Regret the Second: Selling my ’08 Ducati Multistrada 1100S

I’ve bought and sold a lot of bikes. Too many, some would say. Maybe so, maybe not, but when you buy and sell enough bikes, you can spot the steals.

This ’08 Multi was one such bike. Some of you might not recall the ’08 financial crisis. It came close to being America’s Great Depression 2.0. If the government had not stuck its thumb in the eye of capitalist orthodoxy and temporarily nationalized America’s biggest banks, we would still be lining up to eat lunch at government soup kitchens instead of our favorite biker bar.

The government did, eventually, return those banks to stockholders, thank goodness. But yeah, shut up about the government interfering with free markets, will ya? Sometimes it actually rescues free markets.

Needless to say, around 2010, brand new ’08 motorcycles were relatively easy to find on showroom floors. And dealers wanted them gone. When I walked into my local Harley Davidson dealer in Colorado Springs, this shiny new S was sitting there, winking at me.

My first reaction was that it sure was odd looking, Pierre Tremblanche or no Pierre Tremblanche. Plenty of journalists thought the same thing.

Pic courtesy of TopSpeed

And yet, the more I looked at it, the more I was drawn to it. And little by little I realized that the design is inspired. Sure, it’s challenging at first, but then it flows. It surprises you. And it fits how the bike rides.

Oddly enough, many years later, I bought a BMW S1000XR, my favorite bike in a very long time, and it has dimensions eerily similar to those of the 1100S:

When I realized the ’08 was brand new and that the dealer was very anxious to get rid of it, I stole it. Then I rode it all over the Colorado front range. I wish I had taken more pictures, but I was too busy having fun.

I don’t actually remember what made me sell it. Probably the same angst that made Shel Siverstein write and Johnny Cash perform A Boy Named Sue.

Some girl’d giggle and I’d turn red. Some guy’d laugh and I’d bust his head.

That was Dear Old Dad’s favorite song. Social media spreads such a strong sense of prosperity in American that it’s easy to forget that not so long ago life was hard around these parts. Real hard. And it’s still hard for a lot of us. The trauma of that hardship still gets passed down from generation to generation, so much so that we sometimes confuse it for our national character. It ain’t our national character. It’s just shame of who we are and what we love, passed down from one generation to another.

Anyway, after another year of grinding away at a soul-sucking job, or maybe after getting yet another performance review that included phrases like “egregious offenses” and “doesn’t follow direction,” I suppose I arrived at the conclusion that I wasn’t cool enough to hold up such an odd-looking bike. I probably bought something that made me feel cool, made me feel like I had a soul again.

Too bad, because the 1100S was one helluva bike. It was light. It was nimble. It had character. It was comfortable. And I loved to look at it. Just plain loved looking at it.

Years later, Cycleworld agreed with me. Comparing it to the newer Multistrada, they said:

Handling on this 13-year old Ducati is a revelation.

By turning its gaze further afield, by adding more tech, more performance, and more capability in its journey from Multistrada to Molto-Multistrada, did Ducati abandon what made the original recipe such a delicacy?

A delicacy indeed. I’m no fan of the 1200 Multi. I tried real hard to get used to the design, but have always hated it. No matter how much lipstick they put on that beak, it’s just plain wrong.

Pic courtesy of CycleWorld

And the 1200 engine kinda leaves me … I dunno … dissatisfied. CycleWorld again:

As excellent as the engine is, the V4 lacks presence compared to the Multi 1100′s desmodue. When cruising at 60 mph, turning 4,000 rpm in top gear, the engine all but vanishes from thought. The desmodue makes an impression that never quite leaves the consciousness, being so visceral and engaging that the experience of using it stays with the rider long after hitting the kill switch.

So yeah, whether by caring too much what others said about me, or by burying my real self beneath the responsibilities of the job, I wound up doubting my own preferences, doubting my own good taste, doubting my true self, and I sold a special motorcycle I should have kept.

It was not the first time I did that, and it would not not be the last.

– Rick

Regret the First: Selling My ’02 Softail Deuce

The ’02 Softail Deuce was not my first motorcycle, but it was the first motorcycle I fell in love with.

I was living in Massachusetts at the time, a place that specializes in slow emasculation. That’s what the “mas” in the state name refers to. Live there long enough and you’ll understand.

