Archive for the ‘motorcycle talk’ Category

Ride To Eat, Eat To Ride

Monday, March 13th, 2017
motorcycles and fast food

The OFMC at a lunch stop.

Because, on a motorcycle, the journey is the destination, it’s common practice to look for whatever excuse you can find to ride. Happily, food can be that excuse. There aren’t many things better than an eatery with terrific food that also happens to entail a terrific ride getting to it. For many bikers, eating fast food on the bike is a blasphemy; excellent food is as important an element of the ride as the bike.

Admittedly, the OFMC is not hard core on this the way a lot of riders are. When we’re out on our summer trips we can generally expect to eat at McDonald’s at least once, despite the protests of a minority. On the other hand, we’ve had some extraordinary meals as well.

In the early days of the OFMC we rolled into Laughlin, NV, for a two-day stay. Not wishing to pay the price for the casino hotels, we crossed the river to the Arizona side and found an inexpensive motel. But of course the action was on the Nevada side, so we rode back and forth on the river taxis that shuttle people up and down the shoreline and across the Colorado River.

Come time for dinner that first night and we hit the restaurant in whatever casino we were in, and being a casino, the prices were outrageously cheap. We ordered the $3 prime rib and were absolutely blown away by the best prime rib any of us has ever eaten. That was such a high point it has officially become an OFMC legend.

The Local Specialty

On another trip we were in Utah cruising up past Bear Lake, which straddles the border between Utah and Idaho. The primary town in the area is Garden City, where a couple highways come together. It turns out that this place is renowned for its blackberry milkshakes. When in Rome . . .

It seemed pretty low-key that first time, no huge crowds or anything, but we’ve been back several times. What a change the next time. Garden City was packed with tourists of all kinds but especially the two-wheeled variety. Whole groups of bikers had run up from Salt Lake City or Logan or Ogden, with the objective being to have a great ride with a special treat at the end. Standing in line at one of the numerous spots selling the shakes we watched a constant parade of motorcycles rumbling up and down the strip, like a mini-Daytona.

Then there’s Jerome, AZ, which we discovered on one trip and came back to for a visit years later. This old mining town, built perilously clinging to the steep side of a mountain, was practically a ghost town when we first passed through but has since become an artist’s colony and gone very upscale. And it was here that we found a stunningly good French restaurant.

We had broken into groups to find dinner, but found there wasn’t much open, so we all ended up in the one place that was. I can’t remember details but I do recall raviolis with cheese sauces, pizzas like you’ve never seen before, and all of it out of this world. Some of the guys swore they had never had a better meal in their lives. A couple of the guys have since taken their wives back there; it was that good.

Sometimes it’s the Setting

Fancy food aside, under the right conditions, and prepared in the right way, even the most mundane meal can be a stand-out. This was the case one year at Lake Powell.

We had headed out of Blanding, UT, for the south shore of the lake, where we would take the ferry over to Bullfrog. The plan was to camp for the night and cross in the morning so we wisely decided to buy food in Blanding. Nothing special, just hot dogs and buns and maybe a can of beans.

What we hadn’t counted on was the total lack of fuel for a fire. This is desert country and it’s not like you can gather fallen limbs to burn. And we don’t exactly carry Coleman stoves on the bikes. We could eat the beans cold but we really wanted to cook the dogs. Scrounging around, we gathered some dried grasses and bits of sagebrush and managed to build the world’s smallest campfire. One by one, holding the hotdogs in our fingers and passing them patiently back and forth across the tiny flame we did cook them.

Now, any food tastes better when you’re hungry, but I’m guessing that in this case the bits of sage we burned played a role, too. One way or another, they were without question the best-tasting hot dogs we had ever eaten. And another OFMC legend was born.

“It’s all about the stories” is a common phrase among motorcyclists. Sometimes the stories are about the food, not the bikes.

Biker Quote for Today

Biker born, biker bred, when I die I’ll be biker dead.

Vintage Motorcycle Show Will Be June 7

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

by Matt Wessels

The Vintage movement is in full force and old motorcycles are finding their way back to daylight and backroads in record numbers. This year will mark the 5th annual Vintage Motorcycle Show in Golden, Colorado.

Heritage Square will host the event one last time before they close their doors at the end of 2015, and all of their facilities will be operational for the show. Those facilities include bathrooms, restaurants, and a bar.

Erico Motorsports, GrandPrix Motorsports Indian and Foothills Triumph/BMW will be there showcasing some of the factory retro motos. Last year they had a half-million dollar Vincent show up, by the name of the Black Prince. It might make a re-appearance at this year’s show.

The show (Sunday, June 7) is open to anybody with a vintage motorcycle following the structure of a controlled open floor. To enter, respond to the evite and drop a comment so that Bob can get an idea of how many bikes there will be. Being a part of the show is just as free as attending it. They are taking donations for Hospice care, so bring some stray bills to support a good cause!

