a long time since I’ve been to a show at Red Rocks so I don’t know if this is still the case, but years ago, when you were leaving via the east entrance, they would direct people to use both lanes, thereby speeding things up by 100 percent. At 93 they would not allow right turns toward Morrison and so both lanes would flow left toward I-70. I don’t know if they still do this.

We parked this time in the upper south lot and I was surprised how quickly we got out of the lot. Then I saw all the traffic was in one lane so I jumped into the other lane figuring to make as much progress as I could before coming up behind other cars in that lane. There were none. We went all the way out to Bear Creek Road without a stop and the only other people in the lane were a car or two who jumped in behind us.

Coming out to the road I merged into traffic in full sight of the cops directing traffic and all they did was continue directing traffic. If I had been on a bike the whole move would have been even easier and quicker. I’ve never gotten out of Red Rocks that fast before–and that was in a car.

So this has nothing to do with motorcycles but it was amusing and I want to pass it along. We learned after we parked that they run a free shuttle up to the top, for anybody who wants to ride it. You get on by the Trading Post. So we only had to walk down to our seats.

Well, we were on the stairs I mentioned before, waiting in line, and people were going up and down the stairs all the time. One older woman in a black dress went up the stairs past us and I just happened to turn my head that direction as she was about 10 steps above us. Believe me, I wasn’t trying to look up her dress but my eye was caught immediately by a glimpse of something gray and shiny. I looked more closely and saw she had something attached to her thigh with duct tape.

At first I thought it must be a catheter bag or colostomy bag but then thought, no, if it was a medical device there would be some medically approved attachment device. No, this was presumably a flask or bottle of liquor she was smuggling in, duct-taped to her thigh. I got a laugh out of that.

Biker Quote for Today

15 grand and 15 miles doesn’t make you a biker.

Not In Kansas Any More

Monday, January 9th, 2017
delivery scooters

OK, replace that Burger King logo with some pot store logo and this is what you may see in San Francisco.

Toto, we’re not in Kansas any more. And no, and this is not the 1970s either. You know, Richard Nixon’s war on drugs and the more than $1 trillion spent on it without success in the intervening years.

Well, here’s a posting on Craigslist that I happened to see the other day.

Cannabis Delivery Seeking Motorcycle Couriers (City of SF)

Do you enjoy medical cannabis? Do you love riding motorcycles? Are you interested in joining a cutting-edge team in the blossoming medical cannabis industry? If so, this might be the perfect job for you.

Of course there’s talk of a possible federal crack-down on states allowing legal marijuana use, such as Colorado, especially with incoming Vice President Mike Pence reportedly being strenuously opposed to legalization. That could throw a kink into someone’s plans to make a living on their bike in this fashion.

Is that likely, though? Curious, I was speaking the other day to a young woman who works at a marijuana store here in Denver and asked her if those in the industry were concerned about the incoming administration. She said they have no concern at all because at this point the industry brings so much in tax dollars into public coffers that it simply would not be tolerated. Of course, that was what the proponents of legalization argued all along: make marijuana a cash positive part of the economy–legalize and tax it heavily.

I don’t think we have marijuana delivery service here, however, either two-wheel or four-wheel. But I guess motorcycle delivery in San Francisco makes sense just like lane-splitting makes so much sense in California.

No Toto, we’re definitely not in Kansas any more.

Biker Quote for Today

You can have more fun on a gallon of gas than a barrel of booze.

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

Liking the Same Motorcycles

Thursday, November 27th, 2014
My three motorcycles

Here you see my taste in motorcycles.

I had occasion to speak with Ben Hochberg, the former head of the ABATE of Colorado rider training program, and once we were done with the topic at hand we, of course, shifted to discussing motorcycles.

“What are you riding now?” Ben asked.

I told him that of the four bikes I’ve owned I still have three and they are the 1980 CB750 Custom, my ’99 Concours, and my latest, the 2006 V-Strom 650. Get a load of what Ben told me about his bikes.

Sometime in the last couple years he sold his old Kawasaki KZ 750. Now, just like my CB, the KZ is from the era of the UJM, the universal Japanese motorcycle, where function defined style and therefore there were a whole lot of bikes that were virtually identical.

