Archive for the ‘Day Rides’ Category

Filling Two Tanks For $13.50

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Biker Quote for Today

I ride because it lets my soul out to play.

More Than 10 Reasons to Ride

Monday, April 14th, 2014

I get a regular newsletter from the Sportbike Network and the latest one had a link to a piece on titled, “Top 10 Excuses to go for a Motorcycle Ride.” While the reasons listed are good, I found the comments from readers equally so.

Judy, the Concours, and the Mackinac Bridge

Nothing beats having a wife for whom excuses are unnecessary.

Some of the 10 I like best include, “Running Errands,” “Scuffing in New Tires,” “Warming Up A Chain For Lubrication,” and “Topping Off The Tank To Prevent Fuel Separation.” Yeah, those are all good, necessary reasons why we just have got to take the bike out. And then there is the final one, “Testing Motorcycles,” but you only get to use that if you write for a motorcycle publication or something like that. One reader had his own take on that theme that can work for everyone else. “Honey, I’m very worried cause of this noise in the engine. This could cost us big money later. I think I better go for a ride cause I think I can find the solution…”

Some of the other reader comments are better than what the writer gave. How about, “I have a 10:00 with my therapist. My motorcycle is the best therapist by far, she always listens and hums affirmatively.” And this: “My Favorite: Because I’m breathing.”

Of course the whole excuse thing is a pain to start with. Thus, this response: “Who needs an excuse? Got my wife her own bike.”

That’s really the way to go. It wouldn’t work with my wife, because she’s afraid to even ride a scooter, but I don’t have to make excuses. She’s the one who’s telling me, “What a beautiful day! Why aren’t you out on a bike?” She’s the one who, when I was considering whether or not to buy the V-Strom, told me, “You should buy it. You’ve wanted it for a long time.”

No, none of you guys can have my wife. Don’t even think about it.

Biker Quote for Today

Love is the feeling you get when you like something as much as your motorcycle. Have you ever been in love?

Three February Rides

Monday, February 24th, 2014
motorcycle at t-intersection out on the prairie

Here's where Jewell ends.

The weather gods have smiled on us for the most part this winter, providing numerous days when motorcycle riding is not only possible, but demanded. Not this most recent Sunday, but the one before, was one of those days. How could I possibly say no?

Of course, as I mentioned previously, I had ridden to work on Friday, which served as my first February ride on my V-Strom. That was a pretty basic ride, just out Hampden to Kipling, north on Kipling, and then a bit of a zig-zag to the office. The reverse on the return.

Saturday dawned warm (or so I hear) but by the time I was up and out a serious chill had set in. I took my chances and figured I’d ride on Sunday. I knew that had the potential to be a big mistake but in this case the weatherman proved right.

So here it was Sunday and I had a Honda and a Kawasaki needing to be ridden. One of the really tough questions I have to ask myself again and again over the winter is where to ride to. The mountains are out because I’ve found through experience that no matter how nice it is down here on the plains, up there the temperatures will be at least 15 degrees lower and there will be ice in the shadows. On the other hand, just cruising across the prairie is not exactly exciting.

I find it works best if I can come up with a theme or a destination–something other than just wandering. (Although there is a lot to be said for just wandering some times!)

Heading out first on the Honda I settled on going out east on one of the main roads to see just how far I could get before it petered out. Partially by accident, that street happened to be Jewell. East I went, and further east. The amazing thing for me was that as I kept going further and further out, there were subdivisions out there. Who in the world lives that far out? And why? I got out to Powhaton Road and there were houses out there! To each his own, but boy, that’s not my own.

So anyway, just past Powhaton the pavement finally did come to an end. I was on the Honda, though, and while it’s not a dual-sport bike, it is an old go-nearly-anywhere bike. I figured if the gravel wasn’t too bad I’d see how much further I could get.

