Archive for the ‘Suggested Rides’ Category

Skyline Drive Photo Makes EagleRider Finals — Please Vote

Thursday, May 31st, 2012
motorcycles on Skyline Drive in Colorado

The OFMC rides Skyline Drive.

I mentioned recently that I had entered the photo above in a contest EagleRider is having and now, of the 63 photos entered, they have selected 20 for the run-off. My photo is one of those 20 and I would appreciate your votes.

Here’s the scoop. EagleRider, the groundbreaking company that opened up the concept of motorcycle rentals, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. They ran this contest asking people to offer photos for their 20 Years on the Highway contest, with the winner to receive an all-expense-paid trip for two to Los Angeles for the celebration.

The winner will be decided by votes. The way I see it, at this point it becomes a matter of who can work their social network the best. Each person can vote once a day, every day from now until midnight on June 29. To see the finalist photos, go here and scroll through the entries. Whichever one you like the most, click the “Like” link. Of course, I’d be very pleased if you vote for my photo but if you like something else better you really should vote for it.

Then, bookmark the link and go back every day until June 29 and vote again. Please be advised that the page loads a bit slowly, so be patient. Thanks.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Call made to push Congress on motorcycle-only stops

Biker Quote for Today

You know you’re becoming addicted to riding when you almost crash your car in a turn because you were trying to counter-steer and lean rather than turn the wheel.

Still Some Riding To Do This Year

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

starting point for Last Brass Monkey Run

It’s almost December but that doesn’t mean the organized motorcycle rides are over for the year. There are at least three that I know of and I’m definitely not all-knowing.

Two of these are toy runs, to collect gifts for kids who otherwise wouldn’t have much of a Christmas. The other is ABATE’s Last Brass Monkey Run.

This Sunday coming right up is when Rocky Mountain Harley-Davidson will be sponsoring its 26th Annual Toy Run, which collects gifts for kids at Children’s Hospital. The ride starts out in Aurora, at Aurora Sports Park, 18601 Sports Park Drive. Registration is one new, unwrapped toy.

Then, two Sundays later, the Sleigh Riders Motorcycle Toy Run will be held to benefit the Santa Cops program of Weld County. Again, registration is one new, unwrapped toy. The gathering place is in Greeley, at Maui Wowi of Greeley, 2939 65th Ave.

ABATE of Colorado’s Last Brass Monkey Run is scheduled each year to be the last ride of the year. Thanks to the calendar, this year’s run will actually be on Dec. 31, a Saturday. There are two starting points, on the west side and the east side of the metro area, with the destination being the Grizzly Rose, at 58th and I-25. West siders will be gathering at Wrigley’s, in Golden, at 18200 W. Colfax. On the east side, the Pioneer Club is the spot, 18881 E. Colfax. The event offers food, games, a chili cook-off, door prizes, and live music. Riders will start leaving at 10 a.m. and the party gears up at the Grizzly Rose at noon.

So don’t even think about putting that bike away for the winter. There’s plenty of good riding to be done in the next few months.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Helmet cams let you relive the ride

Biker Quote for Today

My goal is to see how many gallons of dead dinosaurs I can send through my bike.

Riding On The Plains

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Riding motorcycles on the prairie

It has gotten cool and we’ve had snow in Denver now. I know they’ve gotten a lot more snow in the mountains. I probably won’t be riding up in the hills any more any time soon.

That doesn’t mean I won’t be riding, though. It’s just time to change direction. In fact, I already took my first ride on the prairie this past weekend. Guess what? It’s really nice out there.

In the cooler parts of the year I like to ride around the outskirts of Denver and explore the new construction going on out there. If there’s road that is newly paved, I want to see where it goes. I find myself wandering around out there and sometimes getting lost but how lost can you get on Colorado’s eastern plains? The mountains are to the west.

Of course every time I do this it blows my mind how much construction and new development there is. We have friends who moved from west Denver a few years ago to Watkins and I used to think they were a long way out there. Have you wandered around out there recently? The city is not that far any more. It will probably swallow them in 10 years.

