Chasing Colorado… (mountains, hills, and two wheels)

(Overdue post!)

So, just how many different bikes can I ride in a week? Um… 6…

It was a week in high elevations with great company, amazing views, delicious beer, and making my motorcycles at home jealous…

I imagine its all the fresh air that is making my lungs burn.  The winds are picking up velocity in the afternoon, disrupting the silence of the aspens, and leaving my ears ringing for the sirens and barking dogs that I do not miss in LA.  Birds and their chirping are my company as I sit on the porch, watching the golden light of springtime in Colorado.  It has been a lovely week visiting a close friend, who has so willingly provided ample choices of two-wheeled transportation during my stay.

(When the first stop from the airport is to get our ears molded for custom fit plugs –  btw, they are just that amazing- its going to be a good moto week!)

1st excursion: Mountain Biking around Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.  Playing in the dirt for the first time where my legs are my power, no engine to motivate up hills or around corners, I appreciated the mellow introduction to technique while in awe of rust colored rock formations, towering along sides of the trails.

2nd: A 310 mi loop ride, starting with Skyline ridge in Canon City,  winding up hwy 50 along the Arkansas river to Salida for lunch (bacon wrapped dates…yum!), then glide through rolling hills of hwy 285/24 home, riding a V-strom all the way.  I had originally written off the Suzuki DL650 because as functional as it is, looks do weigh heavier than the bike.  To my surprise, there was pep in its take-off, it hugged the corners despite having to throw it into them a little, and the seat carried me comfortably all day.

3rd: a short 50 mile dirt jaunt over Mt. Herman road (see view above) on a Suzuki DR-Z400s… I get it, I really do, why so many of my KLR friends said I should start on something smaller, something I can throw around easier, learn to kick out  the back end in the curves, something with power when I hit the throttle…It was just plain fun to be able to do that so easily.  Next time I will bring more appropriate gear and let loose a little.

4th: Bringing the Tiger home aka, trying to keep a Triumph Tiger Triple 1050 under triple digit speeds while riding along the sweeping curves of farmland back roads.  All I need to say: FUN!

Then a round of Test rides (why not when visitng a state that will actually let you try ‘em out?):

5th: Ever wanted to ride a sewing machine? The Triumph Tiger 800XC was kind of like that.  After riding the Tiger 1050 all morning, to swing my leg over an longer bored, down-tuned 675 engine, it was so buzzy I didn’t want to push what already felt like high revs in 6th gear (even though yes, it could go higher) and take it over 65mph (which it did easily, despite comment). And mind you, my normal ride, a KLR650, is notorious for vibrations, yet I didn’t like the tiger’s.  On the upside, it hugged the road nicely in the turns, felt very light and nimble for a 473lb beast. I can understand why its so popular with those riders transitioning from sport bikes or new to adventure bikes. I was really looking forward to the Tiger 800, but just couldn’t get past the engine.

6th: Now for a bike I could listen to it purr all day…the BMW R1200GS. They call it the king of Adventure bikes for a reason.  At first off, I could feel the heaviness of its 532 lbs, but twist the throttle and it goes wherever you want it to.  It has a balance like no other machine I’ve tried…maybe I’m just a sucker for lower end torque and cushy suspension.  (When am I going to get one?…not just yet.)

Almost 7: Yamaha’s Super Tenere, you were on the list, but time did not permit.

After this week’s adventure, I must admit that Colorado will always have a piece of my heart.  From the first time I rode through its deliciously twisty, yet rain-soaked roads on a trip 2 years ago to the current days of good times with good company… even though I had to give the motorcycles back at the end of the week, the memories and joy will always stay with me.

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