It turned out the gravel was great. It seemed to have been heavily treated with magnesium chloride and was a good, hard, stable surface, so I kept going. Which ultimately brought me to Watkins Road. I had heard that Watkins Road had been paved fairly recently but I had never been on it, but there I was, at a T-intersection (see photo) and that was the road I had to take. I knew going north would just lead me to Watkins so I headed south. Time to explore.

Not that there was much to explore down that way. I rode a few miles and hit another T-intersection, Quincy Avenue. I turned west and headed back into town. I had found where Jewell went to and Quincy would be a ride for another day. Looking at the map it doesn’t really look like it goes much of anywhere either, but through some twisting and turning I guess you can make it out to Byers. Another day.

One thing of note, however, is that heading west on Quincy I ran across quite a few motorcycles heading east. Wonder where they were going?

Back home I got on the Kawasaki and headed out again. This time I jumped on I-25 going south and quickly decided to get off at the Castle Pines exit and see where that took me. Castle Pines is kind of an amazing place. For one thing, there’s more than one “house” in that area that can appropriately be described as a castle. We’re talking homes where the monthly mortgage payment might easily be more than I make in a year. Kind of incomprehensible.

That road actually doesn’t go very far, however, before it hits Daniels Park Road. I knew at that point that going north would just take me into Highlands Ranch and back to C-470 and I didn’t want to do that so I went south. That brought me out to U.S. 85 of course and I turned right, to head up through Sedalia. By now I was seeing many, many bikes. It was a gorgeous day and this road is a popular motorcycling road year-round. No surprise there.

What was a surprise was when I got to Sedalia and rather than the crowd of bikes at the Sedalia Grill that I expected, there were only one car and two bikes in the parking lot. Did that place close? I didn’t stop to inquire but boy, was that a strange sight. In the meantime, there were probably more bikes than cars on U.S. 85, going both directions.

From there it was just up to C-470, east to I-25, and home. I had just spent the better part of the afternoon out cruising and felt pretty satisfied. Is it any surprise that I love living in Colorado?

Biker Quote for Today

One of the beautiful things about riding solo is the quality of the social experience.

February Riding, Heated Gear Testing

Monday, February 4th, 2013
odometer showing all 5s

By the time I got stopped I almost missed my shot of my Kawi odometer with all 5s showing.

I got out on both bikes yesterday so I have checked off February 2013 in my unbroken string of months that I have ridden each bike ever since I bought them. I lose track of when I bought the Honda CB750 Custom–25 years ago or so–so that’s about 300 consecutive months for that bike. The Kawasaki Concours is at about half that.

Of course every ride lately is a test of heated gear in one way or another. Today the temps were in the 40s so I decided to wear the heated vest but not the heated gloves. After all, one key to seeing how well the heated gloves do is to periodically ride without them.

I took off on the Kawi first. With its full fairing it’s a warmer bike to ride in any conditions. I didn’t feel the need to turn the vest on until the point where I was headed home and was getting chilly. My hands were fine.

The Honda offers a lot less protection so I very soon turned the vest on. Going on a longer ride than I had on the Kawi, my hands eventually were pretty dang chilly. I was wishing I had the electric gloves.

Back home again I wanted to take the Kawi out again just because I noticed that I was only about 3 miles away from the odometer reading 55555.5 (see the photo above). At this point I put on the Gerbings. That warmth on my hands felt really good instantly.

Up till now, when I’ve used these gloves I’ve been interested in determining how long the battery power will last. I’ve been using them at the lowest setting that was comfortable, which has meant that my hands were not toasty warm but they were not cold either. This time I figured I’d just crank them all the way up and see how they feel like that.

In a word: toasty. At full power my hands were not only not cold, they were downright warm. In fact, after awhile I’d have to say they were too warm. I didn’t bother dialing them back because I wasn’t going a long way, but yes indeed, they put out the heat.