As it is now, houses go on beyond where Smoky Hill Road ends, and of course that road is four lanes almost to the very end. Heck, I remember when it was just two lanes, and I’m not even sure it was paved back when I’m thinking about. But I’ve taken rides out there with some frequency and watched the transformation. For years I looked at these mostly large houses and wondered where in the world all these people got all this money. Of course, now we know many of them never had that money and now I wonder how many of these places are sitting empty. That may buy our friends in Bennett another 5 years before the city gets there.

My point, of course, has nothing to do with houses or the economy. My point is just that even when the mountain roads are snowy there is still a lot of good riding to be done at the lower elevations. I don’t ever put my bikes away for the winter. How about you? Maybe I’ll see you out on the road sometime in January.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Only a biker knows . . .: Motorcycle wit and wisdom #19

Biker Quote for Today

I wonder where that road goes?

On the Shelf Road, Finally

Monday, October 17th, 2011

For the first couple years that I was working on this website the focus was entirely on paved roads. I didn’t have any off-road experience, plus there was plenty to keep me busy just putting up info on the paved roads, so I didn’t touch the gravel.

The Shelf RoadThen I got an email from Larry Matkovich, who runs Larry’s Custom Cycle in Canon City, suggesting I add some info on gravel roads (“dirty” roads as he called them) and he offered to provide me the scoop on some, along with a rating system he had devised. Thus was born the Dirt Roads and Side Trips page on the site.

The very first dirt road Larry introduced me to was the Shelf Road, which runs north out of Canon City to Cripple Creek. And although I’ve had it listed on the site for probably three years now, I had never been on it. Until yesterday.

I’m here to tell you, this is a good ride. Using the system he devised, Larry rated this road a 2, “Doable but not recommended for sport bikes, full dressers, some cruisers especially 2-up.” I might be a little more generous, maybe giving it a 1, “Fair gravel road, a bit more skill required, but OK for all bikes.”

Either way, it is a little rough in some places, with a good bit of washboard, but it’s doable. It’s better on a dual-sport, but if you’re on a street bike you can just take your time and ride around the potholes. Kind of like my friend Janet Linn does when she goes over mountain passes on her Ninja.

And boy, yesterday, with the fall colors, it was a beauty, as you can see in the photo. The weather is getting dicier so any of this kind of riding you intend to do you’d better do soon. Yesterday was a good one. It may be the best we’ll see for awhile. Hope you were out riding.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Hoka Hey finishers did get money

Biker Quote for Today

Go ahead . . . Get married, have kids, drive a van. LOL.

All Motorcycle Maps Are Not Created Equal

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

It was not a motorcycle trip but my wife, Judy, and I were out running around the mountains last weekend and had a chance to really compare some maps I had brought along. We were in her new Subaru Forester, which is an all-wheel-drive vehicle with high clearance, so we wanted to do some dirt, and take some roads we hadn’t been on before.

Motorcycle mapsI brought along three maps that I figured would be useful. One is the Colorado Motorcycle Skill Rating Map that was put together largely by ABATE of Colorado and the Motorcycle Roadracing Association for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). Another was the Colorado Bicycling and Scenic Byways Map, also produced by CDOT. The third was the Butler Motorcycle Maps Colorado map.

With Judy playing navigator, I drove. We went over Ripple Creek Pass, on the Flat Tops Trail Scenic Byway, which runs from Yampa over to Meeker. Later we went partway back along that road to Buford and took the Buford to Newcastle Road. Then we drove the Colorado River Road from Dotsero to a little north of State Bridge on CO 131, and finally over the Trough Road, which runs from State Bridge to Kremmling. The first two are rough roads that you would not want to take a street bike on (though we have in fact ridden the Flat Tops Byway on street bikes–bad idea!), while the other two are just fine for street bikes.

All in all, we had a great time, saw some great scenery, and gathered a lot of information that will eventually end up in the Dirt Roads section of this website. What I hadn’t really thought about, though, was what a good test this was for the maps. They all three were helpful in their way, but the word from the navigator is very clear: The Butler Maps Colorado map is the best.