To deal, I had to get out of town on what my riding buddy The Donster called “rage rides.”

They lasted about a week. I rode to Georgia. I rode to Wisconsin. I rode to Maine. I rode to West Virginia. Didn’t matter where. What mattered was getting out of Massachusetts. No better bike for a rage ride than the 5-speed 88″ Deuce. A 95″ motor would work, too, so long as it had a 5-speed.

And no windshield, please. Windshields on cruisers are fascist.

See, at 80 mph and up, a 5-speed kept you in the meat of the powerband. And the pipes loud. With my teeth clenched, my neck hardened against the wind, and my hands in a death grip on the bars, whatever was ailing me disappeared in the vibe of the motor, the roar of the pipes, and the blast of the wind.

I loved my rage rides.

I loved them even more when I started meeting up with other Deuce riders across the country for no damn reason except to check out each other’s rides and laugh. Damn, we laughed a lot. It was a time when laughter was valued more than sensitivity. People have forgotten how to laugh at themselves. And each other.

When I got home from my rides, I got to spend lots of time in the garage cleaning and caring for my Deuce, preparing it for the next ride.

What a treat that was.

Lo and behold, Covetousness crept into my little slice of heaven. The riding season in The State of Eunuch was short, and even shorter in the good riding country of Vermont and New Hampshire.

I was already using thick wind-proof fleece jacket and pants from Aerostich, plus gloves big as sleeping bags. It was not enough. So I bought a windshield to protect me against the New England November cold. That introduced me to the torture of buffeting. I tried to man up and deal, but I could not keep my eyeballs from rattling in their sockets no matter how long or hard I grit my teeth, so I bought fork-mounted wind deflectors.

The combination worked well, but it was, as someone in eMasculateachusetts would say, aesthetically inappropriate. Translation: fugly.

Now, you may not respect a Harley’s agility, comfort, or performance, but you must respect its beauty. That is non-negotiable. If you disagree, die.

Under the influence of Queen Covet, I set about looking for a bike that I could ride longer in colder weather. I ignored my instincts, told my gut to shut up, and forced myself to sell the Deuce so I could buy an ’04 Road Glide.

The Road Glide is a better bike. No doubt about it. It let me ride in colder weather and in more comfort. Unfortunately, it didn’t satisfy. I kept it about a year.

Many years later I bought another Deuce, just to relive the joy of the original, but I had changed. Motorcycling had changed.

Though I enjoyed riding it back to Colorado, Deuce 2.0 failed to satisfy. I wanted more than just a sweet engine. I wanted lean. I wanted a bike that could dance.

It’s true what they say: you can’t go home again.

Buying Motorcycles Is Maddening

The most maddening thing about buying and selling motorcycles is that it’s not the same person doing the buying and the selling.

Men have traditionally complained about women being like the sea, every changing, unpredictable, emotional, defying logic, caressing you one moment, bashing you against the rocks the next.

That is no doubt true, but thinking we are different is a delusion.

Inside five minutes, I can go from adoring Harley Davidsons …

… to hating them.

From concluding that BMW’s are the only logical choice for every single motorcyclist alive, bar none …

… and then deciding if I were seen in public sitting on one, I would die of shame.

Living inside my head I have a wild child, a safety-conscious boy scout, a teenager who just wants to be accepted, an artist who jumps for joy at the sight of a glorious paint job on a swooping piece of sheet metal, and snarling, drooling beast begging for somebody to start something.

Complicating matters further, is the memory of perfect moments that we are perennially seeking to relive.

Plus the fact that we never stop changing. One year we care about following our bliss, the next about announcing our presence with authority.

As if that’s not enough, there’s marketing. Do you feel uncool? Let us sell you a motorcycle that will make you feel cool.

Want to be perceived as adventurous? We have just the model for you right here. Charly Boorman, watch out!

And then you have the opinions of well-meaning friends.

“A Harley?” What’s WRONG with you?”

“A BMW? What, you never want to get laid again?”

“WTF are you riding? A Ducati? You look like a monkey doing unspeakable things to a football.”

All of this, plus the wife and perhaps grown children raising an eyebrow just a little bit higher each time you go out and spend your hard-earned money on yet another decision the neighbors will never understand.

It can sometimes be too much.

