Angel on My Bike: A Colorado Bike Journey


Colorado Motorcycle Trip Independence Pass
Independence Move is without doubt one of the actually iconic motorbike roads within the Southwest and an incredible purpose to take a Colorado motorbike journey.

As I sat within the implausible Stomach Up Aspen live performance venue in Colorado listening to an incredible efficiency by The Wallflowers, I didn’t think about that “stomach up” was a situation I used to be going to need to actively keep away from the following day. You see, the next morning I used to be going to trip Independence Move, one in every of my favourite stretches of pavement within the Southwest that I had taken some months earlier within the fall.

That night time in Aspen, Wallflowers entrance man Jakob Dylan was on high of his vocal recreation and stuffed the intimate venue with all of his greatest work. Mockingly, the band’s tune Angel on my Bike chronicles salvation from both an actual or figurative motorbike crash. Seems I used to be going to wish that angel on my pillion seat.

Colorado Motorcycle Trip Belly Up Aspen The Wallflowers
The Wallflowers supply up a lyrical reminder for protected driving,

The crisp Colorado mountain air had me zipping up my jacket vents as I began the ascent out of Aspen. The early trip was simply what I had hoped for. Clean pavement traced by the evergreens, and visitors was gentle. I shortly fell into that good groove as I slalomed up towards the move.


See all of Rider‘s Colorado touring stories here.

I used to be solely a handful of miles into the climb once I bought the primary trace that this might not be a standard trip. Simply after a blind curve, a mom moose and her offspring bounded in entrance of me. The mom was fast and agile as she leapt to security. The toddler was confused and halting, and I used to be compelled into an abrupt evasive swerve. As my coronary heart settled, the 2 disappeared into the forested depths.

As I continued my climb, that easy blacktop reworked into just lately utilized chipseal. The tar-coated gravel started the telltale cacophony of sounds because it flung from my tires onto my fenders and bodywork – a far cry from the melodic choices of The Wallflowers the night time earlier than. I minimize my pace in half and made the requisite changes to my cornering approach.

Colorado Motorcycle Trip Independence Pass
The crest of the move marks the dividing line between recent roadwork and weathered tarmac.

I rode as much as one of many two cease lights on the move that management visitors within the one-lane Narrows sections of Independence Move. The sunshine was simply altering to purple, and I slowed to a cease in anticipation of the oncoming visitors taking its flip within the Narrows. In my mirrors, I noticed an SUV barreling towards me. I used to be already planning my escape maneuver in what little room I had on the aspect of the street. With none slowing, the Vary Rover barreled into the oncoming lane and handed me, pelting me with gravel as he ran the purple gentle and endangered me and the entire potential oncoming visitors. Shut name No. 2, plus difficult driving circumstances.

Colorado Motorcycle Trip Independence Pass
Slender street circumstances on the move require metered visitors circulate for the law-abiding drivers.

After persevering with on when the sunshine turned inexperienced, I stumbled on the crew making use of the chipseal. At this level, the street turned much more difficult because the floor was newly utilized. One lane was gravel and the opposite was recent tar. The mixture of this variable floor with the twisty, guardrail-less move made for tough driving. Accelerating, braking, and turning all needed to be muted and modulated. The street remained like this all the way in which to the 12,000-foot apex of the move.

Colorado Motorcycle Trip Independence Pass
These warning indicators imply enterprise within the Colorado mountains.
Colorado Motorcycle Trip Independence Pass
Contemporary tar and recent chipseal make for unpredictable driving floor circumstances.

After stopping for the views – and the lavatory – on the high, I began the descent on the opposite aspect of the move on established pavement with precise markings and no gravel or recent tar. It was not, nevertheless, the top of the problem.

Colorado Motorcycle Trip Independence Pass
Independence Move has among the greatest views in Colorado, so decelerate and make it there.

It turned clear that the prior winter had taken a toll on the move, which had been far more intact solely months earlier than within the fall. Whereas not as difficult as the way in which up, the frayed and crumbling margins of the tarmac and the potholes made the descent worthy of maximum vigilance.

Colorado Motorcycle Trip Independence Pass
The descent down the mountain move exhibits why there’s a want for summer time upkeep.
Colorado Motorcycle Trip Independence Pass
Excessive winter circumstances within the Rockies make vigilant street upkeep a necessity.

Ultimately, I made it unscathed (aside from tar on my boots and some chips on my BMW bodywork). I didn’t find yourself stomach up, possibly due partly to an angel on my bike. Now that I’m on the opposite aspect of this explicit Colorado motorbike journey, I extremely advocate catching a live performance at Belly Up Aspen, attending a present by The Wallflowers wherever they is likely to be enjoying, and avoiding assumptions a few favourite street primarily based on the final time you rode it.

See all of Rider‘s touring stories here.


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