The Future of Tech IS Education!

TECH ENHANCEMENT: 2029

THE OPERATING SYSTEM

An open source, education focused OS based on Linux, LinED was used around the world and developed continuously by legions of users.  You couldn’t access the school internet without installing LinED.  Students installed it as a second OS on their computers and many ended up using it as their primary system because of all the free/subsidized software they could get on it.  A student could outfit a LinEd machine with a full suite of media, gaming and productivity software for less than the cost of a single corporate production suite.

When on a school network designed for it, LinED feeds a continuous stream of activity to your school profile.  Percentages of time with certain web pages open, applications running, even data on eye movement when reading a screen.  Students have continual access to their own data, allowing them to self-evaluate around productive use of time.  This feed back loop was one of the key events that broke the cycle of digital irrelevancy in schools and prompted students to use digital tools effectively, rather than having website designers using them as business interests saw fit.  Using LinED encourages digital citizenship, and digital learning, keeping the massive distraction engine of the internet at bay while still offering students access to resources.  This could only happen in an open source environment; users have to own their thought space online.


THE SOFTWARE

Within the LinED environment, students have quick and easy access to cloud based tools for learning.  But as a redundancy, these cloud based systems also install on-machine apps that allow students to minimize bandwidth use while maximizing productivity.  Network failure no longer means a loss of access to information. Students often fail to notice long return times on network/cloud apps because the work is balanced between their desktop machine and the cloud in such a way as to make bandwidth issues irrelevant.

An intelligent and responsive network enables much more efficient use of network resources.  Web access uses a complex algorithm to prioritize traffic, thus affecting loading times.  A student with a high social media activity and low performance in learning metrics find social media pages being deprioritized and loading more slowly, eventually stopping if they continued to allow themselves to be distracted.  Students who develop a balance between personal web use and learning never notice a slow down.  Students who prioritize learning on the network were rewarded by stunningly fast bandwidth.

Teacher grading is automatically synced with the student data and can be continuously checked by all interested parties.  Success not only means greater resource availability, but also offers support staff an opportunity to see class activity in a live environment, and intervene earlier in order to help students achieve an effective balance.

Any student with a LinED system is able to access apps and software at reduced rates, often free.  Students find that their LinED app ecosystem is rich with resources when compared to the private sector.  Even game companies buy into the system, offering reduced cost or free access to gaming environments tied to educational success.  Good students found themselves with free VirtuWoW and other game accounts on Learning+ servers, where they were able to socially network with other like-minded students, often leading to enrichment and collaboration that further supports them in the classroom and beyond.

This has greatly served to change the definition of student.

By developing a coherent feed-back system between education and technology, students (and teachers) find themselves in a blossoming ecosystem of applications, games and social networks that all benefit and spring from learning focus.  The subtext of learning colours all other opportunities, allowing the idea of continuous erudition to flourish within technology.

Developers quickly find that Learning+ communities online contain highly motivated, engaged and creative individuals, who make ideal Beta communities for developing new media and ideas.  They were willing to test and develop where most vanilla, private users merely wanted to use.  The resource begins to feed itself.

Identifying and rewarding life-long learners goes well beyond what is happening in schools, and has prompted a digital renaissance, eventually outpacing the “limited, short-attention-span, internet for quick gain and empty use” model that preceded it.  Developing interrogative digital citizens was key to this Web3.0 revolution.

THE HARDWARE

The mobilization of technology had already begun prior to the network catching up.  With advances in nano-technology which prompted leaps in quantum computing, mobilization went through a brief period of hyper-miniaturization.  Most computers now consist of small, hands-free devices that linked to interactive holographic displays.  A smartphone sized device now represents the computing power of a typical desktop machine from 2015.  With projected keyboards and screens, the smartphone evolves into the nexus for digital contact without having to carry energy and space intensive peripherals.

All of this was conceptualized prior to the takeoff in nano-technology.  Post nano-tech, manufacture has become a relatively straightforward process and the computer, finally, has become truly personal.  Modern computers act symbiotically with their users, recharging from their activity and enhancing their experiences.  The internet is no longer in cyberspace, cyberspace is now all around us.

