I did this loop this afternoon. Points D through J are on dirt roads. Not really offroad roads, just unmaintained roads. An easy fun way to get used to being on something slipperier than pavement. Most of it was dry but some places, especially in the corners, were wet and a bit muddy. Mostly just slick. But, it was a nice ride. And for once, I followed my outlined route. :-) The weather was nice and cool, mostly cloudy. I even got sprinkled on a bit coming back through Boulder. My goal was to get some video from the bike. We took the bags off to put the crash bars on, so, while the tank bag was off, I loaded up the camera mount on the handle bars. The mount doesn't work with the bag there. After the loop, I decided to try mounting the camera on the crash bars to see what kind of action shots would come out. I was quite happy with how it turned out. It took me a long time to get the mount situated but eventually I did. Take a look at the results below.
I'll have to figure out how to manipulate the camera and video settings to help with the focus. I can actually see the screen, sort of, as I'm sitting in the saddle. And I can also reach the power button and start button too. Not a good thing to do as I'm moving but once I'm stopped safely or at a stop light I'll be able to turn the camera on or off. The camera eats batteries when the video is recording. That's the main issue. I'll have to figure out if I can plug it in some how to the bike. A task for another day.
Tomorrow is a holiday for me so I may get out again and shoot more video. Even though the clouds were quite ominous looking over the foothills, the forecast says tomorrow is supposed to be similar to today. Maybe I'll head south tomorrow. Or east. I'll have to check the statewide forecast to get a better idea of what weather to expect where.
I took this photo this morning before heading off to work. I was trying to capture my winter riding gear. Although, this morning is was pretty warm compared to earlier in the week. So, I had on fewer layers. My rain pants weren't needed to block the wind. I didn't realize how fabulously reflective I am. That was a pleasant surprise. I strive to be conspicuous on the motorcycle. I am glad I bought this Olympia vest to wear over my Tour Master jacket. I've even worn it over my mesh hi-viz jacket in the evening because of the large reflective patches. There's a large one on the back as well. The piping down my pant legs works well too. It is very narrow piping so I am never convinced of it's effectiveness. But, the flash from the camera certainly lit it up. There are also reflective strips on the tank saddle bags. I think I'll add more reflective stickers to my helmet. There are two reflective fleurdelis on the sides toward the back. Time for more!
Rode to work yesterday and today. The mornings are still pretty cold, in the mid 20s. In fact, this morning, as I walked out to load up the moto, my neighbor was scraping ice off her windshield. But, the high today was close to 60! Of course, I'm sitting at my desk when those temperatures are happening. But, it does melt more of the ice that still lingers on the side streets and in the parking lot.
Yesterday morning, leaving my driveway, my rear tire slide out a bit on the ice that was still in the street. The block still has enough ice to make the street bumpy in places. I slide out a little as I drove away as well, yesterday. But, coming home, the melt had happened and most of those spots were just wet. Still some chunks of ice but I could avoid them and drive on the wet spots. When I got to work that morning, the parking lot was mostly a sheet of ice. The moto parking spaces, which used to be the snow plow point, were pretty clear. But, the entry into them was a sheet of ice. So, I pulled in head first, and waited until 2:00 when the ice melted, to turn the bike around.
This morning, leaving the driveway wasn't a problem. But, the parking lot at work is still a bit scary. For some reason, the parking lot had been plowed again. There wasn't any more snow but instead there were long lines of raised ice, the trail of the plow, running parallel to the curb. I was able to carefully back into the spot this time. As I was leaving however, I did hit a chunk of ice edge that pushed the back end quite a bit, enough to catch me off guard. (Actually, I just wasn't paying attention.) And, instead of taking the left to exit the parking lot, I took a right to go through the parking lot. As I came to the stop sign in the lot, the ABS kicked in as I tried to stop on a sheet of ice. That was a bit freaky. I wasn't expecting that either. So, after those two near misses, I decided to just head home the way I came in, on highway 93. It was dry and uneventful.
The good news is the days are getting longer. It was still light out at 5pm. Who hoo!
I think I'll get one more riding day before the snow flies again on Thursday. It's been nice being back on the GS again. And, I am quite comfortable even at 25 degrees with the sun out. The heated grips are awesome. (I learned today that I can feel the heat a lot better without my glove liners on.) I'm wearing my long Smartwool ski socks, fleece lined tights, my Olympia airglide mesh pants with the quilted liner, and my rain pants over them, a short sleeved t-shirt, long sleeved t-shirt, long sleeved turtleneck, Tour Master Transition jacket, Olympia hi-viz vest, silk glove liners, Olympia all season gloves, and a fleece balaclava under my helmet with the Respro foggy liner in the helmet. All of that keeps me very comfortable in the morning. I wear it all on the way home as well since the temperature drops pretty quickly when the sun goes down.
