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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Riding with the big boys

Finally! We're around when the Denver Maxi-scooters are doing a ride and its through our neck of the woods. We left a little early for our rendezvous point at Rt72 & Rt119, just south of Nederland. There's a nice pull off on RT72 just before the intersection.

Bob & I parked our bikes and stripped off the gear, it was not even 10am and it was getting hot up here! About a dozen
groups of motorcycles rode by us. Lots of cruisers and sport bikes; most even waved to us. I pity the home owner at this corner cause every hog and crotch rocket revs up or down for this turn. It sounded like swarms of fat bumble bees intermixed with thunder rolling by. A few minutes before ten, we saw a group of cycles coming up the hill. 'think its them?' 'well, we don't hear them so its gotta be them!' (scooters run quiet) and it was!

Up drove Tom, Gina, Jay, Whit, Joe with big smiles on their faces. A great run up Coal Creek Canyon. We introduced ourselves and figured out where a decent pit stop could be and since I described the route so well, they wanted me to lead. me? Off to Nederland to the Visitor's Center (and pit stop). On this ride were, two Suzuki Burgman 650s, a Piaggio BV250, a Honda Big Ruckus 250cc, one SYM HD200, a BMW F650 Dakar, and a Honda Silverwing.

Ya know, that steep corner is aweful to accelerate from. I just wanted to give it a running start and then jump back on the scooter - instead I just leaned over forward and yee-hawwed Ariel up the hill. Next thing I knew, I checked my mirror and no.... one..... is..... there.... I see lights far behind me. Great. What a leader. I dial back the adrenalin and up the hill come the Burgies et al.

We cruise into Nederland in formation, MSF would be proud. Spent a few minutes there and then drove on up towards Ward. The first hills outside of Ned going North are fairly steep and a challenge to keep up one's speed. The sky was awesomely blue with little wind. The yellow wildflowers were magnificent along the road.

Since the group got fragmented, I pulled off just before the Mountain Research Station and we dribbed and drabbed in, regrouped, and headed on to Ward. And then we decided to pull over where we saw a small cluster of other cycles. Two other groups had pulled over for a breather, so we breathed with them, chatted, compared cycle stories. Bob was most interested in the BMW R1200; this fellow is taking a cruise vacation from Kansas.

Gina led the section down through Ward to Left Hand Canyon. She's got a beautiful white Burgman 650 - these roads are like butter for that scooter -it was a joy to watch her take the curves. Ward was typical Ward - cars strewn around, bicyclists grabbing some java, bicyclists pedaling uphill, and tucking for the downhill run. And they're going fast, at least... the speed limit, some places 40+. So we tried to give them the room they needed and popped around each cluster, single, etc. I have no idea how many bicycles we passed - 50, 100? The road is such a beauty to ride; its no wonder everyone wants to ride it!

We pulled into Buckingham Park, had a nice lunch near the creek, and swapped stories about riding and life. This is a great group of people. Bob and I headed north to Lyons so I could see what my scooters max speed really is. I kept up with the traffic ahead of me without a problem :) all the way to Lyons and then up Rt 7 towards Estes Park. What a beautiful road that is too! Full of nice sweepers. We turned off onto RT72 and followed traffic until they pulled off. Another great ride!

The Denver Maxi-Scooter route
Our route
More photos

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Scooters swarm around Boulder

A simple flier sat on the counter at Sportique when I picked up my scooter after having a trunk installed last week. 1st annual Boulder Burn-out, sounds like fun!

Bob and I made the trek down from Nederland and arrived around 11am; there was one other scooterist sitting across the street trying to figure out whether to stay or go. Then we saw a few more 'lining up' next to Sportique's building - ah, let's pull over there!

Over the next hour, 40+ scooters had gathered. Ready to go were a few of the venerable names in scooters: Heinkel, Lambretta, Italjet, Malaguti , quite a few from Buddy, Kymco, Stella, an MP3, SYM, Baja Chetak, and even a few Yamaha C3s (Giggles). And of course there were Vespas, modern, antique, indeterminate ages. Apologies for any scooter brands I've missed. And surprises of surprises, their riders all weren't twenty-somethings... many age groups were represented! Enough of the first chapter stuff... let's get on to the ride!

Finally it was time to roll! Oh what fun it is to ride with a group! The high pitched Reeee and 2-stroke smoke made our passing hard to miss. It was almost a parade in some sections as people just stopped and looked at us pass. Cars had to wait their turn. Other motorcyclists waved and honked.

Our route:

We rode to NCAR the long way around - Folsom to Jay to 75th to S. Boulder Road. For a few minutes it rained... hard! Which was rather nice as the temperatures were hovering around 90 degrees. While it had been tempting to forego the armored jacket (ATGATT girl) and join the rest in a t-shirt and helmet, I found myself slipping on the black swelter suit - now in the rain it was a welcomed burden. Off through the country-side we rolled. Horses placidly chomped on tall grasses as we passed by.

And even though we weren't making any land speed records in speed, it didn't matter since we rode as a group. Up at NCAR we took a break, drank some water, swapped scooter stories, and regrouped. Many riders have more than one scooter and for others this was their first month of scooter ownership. One couple had given each other Vespa GT250s for their 20th wedding anniversary! How cute is that!

The final segment wended us through downtown Boulder, and included going down Pearl Street. Typical Saturday chaos already was reining in the center of town, so riding was more about defensive maneuvering than 'being seen'.

Thanks to Sportique and Kristi for putting together this ride and hosting the bbq!

About Me

Join me in my adventures as I learn to ride a scooter and experience the world through two wheeled transport.