In a typical classroom students walk into class with their PCs fully powered (recharged from the compression motion on shoes while walking).  The room’s holographic projector links to each device, bringing the student online and showing them their own enhanced reality.  The card-like smartphone descendants students carry now are resilient, networked and self contained, redundant, self-charging and intuitively designed to enhance and focus, rather than distract and commoditize, their user’s attention.  An app that distracts a user at a critical moment causing injury or damage is legally liable for their distraction.

It has taken many years of intensive reworking to make laws relevant to a cusp-of-a-singularity world.  In most cases, people prepared to step into the singularity do, though many stay behind to shepherd the lost and confused toward the light.

This was almost disastrous initially.  Until the networks and software became individually serving rather than serving marketing interests, the internet was a very dangerous place to be jacked into all the time.  The push for computer control on the roads came after a sharp upspike in accidents when personal holographics first appeared.

It wasn’t until systems like LinED, and the vetted software it allowed, and other systems like VirtuOS that recognized that digital permanency meant that marketing couldn’t be continuous and distraction was libelous.

Wearing a computer is now akin to putting on trousers, everyone does it one leg at a time, but everyone does it.

Why On Earth Would They Do That?

A conversation with one of my students at lunch today:

Lyndon demonstrating, ‘it’s hard’ 

“What are you watching?”
Footage from today’s stage of the Dakar race.”
“What’s that?”
“The hardest race in the world.”
“Why is it so hard?”
“It’s thousands of kilometres of dangerous off road racing with cars, bikes & trucks with little sleep over weeks at a time. Many people who start it don’t finish. People die on it almost every year.”
This very smart grade 9 student was confused. Finally she asked, “Why would anyone do that?”
“Because it’s difficult,” I replied.
She ruminated on that a moment then asked, “why is it so dangerous?”
“Because people race it in cars, trucks, quads and bikes, all at the same time over deserts, mountains and jungles. If you’re on a smaller vehicle it becomes even more dangerous than it already is.”
“Why on earth would anyone do that on a motorcycle?!?”

“Because it’s even more difficult…”


Is attempting the dangerous and difficult with ample chance of failure a bad idea, or the point of it all?  Risk nothing and you lose everything.

If you haven’t been keeping up with the race this year, it’s still all to play for.  If you want the official feed you can find it on the Dakar YouTube channel.  


If you’re into documentary film making using the latest in state of the art video and on the fly editing, Lyndon Posskitt’s Youtube Channel will take you through the race one gruelling stage at a time.  If you’ve got some time, watch Lyndon’s Malle Moto – The Forgotten Dakar Story about last year’s race.  It’ll set you up for this year’s harrowing adventure.

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Another Lousy Weather Long Weekend Daydream

With hail hitting the windows, here’s another load-up-the-van daydream, this time over the Easter long weekend…


It’s up in the teens Celsius in Cincinnati, and it’s close by, less than eight hours away.  If I’d have gone to work on Thursday with the bike loaded up in the van, I could have been on my way by 3:30pm and feet up in a hotel on the Ohio River before midnight.  The next morning I’d be exploring what looks like a plethora of interesting routes up and down the River on the Kentucky side, all in mid-teens temperatures.


Spoiled for choice:



Cincinnati is so close I could finish up with a short ride Monday morning and be on the road about noon, which would get me back up into the still frozen north by eight in the evening.


Another angle might be to aim just east of Columbus, Ohio.  There are a large number of motorbike roads out that way on the edge of the Appalachians.  Zanesville, Ohio would be a great launching point to dozens of rides, and it’s less than seven hours away.  Due south of town is the Triple Nickel, along with a pile of other very twisty roads.  Temperatures out in eastern Ohio are similar to those in Cinci.

Flirting with the West Virginia border means wandering onto the foot hills of the Appalachians.  Every road in the area is twisty, even the ones leading to the riding roads.  This is even closer than the Cinci plan, and twistier too.



The weather’s getting better everywhere else but here.  With above zero temperatures still weeks away, I remain reduced to daydreaming about rides out of reach.