Ben said he was really, really interested in a V-Strom 1000, and came very near to buying one that was remaindered with a great asking price, but ultimately just couldn’t justify even that expense.

Nevertheless, he needed a good bike he could burn some serious miles on because his training activities often take him some distance from home. So when a friend from New York came to visit, a guy who rides an older Concours like mine, Ben decided to take a look at Connies on craigslist. There he found a mint condition 2003 (?) bike with just 10,000 miles on it for a fabulous price. He thought about it but still couldn’t justify the spend.

He did mention it, though, at one point and the friend asked to see the ad. Calling it up on his phone, he showed it to the friend, who got seriously excited and told Ben, “You’ve got to call the guy! It’s going to be gone!” Ben demurred, at which point his wife, Sheila, told him, “Call the guy.” He said to Sheila, “I love you!” and dialed the phone.

Besides the bike involved, it is similar to my situation with the V-Strom. After I got my second bike my wife told me if I ever intended to get another I would need to let go of one of the two I already had. Then, years later, the opportunity came for me to get the V-Strom and I was just wavering. Without mentioning anything about that previous conversation, Judy told me, “Buy the bike. You’ve wanted one for a long time.” Yeah, I love you, too, Judy.

Ben asked about my set-up on the Connie and I told him the first thing I did was to get risers so I wouldn’t have such a serious lean toward the grips. Check. Ben has gotten adapters that allow you to use a tubular handlebar, which then gives you a wide selection so you can have them come up and back to whatever point you want.

“Have you ever thought about getting highway pegs?” he asked.

Oh yeah, I have them and I love them.

“Where did you get them?”

From Murph. Anyone who rides a Concours knows Murph’s. He has designed and produced a whole lot of the best accessories for Connies. And yes, those are the highway pegs Ben has gotten for his Connie.

Now, he has also gotten an aftermarket windshield and I haven’t done that. I’m perfectly happy with stock on that item.

So obviously we must have very similar tastes in bikes, which surprises me because the last time I saw Ben he was riding some big Harley cruiser. I guess that Harley is long gone. He also has a Buell that he says he’ll never part with. I’m not a Harley guy at all and I doubt I’ll ever have a Buell, though I’d take the Buell before I’d take the Harley. Pretty interesting, though, all this similarity.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
ABATE of Colorado in a fight for its life

Biker Quote for Today

The shortest distance between two points is for people who can’t ride.

Stupid Questions People Ask

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

I was looking around on Adventure Rider and ran across a thread titled “Stupid questions people ask you when stopped.” Some of them were pretty good so I figured I’d pass a few along here.

dirt bikes in Dinosaur National Monument

Did you guys ride those here?

The guy starting the thread rides a BMW and he offered several:
Sir, is that a real BMW or it’s just the badge?
Duuuuude, does your bike has two engines?! (asked a number of times, I usually try to explain the boxer design, but if all fails I tell them the right one is the turbocharger)
Since when does BMW make motorcycles?

Then this one is from a woman rider:
Is that your motorcycle? Did you ride that here all by yourself?

How about this:
I stopped at an intersection and a teenager walked up to me and said, “Can I take it around the block?”
My response.” What?? No way.”
His response, “Hey, I’m not playin”
I just laughed and rode off. People are insane.

Here is, as the fellow says, a Ural specific one:
Is that real?

And in the category of “you just don’t get it”:
As I was pulling my helmet on a dude walked up and asked ‘What kind of bike is that?’ I looked down at the tank on my Commando that has large gold letters saying ‘Norton’ and said, ‘it’s a Norton.’ He looked it over once again and asked ‘Is that made by Harley or Honda?’

And this:
The dumbest thing I ever got asked is, “Can you pull a wheelie on that thing or are you too scared?”

This hasn’t happened to me, at least not yet, but I guess it could:
I had a 9 or 10 year old boy ask me if I “get a lot of chicks with that.” This while on my Vstrom with my wife on the back!

Of course we’ve all heard this one:
Aren’t motorcycles dangerous?

Sometimes it’s the responses that are good:
I walk into Starbucks (my regular one) this afternoon, helmet in hand.
“Do you ride a bike?” asks the fine young man.
“No, I’m just very clumsy” I reply.

