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!

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.


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