Much like the show being a celebration of all that was good and right in the motorcycle world, the Hospice donations are a celebration of good people who make it their life’s work to increase the quality of life for those who can not completely provide it for themselves. The idea was started when a friend was immensely impressed with the Hospice workers who take care of his mom, and wanted to give back.

The VJMC is also giving back by footing the bill for the event and wants all motorcycles from all backgrounds, manufacturers, and styles to attend. This isn’t a profitable endeavor, this is simply two enthusiasts who want to bring like-minded people together and celebrate good bikes, good food, good talk, and good experiences.

If you missed the link up above, go HERE to register for attendance. IT’S FREE!

For any other questions or comments, please reach out to Bob @ superhawk65@gmail.com

Many of the same folks meet at the GB Fish and Chips on the first Thursday of every month for Old Bike Night. There are a few other Old Bike Night meetups around the front range area, but not all necessarily connected with this one.

A Redo On The Motorcycle Examiner

Monday, April 20th, 2015
My National Motorcycles Examiner page

My National Motorcycles Examiner page.

Way back in early 2008 I was contacted about doing some writing focused on motorcycling for a new website called Examiner.com. (For many of you, this is not news.) I accepted that offer and became the Denver Motorcycle Examiner, with an Examiner site user ID number of about 79. Which is to say, I was the 79th person signed up to post as “Examiners.” Examiner.com still exists today and while they no longer give you a number, if they did that number would probably be around 100,000 or even higher. A lot of people sign on and then drop off soon afterward.

At first it was exciting. We were creating something new. It didn’t pay much but the pay was steadily increasing. As other motorcycle Examiners joined I contacted each of them and we banded together to promote each other to mutual benefit. And I was then offered the option to become the National Motorcycle Examiner. So I made that move.

For a couple years the thing just grew. Every now and then they would upgrade the blogging platform (which is essentially what it is, although they don’t call it a blog), and things just got better and we made more money. Then the frequent changes in how they figured our pay took a downward turn. Every couple months they would announce some new procedure and each change meant exactly one thing: We were going to be paid less. In a very short time these changes resulted in my earnings dropping by 90 percent. Does it surprise anyone that I cut way back on my publishing on Examiner?

It might be more surprising, actually, that I continued. But by this time I had put up a substantial body of work and as these posts continued to be read I continued to earn at least a little. If I stopped publishing altogether Examiner would stop paying me, although they would continue to benefit from my work. So in the last few years I have put up usually one piece a month just to keep the payments trickling in.

And now, I recently went in to post my piece for the month and found that all of my work for the first six months as an Examiner had been unpublished. I immediately assumed that another upgrade in the software had resulted in making the very earliest stuff incompatible with the current system. I sent a note to tech support asking but when they replied they said, “Gosh no, we didn’t unpublish those.” Like I believed that. Then a couple weeks later I got a note saying, “Hey, just wanted to let you know we had to unpublish your early stuff because it was not compatible with the current software.”

So this presented a couple options. I could just let those pieces be gone forever, or I could republish them in the new system. In some cases this is a no-brainer. Initially I did a weekly thing called “Where to Ride this Weekend,” which was a listing of upcoming rides and events. In 2008. OK, those can disappear from the world and that’s just fine.

But then there were others that are more, to use the common term, “evergreen.” That is to say, timeless stuff that is relevant regardless of when someone reads it. First and foremost among those are my ongoing series of posts entitled “Only a biker knows . . .: Motorcycle wit and wisdom.” You know that thing I end each of these blog posts with, the “Biker Quote for Today”? I save each of those and when I have 20 I put them all up in an Examiner post. Well, the first half dozen of those got unpublished. You better believe I’ll be republishing those.

And you know what? This means I can keep current on Examiner and keep my pennies and nickels trickling in without actually having to write new stuff. Also, in the early days Examiner didn’t have the ability to use a bunch of photos, so I had a lot of good ones that never got used. Now I can republish some of these pieces and offer some additional good photos that no one has ever gotten to see before. In fact, I did that with this most recent post I republished, “Top Gun competitors zig and zag their way to victory — Redo.”

By the way, that “Redo” at the end of that title is what I’m using to indicate that this is a republished article.

And oh yeah, sometimes I still do original posts on Examiner because that credential, being able to call myself the National Motorcycle Examiner, gets me press passes to things I want to cover. So it’s worth it. There was a time when I could (and did) say, “I’m going to work full-time as the National Motorcycle Examiner.” It was fun while it lasted. Those days are over. But it is kind of fun going back now and reading some of this old stuff I wrote so long ago.

Biker Quote for Today

“I don’t feel like going for a ride today.” — said no motorcycle rider ever

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!

Different Bikes or Do it All with One?

