Sunday, November 29, 2009

December 2009 President's Message

First of all, for those that didn’t hear James Anderson’s F650GS was stolen last month, but luckily it was recovered in Sioux Falls. His experience is definitely a good reason to invest in a motorcycle security chain to prevent theft if you are going to park your bike outside on a regular basis.
Secondly, I have received about 80 coupons for the International Motorcycle Show in Minneapolis in February. Each coupon is good for $3 off the admission price for the show whether you buy your tickets online (cheaper) or at the door. I will be handing these out at Saturday Breakfasts, Wednesday Meet and Eats, and the Annual Meeting. Or you can contact me personally for a voucher number to use online, or I can mail them to you.
Lastly, mark your calendars for the Annual Meeting for Saturday January 23rd, 2010 at Tailgators in Brandon. Menu and format will be the same as last year, and you can thank Deb for setting it up. More on the menu, awards, and such for the next newsletter. Also Club Officer elections will be held at the annual meeting. According to our bylaws, our two elected positions are President and Secretary/Treasurer, and the appointed position of Newsletter editor. I cannot answer for Tom Melick, but I will not be seeking reelection for President next year, and Deb wishes to give up being Newsletter Editor with January’s newsletter being her last one. I know I can say for everyone that Deb has done an outstanding job for the club, and leaves very large boots to fill. Make sure you commend her on her great work the next time you see her. I would like to fill her position before the meeting, so they can be brought up to speed for the February newsletter that would go out right after the Annual meeting. If you are interested, please contact me.
Winter mileage contest starts December 21st and runs until March 21st. Get your mileage to me with the make and model of the bike by midnight of the 21st.
I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving, I wish you a Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year. Drive safe and enjoy your adult beverages in moderation.

Chad “Skid” Gillen, Prez

Friday, November 27, 2009

Stolen motorcycle recovered!

Jim's bike was recovered last week in Sioux Falls near Best Buy. Luckily, very minor damage was done to the rear mudflap and nothing else. This experience goes to show that if you are going to park your bike outside on a regular basis it might be a good idea to invest in a high strength motorcycle security chain.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


James Anderson's white 2001 BMW F650GS Dakar was stolen this week from outside his residence. License is SD/MJ1650, and VIN:WB10183A51ZF70332. The spare key is missing, so it might have been in it. Most of us know what his bike looks like, or at least we know the model type. If you see it or one you suspect might be it call 911 and report it right away. Most police officers do not know this type of bike and might overlook it. Be suspicious of substituted plates or bad paint jobs on a F650GS. Also check your local motorcross tracks, and ebay and craigslist for some one trying to part it out. We are the ones who are going to help recover this bike or find the persons responsible. Be alert, Jim would appreciate it I'm sure.

Chad "Skid" Gillen

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November 2009 President's Message

Our quarterly meeting last month went very well, and Deb did a fine job of typing up the minutes for this month’s newsletter. Thanks again, Deb.
And I want to admit that I “wussed out” and didn’t go to Potosi for the Falling Leaf Rally as I had planned due to the weather. I’ve got to make it a priority next year to get some better (warmer) riding gear. I was just looking at their website ( at some of this years pictures, and is it Gerald’s trailer that I’m looking at?
If you ever want to hear a good story the next time you see me, ask me about the former Basic Rider Course student, whom I failed, that accosted me at a Harrisburg bar one night. She kept referring to me and the other Rider Coach, who is also a police officer, as “Poncho and Lefty” from ChiPs, even though I corrected her several times that she thought we were “Ponch and Baker.” Ever notice that arguments with intoxicated people always go in circles and never end? Then she had the balls to offer to buy me a beer when I got up to leave. Wow.
I know quite a few of us enjoy taking in the International Motorcycle Show in Minneapolis every February (02/5, 6, & 7/2010), so I took advantage of their club discount program for ticket pricing and signed the club up. We can save money for at the door sales, and online sales. I will update you when I receive the vouchers and online discount code.
Lastly, I’m starting a winter mileage contest starting December 21st and ending March 21st. Participants must be headquartering out of the Sioux Falls area for fairness to all. Sorry snowbirds. I will donate a prize for the winner out of my own pocket. If you wish to participate send me your information: name, bike, mileage, with verification by another member via postal mail, or send me your information with a dated odometer picture via email or cell phone text by midnight December 21st. And send me the same for ending mileage by midnight March 21st.

