Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Eight Years Later.....

It was during the Memorial Day Weekend, 2006, that yours truly first threw a leg over a motorcycle and started Day One of the Basic Rider Course.

Little did I know the adventures my two and then three-wheeled steeds would take me on, the joys, the frustrations, the pains, the fears, the discoveries, the lessons, and best of all, the friends I would end up meeting as I rode along.

I started motorcycling thinking that gasoline prices would soon reach $5/gallon and at the time, I was driving a '87 Mercedes Benz 560SL, which was a gas hog at 14 MPG.  I rationalized the decision as a way to save little did I know as to how expensive motorcycling can be, especially when additional motorcycles come along and one's horizons expanded further and further.

My first motorcycle was a 2006 Honda Shadow Aero, which I named Gretl.  I outgrew Gretl on my first "long ride", which was barely 400 miles total.  400 miles, not that much of a distance these days, unless you're trying to do it astride a Ural and in one day!

I traded Gretl in for a 2004 BMW R1150RT in Sturgis, SD and became a BMW guy from that point on.  Maria was fast, big, enabled me to cruise effortlessly for hours and hours.  She was way bigger than Gretl and I did manage to drop her a time or three.  She and I went into spots where street motorcycles really shouldn't go and survived.  I went through my first real accident on Maria, as we found ice near the Continental Divide, in June, and I had a lowside fall.  My helmet and recently acquired Motoport riding gear saved my butt that day, and Maria would eventually be repaired.

Martha, my loving wife, then figured I needed a spare motorcycle as Maria would be in the dealer's shop for quite a while.  A bit of looking and Brigitta, a '87 BMW R80 Airhead beemer came home with me from an independent BMW mechanic I used to frequent back then.

Brigitta helped me "get back on the horse" so to speak after the accident.  Though I was cleared by the doctor to ride three days after the accident, it would be a week or two before I was again on two wheels and not skittish about it.

My explorations of the great state of Colorado and other places continued, with me taking either Brigitta or Maria as the occasion called for.

By 2010, the sidecaring bug entered my life in earnest and the forced non-riding days due to snow and ice would come to an end for me.  Along came my first Russian motorcycle, Natasha, a '96 Ural Sportsman which was delivered to me by the owner in exchange for Maria, the R1150RT motorcycle.  I traded because I'd found Brigitta, the smaller motorcycle more fun to ride and hoped at that time that Maria would go to someone who'd give her more riding time.

Natasha basically turned my motorcycling world upside down!  I had to learn new skills to drive her safely, became a mechanic due to her many issues due to the shoddy workmanship and metallurgy by which Russian motorcycles of her era were known.  Still, she was a great sidecar rig, allowing me to ride no matter the weather and soon I was a rider that actually hoped for snow in the weather forecast!

Brigitta and Natasha then became my exploration companions, allowing me greater options in terms of terrain that I could safely access and scenery previously denied me due to sketchy road conditions.  Still, her mechanical issues would find me one day putting Natasha up for sale, cheap.  I wish now I'd kept her and just fixed the final drive again (it turned out to be a minor issue) but that's water under the bridge.

Now came the era of V-Strom Sidecar rigs, the first one being a 2004 DL1000 named Vikki by her previous owner.  I bought and bolted on a Dauntless Sidecar Rig onto Vikki and I was once again a sidecarist.

My adventures continued on Vikki but ended near the end of a trip to Montana with the family to see the "Going to the Sun" highway and points in between.  As I neared home, the chain came off the rear sprocket, punctured the engine case and the insurance company "totaled" Vikki.

As I had the Dauntless Sidecar, I continued in the V-Strom as a tug pattern and soon bought a 2006 V-Strom DL1000 from a dealer in Loveland, CO.  Her name would be Yoshie and she became my sidecaring companion for many further adventures.

Yoshie served faithfully until one morning commute when this idiot cager crossed over three lanes of traffic and tried to occupy the same space that Yoshie and I were using.  Yoshie's ruggedness ensured that we rolled away from the accident while the idiot cager's car had to be towed!  Yoshie was much more damaged than initially thought though and even though repairs reached over $9000, she wasn't totaled by the insurance company.