Monday, February 10th, 2014
Suzuki V-Strom, Honda CB750 Custom, Kawasaki Concours

My three bikes: Suzuki V-Strom, Honda CB750 Custom, Kawasaki Concours.

There’s an interesting thread on a forum I belong to and I’ll pass some of the comments along here. The question raised at the start was this: How many bikes do you own? Different bikes for different types of riding or just one bike to do it all?

Now, anyone who knows me and/or reads this blog knows I have three myself: a 1980 Honda CB750 Custom, a really fun street bike; a 1999 Kawasaki Concours, a terrific highway bike; and a 2006 Suzuki V-Strom 650, which is the only one that’s really good off the pavement. So my answer is different bikes for different types of riding.

Here are some other folks’ comments.

Jeff: I want to believe “one bike can do it all”, but I love too many of them so I rationalize owning more than one. Currently that is a 2012 Honda NC700X and recently sold a BMW 1150RT and a Moto Guzzi V11 EV. I’ve owned over 20 bikes in the past 9 years and can say I have enjoyed all of them. Yes dear, I promise to listen to you and become more practical in the future

Barry: 1. Piaggio MP3 500 for my inner city commute. 2. Triumph Sprint ST for long distance touring. 3. Had an Aprilia Mana GT for commuting/touring and it was totalled in an accident.

Anthony: 1500 Nomad for touring, commuting (I live in a small town, so no heavy traffic), and general purpose riding. I have owned cars with less capacity for carrying groceries etc. GS550 for classic and vintage events, or just when I feel like riding something a bit more nimble. My Dad’s 1927 BSA and sidecar for spannering and wiping up pools of oil. One day it will actually work again (engine is being rebuilt by a specialist), so it will be used for vintage rallies and weekend jaunts for lunch at local wineries, that sort of thing. If I had to have only one bike, I think I would struggle! If I was able to have more, well, where would it end?

David: When you look at riding from MX to Track (Sport) to Touring there really is no one bike that can do it all. I love the hard fast tight woods single track as much as I love riding 500 to 1,000 miles in a day or hitting the race track for a day. I have to have different bikes to handle the riding I do.

Randy: I used to have a “wego” goldwing and a “mego” Valkyrie but now I do it all with a Weestrom.

Axe: If you have the room, once you own them, it doesn’t cost much to keep besides a little insurance. Space became my issue, plus time to ride them all every now and then. I have about a 1.5 mile drive to work, and machines work best when they’re used often. (From Ken: I’ve said much the same thing many times, minus the 1.5 mile drive to work. I just don’t get rid of the old one when I get a new one. This next guy kind of sums that up.)

Hiram: I have several bikes. I have accumulated them more because I liked them more than I could sell them for and I just decided to keep them because of the value I placed in them myself.
1998 VFR 800 Simply an awesome bike for all types of road riding. Great in the twisties and comfortable enough on longer rides. It now sits more than it should and acts a loaner to other friends on longer trips.
2005 KTM 525 MXC, what more can be said, simply the best machine for the off road job.
2000 KX 500 two stroke, if it had the magic button, I wouldn’t have the KTM. Awesome bike, usually a dirt bike or dune loaner to my buddies.
2008 Kawasawki Concours, wasn’t the bike of the year for nothing, simply as much fun as a sport tour can be. There may be better bikes, but not better.
2012 Aprilia 1200 Dorsoduro, admittedly a moment of weakness. Poor gas mileage, no real storage even for short rides BUT!!!, get on it and go for a spin and the smile factor is off the charts. Simply fun, fun. Power wheelies through four gears and I only know htat because I haven’t tried it in 5th or 6th.

Kurt: The Gold Wing is for distance touring and winter riding. The BMW S1000RR is for huge fun and the race track. The Ninja 300 is for a whole different kind of fun than the S1000RR on the street and track. And my wife rides a Can Am Spyder RS-S.

Dominick: Have a Hayabusa next to a 05 harley deuce. It’s my Jekyll and Hyde.

This may be a self-selecting group but there were at least a few who said they ride only one.

Paul: I had ten bikes but slowly sold them off but just kept my favorite one my 1980 Honda CB900 Custom.

Peter: I have one; a W650. It’s what I love and what I ride. I would hate to have more than I need and have to decide.

Stefan sums it up for me: You need at least 3 bikes to enjoy all of it.

I have to agree. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a wonderful time on just one or just two before I got the third. Now it’s just even better.

Biker Quote for Today

Every bike I ever had was the best bike I ever had, when I had it.

More Riding Than I’ll Ever Do

Monday, December 23rd, 2013
Motorcycles On The Highway

All I want to do is cruise easily along a road like this.

When it’s winter, there’s snow and ice on the street, and riding is just not an option, some people turn to surfing. The Web, that is. Hitting the motorcycle forums and other sites. There actually is a lot of interesting stuff out there.