What that means, very simply, is that the one you pay money for is better than the two free ones. That stands to reason, and is appropriate, but of course was not something you could just assume. But we put them to the test and that’s the verdict. And let me make the point here as well that this is not a verdict biased by the fact that Butler advertises on this site. I’m not sure Judy is even aware of that. She just switched back and forth between the three again and again and at one point told me in no uncertain terms that I should tell everyone that the the Butler map was the best. So there you go. I’ve passed the word along.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Piaggio MP3: A parallelogram of wheels

Biker Quote for Today

I’m slower than a dude riding one-handed on a DR350 while running a video camera. -Bk.Rd.Rnr

CDOT Motorcycle Skills Rating Map Points Out Roads

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

I recently acquired a copy of a “Colorado Motorcycle Skill Rating Map,” put out by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). It’s a concept taken from a similar map that is intended to give riders in South Dakota’s Black Hills an idea of how challenging those roads are. Whereas that map covers just the Black Hills, the CDOT map covers the whole state of Colorado.

Motorcycle Skills Map of ColoradoCDOT called on ABATE of Colorado to help put the map together, and ABATE pulled in the Colorado Sportbike Club so as to include that group’s perspective as well.

Unlike so many other state maps where the roads have different colors depending on whether they’re interstate, U.S. highway, state highways, unpaved, or whatever, this map shows all roads as either green (easy), orange (moderate), or red (difficult). Not surprisingly, the entire eastern part of the state is green. From the Front Range west it’s a mix of colors.

The truth of the matter is that for those of us who live here, the map offers little we didn’t already know. The main quibble we might have is that, accustomed as we are to riding in the mountains, for us, marking almost any road red is a stretch. That’s not the point, though. This is a map aimed at tourists, the people who don’t live here. And for many of them, the roads we whip around with confidence may be challenging indeed.

So the real benefit of a map like this for us is that if there are any red roads on the map that we haven’t been on, this is a heads-up that we need to head that direction. Beyond that, I’d love to have maps like this of every other state. I don’t care if a road is rated “difficult” or not. I just have a strong hunch that any road with that rating is likely to be a good motorcycle road and one I’d like to ride. And as well as I know Colorado and many of our neighboring states, there are a lot more states where I wouldn’t have any idea which roads are the best. Maps of this sort can provide that information.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Demo riding the Z1000 Ninja

Biker Quote for Today

A good ride is one from which you can walk away. A great ride is one after which you can use the bike again.

Ride to Work Day 2010 Is Next Week

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Mark your calendar. Monday, June 21, is a day to ride. Ride your motorcycle or scooter to work, or just ride it somewhere. This is national Ride Your Motorcycle to Work Day and we want to startle people with how many of us there are.

Ride to Work Day banner 2010I mention this thing every year, and I don’t want to beat a dead horse here, but there’s always someone who is hearing about it for the first time. So I’ll just recap.

We want to make people aware that we are there, and that they need to be watching for us. We also want lawmakers to recognize how many of us there are, so in case they want to slip by some legislation that would damage our interests, they’ll think twice. Beyond that, here’s an earlier post on the event, from a previous year. The gist has not changed.

So come on. I know it’s a dirty job to have to ride your motorcycle, but man up! Someone’s gotta do it and it might as well be you.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Cushman Rough Riders tackle the Black Hills

Biker Quote for Today

Motorcycles: Because cars lean the wrong way.

Riding Zeros and Old Motorcycles

Monday, May 24th, 2010

A very busy weekend, what with all the motorcycle riding I had to do. This is a dirty job and . . . oh yeah, you probably don’t want to hear it. OK, it’s a sweet job.

Zero electric motorcyclesOn Saturday, as I said I would, I went to test ride Zero electric motorcycles. Local Zero rep Chuck Pratt and a bunch of folks from the home office were on hand with a variety of bikes, offering test rides to all comers.

