Monday, 15 October 2018

Forest road 250 Colorado


I was alone in Colorado and desperate to hit the trails. My guidebook had all the usual tourist crazy areas around Silverton and Ouray. This area is known as probably the best in the USA for outdoor motorcycle adventure. But I had my eye on getting to Summitville. Summitville is the site of Colorado’s worst eco mining disaster. The EPA even built a water processing plant on top of the 12k foot mountain. I wanted to go find it.




So down my road and west on 160 into Pagosa springs for gas and through to Wolf Pass. A breath-taking ride up and over the stunning mountain. The road is full of turns and hairpins and bike nirvana. It’s wide and easy to pass the huge dinosaur motor homes being towed by pick up trucks.  I’m sure if the truck could communicate, it would be shouting at its owner ”Why would you leave your suburban mansion and tow a suburban mansion across the country to park it in a suburban trailer park, with all the same suburbanites, what the fuck?” then you realize there’s more of them than you.
Maybe they are saying the same thing about me. “Bike looks like a bug, fucken wheels are not even the same size, and why the fuck is he dressed like a power ranger, whew thank our gracious God and his son Jesus we’ve gotten away from the neighborhood”.  

I wave at the state trooper always parked on the top, he’s not there to bust my balls, and he’s there to keep a keen eye on the overloaded vehicles descending the mountain. Get it wrong; the results are going to be ugly. For me the only concern is how much can I get away with on the Continental TKC80 knobblies, I just shoe horned on the bike that evening. Don’t dare try this yourself but I can tell you, they stick like glue. Honestly I rode the same manner I do with street tires on. Lets just say I was happy the trooper stayed on top the mountain.




For some reason I could not find the turn off to Forest road 330. I looked and looked. I checked the map, and from what I could conclude (at home) it was 8 mile’s west of South fork. I looked and looked to no avail. Although it never really showed where in South fork to measure from. Typical Andy, I had left the map at home, I had only my notes, and I must have fucked up somewhere as usual. Of I go, back over the pass, having a blast. Past my Buddy, and back down the other side. Past more dinosaurs.  Dinner at the “Lost Cajun” in Pagosa and back home.



Stunner pass.
Today I’m going to head down and start from the bottom end. The long way around. Typical me. If you don’t succeed try again, only make it more complicated. This time. Take map.  It’s 88 miles to Chama from my home. A stunning ride that would leave motorcyclists drooling and smiling.

Now guys and gals this ride back into Colorado (You are in NM briefly), and up 17 to La Manga and Cumbres pass .I’m not going to bother to try explain. I don’t have those fancy author journalist fancy adjectives. It would be like Gordon Ramsey saying,” yep bacons nice”. This road is why I ride bike.




I miss the road again. At Horca there is supposed to be a road. A sign. Something. I ride past searching. This is mad, turn around go back to Horca.  Well the only other road there is FSR250, my road. And 100 yards up the road is the sign. WTF.

The journey begins. First miles are wide washboard roads. Dinosaurs, tourists, fishermen and locals who don’t bother to stare, they know where the money comes from. Others, amazed, didn’t see shit in Roswell and here in the woods is a power ranger alien. 

Off I go, I don’t even know they’re there. The road gets bumpier, thinner, technical and the other humans are nowhere, perfect. The scenery is like from some “gone with the wind” movie. When I look, it’s amazing. For some reason my brain has goes to, I’m in Paris racing for Dakar (or Argentina or Brazil to China or wherever the fuck it is now). The Honda is brilliant and I’m shifting in manual with paddle shifters at my left hand. 2nd and 3rd in gravel mode (ABS on, it works perfectly) traction control on 2 for now. The TKC knobblies work well although those Dunlop trail max tires would have been fine to. Fuck it. Knobblies fits better in my Dakar fantasy.  Switchbacks, gravel, sand, turns, stretches of long high-speed. I have found my new heaven. I’m blasting around. Bikes brilliant. I miss FSR330 again; funny thing is I know where I missed it. But no matter, Forest road 250 is great.

I finally reach the flats at the Alamosa reservoir, the dirt road now opens up to what looks like a freeway on dirt. So wide 4 cars could pass, and for miles. I can’t resist myself. After a long stretch of scouting I return back a long ways. There’s no one around. Nothing I can see. I want triple digits on the dirt, just ‘coz.