Safe and happy riding to all.

Chad “Skid” Gillen, Prez

P.S. Send me some pictures from some of your rides and rallies this year, so I can put some on the website.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

October 2009 President's Message

Summer is fading fast, and temperatures are falling. So are your motorcycle tires up to the task of cold, wet roads? Have you ever tried to "google" winter motorcycle tires? Find any?
While researching tires for my Subaru Outback, I learned a lot about winter automotive tires. And since we BMW riders like to ride regardless of the time of year, I thought I'd share some of what I learned. Winter tires have rubber compounds that are very pliable especially in cold temperatures. They have highly porous or hydrophilic rubber that adheres to the wet film on the ice surface. And they have thousands of sipes cut into the tread to increase traction.
What does this mean to us? Well, your normal performance motorcycle tire that grips the track with tread temperatures of 200° is incompetent as its tread compound becomes like "hard plastic" at below 32°. So if you ride your bike in the winter, don’t ride it like you ride in the summer. For example, if you ride it to work and take this one curve at a particular speed in the summer, slow down in the winter even if the curve is clean and dry. Because the road surface is cold, and your tire may be cold as well. Remember, your tire contact patches with the road surface are about the same size or smaller than the palm of your hand! We want that cage driver to think, “That guy has balls to be riding.” not “Serves you right you stupid @##, of course you’re going to fall, it’s winter.” Keep the shiny parts up.

Chad “Skid” Gillen, Prez

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

September 2009 President's Message

It's September, so that means Hawes Biker Days on the 12th and 13th! If you've never been, it is a must, just make sure and follow the directions given in the flyer. Mapquest and Google maps will send you north and west of Beaver Creek when it is actually south and west of Beaver Creek. Sadly, due to working special events such as Germanfest and the 1/2 marathon I will not be able to make it this year. The girls really wanted to go and camp too.

Saturday Sept. 19th is the day set aside for the trek to Bob's Bar in Martinsburg NE. This also happens to be the BMW MOA open house. I actually have that weekend off due to training and would like to ride to the open house if anyone is interested in going along. Anyone mind if the Bob's Bar date gets changed?

A great suggestion was brought up by Mary Hawes to have regular club meetings again, as this hasn't been done in years. I believe quarterly meetings should suffice, and would like to invite all club members to my house on Monday, Sept. 28th at 6:45 PM. Topics to bring up could be: Annual meeting, "who stole my chair?" and "Boy, it's nice out, let's Ride!"

Lastly a friend of mine and former BMW rider has an R1150RT windshield (stock) that he would like to part with. Beemerboneyard wants $85.00 for them. He would probably part with it for a pack of smokes. If you are interested contact me and I'll put you in touch with him.

Ride safe.

Chad Gillen, Prez

Friday, July 31, 2009

August 2009 President's Message

July has been a busy month for me at work with all the special events I have to work so I really haven't got a lot of riding in lately. Basically I've ridden back and forth to work, and Heidi and I went to Larchwood IA for a Wednesday night Ride & Eat. I had to work Hot Harley Nights for the first time, and it was the first time I have ever seen it. It took over an hour for all the motorcycles to empty out of J&L's lot for the parade to downtown! I saw a couple of trikes in the parade that have full bodywork and you steer it with a steering wheel! In my opinion, I call that a three wheel car not a motorcycle. I did see a few Beemers parked downtown which made me feel not such an alien amongst all the chrome and loud pipes. Maybe next year we should meet downtown before the parade, and try to take up a block with our Bavarian pride?
2008 was a banner year for people taking the MSF Basic Rider Course, and 2009 is looking like it is going to be the opposite from what I've been told by my fellow ridercoaches. So if you know of someone that wants to learn how to ride, and is interested in the course, tell them to sign up now. Course dates are starting to get cancelled for lack of interest. They can either call the South Dakota Safety Council at 605-361-7785 or go to the website at
Ride safe.

