The weather was absoluteley perfect. We had sunny days, some wind, and finally enough rain to turn the road into camp into a fast moving river. That allowed us to do some epic water crossings and get some experience with mud.
Enjoy the pictures. I also received a fantastic testimonial from one of our students that used his new skills to go over a downed deer on the freeway – which he insists saved his life. Click Here for is his testimonial.
I have been wearing moto-skeevies shorts for over a year, and started wearing their socks about 6 months ago.
First, I want to say that both of these products are absolutely flawless, in their manufacturing quality. They are extremely high quality, durable products.
The shorts are not only designed to give a little extra padding where needed, but also to help wick moisture and keep you as cool as possible while you ride. In fact, they were designed using thermal imaging to insure comfort, cooling, and stress relief.
I have met people all over the country who all say the same thing; these are the most comfortable riding shorts period. Once you ride with them, you will never go back. In fact, most riders buy a 2nd or 3rd pair so that they never have to risk riding without their moto-skeevies on a long trip.
Some of my trips are 3 weeks long, and I know that I could never go back to just wearing shorts. The bunched up boxers… damp shorts… and heat that one experiences without them is a thing of the past. If you are riding over 4 hours a day, these shorts are a necessity.
Socks! What can I say about these socks? They are without a doubt the best motorcycling sock available. The are anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-edema, and anti-odor. I just made a video peeling off a pair in Baja, Mexico after riding for over 450 miles, and they didn’t even stink! These compression socks stay in place, come up above the calf, and prevent chafing and blistering. I love them. They wick moisture, and keep my boots from turning into a stinky swamp. I highly recommend these to anyone looking to make your rides more enjoyable. Find them here – http://motoskiveez.com/shop-page/compression-riding-sock-with-aloe/
So a couple of weeks before I left for Baja, I was talking to Brad Barker, from The Ride of my Life. When he found out that I had not yet switched out my skid plate for the Black Dog Cycle Works skid plate, he insisted that I needed to do that BEFORE I went to Baja… not after. So I agreed and within 5 minutes, Brad had ordered me a skid plate and it was on the way. He’s awesome!
A few days later it arrived, and James and I installed it on my ’09 BMW 1200 GS Adventure.
The directions were very straight forward, and it went on with no trouble. One interesting thing that we discovered when we took off my old plate, was that one of the bolt housings had actually been broken in half, illustrating the results of having the skid plate screw into the motor.
So with my new skid plate on, I headed to Baja. Before we even got to the dirt, we hit some Vados (which are fords… or low spots in the road where water can occasionally pass over the road). Imagine you are 250 lbs, and you and your 600+ pound bike and all your gear are riding along at 80 MPH and hit one of these vados. The result is that your nearly 1000 lb mass becomes airborne, and then gracefully touches down a few yards down the road. This happened on more than one occasion, and believe me, the landing isn’t that graceful. The funny thing is that I figured I would need a solid skid plate for off-road, but never imagined that it might also be useful for highway use.
The next day, we did hit some dirt, and I found out that even off road, they have vados. The difference is that off-road, you might be ripping along and suddenly you hit a dip, and as you begin going up the other side, there is a concrete pad (I guess to help with traction and prevent erosion) that is about 5″ higher than the dirt track you are riding on. First, your front wheel takes a massive hit, then as you reach the top, you become airborne. But now when you land, you might be landing on big rocks and ruts. On days 3 and 4, I had the pleasure of riding with some of the guys from BARF. These were some of the greatest guys I have ever ridden with. All of them were on dirt bikes, and they had a good time razzing me about where I was going to find a Starbucks in Baja. But I did ride with them, and was determined not to fall too far behind. Now while the 1200 GSA is a tough bike, it is NOT meant to keep up with expert dirt bike riders in Baja. The result was a lot of bottoming out, a flat in my sidewall, and a REALLY good test of my new Black Dog skid plate. Tom even commented that he thought my skid plate was a part of my suspension, because it was absorbing so much impact when I landed. In my case, after 5 days of off-road riding, I think I hit some of everything. The new skid plate was getting a workout. On my oil cooled GS, Black Dog makes a center stand guard that lines up behind the skid plate and actually works with the skid plate.
