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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dang It's Cold Out There!!

Saturday morning was the local HOG Easter Egg Fun Run.  It was certainly Easter and it was fun.  But it was COLD!

We set out for breakfast at 8:30.  Skies were overcast.  Not too windy.  Temps...colder than I liked.  Looking up at Pikes Peak...snowing.  Oh boy.  As I ride down I-25, I am wondering if any of the stops are up in Woodland Park.  I roll into the restaurant and head in.  I find my group of friends and as the spot me, they burst out laughing.  Something about the expression on my face.  I talk to one of the HOG members and ask if the route was going up the mountain. 

Of course!  We talk about the snow and my friend declares that we may just have to skip the stop.

After breakfast we head out to the dealership.  I commented to dear BF that those wonderful crashbar covers I received for Christmas would be most excellent to have today.  Except I don't have them because they didn't fit and he took them back.  The dealership didn't have the correct ones, so I have just done without.  Not a big deal since I don't do much riding.  However, today would have been a good day!

However, BF is wonderful and checked the dealership inventory.  They had some that work so now have engine guard wind deflectors!

There were two stops up the mountain and we made the executive decision not to go up the hill.  Note:  snow is not fun and dangerous to ride in unless you are on a Ural or trike.  I have neither!

The other stops were parks around the surrounding area.  I know that the idea is that it's an Easter Egg run and that involves Eggs and Parks.  Unfortunately, the weather wasn't being cooperative so there wasn't an opportunity to warm up. 

The end stop was at Frankie's Too in Fountain.  I was soooo happy to be there!!  Finally, something warm to drink and food.

A note about cold weather riding.  If you are going to do it, make sure you have sufficient fuel in the tank.  Yes, the motorcycle, but also the stomach.  It's important because the body will need the fuel to stay warm.  It's also important to make sure your bladder is empty because it take additional energy to keep urine warm--I know I want the heat to keep me warm, not my pee!

One of the prizes was a "golden easter egg"  Since the stop up the mountain had the egg and there was no brave soul ventured that way (except the HOG members that were running the stop), the egg hunt ended up at the restaurant.  I spotted the egg and won!  Yay me!!  Got a few Harley bucks to spend at the dealership.

It was cold riding home and my solution to warm up was a nice bath.  As I was running the water, the sun came out.  Gee, talk about Murphy's Law, eh??

Well, it was good to get out and see a good ride overall.  And a reminder of how much I do not like to ride in the cold.  Of course, why am I living in Colorado then??

Keep the Shiny Side Up!

~The Rainbow Wahine

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ride Like the Wind?

I can definitely tell that it's springtime in the Rockies!  My son Alex and I rode down to the April Mountain Shadow Riders meeting.  Wow, a lot of new people!  Which is great!  And it's always wonderful to catch up with my friends.

The ride after the meeting was to Pueblo.  I wasn't feeling it since the wind has been bothersome so some of us decided to break off and head north to Franktown.  My son had another activity scheduled, so I got to ride without him.  Truthfully, I would not have gone riding if I had him--anything out of town has him complaining that his legs hurt.

While it was only 45 or so miles, wow.  The wind was beating up on everyone.  I had the fabulous task of leading--although I don't understand why since I'm the one that is directionally challenged.  Fortunately, I knew where the Stagecoach was, so all I had to do was lead five other motorcyclists.

Unbeknownst to me, one of the riders was new.  Well, I knew that he had a new motorcycle--a new to him Harley Davidson V-Rod.  He hadn't ridden in a number of years, but that doesn't mean anything--I had taken a riding hiatus for twenty-something years.   I started riding again on a Yamaha V-Star 1100, which is still a large motorcycle then moved to my Harley.  So, in my book, anyone riding a V-Rod should know what they are doing.

I was wrong.

The wind was beating us up pretty badly.  I have a windshield, but Mr. V-Rod did not and while he had a full-faced helmet on, I know how exhausting it can be trying to ride in 40+ MPH wind gusts.  I did lecture him before we headed out that I expect all riders to ride their own ride and be comfortable.  However, I did not anticipate that he would do 5 miles under the speed limit. 