And this:
I suppose this is a somewhat reasonable question, but someone once asked me what kept me from flying off the bike when I hit a bump. My reply?
“Gravity.”

On another note:
When are you getting some pipes? I could barely hear ya pull up.

And another in the response category:
My new response when I get to school wearing ATGATT:
“You ride today?”
“No, I took the jet.

OK, enough for today. We’ll come back for some more some other time.

Biker Quote for Today

“That’s all the motorcycle is, a system of concepts worked out in steel.” — Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Six Years a Motorcycle Examiner

Thursday, May 29th, 2014
Motorcycles Examiner web page

My National Motorcycles Examiner home page.

It wasn’t my intention to write about this today but when I became aware of it just by chance it became the obvious choice. As of today, this very 24-hour period, I have been writing for Examiner.com as a “motorcycle Examiner” for six years.

A little background may be in order. Six years ago the social internet was in its infancy. Friendster.com was still around, Facebook was just getting going, and the idea of crowd-sourcing website content was getting a lot of attention. I got an email out of the blue from an outfit called Examiner.com asking if I would like to write for them as their Denver Motorcycle Examiner. Ernie, the guy who contacted me, had seen this blog and figured I’d be a good fit. I said sure, you bet. And, just so you know, “Examiners” is what they call their writers. I later shifted and became the National Motorcycle Examiner, and then they tweaked names and I became–and remain–the National Motorcycles Examiner.

Starting out, the pay was practically nonexistent and it took me three months to earn enough for them to issue me a paycheck. But my earnings kept growing and I started getting paid every month. Then I saw that they had a second motorcycle Examiner they had brought on, Mark Poesch, who was the Washington DC Motorcycle Travel Examiner. I got his email from Ernie and made contact and we agreed to work together to promote each other’s posts. After all, we got paid on page views.

More motorcycle Examiners joined and for quite a while I contacted each one inviting them to join our little community. We grew and grew, though there were plenty who didn’t stick it out when they saw how little money they made in the beginning. But for those of us who applied ourselves and kept at it the checks kept getting bigger and bigger. Along the way, my Examiner postings caught the eye of someone else looking for a motorcycle writer and I was contacted to write for RumBum.com as well. Of course I said yes.

Shortly after this my latest contract gig ended and I made the decision that with my Examiner and Rum Bum earnings, and other opportunities opening up, I would not seek another job, I would go full-time freelance. And that’s what I did for the next four years.

The only constant is change, however, and Examiner made a lot of changes. They were trying to figure out how to make money on the Web and one thing they apparently figured out was that they couldn’t pay us as much as they were and make a profit. So changes followed upon changes and every change had the same result: our earnings got cut. From sometimes making more than $100 a day, my earnings dwindled to where I was lucky to make $50 in a month. And then Rum Bum went under. By this time Rum Bum had become my biggest client, so with them gone and my earnings at Examiner down by 90% my finances were really hurting. Right at that time this gig at the National Park Service came along and I found myself working in an office again.

Through it all though, I have continued to write for Examiner, but only about once a month. The reason there is that if you don’t stay active, posting at least once a month, they quit paying you, even though everything you have written is still out there and still gets read. In other words, you’re still earning them money, so I don’t see why I shouldn’t continue to get my meager share. I can do a piece in half an hour or less once a month and it becomes like an annuity, though an extremely small annuity.

And now today is my six-year anniversary with Examiner. It has been quite a ride. There have been a lot of good things that have come my way through my association with Examiner. High on the list was the media tour I was invited on by EagleRider a few years ago where they put us on bikes and paid all our expenses and took us on a darn nice ride through California. I have received all kinds of free gear and motorcycle books and maps in exchange for reviewing them. I’ve met a lot of people and made a lot of friends through all these events I have covered. It’s been good.

So it’s too bad that the money part of it no longer works. But I will keep posting enough to remain active. And I guess in a year I’ll be marking my seventh anniversary.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Only a biker knows . . .: Motorcycle wit and wisdom, #32

Biker Quote for Today

Happy to still be working though it interferes with riding!

Motorcycle to Person Ratio High in Colorado

Monday, March 17th, 2014
Motorcycles in Sturgis

No state has more motorcycles per person than South Dakota, even when the rally is not on.