During this rig-less time, Martha suggested that perhaps we should look at URALs again, but this time go with a new one with hopefully less mechanical issues.  Hence, Valencia came into my life, a 2011 URAL Patrol rig, bright orange in color with silver trim.  She was definitely an eye-catcher and the hope was I'd be more visible in traffic.

Though Yoshie was eventually repaired, Valencia became my main sidecar rig, surpassing both Yoshie and Brigitta in times ridden by me.  She took me to Alaska and back, albeit with several mechanical episodes.  I racked up over 48 thousand kilometers on Valencia but a second crankshaft failure had me taking her to Unique Rides at Fort Collins for repairs early this year.  She would eventually have her engine rebuilt by Sergey, the master mechanic at URAL HQ.

In the meantime though, Tammy of Unique Rides signaled they were open to me trading in Valencia and Yoshie for a new 2014 URAL Patrol with the new-fangled Electronic Fuel Injection and several other improvements!  Much debate and discussion later, we decided to do this and took receipt of the new rig in March of this year.  She is fire engine red with white trim and we named her Scarlett.

This Sunday, 25 May14, Memorial Day Weekend would find me once again on a motorcycle training class, being trained in the art of tight curves and circles by T3RG Motorcycle Schools.  These are the same folks who taught me in the BRC or Basic Rider Course eight years ago to the day.  Kind of fitting isn't it?

Eight years in a bit over 15 minutes

Such a large set of experiences and knowledge I've learned in the last eight years; I've become a real motorcycle rider and blogger, though I've lots left to learn about both subjects it seems.  I've loved my motorcycles of course and the riding joys they brought, but the best part of the last eight years is the friends I've made online and in person through motorcycling and the blogging of same.

Though I mainly I prefer solitary riding, the companionship of like-minded riders is an enjoyable experience from time to time.  I recognize how I've changed due to motorcycling and the desire to ride year round and in all conditions; the viewpoints of fellow bloggers and riders have contributed to my change and fortunate I am that I met them all.

Got these videos from Bob Ucman, the instructor for T3RG Motorcycle School's Civilian Top Gun Rider course of myself doing the snowman and iron cross exercises:

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Uraling to Estes Park and watching others train....

Beautifully sunny day here in Colorado, though it would increasingly cloud up and eventually dump rain on us riders later in the afternoon.

I rode up to Firestone, CO to watch a couple of fellow Uralisti, John and his lovely wife Cookie along with a third student: Teresa.  Abdullah, the instructor-candidate was the primary instructor this time and he smoothly went through the lessons and demos as Bob Ucman, the instructor-trainer looked on.

I hung out there about an hour or so, hoping perhaps the plows at the Rocky Mountain National Park would have a chance to open Trail Ridge Road.  It was closed due to snowy conditions when I first check this morning.

I left around 9:30 AM, leaving the instructors and students to do their training.  I rode up I-25's frontage road to the CO66 exit and I headed west on this road for about 20 miles till I got to the town of Lyons.  This was the town that was hard hit and mostly isolated during last September's massive flooding of the Big Thompson River.

You can still see vestiges of uprooted trees, branches and flood debris along parts of the highway.  In fact, the highway turns to dirt shortly after leaving Lyons and one can see raw patches of earth and rocks piled up on the banks as repairs are underway still.

Using US36, I made it to Estes Park with no issues and found the town chock full of tourists and sightseers. I rode up to the Rocky Mountain National Park's Fall River Entrance and saw the sign saying that Trail Ridge Road was closed 12 miles ahead.  Bummer.

I elected not to go into the park as I wanted to transit Trail Ridge Road all the way to the other end of the park.

The clouds had basically swallowed the RMNP mountain tops

Making my way back along US36, I took a slight detour on Meadow Lake Road and noted how swiftly the waters in the creek along the road were running.

The Spring Melt is in full force along Meadow Lake Road

I made it back to Firestone in plenty of time to watch the students go through the final exercises for the day's training.  The culmination exercise would be the Rodeo, where the instructors set up a series of exercises designed to utilize all the skills and techniques that had been taught and practiced by the students.  First, the offset cone weave, then the snow man formation consisting of two circles: 26 ft and 24 ft.  After the snowman came a modified iron cross (only 1/2 of the cross was used) and finally the brake and evade obstacle box.  