Chad Gillen

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Big Sioux Riders Events Calendar

Here is a list of some of the events for the Big Sioux Riders. I don't know about you, but my eye, or should I say my stomach is drawn to the 28th of July for a trip to Bob's Bar!

July 9 BSR Bikers at Biker Night in Bronson, IA. Lets see how many BMWs and sport/touring bikes we can get there folks!!
July 11-12 - Adventure Riding GS201 from Bak BMW, Sioux City. Class, Campout, and Adventure Riding Challenge. $50 fee includes class, camping, dinner, beverages and door prizes. All makes/models welcome. Call for registration.
July 12 Heart of Iowa BMW Club's Annual Ride-In, Isaac Walton League at Ahquabi, Second Sunday of July
July 16-19 37th BMW MOA International Rally, Johnson City, TN
July 23-26 BMWRA Rally, Canaan Valley State Park, West Virginia
July 28 - BSR Summer RTE - Bob's Bar, Martinsburg, NE. Leaving Casey's Parking near Southern Hills Mall at 6:05 PM, or meet us in Martinsburg at 6:45 PM for giant cheeseburgers, and fryes.
August 7-9, 27th Huskerally, Franklin, NE
August 21-23 28th Annual Baxter Cycle Motorcycle Rally, Marne, IA
August 29th - Victory Open House, Bak BMW Victory, Sioux City - Demo rides, food and door prizes.
September 1 - 4 - Curve Cowboy Reunion, Ramkota Hotel and Convention Center, Rapid City, SD
September 6 GLMC's Buffalo Run Road Rally, Milbank, SD
September 12-13 Hawes Biker Days Campout, Beaver Creek, MN
September 18-20, 10th Annual IBMWR Eureka Springs Rally. Contact Harv Read 262-878-3557
October 10 - BAKTOBERFEST, Bak BMW, Sioux City - Demo rides, food and door
October 9 - 11 - Falling Leaf Rally, Potosi, MO

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

July 2009 President's Message

First of the all, the issue of Bylaws brought up at the annual meeting has caused a lot of angst amongst the club. Of course the biggest issue is changing the BMW ownership clause. However, other good ideas were brought up such as free club membership after turning a certain age. I have heard an equal share of members for changing them and for not changing them. I would like a consensus from the club before moving on. I kindly ask that all members drop me a line (email, mail, or phone) just simply saying "yah" or "nay."
Secondly, and sadly due to the issues of the bylaws, Larry Flower has resigned from his office as Treasurer and has left the club on his own will. To me he will still be considered a member of the club, and should be welcome to our functions. Gratefully Tom Melick has accepted my offer to take over Treasurer duties for the rest of the year. Please thank Tom the next time you see him.
A new German bakery opened three weeks ago on Main St. in Canton. It is called "Railhaus Bakery & Delicatessen" and a friend of mine and I rode down to check it out the other day. Due to waiting out the rain, we got there later than expected. Luckily they had two leftover bratwurst from the lunch hour. We had to have them on Kaiser rolls due to the buns being sold out, but they were still very good. We each had a strudel as well, with me having apple and my friend having cherry. Everything was very delicious and fresh and I suggest you check it out. Horst was not there at the time, but his wife Teresa said they would be interested in staying open late on a Saturday if our club wanted to come down for lunch of brats and pork steak sandwiches. Too bad they are not open late enough for a Wednesday Ride And Eat.
New club recruitment business cards were ordered and have come in. They are the same as before except for addition of the blog website, and a shiny gloss covering to protect them from moisture. See Deb to get some to pass around. I have already dropped some off at PowerBrokers, but would appreciate it if members could make sure that other dealers such as BAK, Judson Cycle, Sturgis BMW, and BMW Motorcycles of Omaha, have some to pass out to BMW buyers from our area.

