A small group of BMW fanatics got it all started back in 1975.
BMW Motorcycles of Colorado Springs – known by all as “Doc’s” – was one of those small, friendly shops common back in those days. Doc was actually Claude Baum, a lifelong BMW rider. There was a lounge where riders could swap lies, fill up on coffee and donuts, and meet other BMW riders. There was a back room with tools and work area. Doc’s rule was simple: if you bought your bike from him, you could work on it in the back room and use the wash rack. In fact, it was Doc himself who would send you to the wash rack if your bike wasn’t up to his standard.
Two riders, Jay Kuhns and Larry Allen, both new R90/6 owners, fell into a friendship that included lunches on Saturday and rides on Sunday. It was in the shop lounge that Larry started talking about starting a club. Doc overheard the conversation and asked how he could help. They soon agreed that Larry would get the postcards to get the whole thing started, and Doc would address them to all of his customers that had purchased BMW’s over the last two years. Everyone was surprised when 40 people showed that Sunday afternoon at Doc’s house for that first meeting, and a club was born.
A steering committee was formed, the national clubs were contacted for help with bylaws and any other advice they might have. Doc loaned the club money to buy patches and get things started and a couple of professionals went to work on getting a state charter. There was even a printer in that initial group that helped out the club with printing needs. Then, as now, a core group of volunteers made it all happen.
With priorities always in order, meetings were on Wednesdays, but Sundays were reserved for riding! Each month featured a scheduled ride, but there was always someone going somewhere, looking for ride companions. That first year culminated with a Halloween party and a Christmas celebration.
So how much have things changed in 35 years? In some ways things are completely different, in other ways not much at all. Back then, all of the bikes featured two cylinders, one on either side. Today, of course, we have members riding bikes with everything from one cylinder to six. We have riders that spend most of their time off-road, others that race vintage, and one that recently tested out his new S1000RR at the famed Bandimere Speedway drag strip outside Denver.
But some things never change. The club had its first Pikes Peak Climb 35 years ago, and we just completed our most recent ascent in August, reasserting our claim to be the “Highest BMW Club in the USA”. Now, just as then, the mountain roads of Colorado call to us every weekend through the summer, supplemented by those beautiful crystal-clear winter days where we ride the plains of southern and eastern Colorado.
Three of the original Charter Members recently attended the annual club picnic. Jay Kuhns is an MOA Ambassador and Steve Aikens is very well known in the BMW oilhead community. Conrad Kauk reluctantly hung up his leathers after 1,112,000 riding miles. Yep, seven digits in that mileage number! Connie is pretty quiet about it, but he has led quite a life on two wheels.
Sadly, Doc passed away a short time ago. But his legacy lives on. The club today is well over 100 members strong! There are a surprising number of new and younger riders buying BMW’s these days, and the club is doing what it can to make them a part of our community. A new website, new activities, more rides, and an energized officer’s group – every effort helps. We even have a Facebook page. What has the world come to?
You’ll find us under the blue Pikes Peak banner at most any rally held in the Rocky Mountain region. And, of course, we’re always ready to show anyone a few of our favorite mountain roads.
On behalf of the current members, we would like to thank those volunteers that started the club and those that kept it active for 35 years and counting. The next generation of club leaders is already emerging and I’m sure the next 35 years will be just as successful.