My friend Dan sent me this chart that shows how many people there are per motorcycle in the various states, plus D.C. Out of 51, Colorado comes in 14th. Now, just so you’ll understand the numbers, a rating of 1 would mean there was one person for every motorcycle in the state. A rating of 5 would mean there are five people for every bike, so presumably there are a lot fewer of them riding.

In Colorado the ratio is 29 people for every bike. That would mean there are 28 people out there per bike who don’t have a motorcycle, except there are folks like me who have three, so that means there are 86 people who ought to be wishing they were me.

It’s probably not a big surprise that Colorado ranks high. With the beautiful weather we have here and the gorgeous places we have to ride, how could we not be in the top third. So who else ranks high on the list? Probably other places where they have great weather and great scenery, right?

Well, how about New Jersey, with 27 people per bike. What, New Jersey beat us out? Yeah, they rank 13th, just one ahead of us. Go figure.

OK, well, California certainly has to be high, right? Umm . . . how about 43rd? Wow! As many bikes as there are in California, there are 47 people for every one of them.

Now, who’s at the top probably won’t come as huge surprise: South Dakota. South Dakota has only 12 people for every bike–I wonder how many of them are running? Could be that a lot of bikes break down at the rally and never leave. Or it may just be that those folks in South Dakota really love motorcycles.

The worst state of all is not actually a state, it is the District of Columbia. There are 172 people in D.C. for every bike. Obviously this count is skewed a little when the Rolling Thunder gets there. But I’m guessing these numbers are based on registrations. Those Rolling Thunder people don’t live there, they’re just visiting.

Second from the bottom is Mississippi. They have 106 people for every bike. Wonder why that is? They’ve got good riding weather all year round, unless maybe summers are unbearable due to humidity and heat.

Then the rest of the bottom 10 are, climbing, Louisiana, Texas, New York, Georgia, Maryland, Utah (Utah!!), California, Hawaii, Kentucky. What in the world is Utah doing so low on this list? It’s every bit as great a place to ride as Colorado.

The rest of the top 10–oh heck, I’ll go all the rest of the way down to Colorado–so the the top 14 are: South Dakota, New Hampshire, Iowa, Wisconsin, Wyoming, North Dakota, Vermont, Montana, Minnesota, Alaska, Idaho, Maine, New Jersey, and then Colorado.

Do you see a pattern there? I don’t. You’ve got several New England states where they have terrible winters; great places to ride, like Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana; and then the ones that make you say, “Huh?”, like Iowa and Minnesota. We’ll let Wisconsin slide by because they’ve got Harley there. Otherwise I’d be lumping them with Minnesota and Iowa.

Not quite what you might have expected, is it? I don’t know, maybe New Jersey is hiding something from the rest of us. Maybe I’ll have to go find out for myself. Some day.

Biker Quote for Today

When I finished high school, I wanted to take all my graduation money and buy myself a motorcycle. But my mom said no. See, she had a brother who died in a horrible motorcycle accident when he was 18. And I could just have his motorcycle.

Size Matters

Thursday, January 9th, 2014
Honda 50

This was the bike I craved as a kid.

When I was a kid I occasionally had the opportunity to ride motorcycles and they were all pretty small. First you have to understand that what constituted a “big” motorcycle back then was not at all what it is today. Years later, when I got my first bike, my 1980 Honda CB750 Custom, it was a bike that, in its day, had been a big bike. Nobody would call a 750 a big bike today.

But when I was just starting to ride, generally on bikes owned by friends, we were talking small. What I coveted was what we called simply the Honda 50, the step-through bike that I guess was officially the “Cub.” My mother never let me buy that bike but when I rode on friends’ bikes they were bigger than that, generally in the 90cc to 305cc range.

When I rode that 305 Scrambler it seemed like a plenty big bike. Then in college I had a roommate who had a CB350 and that definitely seemed like a big bike. Around that same time the sister of a friend bought a 250cc Suzuki and she let me ride that. That seemed like a big enough bike.

Years later, now living in Denver, my friend Christopher came over one night on the used BMW bike he has just bought. I don’t remember how big it was but it was way bigger than any bike I had ever been on before. He offered to let me take it for a spin and I declined. I was scared of that thing. I was scared if I took off on it I might not live to get back. And the truth is, that was probably a good decision.