It was an absurdly windy day and there was no dirt to test ride the dirt bikes in, but it was still enough to get a feel for what an electric motorcycle is like. After being reassured that the thing really is running, as you sit there without holding a clutch in, squeezing brakes, or anything else, you twist the throttle and by golly you take off!

I’ll be giving a full report on about the Zeros, and I’ll come back here and link to that report once it’s up, but there’s one extremely interesting thing I want to share with you here. If you live in Colorado, you can have a Zero S (street) or DS (dual sport) for an incredible price.

They are listed at about $10,000 but thanks to state and federal tax credits for purchases of electric vehicles, a Colorado resident can ride off with one for only $5,100. That’s mostly thanks to the Colorado tax credit, which is the largest offered anywhere in the country. If I had room to park a third bike, and a normal job that actually paid real money, I’d be a fish on the line for them to reel in. You might want to consider it.

Old Bike Ride 8

Old Bike Ride 8Sunday was a whole other gig. Working through Norton Colorado, a group of local Norton owners, Bob Ohman put together this eighth annual ride of old bikes. The loosely structured–and completely unenforced, as far as I could tell, but who cares?–rules were you needed to be riding a bike at least 25 years old or be at least 65 years old yourself. I rode my 1980 Honda CB750 Custom.

This was a ride the way things used to be before lawsuit-happy Americans ruined things for themselves and others: no riding fee, no liability waiver–just come and join the gang and go for nice ride on a terrific day for riding. And there were Ducatis, Hondas, Nortons, BSAs, Yamahas, Harleys, at least one Laverda, and a bunch of others. Oh yeah, an Indian or two.

Heading out, the first thing we did was ride to the top of Lookout Mountain and then stop near Buffalo Bill’s grave for more schmoozing and oogling of old iron. Then back down the hill and up Clear Creek Canyon to the Peak to Peak Highway, and north to the Millsite Inn, outside of Ward, a popular biker stop.

After lunch and more oogling it was pick-your-own-route back to Golden and regroup, or head on home. Other than being more chilly than expected up on the Peak to Peak, we couldn’t have asked for a nicer day to ride and it was a lot of fun. Last Sunday in May; put it on your calendar for next year.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Riding the old bikes

Biker Quote for Today

I may be a poor rider, but my bike sure is SLOW.

Passes and Canyons Maps Now on GPS

Monday, March 15th, 2010

I know I’m a bit behind the times but I still don’t have a GPS unit. I know a lot of people do, and I have been asked several times if the maps on the Passes and Canyons site are available in GPS. Up till now I’ve had to say no.

map of an area in ColoradoWell, the answer now is “Yes.” Thanks go to Gord Ripley, who has been using the site to plan his Colorado trip. He plotted the routes for the rides I’ve highlighted on the site and then sent me his GPS file. You can download it here.

Now, it won’t look like this map here; I just put that up for illustration purposes. Fact is, I can’t really say what it will look like because I don’t do GPS. But I suspect that for those of you who do, you know all about it so I’m not going to worry about it.

I really want to thank Gord for this. I have always welcomed any efforts you folks out there make to make this a better site for everyone using it. And I’ll take this opportunity to put in a plug for riding stories. If you make a trip to Colorado and have a great time, send me an email telling me about it and I’ll post it on the Riding Stories page. And if you’ll tell me about the places you stayed, good, bad, or indifferent, I’ll put that info up on the Motels and Hotels page. That way other people can benefit from your experience.


Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
MotoAdventureGal update: To the Darien Gap, then the hop to Colombia

Biker Quote for Today

Be a biker–kick start your day.

Three Days Riding Colorado

Monday, March 1st, 2010

I am asked frequently to suggest routes for bikers planning to come ride in Colorado, and I’m always happy to comply. Chris Peterson is the most recent and here is his (abbreviated) question and my reply.

From there (Laramie) I was going to take three days to travel Colorado from north to south on the way to Arizona. I’d appreciate any can’t miss or gotta see’s or suggested routes to take.

Here is the map I sent him and my reply.

Map of three-day Colorado ride

Chris–Always happy to offer my suggestions. Here’s a map; I’ll run through it step by step.