Mission accomplished the road spits me out all the way in Alamosa. 90 something miles of trail riding fun. Fill up the trusty Honda and its back to Wolf pass, past my pal, down to Pagosa and off to Bayfield. 130 more miles of riding bliss. Smiling all the way home.
The total from that morning was exactly 301 miles. This was a perfect example of, it’s not the destination, it’s the ride.



Sunday, 7 October 2018

Buying the DCT Africa Twin by A. Marcer

We will be featuring articles written by Andy Marcer of Metric Motorcycles of Houston, this is the first of many more to come. Enjoy!


GETTING AN AFRICA TWIN
Finally the summer is here. Normally I would be sulking and angry. Not this year. This year I’ve retired and I’m away from that miserable heat in Texas. I am at home in S.W Colorado. For years I made a living in the motorcycle business, repairing, selling etc. 

Now finally it was my chance to actually just ride them. Of course I have my BMW RT1200, a new generation BMW, away from that huge clutch and flywheel spinning around that makes me feel like I’m on one of those kids gyro, throw up rides at the carnival. To me, the very best in motorcycling.  Period. And I have Yuliya’s MV Augusta. The worst in motorcycling.  Period. 

But before I left the adventure bike bug had bitten me. Well to be honest, I’d just given up on riding on the track. MSR Houston is a plain shit track. Yes it’s shit and dangerous, who the hell puts a wall at the exit of turns? Well in Houston they do. And the price for a day, while you share the track, is just plain silly. I needed a new bike world to go play in. Now, Rio Bravo MX track is around the corner, but if you really want to feel old, and shit your pants. Go try that. I came off one jump and saw Jesus, Mohammed and Buddha huddled together and they all had that “oh Fucking hell “ look on their faces. Packed my shit up,  and be thankful all my bones are still kinda orientated in the correct way.

So one hot miserable day in Houston I stop by the BMW dealer to test a F800GSA. Now I’m new to this ADV bike thing, and I’m in a giant city and yes that is the wrong environment for that bikes intended purpose. But I hated it. Riding down the road is terrible. Sure, sure, down the trails it’s probably awesome. So I stopped in at Honda to try this new auto thingy Honda has the DCT. Two miles down the road. Yep, buying one of these.

So off to Colorado, now don’t take your wife bike shopping. No, no not the nagging thing. My wife jumped on it. Took off. Came back and bought one for herself. It was supposed to be my birthday present. WTF? Ah that’s ok at least I wouldn’t have to see her sore face and deformed body after every long ride on that MV.



Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Just a little group riding info.


1. Hold a meeting before you ride
It helps to get together with all your riders beforehand to talk strategy (where you'll stop, how long you'll ride, where to go if you get lost, etc.) and ask questions. Trust us, it'll be easier to sort out concerns in a quiet room than over the crackle of the throttle.
2. Decide a riding order
First choose a lead rider (the one in front) and a sweep rider (the one in back). The lead rider is in charge of telling the group what's coming, be it a traffic jam, rainstorm, or stampeding horse. And the sweep rider sets the pace for the group. Everyone else should have a place in the formation, too. The least experienced of your bunch should be behind the leader, letting the pros line up behind them and lend a watchful eye.
You might be wondering, "How many riders should be in my group?" It depends on the situation. In the NHTSA study, though, several riders said they felt best in groups of 10 or fewer.


3. Come prepared
This includes simple things that everyone should do, like arriving with a full tank of gas and bringing a cell phone. It also means deciding who will bring a first-aid kit, bike tools, and other necessities.
4. Don't go rogue
In group motorcycling, there's no room for showboats or renegades (despite all that leather). Avoid competitions with your group mates, tailgating, or passing other riders.
5. Stagger your riding formation
Perhaps the trickiest part of group riding is perfecting the formation. That's because while you want to keep your group relatively tight (so you're easy to spot), you also want to maintain a space cushion within the ranks.
How on earth do you do that? The best way is to stagger: the leader rides on the right side of the lane, the second rider stays one second back and on the left side. The third rider stays one second behind the second rider and on the right side, and so on. You don't want to ride side-by-side since this will limit your maneuvering space if you need to swerve quickly.
Keep in mind that you may want to go single-file on very curvy or deteriorated roads, when entering the highway, when turning at intersections, or in bad weather.
6. Pass in formation
When it comes to passing other vehicles on the highway, group members should do so one at a time and then return to their spot in formation. So the leader would pass and return to the right side of the lane, then the next rider would pass and return to the left side, and so on.
7. Take plenty of breaks
If all these group riding rules seem a bit exhausting, that's because they are. In order to keep your concentration and energy (and avoid sucking the fun out of the experience), take frequent rests and just savor the moment.
8. Keep your least experienced rider in mind