Ride Report: Chasing Ash Up Mt Morrow

Written in Feb 2022

Riding along a mottled two-lane into the early morning sun between North Carolina’s bare February trees, the color of the land is reduced to the brown and ocher tones of old photographs.

It was 36 degrees when I left Winston, probably about the same when Ashish, Arvind, and Saurin left Cary. We met up at the Sunoco filling station in Seacrest. Seacrest is an odd name for a town in the middle of North Carolina, but it’s well known among the wives of motorcyclists for its independent pottery shops.

The night before, I had made the classic mistake of going out to dinner with friends instead of prepping my ride, so when I got to Sunoco, I had to inflate my front tire back to its normal air pressure. No matter how good your tires are, over the winter they lose air. Every winter. I suspect that as the temps drop below freezing, the rubber shrinks just enough to let a little bit of air leak out. In the other 9 months of the year my tires don’t lose any air. In Winter, they do.

Rumor has it, some guy named Behram is a master map maker. Apparently he’s plotted and ridden a whole lotta loops all over this part of the country. Ashish took us long one of those loops.

Motorcyclist Map

First stop, the Pisgah covered bridge. I had heard it was haunted, but I had never visited it. But I wasn’t too worried, since I’d read somewhere that only those who ride their motorcycles across it get haunted. I certainly wasn’t planning to.

Nevertheless, for reasons no one without a romantic soul can understand, covered bridges beckon us.

However, when the Pisgah bridge beckoned Saurin, it BECKONED him.

Saurin was not content with simply snapping a picture of the bridge. He felt that in the interest of Art, he should ride out through the bridge.

Good thing he did, because after some … um … creative riding, he got his GSA into position to snap an epic picture:

(picture taken by Saurin)

The color palette was so promising that even Ash could not resist blending in.

The roads between the Pisgah covered bridge and Mt Morrow are gentle sweepers through rural North Carolina. Because everyone with a grasp of common sense was sitting by a warm fire at home, we had the roads to ourselves. A delightful route along farms, fields, forests, and small towns.

Somewhere along the route we wound up taking Ashish’s Honda Gold Wing and Arvind’s BMW R1200RT down some dirt roads. I mean, when you have a full-dress tourer, who really needs a dedicated dirt bike, right? Lord Saurin and I were on BMW GS Adventures, rather incensed that the Gold Wing and the RT were kicking dust onto the beautiful paint of our stylish motorcycles.

After a great deal of sulking, we got over it, mostly because our filthy, dusty, dirt route landed us at a delightful rest stop by the Low Water Bridge near Ritchfield.

Even among the cool temps and bare trees of February, it was a serene spot to pause and reflect. Saurin spent most of his reflection time wondering where he had left his motorcycle key.

I spent most of mine wondering whether to tell him.

After a snack of girl scout cookies (is there anything better, really?), we rode off to Jay Patel’s Coffee Central in the town of Richfield. Talk about feeling immediately at home. And delicious Chai. I was having such a good time I’m not even sure I paid.

As we struck up a conversation, the four of us realized we were in unanimous and enthusiastic agreement that fear of women was a clear sign of intelligence in a man. Conversely, a man who does not fear women can be dismissed us woefully unprepared for the realities of life. Not to mention dangerous company, given the proclivities of the godesses Kali and Durga, may they both forgive the sins of their humble servants Ashish, Arvind, Saurin, and Rick.

From Richfield we flew at the perfect pace that Ashish set for us toward the small country town of Badin. Assuming that in today’s permissive environment a motorcyclist is allowed to use that word without losing his reputation as a man of substance, the town of Badin is charming.

Nestled against a lake conveniently named Badin Lake …

… and astride the Yadkin river, Badin is the resort town for the area that includes Mt Morrow State Park.

Somewhere along the route we lost Saurin, but we attributed that to either the haunted bridge or a mood swing by Kali, so there wasn’t much we could do about it. But we did miss him.

Mt Morrow State Park is charming– oops –Mt Morrow State Park is well marked, manicured, and paved. If we hadn’t had a car in front of us the whole way we would have made it there in half the time. Riding behind Ashish, I had the distinct impression that he was exerting a supernatural effort to restrain himself from riding straight over the top of the car holding us back so he could enjoy the twisties.

No matter, because once we got to the parking area by the lookout, we were greeted by two C7 Corvettes.

The red Z06 was a stunner.