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Dirty Vocational Subjects Sullying the August Disciplines

… I can’t tell if Virginia is being faceitious or not.  Probably not.  Brains are paramount in academics, they may as well be in jars.  I wonder what Matt Crawford would say about this article.


https://temkblog.blogspot.com/2019/09/there-is-no-stem.html
As one of those vocational teacher types the ‘august disciplines” have yoked themselves to, I’m once again thumped in the head with just how classist the education system is, but it was a bit of a shock to see WIRED advocating it.  I wrote about how there really is no such thing as STEM, at least in Ontario classrooms, in September.   Nice to see WIRED weighing in on the pedagogical smokescreen that is STEM, though I don’t think they disentangled it very effectively.


Mathematics (aka: ‘the great harmonies of the universe’) and science (“a byword for knowledge”) are pretty much all STEM are about when it comes to application in the classroom.  There has been no real movement on technology and engineering in the high schools where we are.  All STEM has done is paid for math manipulables and fund science.  Technology and especially engineering are still an afterthought at best.  If you’ve been fooled by the STEM smokescreen to think that there is any collaboration between those august disciplines and the filthy vocational teachers, you can relax, because there isn’t.  If you want to be an engineer in university, take science and maths courses, because that’s all there is in most high schools.


If you’ve ever wondered why technology students (and their teachers) feel disenfranchised in their own schools, WIRED has made that clear in this month’s edition…

An op-ed piece on how the august disciplines that have defined education since antiquity have yoked themselves to vocational fields, along with a cover article about one of those vocational types who dropped out of engineering to make things.  WIRED’s come here go away editorial stance is a bit hard to follow.

You’d expect academic types in The Atlantic to rip on skills based education in favour of their own university disciplines, but WIRED ripping on engineering and technology?  I’m at a loss to understand the end game there.

STEM is indeed nonsense, and I don’t disagree with a lot of what Virginia says about how the STEM smokescreen has gone down, other than to say that STEM never really happened at all for those of us at the bottom end of the educational value spectrum.


… because there isn’t.  It’s a just SM, as it’s always been: temkblog.blogspot.com/2019/09/there-is-no-stem.html

 

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Replacing Triumph Tiger fuel tank couplings

According to Haynes, the Tiger’s gas
lines will automatically close when you
unplug them, except when they don’t
and make a mess.

I’ve owned the Triumph Tiger for a season now and intend to do some maintenance on it while the snow if flying.  Pretty much everything you need to get to is under the gas tank, which is a pain in the ass to remove.  More so in my case because the lower fuel line doesn’t self seal like it’s supposed to.


Last summer I had the tank off for the first time and it poured gas everywhere.  I ended up sticking a pencil in it to slow down the flow.  A gas leak isn’t a big deal on a warm summer day, but it’s -20°C outside at the moment and heating the garage with a gas leak is problematic (I use a propane heater).


By the time I found that I couldn’t get the valve to seal there was a lot of gas about.  I ended up washing the bike and floor clean with the water hose, but doing that in a cold snap is pretty miserable.  It’s turned the driveway into a skating rink.


With the gas line back on I decided to have a look online and see what people say about early two thousand Triumph gas lines.  It turns out they don’t say nice things about them.  Rather than using more durable metal fittings for the gas line releases, Triumph saved some money and put on problematic plastic ones.  They evidently did a recall but they only ever replaced the leaking ones so some bikes have half metal half plastic.  In my case they’re all original plastic ones.  I eventually came across this video which led me to a site with a detailed fix.

If you join tigertriple.com (free) you get a detailed how-to on fixing the under-engineered fuel fittings on a Triumph thanks to Evilbetty.

I bounced over to quickcouplings.net and ordered the needed bits:



They’ve got a good reputation so I should have the parts next week.  Some people had issues with the smaller sized end so I got a couple of the larger ones.  It was $18 extra but it means I’ll be able to do this once and be done.  I’ve probably already lost ten bucks in gas on this.  
Next up will be draining the gas tank which I topped up for winter storage.  With the tank empty I’ll be ready to go with the fitting change.  I’ll post on that when it happens.

Front wheel up and ready for
some fork attention – eventually

I was removing the tank to start the fork oil change.  That’s been a pain in the neck as well.  I went down to Two Wheel on January 2nd only to discover that they were closed.  I figured I was already half way to Guelph so went over to Royal Distributing to get the fork oil.  With two bottles of the stuff in hand (not on sale) I headed over to the register to discover a forty minute line up to get out the door.  It’s this kind of thing that prompts me to buy things online.  I ended up walking out the door without the oil.