On the second day on dirt, I actually tore 3 of the 4 clamps holding the center stand guard in place, so I had to stop riding and take the plate off for the remainder of my trip.
When I got down to Mulege, I sent a message to Kurt and Martha of Black Dog Cycle Works and let them know I was in the area. Before I could get a reply, I took off to ride. About an hour later, Scott and I stopped for a burrito, and who walks in the restaurant but Kurt Forget of Black Dog. How bizarre is that? After eating, we found out that Kurt only lived about 100 yards from where we were eating, so we went over to take a snapshot at the International HQ and get one of the coveted Black Dog South stickers.
My trip to Baja was incredible, and I can’t thank Brad enough for urging me to get the Black Dog skid plate on before my trip, or to Kurt, for making such a remarkable product.
I have no doubt in my mind, that without this skid plate, I would likely have torn the bottom half of my motor off on some of these rides. Not only would I have been stranded 50 miles from cellular phone service, but I would have done $1600 in damage to my bike, and have been stranded in Mexico. The fact that this plate attaches to the frame, instead of screwing into the motor is all the difference in the world. Look at these “after” pictures of my new skid plate and decide for yourself. Could YOUR skid plate sustain these deep impacts?
Look at the crease INSIDE the skid plate! Can you image a stock plate standing up to that? How many bolts do you think I would have sheared on a different plate?
If you are still on the fence about whether or not Black Dog Cycle Works makes the best skid plates out there, let me assure you that you can not find a better plate. I give this the highest rating and urge you to invest in one if you plan to ride off road.
Living in Utah, we adapt to the cold, but after a few months of cold, snow, and horrible air quality from the winter inversion, some of us begin to experience withdrawal symptoms from lack of riding.
I know many riders just park their bikes in the garage, hook up the battery tender, and add some Stabil to the fuel so that their bike will start up in spring. But some of us prefer to ride all year round. This past weekend, after nearly 3 weeks of no riding, I finally had to get back on the bike. I figured the worst snow was in my own driveway, and after a few dry days, there wouldn’t be too much ice on the roadways.
Since I had my daughter on the back, I had to ride extra carefully, and decided to take back roads and service roads to avoid traffic and higher speeds. Unfortunately, these are also the roads that had gotten the least attention from the snow plows. We hit some roads that had at least a mile of snow/ice/slush, but managed to get through it without incident.
We stopped for a coffee and I realized that it is just too risky to ride in the mountains in the winter for most people. I took a few pictures, and posted them on Facebook and Instagram, and they got a lot of response. Not because they were good pictures, but because this time of year there are so few posts, that any post will get a lot of attention.
That ride was just what I needed. I felt great. But now, It’s time for a road trip! I put on a few pounds over the holiday. I need to get out and ride! Are you feeling the winder blues too? Take your vitamin D and plan a trip southbound. Go to Vegas, Phoenix, Mexico… but GO! I have around 10,000 miles of riding planned for January – March. I will be riding to San Francisco, Las Vegas, Baja, Phoenix, and then east to TX, LA, FL, NC, TN and back.
January 22, we will be leaving Las Vegas for an 8 day Baja trip. We plan to visit Mikes’s Sky Ranch, San Filipe, Coco’s Corner, whale watch near San Ignacio, Mulege’, and La Paz, time permitting. We plan to take 8 days for the trip but the last time I rode to Mexico, it was so nice that we extended our trip.
I hope you get a chance to get on your bike this winter, but if you are concerned about riding alone, give me a call. I’m always up for an adventure. Sign up for our 8-day trip to Baja
Dual Sport School
For the last 2 weeks, I have been testing out the Slimfold Wallet. What caught my attention was that the material it is made from can withstand a simulated 70 MPH motorcycle crash on pavement. I immediately though it might be the ideal for motorcycling.