We wiped off our drool, took several pictures, met some riders from Charlotte, one of whom rode a Triumph Street Triple that looked really good. After several failed attempts by yours truly to coax the rider of the street Triple and Arvind into a grudge match down Mt Morrow and back, we settled into pleasant biker chats.

We also engaged the Corvette owners in scintillating conversation, as a result of which they offered to help us convince our wives that we each needed a Corvette for when the weather got a little too cold or a little too hot to ride a motorcycle.

Sometime after 2:30 pm we decided we’d better stop socializing and hit the road or we wouldn’t be home in time for sopapillas. Since I’d save over an hour by heading straight home from Mt Morrow, I took my own route home, and Ashish and Arvind completed the loop back to their abodes.

I don’t use turn by turn navigation, preferring to memorize the next half dozen turns from my phone’s map and then try to figure out where the hell I am after I invariably wind up lost. As a result, I wasted that hour I saved by taking the direct route. Nevertheless, I got to meet some gentle souls who were kind enough to point out which way North was.

The route was serene, the pace was perfect, the company like old friends. Can’t wait for the next one.

God Bless Guffey

Guffey is one of those rare places where strange and wonderful things happen that you can’t quite explain but you know they happened because part of you keeps vibrating long after, like an aluminum bat that you whack against a light pole. And if you’re not convinced, stare for a while at the rocks around Guffey. Stare at those rocks long enough and you will start to believe that after the sun goes down druids come out from their secret entrances, gather in the open spaces, and howl like wolves during the full moon. Which is probably tonight.


Guffey is in the middle of nowhere, a plus for motorcycle rides because it takes a while to leave the city behind. And, to appreciate the kind and friendly people of Guffey, you need to make sure the city is way the hell behind you.

The Bull Moose has closed. On sunny Sunday afternoons Missus Fender Bunny and I sometimes danced among the locals on the big back deck. But the Coronas at Freshwater remains open, and the Guffey Garage always has a treasure or two lying around.


It was remarkably warm for March 7, but the high country was still in the 40’s when the usual suspects, Po Po Rada, Jace the Affable, Bad Ray and Andrea the Pillion, plus Steampunk Risk and BananaShana, led Missus Fender Bunny and me through the canyons and up into the mountains.

Missus Fender Bunny and I ride slow nowadays, so we were able to appreciate the iced-over river beside the road, and how a narrow stream of water slithered over the ice for a spell before sinking back under and rising again down the road a ways. River snakes. A tiny bit of the mountain magic you miss if you’re not paying attention.

One of the joys of stopping at Deckers, besides how warm the sun is, is listening to all the bikes ride past and hoping the cool ones pull in to the parking lot so you can talk to the owner. The first bike I noticed ride past was a KTM. Exactly which one, I dunno, but it sounded good, like most KTMs.

Then my heart stopped. Something else was behind the KTM. I couldn’t quite make it out in the sun, but if Phil Collins possessed a moto the way demons are ‘sposed to possess people, the bike Mister Collins possessed would sound like that. I was spellbound. As it passed I realized it was Moto Guzzi’s new V85TT.


Wow. That soulful pounding stayed with me until the Guzzi disappeared behind the next curve.  I glanced at my trusty but tame ’11 GSA that cooked my meals and washed my laundry without complaint and knew I had sinned in my heart the way happily married men sin in their hearts when Scarlet Johansen makes them think they make her laugh.


“If you have already sinned in your heart, why don’t you just go ahead and sin in your pocket book?”

That was the Devil on my left shoulder. Yeah. No. But don’t let me stop you. If you want to sin in your pocket book, you can read all about Moto Guzzi’s TT on Motorcyclist.

After warming up in Deckers we rode on to Woodland Park. While we were gassing up in Woodland Park our motley crew decided that, instead of continuing on to Guffey, they would hit the Neiman Marcus sale on men’s rompers before all the cute colors were gone.


They scrambled onto their bikes and hurried back to the city. Missus Fender Bunny and I pressed on toward Guffey.

The road to Guffey is best taken slow. A measured pace reveals cows eating hay on the pastures painted gold by the afternoon sun. Horses with their muscular necks stretched all the way down to reach the hay their owner had dumped on the warm side of the barn. And llamas looking around in their pens, wondering why nobody speaks Spanish around these parts.

