Colorado Motorcycle Tours

Touring Colorado

Colorado canyon tours and mountain pass tours has been the best part of touring Colorado, for me, but Colorado is rich in history, it has some of the best skiing in the world, has hiking, biking, camping, fishing, boating, and I have done a lot of that too! From old mining towns, ghost towns and ski towns to all the unique restaurants and Brewery’s in this state, I would be surprised if anybody could get board visiting here.

I love Colorado! Well, it’s getting more and more expensive every year, it’s getting very crowded, and like any other state, we have our challenges here, but when I ride into the mountains and visit my favorite destinations, it becomes a perfect state again! Even the mountains get crowded on the weekends and holiday’s, so when I take my time to tour, I try to do it during the week and not during a holiday!

As I’ve mentioned, I ride a Harley, and when you own a Harley, you can join the Harley Owners Group (HOG) and join a chapter. I belong to a couple HOG chapters, but the one I ride with the most is the Denver Chapter HOG. I know there are other riding organizations and motorcycle clubs that may better fit your taste or style, it all depends on what you’re looking for in a riding group. I like to ride and the Denver Chapter rides a lot! I was a Head Road Captain for three years and I’ve planned and lead a whole bunch of rides. I’ve been able to experience a lot of Beautiful, interesting, and Historic places in Colorado with the chapter that I may not have not visited on my own. If you haven’t checked out a riding group or organization yet, I’d say give it a try, it’s a great way to meet like minded people and make life long friends.

Now, did I mention, I love Colorado? I’ve toured up to the NE (Sterling, CO), SE (Lamar, CO), NW (Dinosaur, CO) and the SW (four corners) corners of Colorado and a lot of the in-between! There are still a ton of places I want to see but the places I’ve been, have been nothing short of AMAZING! I’ve seen things from Cliff side Dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park, CO to old Gold Mines in Cripple Creek, CO (Gambling town also). I’ve been to Bents Fort in La Junta, CO and Bishop’s Castle in Rye, CO just to name a few.

The best areas of Colorado, in my opinion for scenic roads, is Northwest and Southwest Colorado, North central and South central Colorado. Eastern Colorado has several attractions also, but when it comes to riding in Colorado, the mountains are the best! Here is a very handy and interactive website that makes it very easy to find places to go and things to see in Colorado broken down into 5 sections, which I mentioned above, it’s called Colorado Directory, https://www.coloradodirectory.com/. If you would like to when to visit based on events and activities in Colorado… https://rove.me/to/colorado#Jul11-Jul20. Also, here is a great link for all the Mountain Passes in Colorado, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mountain_passes_in_Colorado.

Northwest Colorado is known for Steamboat Springs, Glenwood Springs, Aspen, Snowmass, Grand Mesa and Grand Junction.

-Highway 40 you can take a beautiful ride to Dinosaur and check out Dinosaur National Monument (https://www.nps.gov/dino/index.htm)

-From Dinasour, head South down Highway 64 and 139 to Grand Junction area to ride around Colorado National Monument on Rimrock Dr. for some spectacular views! (https://www.nps.gov/colm/index.htm)

This tour around Colorado National Monument can be a pretty hot ride in the summer time, so be sure to drink a lot of water and fluids while enjoying this amazing attraction.

-South of Grand Junction you can pickup Highway 141 for an awesome ride around Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area (https://www.blm.gov/programs/national-conservation-lands/colorado/dominguez-escalante-nca)

Southwest Colorado is known for Crested Butte, Durango, Gunnison, Mesa Verde, Ouray, Pagosa Springs, Silverton, and Telluride, CO.

-From the Grand Junction area, continue down Highway 141 to 491 into Cortez, CO. I’ll admit, there is nothing that really interests me much about Cortez, but not far from there is Canyons of the Ancient National Monument, in the Mesa Verde area (https://www.blm.gov/programs/national-conservation-lands/colorado/canyons-of-the-ancients), where you will find the ancient cliff dwellings. There are roads through the whole site and a lot of places to stop and see the views, hike, picnic, and even take tours of the cliff dwellings. It is a must see in SW Colorado!

-From Cortez, CO you can take Highway 145 to Telluride, CO or you can take Highway 160 to Durango, CO. The ride down Highway 160 is not one to write home about, though, Durango, CO is a must visit when in the area.

-Riding up Highway 145 is a very scenic ride to Telluride, CO. You should definitely visit the town of Telluride, the mountain range is breathtaking and this small mountain ski town is a must see!

-The other option of course is to ride Highway 160 down to Durango, CO then head up Highway 550 and ride through Silverton and Ouray, CO then take a jaunt over to Telluride, CO.

