Northern Colorado IMRG Upcoming Events
Saturday October 14th Fort Laramie Ride. Fort Laramie, Wyoming is known for its rich history as a fur trading post, military installation, and important stop on the Oregon Trail, California Trail, and Mormon Trail. It was also the site of several important treaties between the United States government and Native American tribes. In addition to its historical significance, Fort Laramie is also known for its beautiful setting at the confluence of the Laramie and North Platte Rivers. The fort is surrounded by rolling hills and plains. More details to follow.
Saturday October 21st Chapter Meeting & Masonville/Rist Canyon Ride. Chapter meeting @9:30 a.m. at the Indian Motorcycle of Fort Collins. Law Tigers will be our guest and will be providing breakfast.
For up-to-date information on all Northern Colorado IMRG rides and events, visit our Events Calendar.
Safety Tip: Mastering the Corner
Safety tip from Paul Carroll
The surrounding area roads in our great state of Colorado are some of the most technical in the country, so it’s with this in mind that I want to address proper cornering techniques.
Almost 50 percent of all motorcycle accidents are single vehicle crashes. Of these, a large percentage are the result of improper cornering techniques. Many of these accidents could be avoided if the rider would just simply slow down and ensure proper entry speed into the corner. However, proper technique is a must on more technical mountain roads that have decreasing radius, along with changes in elevation.
First thing is speed. You need to get all your braking and downshifting accomplished before entering the curve. Remember, while in a lean braking is not a good thing. Your tire contact patch is significantly reduced, thus could result in a loss of traction and control. A good benchmark on what’s the proper speed is simply the suggested speed sign. This sign is kind of orange/yellow color with a speed posted on it.
I prefer to enter corners with a delayed apex technique. This approach is from the outside edge of the corner and deeper into the apex before I start to lean. Now, when I say the outside edge of the corner, I DO NOT suggest allowing any part of the bike to cross over either the outside fog line (for a left-hand curve) or the center-line (for a right-hand curve). I simply mean to position the bike to the outside of the curve as you make your approach. This technique allows for the rider to see much further around the curve to spot potential hazards, i.e. oncoming traffic, cyclists, animals or rocks on the roadway. This angle also allows the rider a much deeper lean and a smoother exit of the corner.
Countersteer by pushing the grip forward in the direction of the corner. Push right, go right; push left, go left. Keep your head and shoulders level and allow the bike to lean under your body. This will give you a consistent sight picture and allow you to transition out of the lean much more quickly.
Remember, as you lean the motorcycle, focus on your wheel track as far as you can see into the curve. This will allow you to keep a smooth line throughout the curve. As you start to exit the curve, smoothly roll on the throttle. Remember, with any emergency braking you must get the bike upright out of the lean before applying combination braking.
Until next time, Ride Safe!
Unveiling the Superstitions of Motorcycle Riders: Myth or Reality?
Motorcycle riding is not just a means of transportation; it is a lifestyle embraced by millions of individuals worldwide. Motorcycle riders are known for being a superstitious bunch. Each rider has their unique way of connecting with their two-wheeled companion, and it is no surprise that superstitions have become an intrinsic part of this motorcycle culture. There are all sorts of superstitions and rituals that riders believe in, some of which are more well-known than others.
Green Motorcycles Are Bad Luck:
This superstition is thought to have originated during World War II when the military used green motorcycles. Because they were so visible, green motorcycles were often targeted by enemy fire. As a result, many riders came to believe that green motorcycles were unlucky.
The Guardian Bell – Protecting Against Evil Spirits:
One of the most well-known motorcycle rider superstitions involves the guardian bell, also known as the “gremlin bell” or “biker bell.” It’s typically a small bell attached to the motorcycle’s frame, often given as a gift by a fellow rider. The superstition goes that the bell will trap evil spirits and prevent them from causing accidents or mishaps during rides.
The Ritual of the Pre-Ride
Smudging:Before embarking on a long journey, some riders perform a smudging ritual. This involves burning sage or other herbs and letting the smoke envelop the motorcycle and the rider. The purpose is to purify the motorcycle, remove negative energy, and ensure a safe and peaceful journey. It’s a practice borrowed from Native American traditions and has found its place in motorcycle rider superstitions.
Birds hold a special place in the realm of superstitions. It is commonly believed that certain birds bring good or bad luck when encountered on a journey. For motorcycle riders, owls are often feared as harbingers of misfortune. Crossing paths with an owl during a ride may mean impending doom or tragedy. Conversely, spotting a hawk or eagle signifies enhanced protection and a successful journey. While these superstitions may seem far-fetched to some, they contribute to the thrill and element of surprise that riders often seek.