Bob and Abdullah, the instructors, demo the Rodeo

John, "Mr Smooth", does the Rodeo

Cookie makes her way through the Rodeo just fine.

Teresa also executes the Rodeo nicely.

As you can see, the students learned and demonstrated great turning skills after going through the excellent training put out by Abdullah and Bob.  Such skills, are obtainable by anyone with a bit of time on their motorcycle and a willingness to learn.  My thanks to Bob and Colleen of T3RG Motorcycle Schools for having provided this great training opportunity to myself and fellow riders.

Finally, a short clip of Abdullah and his first ride on a sidecar rig, just look at that big smile on his face!

Abdullah goes home in a couple of days, back to Saudi Arabia to help start a motorcycle riding school with a friend of his.  Safe travels!

A little help from the URAL to pick up the cones

Last two photos courtesy of Spat.

previously: Memorial Day Posting

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Memorial Day

Monday, the 26th of May is Memorial Day here in the U.S.A.  A day set aside to remember and honor those fallen in the service of this country.  Sadly, a lot of folks here in this country have forgotten or ignore the original purpose of this day, just enjoying the extra time off and enjoying life in this country.

Today, Saturday, Scarlett and I rode to Fort Logan National Cemetery, a ride that I do a couple or more times a year, to show my respects to the fallen servicemen and women that rest there now.

It was a sunny day here in Denver, lots of clouds in the sky foreboding the seemingly daily rains and thunderstorms of this week.

As usual, it was very quiet at the cemetery, one could hear the birds sing at times, and I saw many folks walking about or standing by a particular grave stone, lost in their own thoughts and memories.

I stopped by section 44 as usual, and had a quiet chat at SSgt Brian Joiner's gravesite.  Brought Brian up to date on his family's events, how his Dad's house in the mountains had been rebuilt from the big fires of two years ago.  I am sure this was all old news to Brian, as I know his parents, family and friends make regular visits to Fort Logan.

Brian's tombstone is at the center.
The above is just a small, small view of the large number
of uniformly aligned rows of white tombstones.

I left Brian to his rest, and Scarlett and I motored on to the main site for the cemetery.  Here they'll have the official Memorial Day Ceremony this coming Monday.  Speeches will be made, ceremonies carried out and taps sounded for all the fallen.

I'll be flying the National Colors on Monday, to render honors to the fallen, I hope you will too, if you live in this country; and hopefully will take a moment or two to remember those who gave their all.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Training: Learning Precision Curves and Turns with Brigitta

Last week, I got an email from Colleen who runs the T3RG Motorcycle Schools, asking me if I was interested in some free training.  You see, they had an instructor-candidate to put through the paces and needed some sample-students for him to train and be trained.

There were several slots open this past weekend and next weekend so I asked and was approved to send the invite to anyone I knew who was an experienced rider and would like some free training.

The training would end up consisting of the curriculum described here on T3RG's website: LINK.  Note: All the pictures and videos were taken during Sunday's iteration of the training when there were more students.  I was too busy on Saturday being a student to take any photos or videos.

I'll admit I was a bit nervous about taking the course as I'd seen what graduates of said course were capable of doing: LINK.  Still, training is training so I attended this past Saturday's training session.  Two of the planned four students (including me) didn't show so it was basically two instructors and two students.   Bob Ucman was the main instructor and Abdullah was the instructor-candidate.  My fellow student was named "Digger" and he rode a big white Goldwing motorcycle, I rode Brigitta, my '87 R80 Beemer.

Abdullah has only been riding for a bit over a year now but he's got great talent and a great passion for motorcycling.  The skills he demonstrated during the exercise demos were to be envied for sure.  He's an orthopedic Surgeon back in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  Yep, he flew all the way here for the training!

Bob, I'd met before at the last Civilian Top Gun Rider Competition in which he competed.  Another rider with enviable riding skills and I can confirm now, excellent training skills and experience as well.  He had us settled down and comfortable immediately and would lead us through each exercise with such ease and confidence it wasn't hard to focus on the task at hand.

As the curriculum in the LINK above describes, the students learn to improve their riding into curves and tight turns.  We got warmed up on some offset cone weaves,  Bob and Abdullah steadily moved the cones closer and closer together as we completed each circuit, making for sharper turns and more careful use of aim points for entering each gate.  Fun Stuff.

