It’s been a couple of years since I rode across Patagonia, and frankly, I’m getting restless. What does a motorcycle nut do when he or she is restless? If you were going to say rest, they you’d be wrong. What we actually do, is that we ride…
I’m making a number of big changes in my life, and feel that the time is right to make a journey across the US, stopping at any and all of the places that are of interest to me. I’m expecting the trip to start within 90 days, and go for about 60 consecutive days. I’m still planning the trip, but considering that I’ve now taken the Rawhyde Intro and Intermediate classes, and also attended the RawHyde BaseCamp alpha ride in September, 2015, I’ve got reasonable skills to attempt just about anything.
The CO BDR
One small step for man, one giant ride for mankind
I’ve got to be sure that I don’t let overconfidence cloud my judgement, but the truth of the matter is that I’m probably more than capable of handling a trip that is on highways, as well as being on remote, fire roads that are in the back country. Specifically, it’s looking like I’ll take on the Colorado Back-country Discovery Route. This is a route across CO, comprised mostly of fire roads and other access roads. The route includes sections which are very complex and technical, and in many cases, it also offers alternatives to those routes, which are less technical, and perhaps safer.
While I’m not really concerned about being able to manage the terrain on these roads, I do have to mention that I’m probably going to do this trip solo. When you’re in the back-country, and you’re riding solo, you really need to be more conservative, and you need to address all of the additional risks that will exist in the back-country, in these isolated stretches. You can learn more about the CO BDR here. As a quick summary, this route is between 600 – 800 miles, depending on whether you stay on the route, or exit for hotels, and also whether you take the primary route, or any of the alternate routes, which are sometimes longer, and sometimes shorter.
The excitement is building
As I sit here writing this post, I can already feel the excitement and anticipation for this trip. I know that it will be challenging to do a trip like this solo, but I’m pretty well prepared, and as usual, I’m using technology to help me. What do I mean by that? Well, I see this type of trip as a series of tasks, some of which are of low or moderate risk, and some which are high-risk. I’ll combine my assessments of these different portions of the route, with my ideas about how to be comfortable on a trip like this, and then I’ll start solving problems.
Technology – That’s how I mitigate risks
Let me share an example… Some of the portions of the CO BDR have deep sand and/or mud at different points in the year. A skilled rider can usually manage to cross sand or mud without falling, but it’s an inevitability that I’ll struggle with either or both of these at some point. To mitigate this risk, I might either take an alternate route, which is easier, or I might make sure that I can make it into, across, and out of the sand or mud, regardless of whether I fall, or not. Using technology to solve for, or mitigate this issue means purchasing a winch. WARN corporation makes a small winch, which they call the XT17. This winch is designed for motorcycles, and can pull up to 1600 lbs. The pulling capacity, combined with the 40′ cable will allow me to pull myself out of the sand or mud, if I find myself stuck. I plan on purchasing the winch, and also using it under test circumstances, to make sure that my first use of this product is not on the trail. In order to become prepared or ready for the test, I’ll be watching a number of demonstration videos on YouTube, and then I’ll give it the old college try.
Perhaps now you know what I mean when I say that I’ll be using technology. But, perhaps not. So, here’s another example.
The Suspension system on my 2015 BMW GS Adventure bike is pretty sophisticated, and it, along with the engine can be reprogrammed by simply selecting one of several driving modes. The suspension is well integrated into the bike, and it works well under normal conditions. But, I’m a pretty big guy, and I’ll be riding over very tough terrain, in a remote area. So, the last thing that I would want to experience would be a suspension failure, in the middle of nowhere. The solution to this problem is a reworked suspension, offered by Ted Porter of the BeemerShop in Scott’s Valley. Ted is regarded as one of the leading experts on suspension for motorcycles, and he is the US exclusive importer for the Tractive suspension products from Germany. The BeemerShop sells a series of suspension upgrades, which are plug & play with the current electronics on the bike, allow for me to change modes by pressing the very same buttons that adjust the suspension today, and it also has the virtue of being bullet-proof. This new suspension is the same basic kit offered by Touratech-USA, but Ted delivers it out of his shop in Scotts Valley. I plan on installing this kit in April.
So, you can see that while this bit of technology costs a boatload of cash (about $3900), it solves a problem, and also provides better handling, has a better overall feel, and is better at tolerating my size and riding style.
As I prepare for the trip, I’ll once again be blogging about the preparation, and about the trip. I’ve got a whole lot of energy pent up in me, and that means I’ll be writing a lot. During my last adventure, many of you were keen to comment on my “Pithy writing style”. Don’t worry. I have not abandoned this style for a slow, meandering, boring, monotone style. I’m still me, just a few years older, and in a different place. More to come on that later.
That’s it for now,
Wish me luck