At my local Canadian Tire I had a nice chat with a former student now taking welding in college and he rainchecked me some quality synthetic fork oil that was on sale for much less than Royal Distributing was charging anyway.  No line up, no shipping costs and the oil will be here in two days.  Because of the gas tank fittings it all ended up being not time sensitive anyway, so a two day wait and some money saved is all good.


Anyway, onwards and upwards.  The drained tank first and then install the upgraded fittings, then on to fork oil and a coolant flush (that also requires gas tank removal).  Considering the majority of maintenance on the Tiger (even changing the air filter) requires gas tank removal, using dodgy plastic fittings (replaced in later models) wasn’t a great idea.  Failing to get them all replaced in a recall was another dropped ball.  I knew that running a thirteen year old European bike as my daily rider would be a challenge.  If I can get these oversights sorted, hopefully I can get another good season out of it.

Washed clean and with a minus twenty windchill blowing in under the garage door.  Not the best time of year to mess around with a gas leak, but I’ve found a fix.


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The 2017 MotoGP rider of the year?


With the 2017 MotoGP season behind us I’ve been thinking about who I’d vote for rider of the year.  I tend to steer clear of the factory riders because when you have truckloads of people getting you around the track as quickly as humanly possible you should be at the sharp end of the championship.  There are exceptions to that, like Marc Marquez in 2014, when a rider seems to be in a class of one, but this year that didn’t happen.

It was a scrappy season with many leaders in the championship.  What first looked like a runaway by Yamaha’s new rider Maverick Viñales turned into a season long fight between Marquez on an ever improving Honda that only he seemed able to ride and Andrea Dovizioso on a Ducati he has stuck with and helped develop into a race winning weapon.  At various points in the season Yamaha, Honda and Ducati all led the championship.


As exciting as all that was the rider of the year for me was Johann Zarco.  In his first MotoGP race he leapt into the lead and although he didn’t last there very long it made a huge splash.  While the top riders are making big bucks and have dozens of support people, Zarco, a rookie in a small, private team using last year’s bike and making a fraction of the money ended up being the only Yamaha rider fighting for wins by the end of the season.  Marquez’ mum wasn’t begging anyone else to not do to her son what he does to everyone else.


That’s another reason why I like Zarco, he’s an odd duck.  He doesn’t play the whining in the media game many of the top riders do, he just gets on with the job without the retinues, fancy sunglasses and stylists.  He’s known for spending his time in the pits with his crew and sleeping in the truck.  At each race he sorted out the bike and then got into the mix.  While riders like Marquez (with a long history of crashing and general nonsense) whined about Zarco’s ‘aggressive riding style’, Zarco just shrugged and did the business, on a year old bike, for a fraction of the money, with a fraction of the support.  That’s why he’s my rider of 2017.  I look forward to him giving the big money riders some more grief in 2018.  Hopefully they won’t whine about it quite so much, but I wouldn’t count on it.

I went looking for some TechTrois / Zarco kit, but it’s sadly lacking.  There is a photo of Johann at full lean on the Tech3 bike – I’ve pulled the colours out of it so it could go on any coloured shirt as an outline.  Between that and his logo, you’d have a nice bit of custom shirtery that celebrates the warrior monk of MotoGP.  


Here’s the link to it on Zazzle.  Below is the image and the graphic I pulled out of it if you want to DIY up something.


The photo simplified into a coloured graphic…



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Box Hill On a Sunny Sunday Morning

If you’re ever in the southern end of the London suburbs, Box Hill is a local meeting place for motorcyclists.  On the sunny, August, Sunday morning I was there it was already busy at 9am and had thousands pass by over the day.  If you get a chance to go see it you’ll get a good sense of just how diverse and how different UK motorcycling culture is from North American cruiser biased riding culture.  It’s little wonder that there are multiple British riders in MotoGP, but North Americans are thin on the ground.

From 50cc classics to 2300cc modern monster bikes, Box Hill had it all on a Sunday morning.  It’s a strange thing seeing British imagery substituted for the Stars and Stripes when you’re used to seeing Americana everywhere.

Inside Ryka’s, the restaurant/coffee shop in the parking lot at Box Hill, there is a lot of British motorcycling memorabilia.