Through all of this, of course, I was loving the heat from the vest. I’ve had that vest for many years and have loved it ever since I bought it. I know people who just put their bikes away for the winter because they just don’t like riding in the cold. If I could only get them to understand that it doesn’t have to be that way. Get some heated gear and dress for the weather and you really can ride all year round. Don’t tell me you’re just a fair-weather biker. Come on, don’t tell me that. Get out and ride that thing.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Only a biker knows . . .: Motorcycle wit and wisdom, #25

Biker Quote for Today

“…I am a motorcycle-Samurai, and I have beat my Demons.” -YK

Weather Looks OK For Last Brass Monkey Run

Monday, December 24th, 2012
Last Brass Monkey Run in 2008

Riders starting out from the Frontier Club for the 2008 Last Brass Monkey Run.

Yeah, it’s cold and gonna get colder the next couple days, but then we’re supposed to get a little warmer. Just in time for this year’s final organized motorcycle ride, the Last Brass Monkey Run.

The Last Brass Monkey Run is put on each year by ABATE of Colorado and it starts out at a couple spots, The Frontier Club in Aurora and Susie’s in Golden, and comes together at the Grizzly Rose.

Registration at the starting points begins at 9 a.m. and the party at the Grizzly Rose begins at noon. Registration is $10 for ABATE members and $15 for non-members. Plus, if you’re an ABATE member and you renew your membership at the event it only costs you $5 to get in.

Goings-on include food and live music, a chili cook-off, cash prizes, door prizes, 50-50, and of course the chance to catch up with friends and get in your last ride of the year.

Of course, if the weather turns nasty or you just can’t motivate yourself to get on the bike, you can come in your car. What the heck.

So hey! I’ll see you there, right?

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Butler Maps goes east to the Ozarks

Biker Quote for Today

Trailering your bike is a sickness. Call 1-800 2 SCARED TO RIDE

My First (Sorta) Cold Day’s Ride This Fall

Monday, November 19th, 2012
My Honda in the King Soopers parking lot in Aspen Park.

My Honda in the King Soopers parking lot in Aspen Park.

What a gorgeous day Sunday. I rode the Kawi to the ABATE meeting and then in the afternoon I took off on the Honda for a real ride. Time to give that battery a good charge.

It was so nice that the mountains called. I knew as I went up in elevation the temperature was going to drop but I was dressed warmly and had my electric vest on. Upward!

I cruised up through Morrison to Idledale, to Kittredge, and on to Evergreen. Lots of bikes on the road. Lots of bikes parked in Morrison and Evergreen.

And yes, it got cooler. It didn’t take long for me to be glad I had the electric vest on. It was sunny, but with the sun low in the south, the canyon was mostly in shadow. And the higher I went, the lower the mercury dipped.

By the time I reached Evergreen it was getting cloudy. I had wanted to stop but didn’t. You know how you have intentions and yet sometimes you never act on them. That was me. I turned south on Highway 73, the road to where I would meet U.S. 285 at Conifer. Now I was getting cold, especially my hands. I realized the time had come to switch to my winter riding gloves and I wished I had done so already. By the time I reached Conifer I was starting to wonder if my vest had stopped working; I was that cold.

So I cruised on down to Aspen Park and pulled off to get something hot to hold and drink. There’s a Starbucks in the King Soopers there and that was just the ticket. Feeling reasonably warm again, I rolled on back down the hill. By the time I got back to the city it was a comfortable temp again but I kept the vest turned on anyway. Felt good. And yes, it was still working.

The moral of the story, or lesson or whatever: It’s that time of year. I probably won’t be riding into the mountains again until sometime next year. And I really do need to get some electric gloves on my hands, sooner rather than later. Judy said she’d get me some for Christmas, and if I tell her specifically what I want she won’t wait for Christmas. I had forgotten to do that. No more forgetting.

But oh man, what a great day to be out for a ride. After doing all this riding this past summer I haven’t been on the bikes all that much this fall. And now I’ve started a job, for the first time in more than three years. I’m back at the point where when I occasionally go for a ride it hits me that, “Hey, this is really fun! I should do this more!” From here on it’s all about the weather.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Women motorcyclist research project seeks participants

Biker Quote for Today

The world belongs to those who can laugh at it.