-From Telluride, head up Highway 145 to highway 62 to the town of Ridgeway, CO. I have not stayed in Ridgway yet, but from there you have the option of heading North or South on Highway 550. Head South and you’ll experience Ouray, CO, The Million Dollar Highway, Silverton, and Durango, CO. From there you can head East and visit Pagosa Springs, which has some of the best natural hot springs around, then up through Alamosa, CO to see the Sand Dunes, which is more of the South Central region (which I’ll cover next). If you head North, you will see Montrose and Delta, CO where you can ride Highway 50 to Gunnison, CO, Ride a loop around the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Gunnison Gorge National, all of which are spectacular views and a tour to plan for. From there I would head East to Gunnison, CO where you will see stunning views of the Gunnison River and Blue Mesa Reservoir!

South Central Colorado is known for Alamosa, Buena Vista, Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Cripple Creek, Pikes Peak, Pueblo and Trinidad, CO.

-From Walsenburge, CO, on I-25, West on Highway 160 will take you up to Alamosa, CO. Just before you get to the Alamosa area, you will reach The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Reserve (https://www.coloradodirectory.com/nationalparks/sanddunes.html).

-North of Alamosa, CO, Via Highway 285, ride up to Pocha Springs and Buena Vista, CO. You can then head NW to Leadville, Vail and Copper Mountain or head NE toward Fairplay and Breckenridge, CO…either direction you go, you will definitely enjoy the scenery! Have you ever heard of the show South Park? Well, you can visit South Park while in Fairplay.

If you’re in or near Colorado Springs you need to check out Garden of the Gods, Manitou Springs, and make a trip up the paved road to the 14,115 feet above sea level on Pikes Peak.

If you’re in or near Pueblo, CO I would definitely recommend you go to the Pueblo Reservoir and the Pueblo Zoo.

-I feel the best way back home, to the Denver metro area, is straight up Highway 285. There is usually less traffic and it’s a much more scenic drive than I-70 or I-25.

Wrap Up

Believe it or not, I’ve been on ALL THESE ROADS! Amazing rides, Amazing beauty, and Amazing memories! I would and most likely will be on these roads again in the future to Tour Colorado!

I could go into a great deal more detail and go On and On and On about places to go and places to see, and I probably will, but for now I think I’ve given you a good idea of what Colorado offers for the Motorcycle Touring Enthusiast!

Cliff Dwellings in Mesa Verde, CO https://www.nps.gov/meve/index.htm
Telluride, CO_May 2019_https://www.tellurideskiresort.com/events-activities/activities/

 

Million Dollar Highway – Ouray to Silverton, CO https://www.colorado.com/scenic-historic-byways/million-dollar-highway

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colorado_2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If  you’re planning a trip to Colorado I would be happy to help…Leave me a reply below or shoot me an e-mail at glenn@motorcycletouringenthusiast.com and I will do what I can! But for now, I will bring as many resources to this site as possible to help people find what they are looking for in Colorado.

Have Fun, Be Safe, and Ride On!

Short Shot

Touring Gear

Motorcycle touring gear is just as important as the motorcycle you are riding. Let’s talk about touring gear you need for touring and taking long trips.

Touring Gear You Need

Anybody who rides a motorcycle and does any touring or long distance riding, knows that comfort and functionality are very important when it comes to riding gear. The basics are helmet, jacket, gloves, chaps or pants, and boots. There are specific qualities and characteristics that I look for:

Helmets:

There are several types of helmets that people can wear. Usually the helmet is an extension of the type of riding we are doing. Generally speaking, helmets are built based on DOT specifications and function that it needs to serve. There are 6 types of helmets: Full Face helmet, Modular, 3 Quarter Helmet, Half Helmet, Open Face, and Dual-Sport helmet. What I would recommend is for you to do research on the types of helmets, composition of the helmets and comfort qualities. There a many times you can get a better price buying online, but I would recommend going someplace and trying them on to be sure of the size, fit and the comfort before you buy! If you’re going to be wearing this on your head, it better be comfortable. If you take a fall while riding, it better be able to protect your head (and face). If you’re going to be wearing it a lot, I’m sure you want it to look good too. Finally, your helmet should protect you from weather, rocks, dust, bugs, and other eyes, nose, and mouth irritants. Have you ever been caught in an instant downpour of rain in a half helmet? I have and that’s why I try to carry two helmets when I take long rides, a 3 quarter and a half helmet. Remember, you don’t have to be going fast or hit the ground hard to cause a serious head injury.