We progressed onto figure eight maneuvers where one has a gate in the middle of the figure eight.  You have to execute a sharp cutover as you transit the gate and set your motorcycle up for the next portion of the figure eight, still, it wasn't too bad yet.  My apologies for the distortion in the center frame of some of the videos, seems I've got scratches on my camera lens!

The small orange and green cones represent the figure eight

Then, things got interesting for me.   Next up were a series of three circles called keyholes.  Why keyholes?  Because during competition, riders must enter the circle through a narrow corridor, sharply cut either left or right and ride around the different circles and exit via the same gate they entered through.  The keyholes started with a comfortable 32 foot circle which was OK, then as we completed the task, Bob would wave us to the next keyhole.

Keyhole Exercise

The second keyhole was 26 feet worth of circle and seemed much tighter to me.  Still both Digger and I completed this one without too many issues and we moved onto the 24 foot circle and last keyhole.  This one took a few tries for me to complete to both Bob's and my satisfaction.  The cut over is sharp and one has to then transition and go into full lock in the opposite direction in order to complete the circle without hitting the cones.  Slowly but surely, I learned to keep my eyes up, ignore the cones, push the motorcycle away from me and "commit" to the turn; all the while staying in the friction zone, keeping my revs up slightly and using my rear brakes as needed to control speed.  It's a lot to think about but Bob's and Abdullah's instructions, coaching and tips made it all quite doable!

Abdullah demonstrates the execution of the 32 foot keyhole exercise

The group executes the 32 foot keyhole exercise

Executing the 24 foot keyhole exercise

We broke for lunch.  It was prior to lunch that I discovered Brigitta's charging system wasn't charging her battery.  The guys had to push-start Brigitta and we carried on with the training.

After the keyhole exercises, Bob merged all three keyholes into a snowman-shaped formation.  There were entrance and exit gates at each end of the snowman, and gates linking each keyhole circle.  Abdullah demo'ed the sequence, with ease and elan I might add, and then it was our turn.

Digger and I took turns entering the gate at the 32 foot circle, making a complete circuit of it, then lining up our motorcycles to enter the 26 foot circle, execute another full circuit of it and finally enter the seemingly much smaller 24 foot circle and completing a final circuit before exiting out the gate!  Quite the challenging exercise for me, as it was the keyholes but in sequence one right after the other!  We did this several times and with Bob and Abdullah's coaching we both got this exercise down.  Fun stuff, really!

Above video shows Dezso on his F800GS making it look easy as he executes
the snowman exercise.

After a break it was time for the Iron Cross or Intersection exercise.   Picture if you will road intersection, each arm of the cross composed of basically a 24 foot circle but with the straight edges of a street represented by orange cones.   Click this link for more info on the setup of an Iron Cross:  LINK

Bob started us off first with a cone in the middle, representing a turning circle, to get us used to the Iron Cross' pattern and routes.  I got totally confused of course and managed after a couple more tries to get the route correct.  Then, to make it fun, Bob removed the center cone and circle and we had to execute the turns into each arm of the cross, cutting sharply into each arm, circling within it, then onto the next cross arm all the way around and exiting at the top of the cross after completing all four arms.  Challenging but fun!

Here's a link to Bob and Abdullah (who is in the lead), going through the Iron Cross together:

They make it look easy don't they?

Before the final exercise, which was running through the whole series of obstacles starting with the offset cone weaves, through the keyholes and snowman and finishing with the Iron Cross, Brigitta's clutch cable broke!

Luckily, I carried a spare cable (much to everyone's amazement) and with everyone's help Brigitta's cable was replaced and training resumed in less than 30 minutes I think.

So, in sum, almost eight packed hours of intense training and riding!  I learned a lot and now must get some traffic cones of my own to set up and practice the above exercises more!  My confidence in slow tight turning maneuvers has increased a lot and I owe it all that to Bob and Abdullah along with the great training environment and opportunities provided by T3RG Motorcycle Schools.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Taking Brigitta to the 12th Annual Bob Ohman's Old Bike Ride

Preface:  The OBR or Old Bike Ride this year was yesterday, Sunday, the 18th of May.  However, Brigitta and I had attended an "training the instructor" Civilian Top Gun Rider course on Saturday the 17th.  More on that to follow as I get videos and verbiage straight.