Blessing of the Bikes:
One of the first events of the year that many riders attend is a Blessing of the Bikes ceremony in the hope it will bring safety for the coming season. There are hundreds of Blessing of the Bikes ceremonies held all over the United States. The ceremonies are typically held outdoors in a public place, such as a park, church parking lot, or town square. Riders gather with their motorcycles, and a priest or other religious leader gives a blessing. The blessing is usually followed by a prayer for the safety of all riders.
Riding With Rear Pegs Down:
It is bad luck to have your passenger footpegs down without a passenger. This is because evil spirits are said to see this as an invitation to hop on and cause trouble. It is unclear how effective a guardian bell is in preventing this, or why this superstition is not followed by funeral motorcades, where the passenger footpegs are typically down. Since having your pegs down is said to invite spirits, this could be seen as an open invitation for the spirit of the deceased to join you for one last ride.
Taming the Motorcycle Spirits with Skulls and Bones:
Skulls and bones are common symbols in motorcycle culture, and they’re believed to have protective powers. Many riders sport skull-shaped jewelry, helmets, or patches, often adorned with bones or wings. These symbols are thought to ward off accidents and misfortune while riding. The origins of this belief likely tie back to the idea of embracing mortality and danger as part of the riding experience.
While some of these superstitions may seem silly, they add a touch of mysticism and intrigue to the world of motorcycle riding. Superstitions are an integral part of motorcycle rider culture, reflecting personal beliefs, experiences, and the desire for a sense of control over unpredictable situations.
Many cars, motorcycles, boats, and tools have engines that run worse, or have parts that deteriorate, when operated with gasoline containing ethanol. Ethanol-free gasoline is typically more expensive than gasoline with ethanol. However, there are benefits of ethanol-free gasoline, such as improved fuel economy, reduced engine wear and tear, and longer shelf life.
Improved fuel economy: Ethanol-free gasoline has a higher energy content than gasoline with ethanol, which can lead to improved fuel economy. Some studies have shown that ethanol-free gasoline can improve fuel economy by up to 3%.
Reduced engine wear and tear: Ethanol can corrode fuel system components and damage engine seals and gaskets. Ethanol-free gasoline is less corrosive and can help to extend the life of your engine.
Longer shelf life: Ethanol-free gasoline has a longer shelf life than gasoline with ethanol. Ethanol-free gasoline can last up to 6 months in your fuel tank, while gasoline with ethanol only lasts for about 3 months.
Better performance: Ethanol-free gasoline can provide better performance in older vehicles that were not designed to run on gasoline with ethanol.
Many argue that filling up their motorcycles with ethanol-free gas provides no advantage (at least no noticeable advantage), and some go as far as saying they get less fuel mileage with pure gas. And of course there are those who won’t use anything but ethanol-free gas in their motorcycles.
Let’s say you ride into a gas station on your Indian Motorcycle and have a choice of 91 octane with 15% ethanol, or ethanol-free 85 octane. Which do you choose? Indian Motorcycle says to use only unleaded gasoline with a 91 pump octane minimum, and gas containing up to 15% ethanol can be used. The correct choice in this scenario is the 91 octane with 15% ethanol. Ethanol content and octane have nothing to do with each other. Octane is a measure of the fuel’s ability to be compressed before self-igniting. If your engine requires 91 octane, it requires 91 octane regardless if the gas contains ethanol.
If you are seeking out ethanol-free gasoline, Maverik and Murphy gas stations generally have pure-gas. A popular website, pure-gas.org, is a pretty good resource for locating gas stations carrying ethanol-free gas.
From the Foothills to the Mountains: Ride to Durango Rendezvous
A couple of new videos recently launched from our Durango Rendezvous road trip this past June. Kick back, relax a while, and see some of our adventure unfold once again.
The first video chronicles our ride down to Ignacio for Durango Rendezvous 2023. The Durango Rendezvous creates a sense of community, and riders from all over and all walks of life come together to share their love of motorcycles, and to make new friends. The Rendezvous has a way of creating memories that last a lifetime.
We met at the Maverik gas station in Dacono with our bags packed and excited about hitting the road. Our day one ride to the Durango Rendezvous was a long one, but Mother Nature cooperated. Even though the ride was long, it was very enjoyable sharing the experience with friends. The scenery was awesome, and with all the rain Colorado has been having, it was very green.
The other video is from our day four at Durango. Our original plan was to go on a group ride with other riders from the Rendezvous, to be led by Erin Sills (Guinness fastest woman on a conventional motorcycle, and 45-time land speed record holder), which would take us north into higher mountain elevations. However, due to heavy rainstorms rolling in, this ride was cancelled. Since the rain was northbound, we decided to head south and go to Chama, New Mexico where the weather radar looked much better.