Ride Safe,

Chad Gillen

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sgt. Chad Mechels Memorial Benefit Poker Run
Saturday, June 27, 2009

$25.00 per hand or Two Hands for $40.00

Sponsored by The South Dakota Sheriffs' Association

Pre-Registration call 605-297-3426 or 605-361-2887 and leave a message

Registration between 10:00 AM and 12:00 Noon at the Turner County Courthouse, Parker, SD and ready to leave at 12:00 Noon.

Food and Beverage upon returning

Cards will be dealt upon return
1st Place $100.00
2nd Place $75.00
3rd Place $50.00

(This event is open to all types of vehicles)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

June 2009 President's Message

Basic Rider Courses are in full swing now and will be going to mid October. If you know someone who wants to learn to ride this is the best way for them to learn the basic skills and strategies to be a good motorcyclist. Once they complete the class their completion card will waive the riding and written test at the SD driver exam stations. Also Experienced Rider Courses are underway in Rapid City and Pierre, and I plan on adding some in Sioux Falls soon now that the ERC range is open. To see the course calendar go to
Lastly we are in need of more business cards to hand out for recruiting. We need something that is a little more weather resistant than what we had before. So we need something more than what Staples can provide, like an embossed type card or similar. Does anyone have a line on a good printer in town?

Ride Safe.

Chad Gillen, Prez

Saturday, May 2, 2009

I would like to personally apologize to Larry Flowers and all of the members of the club for not getting my facts straight before printing the May President’s Message. I was incorrect in stating that he has never owned a BMW motorcycle. Larry owned a BMW in the past, but he did not own one at the time of joining the Autobahn Society. Which is still in violation of membership criteria of the 1977 bylaws, and still a reason to examine our bylaws. Again, I am sorry for not getting the facts straight before writing my message. The last thing I wanted to do by becoming President was to anger or begrudge anyone. I love BMW’s, I love riding, I love our club, and I want to see it grow.

Chad “skid” Gillen, Prez

May 2009 President's Message

First and foremost, let me start by saying that amending the bylaws was not my idea. This task was put onto me at the annual meeting. Now it has come to our attention that there are two sets of bylaws, one circa 1977 and one circa 1988. It has also come into question, which one we are operating under, and to me that is one good reason to go through the bylaws again. Also we currently have a member and officer of the club that is not and has never been BMW owner, but nothing was done to prevent this and now a precedent has been set. Which is a second good reason to go through the bylaws. And any suggested amended bylaws will be voted on by the membership of the club before acceptance. So the bylaw committee will continue to meet and come up with something that everyone will agree on.
Next, is a reminder to be careful riders and set a good example for others to follow. In the last month I have arrested two motorcycle riders for DWI, one Beemer & one HD, and both had twice the legal limit for blood alcohol content. I have investigated one sportbike injury accident that easily could have been a fatality. And I know three scooter riders that wrecked their scooters on simple right turns at intersections. So lets be careful out there and not be a statistic.
Breakfast at Arlene’s in Alcester was a success. At least in the sense that those who came had fun, and the food was great and cheap. We all know that BMW riders love a good deal. Sadly only eight Autobahners and only ONE Big Sioux Rider showed. The Big Sioux Riders should plan the next group meet, I say.
Lastly, I’m looking for pictures and logos to put on the blogspot website. If you have some in .jpeg or .gif format please send them to me so I can post them and dress up the site.

Chad “skid” Gillen, Prez

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Arlene is looking forward to us on Saturday April 25th. She requested that we be there at 9:30 AM rather than 09:00 AM due to her regular crowd and to have enough room for all of us. She asked that we be patient if we come in with a large group. She seemed very happy that we thought of her cafe for a meeting place. So, Autobahner's if you want to ride as a group plan on meeting at Pilot at 08:00 AM and we will leave at 08:15 AM. According to Google maps and using SD HWY 11 this will get us there right on time. Otherwise meet at Arlene's Sunny Side Cafe, 111 Iowa St., Alcester, SD at 09:30 AM. I forgot to ask if they take credit/debit cards, so be prepared to use cash. Afterwards, we can ride and explore some of the great riding roads nearby.