A couple years after that, though, my friend John showed up on the 750 Virago he had just bought and I was thrilled to climb on behind. It just took a few rides on behind John to convince me that I had to have my own. There was a used bike shop just a few blocks from my house and John and I paid them a visit.

I immediately started looking at what they had in the 400cc-450cc. John told me no, I really didn’t want to get a bike that small because if I did I’d be looking to trade it in on something bigger in just a few months. Words of wisdom.

He steered me to a group of 750s. They looked huge to me but John was the experienced one and I trusted his judgment. I ended up buying the CB and John rode it home for me because I didn’t have even a learner’s permit. I got one right away and started riding every chance I got, learning how to handle this big thing.

I must have learned because I took my motorcycle license test on the 750 and passed, albeit on my second attempt. I learned later that most people borrow a smaller bike to take the test on. I passed it on my 750. I still think that was quite an accomplishment, especially considering that I was self-taught.

Of course after awhile the 750 didn’t seem too big at all. It was just right. So right, in fact, that it was what I rode for a long, long time afterward. While all my friends were moving up to bigger bikes I stayed with the Honda. I was in love with that bike.

The time did come, though, when I was looking for something more. Not size necessarily, but comfort. We had taken a trip to California and my butt was really hurting by the time we got home. I went out and bought this 1000cc Kawasaki Concours I’d had my eye on and once again it was a big bike.

It took me a year or more of riding until that thing started feeling not huge. But again, I did get used to it. At first I wouldn’t ride without wearing boots with tall heels; now I hop on with just sneakers on and don’t think a thing about it.

I think I will finally draw the line right about here, though. We rented a big Harley while up in Canada a couple years ago and that thing was just too much. Not the height, but the weight. I got in some gravel at one point that was deeper than I thought and it was all in the world I could do to keep it up. Stuck in heavy traffic in Vancouver, inching forward, it was not fun.

No, you know, what I really like these days is my 650cc Suzuki V-Strom. I don’t want to go traveling on it–that’s for the Concours–but for just about anything else, this light, agile bike is a blast. Size really does matter.

Biker Quote for Today

Watch out for everything bigger than you, they have the “right of weight” — Bib

A First Couple Motorcycle Rides

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014
small motorcycle

This would have been about the size of one of those early rides.

I had hoped to ride yesterday but I woke up to snow falling, and though it came and went during the day there was not to be any two-wheeling.

When riding is constrained it makes it tough to tell new stories about riding adventures. So I start thinking about old stories.

Like my very first motorcycle ride, at age 15. Hard as it may be to conceive, way back then, in Nebraska where we lived, you could ride a small motorcycle without a license at 15. And they rented Honda 90s at the local 7-Eleven by the hour. This was back in the days of “You meet the nicest people on a Honda,” when the bad-guy biker image was starting to turn.

My friend John and I went over one day with enough money in our pockets to rent a couple bikes for maybe two hours. It probably cost about $3.50 an hour, so that was big bucks for us. Unfortunately, I don’t remember much at all about that ride, other than that we did it. I do seem to remember we did some riding around on some dirt in a local vacant lot.

The next summer my family moved but I spent that summer working at a camp on an island up in Minnesota. The guy I bunked with had a brand new Honda 305 Scrambler that he rode up from Minneapolis and he offered to let me ride it anytime I wanted. So I did. Oddly, I don’t remember riding it all that much, which seems very odd to me now.

The one thing I do remember is one day I was going to town to get some supplies and as I took the key for the bike he told me he didn’t want me taking the girls who were going with me for rides. I guess he figured that wasn’t necessarily safe. Of course that was exactly what we intended, but we assured him we wouldn’t do that.

And then we proceeded to do exactly that. I took one for a ride in the country and took the other into town to get what we had come for. Must not have been big, whatever it was. This Scrambler was pretty torquey so at times I ended up doing wheelies as I tried to take off. We were getting back on the bike in town and some young guys came along and saw us and started yelling “Look at the girl on the bike!” Yes, she was quite pretty.