Jackets:

When touring the country for a day, a week, a month or a year, the jacket or coat you wear needs to be comfortable, functional, and dynamic. I would be the first to admit that I don’t always wear a protective jacket or even a jacket at all sometimes. Is that the best choice to make? No, it is not! But being comfortable is important too. I look for jackets with a removable liner and/or adjustable venting that can make it useful in both hot and cold weather and something that is breathable and water resistant as well. Technology for protective gear is advancing and some protective materials to look for are leather, Kevlar, Cordura, or other possibly synthetic textiles. Finding a jacket that is comfortable to wear in all weather conditioons is hard to do, but it will add protection to your body in the event of an accident…something is better than nothing.

Gloves:

Gloves not only protect your hands and/or keep them warm, they also help with grip and comfort. You can find gloves that are made of the same protective materials as jackets. I personally have many pairs of gloves for every season and weather condition. There are gloves that can be heated with portable/rechargable batteries or plug into a power source from the motorcycle. A good fitting glove is important to that you can grip and feel controls without the glove getting in the way. If they are too tight, they will cut of circulation and that wouldn’t be good either.

 

Chaps/Pants:

Chaps and Pants serve as protection and comfort also. You can get chaps and pants with removable lining for hot and cold weather conditions. They also protect against flying rocks, bugs, sand, and dirt. Wearing shorts, sweat pants, or other flimsy material is just going to increase the possibility of injury while riding your motorcycle. Not everybody like leather or chaps, but there are a lot of other types of material that are used for protectiona dn comfort now.

 

Boots:

touring-bootsBoots should be light weight and breathable. They should be rigged yet flexible. They should be resistant to oil, water and other fluids on the road. The sole of the boot is very important and should be capable of griping various road conditions. Also remember that the left boot should have extra padding and material on top of the toe to assist with shifting.

 

Sunglasses:

Sunglasses are also extremely important and they need to be functional and comfortable to wear them all day. Polarized sunglasses are good for cutting glare and clarity, but sometimes it’s hard to read electronics with them. Sunglasses with foam padding on the inside of the fram are good to keep wind out and adds comfort as well. I also prefer sunglasses that don’t have the arms for over the ears, they are uncomfortable between the helmet and my head. I prefer the adjustable strap on my glasses/goggles.

Where To Look For Gear

Revzillia: https://www.revzilla.com/

Cycle Gear: https://www.cyclegear.com/

Performance Cycle: https://performancecycle.com/

Harley Davidson: https://www.harley-davidson.com/us/en/index.html

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2UrDNhk

Eagle Rider (motorcycle rentals): https://www.eaglerider.com/

Wrap Up

In order to have a fun, safe, and memorable trip it’s important to wear protective and comfortable gear. One of the greatest things about riding a motorcycle is that there is nothing between you and the elements, and it is also the scariest thing. Wearing gear that protects you against the elements and keeps you comfortable is key to motorcycle touring success.

Short Shot

 

Destination Touring

How to Prepare for a Destination Tour

In this article I’m going to talk about Preparing to go on a Motorcycle tour. As you may already know when you’re out on the road, it’s all about the man (or woman), the machine, and the elements. We have a destination in mind, we have the route planned out, we have the stops figured out, and we have even checked the weather, now the prep before Kick Stands Up (KSU). I’m going to talk about Preparing your Motorcycle, what to Wear or Not Wear, and of course Packing for the trip.

Prepare for the Ride

My motto is and always will be Safety First. Safety is going to be achieved by making sure your motorcycle is ready to roll, knowing your route and planning for the unexpected, and finally, getting enough rest.

First of all, I have to admit, Getting Enough Rest, for me, is easier said than done! When I’m getting ready for a ride, I get very excited and anxious and that usually means I have a hard time sleeping. This is one of the most difficult things for me to do because I have got a million and one tasks to take care of before I can even think about going to bed. Most likely I will lay in bed and think about what I may have missed. Here is how I try to handle this issue.

1. Make a check list that consists of:

A) The Route:

Departure Time, Fuel Stops, Lunch Stop, Scenic Stops en route, and the Over-night Stop. Be sure to leave room for variables such as weather, construction, traffic and other possible delays.

B) The Bike:

Comple Scheduled Maintenance along with performing your pre-ride ride inspection or TCLOCK (http://frederickhog.org/tips/tclock.htm), which is checking Tires and Wheels, Control Levers, Lights and Battery, Oil Levels, Chassis, and Kickstand. There are variations of this procedure so use the one that best fits your needs.