I get a lot of air inside my helmet which is really nice in the warmer months. In the cold, not so much. But the Respro and the balaclava keeps my chin warm. The air seems to blow right on my eyes though. And with my sun glasses that isn't so bad because they wrap around pretty closely to my head. My regular glasses though, don't help much. I may check into getting some clear lens sport glasses.
Aaargh! I just spent some time trying to shovel the ice away from the front of the driveway in the hopes that it will assist my efforts to ride to work this week. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I'm not sure it did any good. And there is still that large patch of snow and ice in the street as well. There are three patches that are pretty thick that I couldn't move. The two closest to the forefront of the image are the ones I really wanted to get at. They are right in my line of entry and exit. No matter. The river of water along the sidewalk will be ice in the morning anyway. It is dammed up all along the block and can't drain. And the snow melt will make the entire entry into the driveway pretty slick in the morning. I put some ice melt down anyway. Actually, I also put some fertilizer down because I thought it was ice melt.
Sigh. This weather is really making me sad. If we have blizzards in the spring I might just lose my mind. But, I won't worry about that now. The forecast for next week looks like this...Should I drive Monday just to check out the road conditions? Or just go for it? I usually do the drive first just to be on the safe side.
I've enrolled in the MSF Advanced Rider Course. There are two courses I was considering - the Experienced Rider Course (ERC) or the Advanced Rider Course (ARC). I've taken the ERC on the Rebel. Hubby and I took it at the start of last season (I think) to get the bugs out before the full time riding season began. It was a good course for that but it did rehash some of the BRC exercises. But, I thought it would be good to take it again with the new GS. I thought it would help me get more comfortable on the GS as I transitioned from the Rebel. But, then I saw this ARC and wondered if that would be more appropriate. Today I gave them a call to find out what the difference was between the two.
The description of the ARC is: ADVANCED RIDER COURSE (ARC-ST) Cost is $150
Based on the Military SportBike RiderCourse, this one-day course is for experienced riders who desire to learn and practice more in-depth riding techniques. Classroom activities use small group discussions and interactive activities to address personal risk management strategies; to discuss options for cornering, braking and swerving; and to improve visual perception to identify collision traps. On-cycle range exercises provide practice in cornering, braking and swerving. There is no skill test in this course.
The description of the ERC is: EXPERIENCED RIDER COURSE (ERC) Cost: $100 Resident - $125 Non-Resident
Prerequisites: (M ENDORSEMENT REQUIRED) A valid motorcycle license, your own street legal motorcycle (motorcycle will be subject to a safety inspection), current registration and proof of insurance for the motorcycle used in the training. This one-day course is designed for the licensed rider with a year or more road experience. The course helps the experienced rider improve riding skills and increases riding enjoyment by developing the mental and physical skills found lacking in the accident involved rider. Many major insurance carriers recognize this course for discounts. Completion of the basic course is not a prerequisite for this class. Maximum of 12 participants per section. If your motorcycle club is interested in scheduling a special seminar for your members, please contact ABATE of Colorado.
After talking to the instructor this is what I learned. It seems the ERC is for the person with some experience, some one who has not taken the BRC or who has but wants a refresher course. It is geared, I think, towards riders who either have lots of riding experience but little formal training or riders with some formal training but not as much experience. The ARC seems to be geared more towards folks who have lots of experience and formal training but want to take a higher level course that pushes your training a bit more. I talked to the instructor about both classes and he sort of evaluated me over the phone and said he thought I could do either. "Experienced" is sort of a relative term I suppose. He suggested I try out the ARC, after considering my current level of comfort, and if it didn't work out, if I didn't feel comfortable or the instructor thought I was pushing myself too much, I could instead switch to the ERC. I asked if there would be other ARC course offered later in the year. Right now there is only one listed in my area. He said he didn't know because they hadn't had very many folks enrolling and that would determine if they'd offer it later. So, once he said that, I thought I'd enroll in the ARC just in case the opportunity didn't present itself again.
So, one of my goals is in motion. :-) The course is in March. March is the 2nd snowiest month for us. So, fingers crossed.