Link to the training we did: Civilian Top Gun Rider Academy 1

Just wanted to mention that in the course of the training, in which I did better than I thought since I didn't drop Brigitta once, I discovered my battery wasn't charging and the instructors had to push start Brigitta before the start of each exercise!  On the plus side, she starts really easy when pushed, especially if I remember to turn the key on.  ;)  I thought Bob, the instructor, was going to whack me when he and I discovered after one long series of pushing (by him), that the key was off.  Doh!

The other thing that happened right before the final exercise was that the clutch cable broke!  Dang German engineering, Brigitta is only 27 years old!  ;)   Luckily, being the typical Airhead owner, I carried a spare clutch cable (much to the amazement of everyone there) and about 30 minutes later I was riding again.  (After another push start of course).

Got Brigitta home with no issues, troubleshot the problem with RichardM's help and during the course of it he mentioned that a dead cell in the battery could cause the symptoms I was having.  Took the battery from Stewie, Martha's scooter and hooked it up to Brigitta.  It proved the charging system was fine, no need for a new alternator as I'd originally suspected.  A run to the local auto parts store for a similar form battery and Brigitta was back in business!

OK.  So this is why I rode Brigitta to the OBR instead of taking Scarlett as originally planned.

It was a great weather day on Sunday and it would turn hot in the afternoon.  For the gathering of the motorcycles in Golden, Colorado though, the weather was perfect.  I ran into friends and acquaintances there and more and more classic motorcycles of all marques showed up.

Sadly, the battery on my Nikon AW110 was running down as I'd failed to charge it properly and my use of my old Panasonic Lumix revealed later scratches on the lens which marred a lot of my pictures.  Still, some turned out and my friend John S, aka Spat, let me borrow some of his.  I hope you like them.

 The ride organizer's Beemer, he's the bearded fellow sitting
on the stone fence in the background.

 A 1936 Vincent Comet Series A, very nice.

 A new acquaintance, Rocco, and his beautiful R90S

 A 1951 Vincent Comet Series C, spent last fifteen years 
in a shed till the owner finally agreed to sell it to the present owner.

 Another beautiful R90S, thought it did have cosmetic damage
to the fairing, she still looked very nice.

 I've seen this K Bike before with its sidecar at one of
the local Beemer rallies.

Here is new acquaintance Ted's Chiang-Jang, it does come with
a sidecar but he had removed it to have fun on two wheels.

 In complementing colors, a Norton and a Triumph

 A fellow Uralista, Marc L. was sporting the above T-Shirt

 A very nice looking Harley Davidson Knucklehead.

 Check out the exposed valves on this Henderson Sidecar Rig's engine.

The Henderson's pretty instrument cluster.

 photo courtesy of John aka Spat

 A nice shot of the Henderson Sidecar Rig
photo courtesy of John aka Spat

photo courtesy of John aka Spat

Look at the face on the was her first ride in a sidecar
photo courtesy of John aka Spat

Check out the below video for a "engine on" view of the exposed valves.

Brigitta, even though 27 years old now, still didn't qualify as "old enough" for the OBR and besides I didn't have the time as I had to rejoin the Civilian Top Gun Rider course to take pictures during the Sunday iteration of the training.  No pictures on Saturday you see, I was a student and busy enough just doing the exercises!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Scarlett gets the v1.07 EFI Mapping.

I found out yesterday, via that a new EFI mapping had been sent to dealers by URAL.  So this morning I rode to Fort Collins today to get Scarlett's ECU's programmed with the newly issued v1.07 EFI mapping.  Good timing really, as I had today off.

The ride up was in mild weather, with mild winds and light traffic on the frontage and county roads.  Scarlett was running as strong as ever and I wondered really how much difference the upgrade would make.

Initial reports from both Darrell S, a fellow Uralista and the renowned Mr COB; both of whom had their rigs EFI mapping upgraded, had been very good.  I got to Unique Rides and after a bit of time (they were busy getting their inventory on display and tending to other customers, was told to drive Scarlett over to the workshop:

Scarlett, her OBD port hooked up to Randy's laptop

 First, the left ECU is programmed.