Not sure how far to ride? How fast? How often to take a break? The answer is always to figure out what your least-experienced rider is capable of and comfortable with and use that as your benchmark.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Memory

"Time takes a cigarette, puts it in your mouth. You pull on a finger, then another finger and a cigarette"
Woken by the rain, a rare occurrence of late with the Westen Cape being in drought, the thunder woke me and memories of the highveld came flooding in, Johannesburg thunderstorms border on epic and truly something to behold. Memories like the falling rain wash over me, and my thoughts turn to my farther, in my opinion a difficult man, we had a combative relationship.
I was born on the 8th of June, and I am told that it was bitterly cold and it snowed, rare in Johannesburg, it's said that my parents wrapped me in newspaper as they were unprepared for it. 41 years and 363 days later 7am, I scale the wall of his house, armed to the teeth, the fact that Blaze his blind Siberian huskies pillow was still out in the driveway had made me afraid for his safety. My farther never closed the backdoor to his house, and I mean never, and Johannesburg being what it is, I immediately began to worry, he would always be up at 6am and take the pillow back inside, so it still being out set off alarm bells.
After years of not talking to each other, we had kind of began talking at my mothers death bed a year earlier, obviously we really didn't have much choice as arrangement needed making we needed to face each other, almost a year later he had popped by once or twice, he lived the blocks away, and we had slowly begun to communicate again, being careful not to get into the things that had made us argue before.
Firearm in hand I leapt over the secondary wall into the back yard and ran for the back door, I was hoping he hadn't been beaten and that he had just been robbed and left bound in the house. As I got to the open back door there he was, face down in the scullery, Blaze dutifully at his side, I felt for a pulse but there was none, he was still warm, it was the 6th of June 2004. Reflection isn't something that enters your mind at the time, it's just a series of reactions, calls and panic, the thought that he had passed away alone and I the errant son had been the one to find him had not entered my mind, but when it did, I was angry, I couldn't understand why I was so angry. I had been through the steps of mourning a year earlier, and this anger was not part of it, it was irrational and it turned inward and it gave way to guilt.
It's been 14 crazy years since he passed away, at 62 both he and my Mum were so young. The memories of them are slowly disappearing from my constantly fading ability to hold onto them, memory loss is my burden to carry through all this.
So why this memory comes flooding in, or whether it's all intact, I cannot say, but the emotion attached is, and will always haunt me.
This concept of linear time is the thief of our lives, nothing exists but this very moment, past has happened and gone and has no sway on this moment, the future the same. This moment and only this moment, is real, I want to be present in every moment. The conditioning of linear time will always be a difficult concept to escape, and in this moment I think of you, and I hope that the time you took to read this, has value for you, for me? I'm going to try and be present in the time left.
It's still raining, I'm going to go sit and listen to it.


Tuesday, 18 July 2017

THIS TOWN

This country... It pulls the bones from your back leaving you a wobbly mess, never having any purchase, it's irreverent abuse of everything, history, culture even humanity. While governed by sweaty fat men and women belching KFC as the deep fried oil oozes from every pore, glistening  and basking in their ego's

"He wore a leather mask for his dinner guests
Totally nude and with deep respect
Proposed a toast to the votes he getsThe feeling of power and the thought of sex" The Clash

Abusing the resources in every respect, for more and more, like peadophillic monsters raping everything and devouring it, washing it away with a simple shower. With the uneducated ignorance, giggling like children pulling wings bee, while they burn the hive.

"Why must the youth fight against themselves?Government leaving the youth on the shelfThis place, is coming like a ghost townNo job to be found in this countryCan't go on no moreThe people getting angry"  The Specials


While people collude in all aspects just as long as they climb over the next body, on an ever mounting body count just to be prostrate at the feet of the Harkonen like beast, grotesquely overweight, dressed in filthy garments and covered in large, black pustules which excrete the blood of the youth and potential they stole over the last 60 years

"The killer awoke before dawn, he put his boots on
He took a face from the ancient galleryAnd he walked on down the hall
Paid a visit to his brother, and then he
He walked on down the hall, and
And he came to a door, and he looked inside
Father, yes son, I want to kill you
Mother, I want to, fuck you" The Doors

He went into the room where his sister lived, and, then he
This is the end, but it's nothing new.