Chad Gillen, Prez

Monday, March 23, 2009

April 2009 President's Message

Well, Black Betty (2002 R1150R) is back from Judson Cycle safe and sound. One of my ratchet tie downs broke and luckily I found it as I was loading it up. It was the ratchet itself that was broken. It seemed strange to me. Judson helped me out by giving me some BMW shipping straps and got her secured in no time. The webbing on those straps are stout and look like plastic covered Kevlar or something. Sad thing is that I’ve been sick with bronchitis and haven’t ridden it yet, and now the weather is going back to snow. One of my own safety rules I set a couple years back is that I never ride when I’m sick. It is too easy to lose focus and let your symptoms occupy your attention.
Bylaws committee met for the first time and we found out there are two sets of bylaws out there, and it is uncertain what we are operating under. However, those that were present did come to some mutual conclusions and one of those is that most members like that this is an informal club. In fact, after the meeting I ran into a BMW rider (R1100R) who is not a member. I gave him a club card and introduced myself. He said that he isn’t one to be in a club. I explained to him how informal we are, and I believe that he may come to a Wednesday ride & eat or a Saturday breakfast.
Speaking of Saturday breakfasts, I am setting April 25th as the joint breakfast to meet with the Big Sioux Riders. Right now the plan is to meet at Arlene’s Sunnyside CafĂ©, 111 Iowa St, Alcester, SD at 9 AM. This is a one-hour ride for both clubs. I’ve never been there, but I will be doing some checking to make sure that they can handle us. Look for updates on the new blogspot website that I started. Check it out at This will have similar information, plus more, that you find in the club newsletter. You do not have to sign in and be a follower of the site, blogspot is just an easy way to get our club on the web. Deb sent me some club logos to put on it, but I have yet to figure out how to change a .doc file to a .jpeg file. If you have pictures, videos, articles, items for sale, or anything you want to add the site, send me an email and I’ll post it.
Lastly, if you are not getting the newsletter by email, and have the ability to do so, please do. Keeping costs down, means keeping dues down. And if you haven’t paid your dues by now, Why not? It’s April already. Stay alert and ride safe.