Exploring the Unk Plateau

Monday, October 15th, 2012

The road down through the middle of the Uncompaghre Plateau.

Kevin Smith and I had plans this summer to head up onto the Uncompaghre Plateau on a couple of his V-Stroms, but thanks to a screw-up by his doctor, Kevin spent much of the summer recovering from that misadventure. (If your doctor tells you a procedure is successful 95 percent of the time, think really hard about what it would mean if you were in the 5 percent.)

So with the Unk Plateau, as the locals call it, beckoning, that was the next destination for Judy and me after we came down off the Grand Mesa on the Land’s End Road. All it took was a short jog north on U.S. 50 and then a left turn onto CO 141 at Whitewater. CO 141 is the road that runs to Gateway and through the Unaweep Canyon, itself a terrific ride, and all paved.

To get up on top of the Unk Plateau you just cruise about 13 miles until you reach the turn-off for the Divide Road. Through a series of switchbacks you climb quickly to the top of the plateau and then the road heads south.

Although the locals all know and are familiar with the Unk, I have the strong impression that most other people in the state have no idea it exists. It’s a large area–more than 60 miles long by about 15 miles wide–and there are no towns and only gravel roads up there. Not surprisingly it’s a favorite for hunting, fishing, and camping. Also for ATVs and dual-sport or dirt bikes.

Unlike the Land’s End Road, I would not even want to take my Honda on the Divide Road. It’s too rough in too many places. This is definitely dual-sport or dirt bike terrain. But if you are riding one of those, the Unk is calling to you. There are hills, canyons, cliffs, lakes all just waiting. Think Grand Mesa, but with a lot fewer people. Heck the Divide Road even goes over a pass, Columbine Pass, as it traverses the plateau north to south.

It’s big enough, too, that we didn’t even cover the entire north-south cruise as we intended because it was getting late in the day. Instead, midway we turned off on a road that headed down to Delta. If we had taken the Divide Road to the end it would have brought us out in Montrose. So there’s plenty more to see. Maybe Kevin and I can get up there next year. On bikes.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Going over the edge of the Grand Mesa

Biker Quote for Today

If you dump it in front of me, I promise I won’t run you over.

Land’s End Road A Great Ride If You’re OK With Gravel

Thursday, October 11th, 2012
The Lands End Road running off Grand Mesa

The Lands End Road running off Grand Mesa.

Utterly, utterly spectacular. I’m talking about the Land’s End Road running off Grand Mesa down toward Whitewater. A week ago I had no idea this road existed. Now I’ve been on it.

I have to acknowledge that this is another instance of Judy and me going on roads that would be fabulous on a dual-sport bike but doing so in her Subaru Forester. Because I still don’t have a dual-sport bike. I’m really, really hoping that by next summer that situation is going to have changed. But in the meantime, we drive these roads and I view them from the motorcyclist’s perspective. And oh man, what a perspective this road offers.

You can go either way on the Land’s End Road but I strongly recommend down. I suspect that climbing you just wouldn’t see it the way you do descending. So to do that, you take CO 65 onto Grand Mesa, either coming from I-70 on the north or from Cedaredge on the south, and catch the well-marked turn-off at about the 31 mile marker. That road heads west to the edge of the mesa, runs along the rim a ways, and then reaches the point where it plunges downward. Oh. My. Gosh.

Up to this point the road alternates between good gravel and pavement. Starting down it is all gravel until you get down off the mesa and get near U.S. 50. But it’s good gravel and I would probably be willing to take my Honda CB750 Custom on it. No way would I take my Kawasaki Concours on it. The Connie hates gravel. On a dual-sport or a dirt bike I’d be in heaven.

