Alanf’s blog…
Scattered thoughts

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

  • I recently did a blog posting about how the adventure touring bikes were the most fun bikes around. Well, there was one bit of information I left out in that posting…that this category of bikes are just plain meant to be dirty all the time. Now I have some co-workers (I won’t name names but one of them has the initials Jeff) who have incredibly clean bikes. These are bikes that are obviously well cared for, regularly maintained and ridden with care…and for the Harleys and sport bike in the work parking lot that is entirely appropriate. But I must say that there is just something downright wrong about a bike with dual sport tires and hand guards being shiny. Just as the Harleys sprout chrome everywhere and the superbikes morph into carbon fiber beasts, the over-sized dual sport bikes just look right when covered in grim. I think that, when parked, normal people should by instinct give them a wide berth to avoid soiling their clean clothes and a protective patina of mud should constantly shield the paint from sun and rain. Fortunately, my buddy Todd Unpronounceable feels the same way… As I mentioned in my Swiss Army knife posting about the adventure touring bikes, Todd has been looking for a new bike to replace his much abused DR650. This past week he got serious and on Tuesday he brought home a shiny new 2005 KTM 950 Adventure (in orange, natch!). He immediate set about doing two very important tasks: First was removing all the silly legalize stickers that warn that riding motorcycles may be dangerous and that reading the owners manual before touching the bike is mandatory. This job took him about 1/2 an hour and by that time I arrived to help with job #2…covering the bike in mud, dirt and rocks. !@(afimages/Blog/2005/8/dirty-gs.jpg:R200 popimg: “GS after Fall River Road”) To this end, we met up at his house after work and in a constant drizzling rain we headed northwest to Rocky Mountain National Park. Once inside the park, we headed up the Fall River Road. This nine mile long road is a one-way dirt road that climbs from 3000 foot in elevation to an eventual end at 11,796 ft. There are short sections with nearly a 16% grade and the road has numerous switchbacks as it climbs up the Fall River canyon. One thing I discovered immediately is that the dirt that makes up the road bed is a fine, silty sand. Presumably this is because the rocks that make up the Rocky Mountains break down into some sort of silica but I’m not a geologist so don’t really know the details. What I do know is that when this fine silt gets wet it becomes slick. Slicker than snot, to use an old southern saying. Riding a 700 lb pound bike on this slimy surface becomes an exercise in throttle control. It took about 30 minutes to cover the nine miles up Fall River Road and I could have ridden past a herd of pink elephants without ever noticing them. 110% of my concentration was on staying out of the ruts in the road and managing the traction available while still trying to keep forward momentum going up the switchbacks. Since I was only wearing a T-shirt under my Aerostich, I was getting chilled from the combination of rain and elevation but at least the Beemer’s heated grips kept my fingers from freezing. Once we got to the top, we looked at the mud covered bikes with a sense of satisfaction. We then donned all the warm gear I normally keep in the Jesse bags (and should have put on *before* the ride) and headed back down. We stopped in Estes Park for some bad mexican food which is when we discovered that my Aerostich is much more water resistant that Todd’s…he was soaked. After a meal talking about motorcycle trips of the past and those we hoped to do in the future, he headed back home to Pinewood Springs while I made the 40 mile ride back to Nederland in the dark. I was cold, I was wet, I was smiling and today my filthy bike looks great out in the parking lot at work… [image from my photo collection.] (2)