Como? Que cosa?

The cows, the horses, the llamas, and the pretty hills all around have a way of restoring your soul to its God-given groove.


If you don’t decide to stop right THEN, and not any later, as you crest the ridge above the town of Guffey, you miss the glorious view of the Sangre de Cristos, one of the most majestic mountain ranges in America. We managed to pull over, even though there wasn’t much of a shoulder.



Next time I’m taking my good camera, dangit. If you squint at this picture you can see the Sangres. Wish I could have pulled them in with a good telephoto lens.




Once in town we skirted the Guffey Garage and took a Right. Then we took a Left on Cañon street, rode past the Post Office and the Rolling Thunder Grill and took another Left on 8th street. We stopped at The Corona’s at Freshwater, which is where the fun began.


While Laura went inside to freshen up, I walked toward the bikes and trikes parked across the street. As I was inspecting the heavy metal, a really big guy in a watch cap approached me and asked me what I was up to.

I can’t stop staring at Harleys.

He smiled. What are you riding? I pointed to our bikes parked around the corner all by their lonesome.


Oh hell no.

That just won’t do, he said. Then he put his big arm around my shoulder and invited me to follow him inside.

The Freshwater is a rustic place with a welcoming feel. Not too many of those around, any more. Some of the newer places try to imitate the real thing, but they can’t pull it off because they don’t have the right people inside.

About a dozen veterans had ridden over from Colorado Springs and taken over the joint. By the time I walked in Missus Fender Bunny had announced to the room that she needed a hug and the vets were lined up, giving her hugs one after the other, some getting in line twice, the waitress patiently winding around the embraces to deliver burgers and fries.


You know how with some people you don’t even need to be introduced, you’ve just known them all your life? That’s how it was with the veterans and their wives. In a matter of minutes they were informing me that I could sit in the backwards chair as my service in the Chair Force only counted for 2/3, and I was splainin’ them that somebody needed to be smart enough to save their grunt asses from the Taliban. Or, for some of them, the Viet Cong.

I’m not really sure whether we actually did stand on the tables and sing verses of our respective service songs at each other or whether I just imagined it, we’re talking about Guffey after all, but before we knew it, we were  swapping stories about life in the service like old friends and the grill had become twice as big as it had been when we first walked inside.

It was decided that Missus Fender Bunny and I were riding with them to Cañon City and the Springs, and that was that. Before we left, each of us took turns stapling a dollar bill to the ceiling. Accustomed to this mountain tradition, we obliged.


Kindly forgive the neck torque, but I need to make a note about Evos. I’ve owned two Evo Softails. The Evo is favorite sounding Harley motor. Something about the Evo’s lope is lovely and it tops even the Twin Cam’s lope. But the two I owned and every other Evo I have test ridden or sat on vibrated terribly. In 30 minutes my hands would invariably go numb.

I noticed that the 99 Heritage a veteran named George was riding had steel grips. Most Evo Softails, because they’re solid-mounted to the frame (instead of rubber-mounted), have rubber or leather grips with tons of foam or other material to dampen the vibration. George’s Evo had steel grips.

Either you are the world’s toughest biker, or you have one smooth Evo.

I said to George. Instead of responding, he sat on his bike, pulled out the choke, and fired it up. At idle it vibrated plenty, of course. That’s part of the charm. But I rolled on the throttle and at what between 2,000 and 3,000 RPM, that steel grip was as smooth as the chrome on my Street Glide. Unbelievable. I’ve got to build me one, I decided. An EVO-powered Softail Custom.


Or maybe another Fat Boy.


Damn if he doesn’t look like my pal Darrin, from Cotopaxi!

Anyway, we rode with the vets into Cañon City along route 9. These guys were good riders. A mixed flock of Harleys, Gold Wings, Indians, trikes, and what not. Plus Missus Fender Bunny on her Honda and me on the betrayed GSA. I’m not a fan of riding in formation, but these guys knew how to do it right. And do it well. We kept a good pace and, when traffic separated us, they got everyone back together as smoothly as an experienced wrangler gets strays back in line on a cattle drive.

Which reminds me, if you haven’t seen Lonesome Dove, see it.


We hung out a bit in Cañon City, exchanged warm good-byes, and mounted up and headed toward the Springs through some back roads that were new to me. In the Springs we split off and went our own way, Missus Fender Bunny and me full of good feelings for the veterans and, once again, without fail, for Guffey.