Starting at Laramie, head southeast into Colorado on US 287 until you hit the mouth of the Poudre Canyon a little northwest of Fort Collins. Turn up CO 14 through the Poudre, over Cameron Pass and down into North Park and Walden. From Walden stay of CO 14 until you hit US 40 at Muddy Pass, between Kremmling and Steamboat Springs.

Go west on US 40 over Rabbit Ears Pass to Steamboat. Each lunch, perhaps. Then backtrack a bit to catch CO 131 that split off from US 40 just south of town, and head south on it to Toponas. From Toponas take CO 134 over Gore Pass to Kremmling, where you will reconnect with US 40. Take US 40 east to Granby and then turn north on US 34 through Rocky Mountain National Park and over Trail Ridge Road. This brings you down into Estes Park.

Take CO 7 south out of Estes Park, on the first leg of the Peak-to-Peak Highway. Where CO 72 takes off from CO 7, take it to stay on the Peak-to-Peak. After passing through Black Hawk you’ll intersect US 6 coming up out of Clear Creek Canyon. Go west and get on I-70 just east of Idaho Springs. At the second Idaho Springs exit, get off and so south on CO 103 toward Squaw Pass, but make the turn-off before the pass and go to the top of Mount Evans. Then backtrack to Idaho Springs and continue west on I-70 until you reach the Loveland Pass/US 6 turn-off just before you get to the Eisenhower Tunnel. Take US 6 over Loveland Pass, down past Keystone and turn off on the Swan Mountain Road that takes you along the south side of Dillon Reservoir.

This will connect you to CO 9, which goes up through Breckenridge and over Hoosier Pass, down to Fairplay, where you’ll meet US 285. Take US 285 west to Johnson Village and turn north through Buena Vista on US 24 to Twin Lakes. At Twin Lakes (Balltown, really), go west on CO 82 over Independence Pass and down to Aspen and Carbondale. At Carbondale, take CO 133 over McClure Pass down to Hotchkiss. At Hotchkiss, take CO 92 south through Crawford and along the north rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Cross the Gunnison over the dam that forms Blue Mountain Reservoir and then, if you desire, take US 50 east either into Gunnison (if you wish) or to the turn-off for CO 149 at the east end of the reservoir.

Take CO 149 south through Lake City and over Slumgullion Pass, down to Creede and to South Fork. At South Fork, pick up US 160 over Wolf Creek Pass and over to Pagosa Springs. Continue west on US 160 to Durango and then go north on US 550 over Red Mountain Pass to Ouray. From Ouray, continue north on US 550 through Montrose and now, on US 50, continue through Delta to Whitewater, where CO 141 goes off to the west to run down through Gateway as the Unaweep Highway. Stay on CO 141 to Vancorum and Naturita and then pick up CO 145 to Telluride. South from Telluride you’ll cross Lizard Head Pass and come down through Dolores to Cortez. From there you’re very close to the Four Corners area and Arizona. Also very close to Mesa Verde.

My mapping software shows this entire route as about 1,300 miles. That’s a lot to do in three days. Here are some shortcuts you could take. Rather than going over Rabbit Ears to Steamboat and then over Gore Pass to Kremmling, instead, turn south from Walden on CO 125 directly to Granby. Then pick up as before over Trail Ridge Road.

You could skip Mount Evans, but I wouldn’t.

Rather than take Hoosier Pass to Fairplay and then to Buena Vista, get back on I-70 briefly at Frisco, get off at Copper Mountain and take Fremont Pass through Leadville over to Twin Lakes and Independence Pass.

From Ouray, rather than doing the Unaweep loop, just go north as far as Ridgway and then take CO 62 over to Placerville and south from there to Telluride.

That should at least give you ideas to think about. I’d love to hear about your trip afterward.
So there you go. That’s all good riding. If you don’t have three days pick any part of it and you can’t miss.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
How green is your motorcycle?

Biker Quote for Today

If you can’t get it going with bungee cords and duct tape, God’s telling you to stop for the night.