 Then, the right ECU is programmed.

Less than ten minutes and the engine is turned on to check the
balance of the ECUs.  Scarlett looked good!

Some differences with the new EFI mapping, measurement is now in millibars, not kilopascals.  Gone is the previous instruction to balance the ECUs to 35 kilopascals.  I took a few pics before I left the dealership:

 Valencia, looking as pretty as ever.  She's waiting for a new owner folks!

I must say, the striking good looks of the Black/Silver Patrol are very nice.

Here's what posted on Soviet Steeds upon returning home:

I must say, though it was less than 90 miles back to home from Fort Collins, I could feel a difference with the v1.07 of the EFI mapping!

The popping and stumble when the engine was room temperature was almost non-existent as I rode from Randy's workshop back to the front parking lot. I only heard a very soft pop, one pop.

I picked up parts for Darrell and myself, and left the dealership around 1230 I think.

The rig felt smooth and I decided to run for a bit on the I-25 super slab. She pulled strongly, as before on v1.06, all the way to 55 mph and then I noted the difference with 1.07, the engine didn't seem to work as hard or vibrate as much as before as I reached past 60 and got to 65mph. It was kind of hard to know exactly how fast I was going as the speedo needle kept waving between 60-65, then between 65-70 when I rolled a bit more throttle on. Note, I still had a bit more throttle to go at this point but traffic wouldn't let me go faster.

I had, before I bought the 2014 rig, decided I would never exceed 65 mph during rides so am pretty happy at this point with the feel of the engine at 60-65. The cheapo tachometer I have, read 4800 rpm at 65mph. Note, this was going AGAINST a slight wind and on a slight incline.

Gone apparently is the occasional popping on deceleration while gearing down or just simply rolling off the throttle. 

Bottom line, am happy with this new EFI mapping. We'll see how the engine runs when stone cold, that's when the most popping and stumbling occurred until I managed to roll some throttle on as I exited the neighborhood. In v1.06, it would be fine after that initial stumbling and the only things that had been bugging me was the sporadic popping noises when letting off on the throttle when slowing.

More riding is of course in order to get the full feel of this upgrade. The ECU also has to learn my driving habits all over again apparently, as that gets reset when doing an upgrade.

If you ride a 2014 rig, you should really consider getting the v1.07 EFI mapping from your dealer. I sure will be glad when riders can do their own EFI mapping upgrades without having to go to the dealer, it was two hours up, two hours back and a couple of hours at the dealer (they were really busy, the upgrade itself took less than ten minutes) so spent most of the day doing this.

As you can see, though it took most of the day I had off, I am quite happy with the upgrade.  Training tomorrow, but that's a different posting.

Kudos to URAL for working so fast on developing and issuing EFI mappings to address issues with the new rigs and their ECUs!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Last Snowy Commute for a While?

Mother's Day weekend is, from what I've heard and observed in my almost 17 years living in the great state of Colorado, usually when we get the last snow storm for the season.

Right on schedule, it started snowing on Sunday, but it didn't amount to much accumulation that day.

This Monday morning, the snow was kind of sticking to the streets but it still wasn't much accumulation in the suburbs where I live.  There was perhaps two inches on the driveway as I backed Scarlett, my 2014 URAL Patrol Sidecar Rig, out of the garage.

The commute in was slushy and wet but not icy which is always a bonus.  Traffic was lighter than normal as well which was surprising for a Monday but I wasn't complaining.

It was starting to snow heavier as I neared downtown Denver so I detoured for a set of pictures in Denver's City Park.

MLK Memorial in Denver City Park

The rest of the drive in was fine, the snow continued to fall heavily but it was not very windy so the snow flakes didn't sting when they hit my face as I walked from the parking garage.

It's going to be a good week, I can feel it.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Brigitta's Odometer found to be "wonky"

Wonky: A highly technical term used to describe a situation or behavior where the subject is displaying strange behavior.

Yesterday, while tooling around on Brigitta, my '87 R80 Airhead Beemer, I finally realized through more careful observation that the odometer reading was inaccurate.  It was roughly displaying 9.4 miles traveled for every 1.8 miles actually ridden per the tripmeter.