Of anger rides and love songs

When I missed Laura I used to go on an Anger Ride. Jump on my Harley and roar on the I-way for a while.


The Don used to call it a rage ride. He loved doing it in the middle of the night, when it was just him and the truckers and the road.


Best bike for an anger ride was my 2002 Deuce because it only had 5 gears and at 90 mph it was loud. A few hours of that would fix me right up. The V-twin version of electro-shock therapy.

Over the years I mellowed.

So tonight, as I lie awake in a hotel room in a small town outside Stockholm, instead of trying to find a way to rent a Harley for a rage-on through Sweden, I’m listening to music.


I can imagine Laura saying “No! Rent the Harley! Go rent the Harley!”

One of the great romantic songs of the pop era is Unchained Melody. Its lyrics were written by Hy Zaret and put to music by Alex North. Sung by the Righteous Brothers, they’re spellbinding:

Turns out several artists, including Roy Orbison and U2 have tried to record it. Sorry. Great musicians that they were, they all failed compared to the Righteous Brothers.

We don’t express ourselves like we used to. We retreat from romance as if it were a rattler on the trail. Maybe we’re afraid of longing and being rejected. That’s not surprising, since social media never leaves our Left shoulder, a worse censor than the most ardent prude Hollywood ever had to endure.

That’s too bad.

Give me eloquence. Give me beauty. Lend me expressions that warm my heart and make me take a long, slow breath or two.

Test of audio recordings

Testing these audio files for So Long John Wayne:

Light Peruvian accent

  • Chapter 1 – part 1

  • Prologue

American accent

  • Prologue

Terrible Boston accent (for Carol)

  • Prologue

Softer Boston accent like I imagine Danny from Lunenburg would read it

  • Prologue

KTM 690 Enduro Maiden Voyage


I heat-cycled my new 2017 KTM a couple of weeks ago on the ride home from the dealer. Today I took it for its maiden voyage on the trails.


I’m 63 and have about 350,000 miles under my belt on cruisers, touring bikes, and sport bikes.


I have ridden dirt bikes, too, but I never put in the time to get better than barely competent. The Call of the Asphalt, so to speak.

For those of you who weren’t paying attention in English class, that’s a Jack London reference. Buy the book:


Although I rely on technique while on the asphalt, I’ve always ridden dirt bikes by instinct. In other words, I don’t know what I’m doing. On top of that, I tend to freak myself out over stupid things. Like mud. And sand. And boulders. Cliffs, too, if they get too close. Riding the twisties fast on a Ducati is a form of meditation. So is cruising Route 50 across Nevada on a Harley. But dirt scares me.

I’m trying to remedy that with the KTM. Partly out of respect for the bike, partly because I’m at that age when I need to rely on technique. So today I focused on weighting the outside peg while turning.


The terrain wasn’t always cooperative, but I got in a little practice, and it’s starting to feel less awkward.

Mudholes, which I couldn’t get a picture of because I was too busy staying upright, scare the heck out of me.  Especially when they have huge truck tire tracks running through them. Not only does the mud take turns grabbing and letting go of your tire, but the tracks make you pay when you cross them. I rode through a couple of sections that were each about 100 yards long, and somehow emerged in one piece. I hate mud!

A great deal of credit goes to the KTM. I’m not qualified to do a review of this bike, but here’s what I noticed on today’s compared to other cheaper dirt bikes I’ve owned:

  • More stable through the sand, gravel, and mud
  • Wider (much wider) power band, so no need to force a shift at the wrong time.
  • Nimble for a 690.

I rode it mostly on jeep trails, with a little single track.


The higher I got, the icier the water holes got. This one finally convinced me to turn around.


Heart Attack Hill brought back memories. I used to race my daughter Beth to the top and do grenades until we couldn’t breathe. First one to collapse lost. It was at the midpoint of one of our conditioning runs. After that sprint, the rest of the run felt like a cakewalk. Whatever a cakewalk is. This is the lower part of the hill:


It’s much easier on the KTM.

Great views from the trail. If you look closely (sorry for the bad picture quality, took it with an older iPhone), you can see the Denver skyline.