Easy Head & Eye Placement Exercise
This is a very easy exercise from MCrider to practice head and eye placement – i.e. point your nose in the direction you want to go. MCrider states that using good head and eye placement is an essential riding principal, and something riders need to continually work on. Where you look through a corner impacts your turning radius, ability to avoid obstacles and your confidence rounding corners.
Begin about 20 feet outside the cone, and ride around it in a circle at a consistent lean angle. Look over the cone at the horizon opposite of the cone. Another instructor suggests turning your head as if you are looking for your license plate.
- Do not look down at the cone. Keep your eyes on the horizon.
- The size of the circle is not important. This exercise centers on head and eye placement.
- 1st gear, no brakes, no clutch, just smooth easy circles around the cone.
- Trouble with balance. Do not look down, keep your eyes on the horizon.
- Bike is jerky rounding the corner. Use smooth throttle control. If necessary practice throttle control in a straight line first riding at a smooth slow speed in a straight line. Then begin to work on the exercise.
Two Wheels and a Full Throttle: A Motorcycle Road Trip to Thermopolis
We had an absolutely unforgettable time embarking on our Thermopolis road adventure. The meticulous planning and dedication that goes into organizing these multi-day and night group rides cannot be understated. Mark, our esteemed NoCo IMRG Road Director, truly outdid himself in orchestrating this remarkable expedition. Over the course of four incredible days, he skillfully led our group of seven members and six bikes on a journey like no other.
Setting off on our first day towards Thermopolis, we were greeted with dry weather, although the ceaseless wind that accompanies any venture into Wyoming made its presence felt. Nevertheless, our spirits remained undeterred as we were captivated by the breathtaking landscapes that unfolded along our path. An early respite came in the form of a well-deserved stop at the historic Virginian Hotel in Medicine Bow, a true architectural gem dating back to 1911. Situated amidst barren expanses, this grand establishment stood as a testament to the allure of this otherwise uninhabited region.
Continuing our two-wheeled odyssey through the heart of Wyoming, we marveled at the charming communities we passed through, each offering a glimpse into the local way of life. As the rugged mountains and rolling plains greeted us at every turn, we couldn’t help but be enamored by the raw beauty that surrounded us. The untamed wilderness beckoned us forward, enticing us to explore further and uncover the hidden treasures that Wyoming so graciously bestowed upon us.
In the late afternoon, we arrived at the mesmerizing Hot Springs Hotel, tucked away within the pristine Hot Springs State Park. Eager to unwind, a select few indulged in the soothing embrace of the hot tub, allowing their troubles to melt away. Meanwhile, the rest of our ensemble sought solace in a moment of respite, before embarking on an adventure to the hotel lounge. As the hours progressed, our group reconvened in anticipation of a delectable feast at the hotel restaurant. Filled with an air of undeniable allure, the lounge mesmerized all who entered, adorned with a wide range of magnificent big game trophies sourced from every corner of the globe. This splendid exhibition showcased over 1,000 meticulously arranged game mounts, including majestic lions, awe-inspiring tigers, and formidable bears, enveloping us in an authentic safari-like ambiance. Then later in the evening, deep within the heart of this wondrous haven, we found ourselves captivated by a live band playing at a pavilion, and whisking us away on a mellow journey that harmonized perfectly with the enchanting night.
The next morning beckoned, tempting a few adventurous souls amongst us to venture out and take in the delightful sights of the hotel’s surroundings. At the appointed time, we gathered for breakfast meticulously served by the hotel staff, invigorating us for the journey ahead. We mounted our bikes with enthusiasm and anticipation towards our destination – Red Lodge, Montana. We chanced upon the fascinating town of Meeteetse, Wyoming, nestled amidst the awe-inspiring embrace of the Bighorn Basin. Strolling the main street, a tapestry of historical storefronts unfolded before our wondering eyes, hinting of tales of times long past. We found solace in the hallowed halls of the local museum, immersing ourselves in the fascinating chronicles of the American cowboy and his untamed spirit. As luck would have it, on this very day an enticing car show graced the town, luring us irresistibly into a spectacle of antique and classic automobiles. We paused, admiring these automotive marvels that encapsulated another era in time before continuing onward.