So here’s another thread I’ve followed lately. The question on this one was, “What is the furthest you have ever ridden without stopping to sleep?” Now, the mileage part of the answers is really the least interesting aspect. In most cases it’s a heck of a lot of miles, more than I’ll ever do in one day, especially without sleeping. That’s just a given. What is interesting is the hind sight, the wisdom, the random remarks thrown in. Here’s a sampling.

Daren started it off asking the question. He said he had done his first Iron Butt Association (IBA) event, a charity ride. He said it was “only the ‘Saddle Sore’ 1000+ miles in 24 hours.” Right. Only. I know you guys, Alan and Dan, and others, will use that “only” to describe that kind of ride. Not me. The farthest I’ve ever gone in a day is about 550 miles. That was enough. But let’s continue.

Then Jim had this to say.

“I rode a 1969 BMW R69S around the world. In Mongolia I rode up to 18 hours in a day looking for a place to sleep. But because of the lack of roads that only worked out to about 250 miles.”

Brian: “In 2004, to qualify for a Bunn Burner Gold certificate, I rode my 1999 BMW R1100RT approximately 1,590 miles in a little less than 23 hours. . . . In addition to good weather, warm temperatures and no traffic or mechanical problems, my Russell All Day Saddle made comfortable riding possible.”

Here’s Nic: “My journey did not start out as an Iron Butt ride, as I only wanted to break in my new Yamaha R6 (after the first service) – back in 2005. I went for a quick ride for breakfast, then I was thinking of a place to go for lunch – then I just kept riding and eating and fueling. . . . The total miles traveled, just stopping for food and gas, was nearly 1,300 – though only around 1,090 of them were in a 24 hour period. Due to varying weather conditions, the total trip took nearly 30 hours.”

A different Brian: “From Tacoma, WA to San Diego, CA in just over 19 hrs on a rigid framed 1957 Harley-Davidson Panhead. Stopping only for fuel and lavatory breaks. That was in 1980, I couldn’t do it today if I wanted to.”

Jim had to give him an elbow: “C’mon Brian, you could…you just don’t want to ;-) ”

Mike: “I promised myself I won’t push over 400 per day …anymore. I used to do 400-500 frequently and have done a few 800+ but that’s not really fun and when you string 5-7 days @ over 400 Miles each it becomes a chore.”

Axe: “straight from Ft. Collins, CO to San Antonio, TX in under 17 hrs. missed animal carcasses by a foot at times in the night. most headlights are just not long range enough for reaction time at any speed over 55, especially when having to switch to low beams for oncoming traffic. this was on a bmw s1000rr. biggest mods that helped was the throttle lock (amazed how bad my thumb hurt on the ride out), lowered pegs for less knee bend, and make sure your helmet doesn’t have pain points like the ear did on mine.”

David: “I’ve done several Saddle Sore 1000-mile rides on 3 different bikes (Suzuki GS 500E, Concours 10, KLR 650) and finally did a Burn Burner Gold 1500-mile ride on my third try on the Concours. That 2006 trip was from Toronto, Canada to Denver, CO in just over 23 hours. Got there, had paperwork signed, turned east and went to Lincoln, NE, another 500 miles or so. Total was 2122 miles in 33 hours, 45 minutes, though I had a 30-minute nap east of Denver. I will NOT do anything like that again. Far too dangerous. I had to make up for lost time at the US-CAN border and a traffic jam near Chicago, and I found myself riding quite spiritedly (i.e., fast) in the middle of the night. Thankfully I had reasonably clear skies, a good moon and cooperative wildlife.”

Ty: “My longest ride was from the green flag to the checkered flag of a six hour endurance race. Lots of laps at speed. The mountain vistas were of course sensational, the quiet river flowed gently along, and the hawks soaring overhead soothed my anxious heart, but really, I didnt get to enjoy much of them until the checkers were thrown!”

Steve: “~1100 miles in ~15 hours on an FLHR, Denver outskirts to Indianapolis, being chased by the first blizzard of the season rolling over the Rockies, which reinvented itself as a line of wicked tornadoes when the front hit the flatlands.”

Finally, Stu: “In 2001, my partner and I did 1000 miles in 18 hours on Harley Davidson Screamin Eagle Road Glides. At the time we were Harley Davidson dealers and wanted to prove it could be done, and got Iron Butt certificates for it. However, if I were to do it again, it would be on a BMW, probably an RT.”

Not me. Call me a wussy or anything else you want. I want my riding to be fun, and that kind of mileage is not in my definition of fun. But hey, you guys who get into, go for it. I love hearing your stories.

Biker Quote for Today

“As long as there’s a horizon and I can see it, then I want to know what’s there, mentally, physically and visually” – rtwpaul