C) Gear and Supplies:

From the helmet on your head to the steal toes on your boots, preparedness and protection are key to a safe, successful and fun tour! I personally bring two helmets, a skid lid type (half helmet) and a 3/4 helmet with a tinted visor because rocks and hail on the face hurts and if it’s hot, I can’t stand having my whole head covered. Protective and comfortable clothing that is suitable for various types of weather that you may encounter. Water resistant, slip resistant, and moisture (sweat) wicking are the features I look for. I also bring some snacks, fluids and carry a little cash for unforseen delays or emergencies.

Check out my Shopping, tools and resource page for all your touring needs.

D) The Rest…GET SOME REST!

I try to eat early and eat well because it helps me sleep, then I get to bed early. I will usually eat and drink what will aid in getting a good nights sleep. Too much water and I’m going to the bathroom all night long. Spicy food will keep me up with heartburn. Beans and rice or too many carbs before bed and, well, you get what I mean. Whatever helps you get a good sleep and wake up with energy and clarity is the objective. As a Motorcycle Touring Enthusiast, we know that being on the top of our game, keeping our head on a swivel, and expecting the unexpected is how we manage a long adventure filled life.

What to Wear or Not Wear

I Believe this is totally dependent on where you live, where you’re going and how long you’re going to be gone. I live in Colorado and we basically have two seasons, Winter and Summer, and of the two, Winter is usually longer. Spring and Fall are usually more like either Winter or Summer…usually Winter. Even if the day or week starts out nice, you can almost guarantee there will be a drastic change in temperatures and/or in precipitation. In other words, I have to dress and plan for cold then hot then wet then cold (again). I’m usually “rotating” clothing in and out of luggage based on time of day and current conditions, which since I live in Bi-Polar Colorado, can be almost a continuous action.

No matter where you live or where you’re going, I do have some suggestions for the type of clothing you should wear. Breathable, water resistant, relaxed fit and for those really safety minded, bright and/or reflective gear. I also do not recommend cotton or wool and I do recommend boots, gloves and helmets. Of course, it is a matter of preference and I will never judge somebody for what they wear or don’t wear. For me, it’s been a learning curve, and what works for me, may not necessarily work for you.

I don’t think I have to talk too much about what you need to bring with you for the trip since that will be based on where you live, where you’re going, how long you’ll be gone and what season you are traveling in. Spring and Fall can change rapidly here in Colorado, especially when you’re leaving from one mile high and heading to the Continental Divide! I dress in layers, wear leather chaps with removable insulation over jean, and usually a leather coat with removable insulation as well. I have to leave room in one luggage compartment for adding, subtracting and rotating gear. I also wear an Under Armor type clothing that has moisture wicking characteristics. This brings me to my last point, what do we need and how do we pack everything that we need for the trip?

Packing for the Tour

Are you riding solo or are you riding two up? Are you riding a trike or are you riding a bike? Are you riding a touring class bike, a street machine, a sport bike or a bike that’s made for on and off-road? Well, obviously, depending on what type of bike you’re riding is going to depend on what and how much you can bring and how you’re packing it.

I ride a 2018 Street Glide that is between a street machine and touring class bike. I consiter it a touring class because it has saddle bags, a fering, windshield, touring seat, cruise control and highway food rests…I can ride this thing for hours on end! I have the ability to add a luggage rack and carry extra luggage bags or I could add a tour pack trunk with a luggage rack on top. I have seen sport bike riders wear backpacks for their gear. Other bikes can add soft bags or hard bags for storage. And then there are some bikes that have quick release and removable storage solutions. No matter what you ride, there is usually some way to carry what you need.

Once you have the storage ability, it’s a matter of how you pack what you’re carrying in a comfortable and safe manner so you can ride, ride, ride until the sun goes down. Remember, just because you can fit it in the saddle bags, trunk or rack, it doesn’t mean it’s safe and comfortable. Also remember that you need to leave room for necessary tools and a med kit.

Remember my motto? Safety First! Your motorcycle has a max operating weight and that weight is based specifically on the bike, make and model, and the composition. Over packing, unevenly packing, and packing too high are all recipies for a mishap or malfunction. The tires, wheels, and frame are also factors for what and how you should pack.

Get familiar with the specifications of your motorcycle and figure out how you are going to pack for a comfortable and safe ride.

Wrap up

Whether you are doing an inner state tour, a multiple state tour or a cross-country tour, How You Prepare for the Tour is what is going to make it fun and exciting and the experience of a lifetime or a tour to forget.

If you properly prepare for the ride, plan what gear and clothing to bring and wear, and be mindful of how you pack your motorcycle for the tour, you will have an adventure and memories to share for years and generations to come!

In my opinion, motorcycle touring is the most exhilarating way to see and experience the sites and that is why I am a Motorcycle Touring Enthusiast!

Short Shot

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