My cousin Jeff (who has done hundreds of thousands of miles on two wheels) looking over his dream machine.

On the back of one old timer’s jacket – what you’d expect to find in the UK.

Lots of customization on hand.  UK riders seem particularly drawn to farkling their bikes.

A local dealer on hand to show of the latest Hondas.

A hand stitched webby seat on a very customized machine.

Just in case you felt your Triumph wasn’t British enough.

There were more Indians than Harleys in the lot.

Well marked territory.

The lot was already over half full when we got there and just got busier and busier by the time we left just past 10am.

Lots of Triumph on display.

After weeks only glimpsing motorcycles on the road, this was a good fill up.  I only wish I’d had the Tiger there – it would have been the only 955i Tiger in the lot.

Tim’s happy bike face.

They ride everything, but if there is a single type of bike that typifies the British biker, it’s still the sports bike, at least on Box Hill.

A small contingent of what would be the dominant form of riding in North America proudly showing of patches with such wisdom as ‘loud pipes save lives’.

An hour of wandering around was nice, but when you show up in shorts and get out of a car you’re only half there.  I never missed the Tiger more than that morning at Box Hill.
What do you do after you’ve gone up to Box Hill, had breakfast at Ryka’s and chatted with other riders?  You open it up going down the hill like this guy did.

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Mechanical Satisfaction

The Concours carburetors weren’t snapping back when I released the throttle. Everything worked, but they wouldn’t close on their own as they should. I removed the carbs, reset the butterflies so they all closed properly and replaced a bent spring. With everything lubed up and working freely, I reinstalled the carbs and ran the throttle cables over and along the top of the frame rather than around the side, trying to have the throttle cables address the carbs as perpendicularly as possible.  With the cables properly tightened, the carbs snap shut when the throttle is released as they should.

My to-do list on the Concours is down to a rebuild of the master break cylinder.  The part isn’t expensive.  I’d purchased a set and did it on the Yamaha XS1100 I had before, so the Concours should be pretty straightforward.
I also have to sort out a rear light and body panels for the back end.  I’d asked if they could be done at school in the metal shop, but asking for work to get done there seems to result in it disappearing down a hole.  I’d rather do the work myself anyway.  The plan is to form the panels for the back end and find a rear brake light with indicators built in and wire it in to the back end.

The last job is going to be reworking the radiator reservoir to somewhere around the battery box.  With that done, in theory, the Connie will be ready to begin test riding the kinks out.





Follow-up:  rear brake lights were found on ebay – let’s hope they arrive this time.


If they do then ebay is a more dependable shipper than the Amazon Marketplace, which seems pretty bizarre, but there you are.

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Your Typical Sunday Ride Isn’t My Typical Sunday Ride

a 260km amble around
theNiagara Escarpment
.

I cranked out some miles on the Tiger this weekend.  On Saturday it was a 160km round trip down to Ancaster for a conference, on Sunday I left with a buddy from work along with his wife and son on a big 260km loop out to the Niagara Escarpment and back.

Jeff was two up on his new-to-him Goldwing and he son was on his dad’s Super Ténéré.  We left Fergus following the Grand River and immediately came upon two cruisers burbling down the road next to each other.  Any questions I had about passing etiquette on other bikers were quickly put aside when Jeff dropped a gear and blew by the two of them without a second glance.   They (politely) went into single file so that we could catch the fleeing Goldwing without crossing a solid line.

Chasing the Noisy River into
Creemore is always a nice ride.

Elora to Creemore happened in a snap and the Tiger was becoming more and more familiar with each mile traveled.  Chasing the Noisy River into Creemore was well timed on empty roads and the Tiger and I had no trouble keeping up with the more experienced riders around me.

We stopped for lunch in Creemore and then helped a Harley rider try and jump start his dead, brand new bike (his typical Sunday ride, but I like my dependable, thirteen year old Triumph).  He eventually found a local who offered to jump start the bike from a truck.  After working up a sweat pushing a Harley up and down Main Street for a several minutes in our modern, textile body armor (while being watched by groups of leather clad bikers who I’m sure felt great kinship with the old fella whose bike wouldn’t start, but not so much that they wanted to help), we headed south toward River Road.