If you’ve never seen this road you really owe it to yourself. Heck, go there in your car if nothing else. I just can’t believe I’d never even heard of it till now.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Motorcycle thefts decline 6 percent in 2011

Biker Quote for Today

You know the sign that says ‘Pavement ends’? I want to see more of those.

A Fall Color Ride on the Peak-to-Peak

Monday, September 24th, 2012
motorcycle and fall color

Always a good ride, the Peak-to-Peak is an even better ride in the fall when the aspens turn colors.

It was a beautiful day and we had heard the colors were good up on the Peak-to-Peak Highway, so of course we had to go for a ride on Sunday.

Heading up via Golden Gate Canyon we had the road almost entirely to ourselves. Too good to last, however, as we had every expectation that the crowds looking for fall color would be thick. We weren’t wrong on that count.

The funny thing was, on the way up and then headed north, Judy and I were both struck with how the colors were just not as stunning and intense as we expected. I suspect it has something to do with the lack of moisture. I think I remember something about how in dry years the aspen leaves go pretty much straight from green to brown, and that’s what a lot of them were doing.

Still, there were a few spots with good color, and we could always tell when we approached these because of all the cars and motorcycles pulled off the side of the road. And oh boy, did I mention motorcycles? It was like a rally on the Peak-to-Peak. We saw hundreds of bikes. There were probably as many bikes as there were cars.

So we cruised on up to Estes Park and had lunch. In case we needed the reminder, you really don’t want to go to Estes Park on a day when there are likely to be hordes of tourists. A gorgeous Sunday in the fall is one of those days. We ate our lunch and quickly departed.

Rather than go down the Big Thompson Canyon or some other canyon and then have to take CO 93 through Boulder, we just backtracked on the Peak-to-Peak, on the theory that a road looks completely different going the other way. And boy did it! Something about the change in the light, and possibly the different views north vs. south, but it was a lot prettier going south. It still wasn’t the kind of color we’ve seen up there before, but it was a lot closer to what we had expected.

So the word is that next weekend is going to be the peak on the Peak-to-Peak. My recommendation, if you’re only going one way on that stretch of road, go north to south. And be ready for crowds.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Head of motorcycle crash study exits, expresses concerns

Biker Quote for Today

Have maximum fun while preserving bike and body.

Bigger Not Better For The Small Bike Ride

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

You don’t have to have a ton of horsepower to have fun on a motorcycle. And you don’t have to have a huge cruising bike to get out on the road. And let’s not even get into the times we’ve watched someone struggling to keep a behemoth from falling over and thought to ourselves how that guy has got too much bike for his size.

Girls on a Cushman

This Cushman would feel right at home on the Small Bike Ride.

In celebration then of smaller bikes, Todd Wallis has organized this Small Bike Ride, for this Saturday. Here’s what Todd has to say about his ride.

Small Bike Ride is coming out of the shadows and we are going to make it official. The event is open to all motorcycles but it is geared toward small, vintage machines and speeds will normally be down to about 35-40 mph which will make it a great opportunity for sidecar rigs and prewar motorcycles as well. We will be riding about 100 miles from the Deer Creek area up through Conifer and Pine and this year we have a chase vehicle in case anyone has trouble. We will be on paved roads and we’ll have a stop for lunch in the middle of the ride. We will meet on Deer Creek Canyon Rd near the intersection of C470 and S. Wadsworth Blvd. The ride starts at 10:00 so plan on getting there around 9:00 a.m.

We will have maps printed and available for everyone the morning of the ride. If you plan to attend please call me or send an email just so I know how many to expect.

Starting Location: 9880 West Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton, Colorado 80127

Hope to see you there.

So hey, time to get out that little guy you generally just zip around running errands on. Get your motor running!

Note: I mentioned awhile ago that I was turning commenting off on this blog due to the comment spammers. I have now added a new captcha feature that asks you to prove you’re not a computer in order to leave a comment. So please do leave comments whenever you please.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Head of motorcycle crash study exits, expresses concerns

Biker Quote for Today

Ural miles are kinda like dog years.