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, feels softer than a baby’s butt, 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.


Recovering My Passion for Work



Back in May of 2014, in what I had not yet realized was another futile attempt to triumph over workplace adversity, I wrote these paragraphs:

Today’s buzzword, and I hope it’s yesterday’s buzzword soon, is passion.  Management wants us to be passionate about our work.  Sure.  Passion is a powerful motivator.  While it lasts.

Sorry boss, I lost my passion for build 12.  I’ve got a thing for ham radios, now.

I’ll leave passion for the bedroom or perhaps the garage, and take old-fashioned reliability to the office.  Which means that plenty of the time work is going to feel like anything but passion.  That’s why they called it work in the first place, in case some of you young punks were wondering.

Ride to the Sun Reunion: Tropic, Utah

I was a boy whistling in the dark.  A year later I quit.  I feared that after 35 years I was done with high tech.

Not long after, I started doing some contract work for Ericsson.  At first it was just a few hours a week.  But I started to feel better.  I increased the hours to 20.  Then to 30.  In December I agreed to 40 hours per week and during January and February I worked quite a bit more than that.

How could I go from being so discouraged I could barely glance at my computer to being so motivated I didn’t want to stop working?  Eric Berridge has something to say about that:

In today’s customer-driven market, it’s easy to overlook the employee experience. But if companies allow customer focus to override their care for their employees, they will lose the very force that enables customer success.

We’re not alone in recognizing the importance of prioritizing the employee experience. This year, nearly one-third of companies cited employee-facing initiatives as one of their top objectives. They know that employee experience is just as important as customer experience in achieving business results.

Innovation is essential to improving employee experience, but innovation is not just about ideas. You have to combine it with data, design, and an employee culture willing to adopt it. Low adoption of new tools and processes causes repercussions that are felt across the entire organization. Talk to employees to find out what information they need and the best way to see it—they will be more productive and will spend more time giving customers what they want. Don’t just invest in new technology; take the time to understand your culture and give your employees a better experience.

Eric Berridge, CEO of Bluewolf, The State of Salesforce, via CIO Cloud Alert

This is not a blog about Salesforce.  I just happened to be reading the report, and found the introduction by Eric encouraging.  Perhaps companies will realize that caring for their employees is not only the decent thing to do, but a competitive advantage.  Perhaps technologies such as those recommended by Eric will put back some of the humanity that earlier technologies took out of business processes and, as a result, the corporate office.

Ericsson doesn’t need any such technology.  They never forgot how important employees are to the success of both their customers and the corporation.  Everyone I met at Ericsson in Kista, their Sweden HQ, was not only competent, but warm, helpful, and welcoming.  Even to a contractor from another country.

They weren’t just being polite.  Ericsson has a corporate culture that nurtures trust instead of fear.  Enthusiasm instead of apathy.  With trust, you get collaboration.  With enthusiasm, you get innovation.  You get people’s best work, and you don’t even have to ask for it.  Two people in particular made that possible for me: Geoff Hollingsworth (@geoffworth) for inspiring leadership and Deirdre Straughan (@DeirdreS) for gifted management.  They don’t have to use buzzwords, employ best practices, or create team bonding events.  They are the real deal.  I know it.  The people who work for them know it.  And the team they built from vendors, employees, and contractors was dedicated, agile, and eager to help each other out.

If you’re curious, here’s the website a few of us on the team launched, and the new blog:

We’ll be doing a lot more during the rest of the year, and I’m going to be … ah … jumping in with unbridled passion.