That creates another type of hazard.  I typically ride 5 miles over the speed limit and will ratchet it down some if necessary but I like to stay over the speed limit.  I do this because most cars aren't doing the speed limit and I don't want to create a dangerous situation where cars are trying to pass motorcycles on twisty Colorado roads because they get impatient.  There were several occasions that I looked back and the group is a quarter mile away!


I know he's struggling, but since we are out, we don't have much of a choice but to press on.  I cut my speed but am conscious of the traffic behind our group and when a few cars build up and the road is passable, I move to the right to let the cars by.

Over all, it's an exhausting ride.  Not just from the wind, but the process of ensuring that riders stay safe and ride within their means. 

Mr. V-Rod ended up dumping his bike later in the day and breaking the shift linkage, but overall, he did very well.  Hey, there were a couple of uh-oh moments when the wind is gusting me around, so my hat's off to him.

Keep the Shiny Side Up!

~The Rainbow Wahine

Sunday, April 03, 2011

It's Was 84 Yesterday....and Today......

It snowed :(.

Fortunately, the weather forecast was correct so my friends and I thought it was a good idea to ride on Saturday. 

It was!  I guess those that were invited thought it was a good idea too, since almost 20 people showed up!


It was a little chilly riding out to Starbucks...but after that, it warmed up nicely.  One of those beautiful Colorado days where the sun is shining, the sky is a brilliant blue and I can still see snow up on Pike's Peak. 

The day was made better because my son rode along.

Because of that, the route was planned to stay in the Colorado Springs vicinity.  Even an 8 year old's booty gets sore from sitting on a Fatboy passenger pillion!

First stop was lunch out in Falcon.  I had the chance to visit and catch up with my friends and fill my tummy.  What more can a girl ask for?

Well, more riding!!

After lunch, we rode out to the local putt-putt golf course and had an "activity".  Thank goodness there was a six-stroke limit because there were some holes that were just not pretty!!!  Paul and I were excited that we won--errrr--or had the highest number of strokes.  Yeah, in putt-putt, those are the rules!  In my imagination, at least!

Afterwards, we headed out to Manitou via Old Colorado City.  Waved at the tourists who were out in full force.  It's good to see because it's a sign the economy is picking up.  It wasn't so very long ago when riding through Old Colorado City and looking at the many empty shop windows.

It's always fun to wander around Manitou.  Stop at Patsy's Candy.  They've been in business for over 100 years!  Legend has it that Patsy sold his popcorn/peanut recipe to---you got it---Cracker Jack.  We laughed at the sign taped in the window that said "we close when the temperature is below __ (I can't remember the number)".  How do they know....with wild variable Colorado temps, do they open/close/open/close???  It was funny.

A stop at the Townhouse for a refreshing drink.  Sit out on the patio and people watch.  If you are ever in Manitou, you absolutely should watch the people.  I won't even attempt to describe the variety of people.  It is, however, quite entertaining to watch the throngs of tourists rarin' to ride up the Cog Railroad to the summit of Pike's Peak.  The Cog is known as the world's highest cog railroad and most tourists don't realize that the summit temps of Pike's Peak can be in the below freezing even when the temperature at Manitou is a balmy 80 degrees.

Adventures done and amusement factor refilled, it was time to go home.

My day wasn't done by any means.  I short stop home and then off to meet my wonderful girlfriends to catch the last show of The Vagina Monologues.  It was a wonderful production and my friends and I shared laughter and tears throughout the show.  While the message is important--the money raised through sales benefits the local battered women's shelter and provides funding for programs aimed in protecting women. 

Today, the snow blew in.  It was a reminder that the weather is fickle--just like life.  We all should take those available minutes and get out and ride when we can.

Until next time,

Keep the Shiny Side Up!!

~The Rainbow Wahine