It wasn’t my intention but as I took off we wheelied. I’ve always thought that was pretty dang cool, with those guys watching, to wheelie out with this babe on behind me. Back at camp my bunkmate asked if I had taken the girls for rides and I hated to lie so I didn’t. He never let me ride his bike again.

My next opportunity to ride was in Decatur, Illinois, where my family had moved. This was another friend named John, and he and his brother Steve each had little 125s, probably Yamaha. Steve didn’t mind if I rode his so John and I took off.

I had no idea about counter-steering at that time, so as I rolled down their somewhat steep driveway and tried to turn the motorcycle the way I would turn a bicycle things did not go well. I would try to turn right and that made the bike want to go the other way and I crossed the street and ran straight into the curb, sending me flying onto the neighbor’s lawn.

No damage done, though, so I picked it up and we rode off.

Out in traffic it started getting dicey. I still wasn’t getting this steering thing and at one point as we moved into a left-turn lane I watched anxiously as I just barely managed to avoid clipping the median on my left. Clearly there was something going on that I didn’t understand.

Other than those particulars I really don’t remember much about that ride either.

There were other rides on other bikes in later years, but far too much time passed before I finally bought my own. Now when some of the guys I ride with at times tell me they haven’t had the bike out in six months I’m just amazed. I guess I’m trying to make up for lost time.

Biker Quote for Today

I ride not to add days to my life, but to add life to my days.

The Downside to Running this Blog

Thursday, November 7th, 2013
Motorcycling In Colorado

Raise your hand if you love this kind of riding.

You wouldn’t believe the number of people who want to spam you–you, the readers of this blog–and the kind of crap they want to foist off. Or maybe you would.

I figure I get on average about 10 emails a week from people asking to do guest posts for the blog, promising the very best in quality and interest for my readers. My reply is very straightforward. I paste in my boilerplate answer and send. The boilerplate basically says that I know they get paid for getting links to their client sites placed on good sites like mine, and if they’re going to get paid I want to be paid, too. But first, even if they’re willing to pay me, the content has to be good. I’m not going to spam my readers.

For most of them that’s it; I never hear from them again. A few express interest in the paid post and they send me what they want me to run. I cannot tell you the dreck I receive. Let’s take the most recent one as an example.

In reply to my boilerplate reply, this woman said OK, she’d be willing to pay, but as a freelancer she only gets $40 for each placement, and I ask $50, so would I be willing to take $20? I told her no, I really don’t care if anyone pays me because for me the blog is not work. I’m a writer and I do it for my own pleasure and satisfaction. So no, I’m not going to cut my fee.

Somewhat to my surprise, I got a follow-up from her saying OK, she’d pay the $50, and here’s the piece she wants published. You can’t imagine what garbage it was. Right off the bat, it wasn’t a motorcycle-related piece at all; it was about mountain biking. Hello, do you understand that I run a motorcycle site. And then, even if it were a motorcycle piece, it was one of these totally basic things like “Three Must-Dos for Motorcyclists” with the three items along the lines of get training, wear the proper gear, and get insurance. Oh, now that is really useful information I absolutely must share with my readers. I’m sure none of those three things ever crossed any of their minds. Yeah.

Of course, insurance is the really key thing here. She wants to get a link to an insurance website on my blog. So I fired an email back to her telling her how abysmal the piece she sent me was, and that no, it will not be running on my blog. To my great surprise she emailed right back apologizing for disappointing me and including another piece for me to run. I didn’t even read it; I just hit the Spam button so with any luck anything else she sends me will go straight to that folder.

And that’s the way it goes, week after week. On the rarest occasions I actually get something good, or at least good enough that I don’t feel I’ll be totally insulting you publishing it. If you’re read those in the past and not been impressed then I suggest you just skip over them; I won’t be offended. I mean, the occasional 50 bucks is nice but if in the future I run something and you think I should have turned it down I’d be pleased to hear from you to that effect. Turning off my readers is not worth $50.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Colorado rider training program ailing badly

Biker Quote for Today

“The engine settled into the climb, with that relaxed ticka-ticka-ticka old BMWs have. It’s not the sound that makes you want to race; more seductive, it tempts you to quit your job and ride to South America.” Riding with Rilke by Ted Bishop