OldColoradoCityIt was 16° F (-9° Celsius) when I left Perry Park at 7:45 this morning on my way to the Pikes Peak BMW Club meeting at Mother Muff’s Kitchen in Old Colorado City.

The Gear

Base layer for my torso was a thermal turtleneck from waaaaaaay back in the day.  The thing is warm, itchy, and indestructible.  Next was a thin cashmere V-neck sweater.  Cashmere is warm, soft, and can be had cheap at Jos A. Bank.  The combo is surprisingly warm, but leave the pipe and David Niven accent at home.

Over the top of the sweater I zipped up another old favorite, a fleece jacket from The North Face.  Finally, my trusty Klim.

I covered by bum and netheregions in the quick-dry UnderArmor motorcycle shorts, which are, oddly enough, cozy warm.  Then a pair of Hot Chilis.  Then a pair of casual BMW riding pants with the rain liner in.  Thermal socks.  Aerostich Combat Touring boots.

Under my Arai helmet but over my Klim jacket I worse a fleece balaclava, and just about pulled my back out making sure there were no leaks around the collar.  I put on an ancient pair of Dainese winter gloves, and turned the heated grips on my R1200RS to High.

Once you get all that gear on, the only cold weather hassle left is dealing with the fogging lens on your helmet.  Easy enough to manage, though: keep helmet open until you pick up some speed, and open it each time you slow down.  The RS has the stock shield, which directs plenty of air at my helmet, so that approach worked well for me.  Dealing with fogging would be more of a hassle on a bike with a full fairing.

The Ice Cream Headache

It was a sunny morning, but the Front Range was completely frosted over.  I didn’t take a picture, but this one is pretty close to what it looked like the entire route from Larkspur to Old Colorado City.


It took about 5 minutes for the ice cream headache to show up.  It wasn’t the worst I’ve had, but I did have to concentrate to get past it.  My setup had no air leaks anywhere, and the heated grips kept one side of my hands warm.  The topside did get a bit chilly, but never numb.  The tips of my thumbs went numb, and my feet felt about as chilly as the top of my hands.

The only other rider I saw was a guy in jeans and a hoodie riding his 600 home along I-25.  I wonder what the story was behind that early morning ride.

Mother Muff’s Kitchen

I felt immediately comfortable with the crowd from Pike’s Peak BMW club.  Craig, Lee, and Bex were kind enough to invite me to sit with them.  It’s always nice when the locals are friendly to the new guy.  Made me glad I rode up there.

Mother Muffs is the red storefront at the upper right:


By the time I left, temps had warmed up to the low 40’s, so I stowed my gear, slipped on my flip-flips and Hawaiian shirt, and rode home singing Gypsies in the Palace.  The temps in Larkspur were only 36°F by the time I got home (around noon), but it still felt downright tropical compared to the first part of the ride.

Old Colorado City somehow manages to hang on to its low-rent charm at the foot of Pikes Peak.  I always enjoy riding down there.


Springer in the Moonlight



The ride home from Palmer Lake normally takes 20 minutes, but at night I slow down so I can dodge the deer who like to play Spook The Biker along that stretch of 105.  That’s a perfect road for a Softail, and at 45 mph the ride lasts even longer.  The moon was out tonight, lighting up the edges of the clouds.  I’m scared of the dark.  Less so outside than inside.  But when the moon is out I am comforted by something that feels like the mother energy of goddesses.


Photo courtesy of

I’ve ridden Route 50 across Utah and Nevada a few times.  It’s always best on an FX Softail such as a Deuce, Night Train, Standard, Custom, or Springer.  I wish Harley would go back to designing elemental motorcycles like the FX Softails instead of putting all its energy into making its baggers more and more like cars.

I’ve traded my FX Softails for baggers so often I’ve come close to despair.  I always go back.  I love riding the FX Softails so much I want to ride them more.  So I trade them for baggers, which let you ride farther and longer.  But baggers are different.  Even the Road King, a Bagger Lite, is different.  The difference is subtle, but it’s important to me.

I’ve got an 05 Springer, now.  Instead of forcing it to do 600-700 mile days, I’m going to try something new.  I’m going to imagine being satisfied with 300 or even 200 miles days.  Ride the two lanes, not the highways.  Ride nice and slow.  And stop when I want to.

I’d like to ride the Springer under moonlight across Nevada’s Route 50 with that attitude.  Bucket list for sure.