We made a stop in Cody for a much-needed lunch break, where we had the pleasure of dining at the renowned Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel. This historic establishment, founded by the legendary Buffalo Bill himself in 1895, truly lived up to its reputation. We indulged in an incredible buffet spread, featuring delectable dishes like succulent prime rib and other tantalizing options. The hotel, aptly named after Buffalo Bill’s beloved daughter Irma, was designed with the goal of captivating visitors from all corners of the globe. In fact, the entire town of Cody was built around this magnificent hotel, a testament to its importance and charm.
With our bellies satisfied and spirits rejuvenated, our journey continued towards Red Lodge, Montana. Our initial plan was to traverse the picturesque Beartooth Pass, an experience we were truly looking forward to. However, luck seemed to have other plans for us that day. Unbeknownst to us, a wrong turn had led us astray, causing us to miss the route to Beartooth Pass. As if sensing our misfortune, a heavy rainstorm began looming ominously on the horizon, threatening to make the challenging ride even more treacherous – especially for us, who were traveling on two wheels. Faced with this unfavorable situation, we wasted no time and swiftly made our way to Red Lodge, eager to find refuge from the impending downpour.
Luckily, we managed to stay one step ahead of the torrential rain throughout most of our journey. Just moments before we pulled into the hotel parking lot in Red Lodge, however, the heavens unleashed their fury upon us. Buckets of water cascaded from the darkened sky, drenching us in a deluge of liquid chaos. Although slightly disheartened by the unexpected turn of events, we couldn’t help but find solace in the fact that we had reached our temporary sanctuary right on time.
Later, after the relentless rain had finally subsided, a sense of renewed energy sparked within us. Eager for adventure, we regrouped and embarked on a memorable escapade just across the street from our cozy hotel – a convergence of a Casino and small 8-lane bowling alley awaited our arrival. To our delight (more or less), Dan charmed the establishment into granting us exclusive access for an hour, ensuring that we each had a private lane at our disposal. None of us had engaged in such gleeful competition in many moons, and it became apparent that our aging bodies were not as spry as they once were. Yet, we collectively overcame the physical tribulations with infectious laughter, relishing in the camaraderie and sheer joy of the moment. Following bowling, our stomachs grumbled with a ravenous hunger. Discovering that the Casino neglected to offer any culinary indulgence, we strolled gallantly through the streets for half a mile, our limbs heavy and depleted from the spirited bowling session. Finally, we arrived at the heart of Red Lodge, satisfied our appetites, and embarked on a hike back to our haven at the hotel, bidding farewell to a remarkable day filled with cherished memories.
Our adventure had certainly taken an unexpected twist, but the challenges we encountered only added to the richness of our experience. The unforgettable meal at Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel, the missed opportunity to conquer Beartooth Pass, the sudden onslaught of rain, the NoCo IMRG taking over an entire bowling alley, taking a short hike (which seemed like miles) into Red Lodge to eat – all of these moments would forever be etched in our memories, reminding us of the unpredictable nature of our journeys and the resilience we possess in the face of adversity.
On day three of our journey, we would eagerly return to Thermopolis and check back into the cozy Hot Springs Hotel where we had spent our first night. Our initial plan was to conquer Beartooth Pass on our way to Red Lodge, but due to unforeseen circumstances, we were forced to postpone this adventure. As we woke up to a radiant morning, filled with promising sunshine, we were determined to make the most of our day, and travel over Beartooth Pass on our way back to Thermopolis. We consulted the weather radar before embarking on our journey. Unfortunately, the map displayed a rather gloomy sight, indicating heavy precipitation precisely when we were scheduled to traverse the pass. Bowing to the dictates of fate, we made the difficult decision to bypass Beartooth once again and chart an alternative, more easterly route back to Thermopolis, hoping to evade the rain. However, we vowed to come back to Beartooth Pass on another future road trip. As we embarked on our impromptu eastern detour, we found ourselves fortunate enough to dodge the rain for a significant portion of the way. As we drew closer to Thermopolis, approximately 50 miles away, the weather seemed to mock our efforts to stay dry, and we resignedly donned our rain gear. The last leg of our journey was accompanied by a steady downpour, which followed us for the remaining 35 miles. By the time we arrived in Thermopolis, our stomachs were growling, as it was now lunchtime. However, given the fact that it was Labor Day, our search for an open restaurant proved to be a challenging task. Eventually, luck favored us, and we came across a Mexican eatery in town, where we could replenish our energy and seek refuge from the rain. After enjoying a satisfying meal, we made our way back to the hotel, anticipating a potential setback due to our early arrival. Miraculously, the hotel staff had our rooms ready and waiting, making it clear that fortune was finally smiling upon us once again.