Monday, 27 March 2017

Dog / God, God / Dog




I did one of the most devastating things I have ever had to do. On the 16th I had to let my darling companion for the last 13 years go, and tell her that we will meet again.

I know to most people a dog is just a pet and this seems probably a little dramatic, but for me, Laika shared most every moment of my life, I have spent more time in her presence that anyone or thing else. Laika and I barely moved without each other in viewing distance, where I sat, she lay in view, when I got up to work, she came and lay there, we went to the workshop and she would lay so she could watch me, and if I moved off to far, she would move to another spot to keep an eye on me.
If Laika was not in my peripheral vision, I would go look for her and 10 out of 10 times she was hidden in some corner from where she could see me.

Now that she has passed on, the void is cavernous, I don't hear her footfall on the wooden floors anymore, her breathing and sometimes snoring as she slept, those funny dream noises and paws moving. And those eyes, one blue one brown ever present ever watching.
I miss her insistent pacing in the morning to go for her walk and then stopping at the deli for her usual bacon treat, which they would prepare for her as we arrived. I miss the pressure of her stare while I tried to eat my dinner, I haven't eaten a pizza crust in 10 years, cause she loved those crunchy pieces so much, she would literally salivate at the smell of a pizza delivery.
She was such a con artist, she would paw you to feed her with eyes of a dog that had not been fed in days, so you would feed her, then she would go do the same to Nicci, and then the same again to Tanya, you would hear us shout as the food was clattering into her bowl... "I fed her a few minutes ago!" ringing out through the house, but who could resist.
We went everywhere together, if she was not allowed in, we simply would not go there, no food stores, no problem, order over the internet, no restaurant, no problem within a 100 meter radius we will find one that will, but Laika goes with. And she was great, she would get comfortable under the table and wouldn't bother anyone.
A woman client was asked who had done her tattoo, and when she mentioned my name the other person said "Oh I know them it's the guy with the white dog", that's us, trundling along.

Now, it's just nothing, no sounds, no cuddles, no fur, no eyes, no Laika, and it's horrible, it tears my heart into shreds

If you want to know about a higher power, get a dog, bond with that dog, and everyday you will see that power, that unconditional love, that's proof of God, that's a Dog.



Thank you Laika, I miss you.



Saturday, 25 March 2017

No you don't!

I'm gonna say it and I don't care if you like it or not but you do not have the right to an opinion.

You have the right to have an informed opinion, and that is all, and if you choose to exercise that right back it up with some nugget of good advise or wisdom, be in-fucking-formed.

I am sick and tired of people who sit behind computer screens sprouting shit about what everyone else is doing, yes doing!!!! you just sit on your fat ass and spew your critique as though you deserve to be able to do that. Well fuck you, you don't, and I will now have to explain this before you run crying to your hate spewing keyboard.

A good friend of mine Jens, is a custom bike builder, we tinker, he's a great designer and enjoys carrying it through to motorcycles. He built Octavia, a BMW G650 X Challenge.




 Love it hate it, it doesn't matter because it's what he wanted to build, and that was his vision, and you can criticise all you like, but until you get of your ass and do what it takes to build, trouble shoot then test ride and market a project like this, YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT!

(Insert whiney voice)
"But as a designer, and purely from a design point of view" No, fuck you, you have none of the parameters and problems faced by the project, so no you don't get to talk shit.

(Insert whiney voice again.)
"So what you are saying dude is that I can't have an opinion?" You can have one but keep it to yourself if you can't be constructive, and if an opinion is all you can offer, the very fucking least you can do is make it count for something.

www.hydedesigns.co.za

So now all you armchair critics can have a field day, because from behind your screen you are nice and safe, the way you like to be, your little self entitled bubble. A safe place you can deliver your bile without getting a swift kick in the face for being the gutless dickhead you are. Go do something constructive instead of taking other people down. Give someone support instead of belching vile hateful comments, use the language to make something positive.

Sitting behind a screen in the safety of your bubble doesn't keep you safe from Karma.


Forest road 250 Colorado

I was alone in Colorado and desperate to hit the trails. My guidebook had all the usual tourist crazy areas around Silverton a...