With ADVenture biking, I spend a lot of time in water. Either in rain, or in water crossings, so the fact that it was also waterproof intrigued me.
The company was funded by a Kick Starter project. They have multiple colors and sizes. For my test, I went with the original size, and got the RFID blocker.
Here’s a little video with some of my testing.
When it comes to Adventure Bikes, or dual sport machines, you may hear rides say, “safety third”. It’s funny to put fun and speed before safety… but in reality, you will have a lot more fun and be willing to go faster if you take the time to get setup with the proper gear for a safe ride.
There is safety equipment for your bike as well as for your clothing.
The most important things you want to protect are your head, eyes, hands, shoulders, elbows, knees, shins and ankles, neck and back, and your motor.
If you plan to ride on the road as well as off-road, I would suggest that you purchase the highest quality gear you can afford. If you can’t afford to buy top of the line everything – new – from day one, then consider buying some used gear and some new gear. As soon as you are able, you can start replacing the used gear with new.
Finding the right gear is difficult without help. I will provide ongoing gear reviews as often as I can. Other gear reviews are available online. Take you time and find the right gear for you.
Your helmet should be new. For helmets and jackets, I suggest you get Hi-Viz Yellow or Orange. I find that a lot of danger can be avoided if other drivers can SEE you. The more visible you are to other drivers, the safer you will be. Avoiding accidents is the best way to survive them.
When I started riding, I bought a used textile jacket I found in a classified ad for $20.00, and a new helmet for $35.00. The jacket served me well for 3 years and countless crashes. I have gone through 3 helmets, getting better equipment each time.
A good jacket is tear resistant, has padding in the elbows, shoulders, and back, has good ventilation, a good smooth zipper, a liner, and good pockets. If you can’t afford a Hi-Viz jacket, go with one that has reflective piping on it. New jackets range in price from $80.00 – $1800.00, so if you are not sure how much riding or what style of riding you will do, you might want to start off with a low priced jacket first, as long as you don’t sacrifice quality.
In addition to a good helmet, I also suggest a good pair of safety glasses. I use Wiley X sun glasses, but you can use clear or tinted, as long as you have safety glass in them. Regardless of the law, I never suggest riding without a helmet. Your brain is priceless, and there are only two categories of riders on dual sport machines; those who have fallen, and those who will fall. Protect your eyes and your head with the best you can afford. I prefer helmets that have high marks for being quiet. If your helmet doesn’t provide adequate protection from noise, add hearing protection to your list of safety items. Ear plugs range in price from $.50 – $1200.00. Get what you NEED until you can afford what you want.
You can find good motorcycle gloves for as low at $11.00 on eBay or Amazon. I spent $20.00 at Cycle Gear, and got a great pair that allows for air flow, has a gauntlet for wrist protection, and has hard plastic knuckle protection. A good pair of gloves is essential, and I suggest you buy some that are comfortable and offer great protection and padding.
The next essential item is a good pair of boots. You can find used boots for $50 and up. If you plan to ride off-road, I recommend a good pair of motocross boots. I have seen new ones on sale for as little as $99.00 for good boots. Good boots will save you from a broken leg, broken ankle, broken toes, getting stranded in the middle of nowhere, being out for the season on crutches.
Next, you need padding on your hips, and knees. You can either buy body armor that goes under your clothes, or buy kevlar pants that have padding in the critical areas. I love the ballistic textiles that are abrasion resistant, well ventilated, quick drying, and easy to clean. These will cost you between $39.00 and $950.00.
That is the basic kit that I would say is a minimum.
In addition, I would see that your bike has crash bars, a skid plate, wide foot pegs (you will be standing on the pegs most of the time and the wider pegs are MUCH more comfortable), and engine guards. Another item that you will need to consider once you get some training, is the importance of good dual sport tires – depending on how much off-road riding you intend to do.
Look for my reviews on all these products and more.