Before going to dinner at the hotel restaurant later that evening, we ventured over to the nearby Star Plunge Pool. It is a hot springs water park offering visitors a variety of ways to relax and have fun. The pools are fed by natural mineral water from the Big Spring, which is the largest single-source hot spring in the world. The water is rich in minerals that are said to have therapeutic benefits. The Star Plunge has two large indoor and outdoor pools, two hot tubs, and a natural vapor cave. The vapor cave is a unique feature of the Star Plunge Pool, and is filled with hot, steamy air that is said to be beneficial for respiratory problems and skin conditions. We spent about three hours soaking in the mineral pools. A couple of us ventured into the vapor cave, but found it to be extraordinarily hot, and could only stay for a few minutes.
Before departing Thermopolis on the last day of our road trip, we took a leisurely stroll around the hot springs on the boardwalk. The boardwalk wound its way through the park, past steaming pools and terraces of mineral-rich water. The air was filled with the pungent smell of sulfur, and the sound of rushing water could be heard all around. We paused to admire the beauty of the hot springs. The steam rising from the water created a mystical atmosphere. We also stopped to read the interpretive signs along the way, which provided information about the hot springs and their history. We learned that the hot springs are fed by a vast underground aquifer that is heated by the earth’s magma. The water is rich in minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and sodium. In addition to the hot springs, the boardwalk offered views of the Big Horn River and the surrounding mountains.
Our day four journey back home was a bittersweet affair. We retraced our path through the Wyoming countryside, but the mood was different. We were no longer filled with the excitement of anticipation, but rather with the nostalgia of memories made. The sky was overcast and the air was chilly, reflecting our own mixed emotions. But even in the chill, we couldn’t help but reminisce about the adventures we had shared. Our road trip came to an official end at Ted’s Place on Highway 287 & 14. We had logged 998 miles on our excursion, and we felt a sense of accomplishment. We lingered for a while at Ted’s Place, savoring our last moments of the road trip. We talked about all the things we had seen and done, and we laughed about the funny things that had happened. Finally, it was time to say goodbye. We gave our hugs to each other, and with smiles on our faces, we departed on our separate ways grateful for the memories that we had created together.
End of the Road for One of America’s Biggest Motorcycle Museums
The National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa closed its doors for the final time on September 5th, 2023 after an impressive 34 year run. The board of directors decided to shut the doors on the museum after years of financial struggles due to declining visitation. The museum was originally founded by J&P Cycle’s husband-wife team John and Jill Parham. When the museum first opened in Sturgis, South Dakota in 1989, it had 40 motorcycles on display. Then in in 2001, the museum was moved to Anamosa, Iowa where at one point had more than 500 rare and collectible motorcycles and memorabilia.
Visitors to the museum were greeted by a dazzling display of motorcycles from all eras and genres. From classic Harleys and Indians to rare and exotic machines, the museum’s collection had something to offer everyone. One of the highlights of the museum was its collection of early American motorcycles. Visitors could see a 1903 Indian Camelback, as well as a 1909 Harley-Davidson Police motorcycle. The museum also featured a number of rare and exotic motorcycles, including a 1929 BMW R75, a 1938 Zündapp KS750, and a 1949 Vincent Black Lightning. These motorcycles were all highly prized by collectors, and the museum was fortunate to have them on display.
In addition to its collection of motorcycles, the National Motorcycle Museum also featured a number of exhibits on motorcycle history and culture. Visitors could learn about the early days of motorcycling, the rise of the American motorcycle industry, and the impact of motorcycles on American culture. The museum also had a theater that showed films about motorcycles and motorcycling. The National Motorcycle Museum was a must-see for any motorcycle enthusiast. Its collection of motorcycles was one of the most comprehensive in the world, and its exhibits on motorcycle history and culture were both informative and entertaining.
Deer Rutting Season
Deer rutting season is a time of increased deer activity, as male deer compete for mates. This can make it a particularly dangerous time for motorcycle riders, as deer are more likely to cross roads and dart into traffic, even in areas where they are not normally seen. It typically runs from October to December.
Here are some tips for motorcycle riders to stay safe during deer rutting season:
- Be aware of your surroundings. Pay close attention to the sides of the road, especially at dawn and dusk when deer are most active.
- Slow down in areas where deer are known to cross. This is especially important in areas with deer crossing signs (high risk areas).
- Use your high beams at night. This will help you to see deer sooner.
- Be prepared to brake. If you see a deer in the road, brake to avoid it. Emergency braking (threshold braking) may be necessary. Do not try to ride between two deer.
- Wear a helmet and other protective gear. This will help to protect you in the event of a collision.
- Deer travel in groups. Avoiding one deer on the road most likely means there are others nearby.
- Continually scan ahead. Always assess the danger that may be coming up in front of you – stay alert!