Chad “skid” Gillen, Prez

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Re-education Ride

So you’ve gone over your bike with a fine-tooth comb, and topped off the tank with premium gas, now where do you ride? I suggest the nearest clean, vacant parking lot. Why? To hone up on those skills that perished over the winter. Yes, you do lose skills. Human beings are complacent animals, and we have to force ourselves not to be complacent. I recently saw evidence of this in my daughter’s Girl Scout cookie order form. Come on, how hard is it to fill out your full name and address on a simple form? (Thanks for the orders by the way.) Some of the skills we typically lose are: stopping quickly, stopping quickly in a curve, swerving, and limited-space maneuvers.
Let’s start with a basic skill such as stopping quickly. From a stop, accelerate to about 15 to 18 MPH, and up into second gear. Stabilize your speed and initiate a quick stop by first squeezing the clutch, squeezing the front brake, pressing down to downshift, pressing down on the rear brake, and then putting your left foot down first when the cycle comes to a stop. I always tell my students, “Squeeze 2, Press 2, and left foot down.” Remember it is “squeezing” and “pressing” not “grabbing” and “stomping.” For those of us with ABS, remember to stay on the brakes, don’t let off or “pump” the brakes. Trust the system. ABS activation may increase your stopping distance, but it is definitely a shorter distance than a skid. Now for those who don’t have ABS: if the front tire skids, immediately release the front brake to get the front tire rolling again, and then reapply properly. If the rear tire skids, keep it locked and ride out the skid until you stop.
Next let’s consider stopping quickly in a curve. An example of this is when you come around a blind corner, find your lane blocked and must stop. Of course you will initiate your stop as before, but there are some important things you must do first. You must have the bike straightened back upright and your handlebars squared when coming to a stop. If you don’t, you will drop the bike on the side that is leaning over. So let’s start from a stop again and get up to speed in 2nd gear. Start a curve to the left and get the bike leaning over to the left. Imagine an obstacle in your path. Keep your head and eyes up and straight ahead. Now press on the handlebars in the opposite direction of the lean, the right, to get the bike upright, squeeze 2, press 2, and put your left foot down while coming to a stop with the handlebars square to the bike. Now practice it to the right. According to BMW the ABS system is not effective while turning, so ABS-equipped owners need to practice this exercise just as much as non-ABS riders.
Now the difference between a swerve and a turn on a cycle is that in a swerve you keep your body upright, independent of the motorcycle lean. This is especially useful this time of year when that huge pothole springs up on you unexpectedly. A swerve can be thought of as two consecutive countersteers, one to avoid an obstacle followed immediately by another to regain the original direction. Again get your cycle up to speed in 2nd gear. Imagine your pothole, give a firm press left on the handlebars, let the bike recover going past the obstacle, give a firm press right on the handlebars, let the bike recover back into your original path of travel. Maintain your speed in the swerve, don’t brake, and keep your head and eyes up, and body upright, independent of motorcycle lean.
Limited-space maneuvers are those slow, tight turns like a U-turn in a parking lot, such as jockeying for an open gas pump or that parking spot you want to back into. With these tight turns you use the counterweight technique where you lean your body toward the outside of the turn and turn the handlebars in the direction you want to go. (Normal turning of a cycle at speed, you press on the side of the handlebar you want to go. To turn right, you press right and lean with the cycle.) You’ll also want to put pressure down on the outside footrest, and sometimes shifting your hips towards the outside part of the seat helps too. You MUST turn your head and look where you want to go, but keep your head and eyes up. If you look down, you go down. Cover the clutch lever but not the front brake. On BMW’s we have a dry clutch, so most of us can use idle throttle and regulate speed using the rear brake. On a wet clutch bike you use the friction zone of the clutch to regulate the speed, not the throttle. To practice pick a nice clean spot of about 3 and 3 parking stalls. Pull into the area in first gear, travel down the outer edge lengthwise. At the end, make a U-turn to the left, coming back towards the line you just traveled down, and then make an immediate U-turn to the right, and go straight out traveling down the opposite outer edge lengthwise. If you ever took the Basic Rider Course, you may have referred to this as the “box.” Now see if you can make your box smaller.
Hopefully these little practice sessions get you feeling like you are one with the bike again. A meld of man and machine, and prepared for what life throws at you. Next time, How to deal with “cagers” that think the road is made for only them, and no one else.

Chad “skid”Gillen (2008)

Monday, March 2, 2009

March 2009 President's Message

I took “Black Betty” up to Judson Cycle, for the first time, on the 10th for its 24,000-mile service. I had to trailer it since I had Raina and Piper with me. And just some little advice from experience, while traveling on the two lane portion of MN Hwy 60 near Mountain Lake and the speed limit backs down to 60 MPH, SLOW DOWN! Troopers there like to pull you over at 9 over the limit apparently. Anyway, Judson’s showroom was so packed with bikes you could barely walk in there. They even had a 2009 G650GS. I didn’t spend much time there except to get a hat for my Father-in-law’s birthday. We then used the restroom, got lunch at DQ, and headed back to Sioux Falls.
Shannon Lesko is planning a ride and eat at Devinci Ristorante in Sioux City. They have a private room that will seat up to 300 people. It may turn out to be a European bike night event. ( The Mrs. and I love Italian and we are salivating about it.
Also it was brought up that we could get together with the Big Sioux Riders on a Saturday morning for breakfast at some location between Sioux Falls and Sioux City. If anyone knows of a good place, let me know or feel free to take the ball and run with it yourself. And if anyone has any ideas for small rides together feel free to contact me or Deb and we’ll get them in the newsletter.
Lastly, I’m pushing for the time for Wednesday’s Ride and Eats to start at 6PM to make it easier for a lot of us instead of 5:30 PM.

Chad Gillen

P.S. Have you paid your dues yet?