The last known accurate reading is for 102,351 when maintenance was performed on Brigitta's finned exhaust nuts by yours truly on March 30 of this year.  Sigh.  Currently, the odometer was displaying over 8000 miles racked up.....not even close to accurate.  Basically 5600+ miles too much.

The speedometer seems to be working fine (to be again verified via GPS when the roads are clear) and the trip meter seems to be fine.  It's just the odometer, which is after all over 27 years old, that has failed.

As the saying goes, the cheapest thing on a BMW, is the owner.  I am going to hold off on sending the speedometer unit out for repair.  I'll keep track of mileage for service interval purposes by the bicycle computer I installed this morning.

This is the same Vetta C5 Bike computer I'd used on Natasha when her speedometer needle was doing the wild swings during cold weather.

NOTE: For future reference: you must use a value of 1925 when calibrating the bike computer to the front wheel measurement for Brigitta. (From center of front axle to ground)

Warning, BMW Airhead purists....non-BMW compliant mods ahead.  Viewing the pictures will probably offend your sensibilities.

 Vetta C5 installed on handlebar

 Vetta Magnetic Sensor secured to right front brake fitting.

Yes, I know it's ugly, but it works.
Magnet secured to one of Brigitta's front wheel spokes.
A more aesthetic solution to be found....perhaps.

It's snowing outside, so not a good time to go out and test the bike computer's functioning.  I did rotate the tire by hand and was able to spin it as fast as 5 mph per the bike computer so I know it's "seeing" the magnet via the sensor pickup.

Update: 15MAR: I transposed the numbers, it's actually 1925 for my R80's measurements.  The cyclometer works great but I found one limitation that caused me to order a newer one today.  It tops out at 100 kph in terms of displaying current speed.  As Brigitta can do much more, I ordered one that maxes out at 200 kph, well above Brigitta's capacity for speed.  

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Uraling on Lookout Mountain

Warm sunny day here in the Denver Metro area, a bit warm to be ATGATT but where I followed the rule, most other motorcycle riders I saw were more "lax" about it shall we say.

Slept in (it was glorious!), and departed the house close to 10:00 AM, destination the hardware store for some supplies and from there a tentative ride to Lookout Mountain near Golden, CO.  The mountain is home to the grave of Buffalo Bill and a small museum dedicated to his memory.  It's also pretty much the closest mountain to the Denver area that one can ride to and enjoy without a lot of driving time.

It was close to 11:30 by the time I got to Golden and proceeded along the 19th Street entrance to the road that takes one winding up the mountain.  There were bicyclists galore but they were mostly following the rules and hugging the side of the road as they huffed and puffed their way up the mountain.

 Scarlett and I stopped at the first open spot on the way up the 
mountain, where one can get a fine view of Golden, the School of Mines and
the Coors Brewery.  Flanking the city, are North and South Table Mesas.

 I believe that's Green Mountain in the background, looking 
SE from the above stopping point.

 Further up the mountain, once can get quite close to the rocks
painted white by the students of The School of Mines; the rocks
form the large M visible for miles.

 After reaching the top and finding my usual stopping spot eliminated by the
moving of the guard rail, I started back down and stopped for one
more shot of  Golden.

One of the several hairpin turns one negotiates while ascending
and descending the gentle grades of Lookout Mountain.

As I was walking to set up another pano shot, I saw another URAL sidecar rig stop and pull in next to Scarlett.  I walked back to the rig and it turned out to be Dan K.   Dan was also tooling around since it was such a nice day.

Dan K and his GearUP

Dan and I BS'ed for quite a while.  He told me jokingly that it was time to sell the URALs, they were becoming too commonplace!  You see, he'd run into new Uralista Marc L with his Battleship Blue GearUP on the back road from Left Hand Canyon Road!  

What are the odds, unless you plan in advance, of running into another sidecar rig right?

Once Dan K. geared back up and left, I finished the last pano shot of the day:

It was quite warm by now, temperatures had to have been in the low 80s at least!  I rode sedately back through the city, ending up back home just before 4:00 PM.  Not too bad a day of riding, Scarlett did fine and no close calls from unwary and clueless cagers, a good way to spend a Sunday.