In addition to being a windy road in a
place that doesn’t have many, River
Road also has the benefit of taking
longer than five minutes to complete.

The River Road was a twisty delight.  Riding a bike is a fine thing, but the moment I’m off the crown of the tire I feel like I’m earning bonus points.  At my first training course towards the end of day two they set up cones and we were allowed to weave through them at speed and then ride a decreasing radius circle.  I stopped at one point and said to the instructor, “I could do this all day!”  The lean of a bike is nothing short of fighter-pilot magical (even Top Gear digs it).

River Road was a rollercoaster ride until we once again arrived on the tailpipe of a cruiser.  On any straight this guy would gun it, making a pass impractical (200km/hr passes, while possible, aren’t wise on twisty country roads).  We spent the last bit taking the corners at floor board friendly speeds.

The action cam was clipped to a front
fairing for the twisty bits.

In Shelbourne there was a big, new sign advertising the Veteran’s Highway pointing south, so rather than go over to the overcrowded Highway 10 I thought we should try it.  The moment we were past the last factory two hundred yards down the road the “Veteran’s Highway” turned to dirt.  The Tiger seemed frisky and excited to be on the loose stuff, feeling very sure footed for such a big bike.  Behind me the Super10 was also rolicking in the gravel, but the two-up Goldwing?  When we stopped Jeff referred to it as an adventure two-up mobility scooter.  We turned left toward the highway at the first paved intersection.

The wave on River Road

Back at Highway 10 I once again suggested we push onto unknown roads in northern Mono Hills.  This road also quickly turned to gravel, but this time loose, twitchy gravel.  I’m bad at picking roads.  We ended up turning around and heading back to 10 before burning south and enjoying some time in Mono Hills and Hockley Valley.

We wrapped up the ride with a quick blast down the Forks of the Credit, which had the road closed into Belfountain, before heading back to Elora in lengthening shadows.

I got home sun and wind burned and wonderfully exhausted.  Can’t wait to do it again!

Dropping into Hockley Valley.

That ‘Lucifer Orange’ paint just pops!

Working the corners of the Forks

Jeff making a three point turn on a Goldwing 2-up look easy.

Forks of the Credit: the road into Belfountain was closed, so a bevy of sports bikes were parked on the road.

The artful exhaust pipes on the Tiger.

Stopping for a break in Hockley Valley before heading down to the Forks of the Credit



Moments From My First Season On Two Wheels

From a new (to me) Ninja with 8100 miles  to 11,410 miles by the end of my first season, April to October, 3,310 miles, … 5296kms.

2013: Out and about on 2 wheels!

The first time I looked at that map I wondered why I didn’t go further afield, but I did make some longer sorties.  Next year I’ll make a point of doing some overnight riding trips

Here are some moments from my first year in the saddle:

The first time I changed gears without consciously thinking about it was probably about a month into riding.  I then immediately became aware of the fact that I’d just changed gears without thinking it all through and had to focus on the road again before I rode off it.

In that first month I kept pushing further away from home.  The first time I went on our local (rural) highway I had a lot on my mind.  I found a left hand turn and got myself into the turning lane.  In a gap in traffic I began to make the turn and gave it (way) too much throttle, my first wheelie while turning left on my first ride on a highway!  I leaned into the bike and got the front wheel down in time to make the corner.  The kid in the Cavalier waiting to pull on to the highway got all excited by my wheelie and did a huge burnout onto the highway.  I had to laugh, I’d scared the shit out of myself and he thought I was showing off.

First time I was on a major (ie: limited access) highway, I’m riding up toward Waterloo through Kitchener and the new slab of tarmac I’m on begins to taper out.  It’s the kind of thing you wouldn’t think twice about in a car, but I couldn’t cut across this.  The new pavement began to peter out and I ended up slipping three inches down onto the old pavement, sideways, doing about 90km/hr.  The clench factor was high, it felt like the bike just fell out from under me.  That was the first time I really realized how little is around me on a bike, and the first time I had trouble understanding what it was doing under me.

The lightning is to remind 348
drivers that it’s fast… for a car

Early on I was out on local back roads getting used to the Ninja.  I pulled up to a light and a red Ferrari 348 pulled up next to me with a very smug looking boomer at the wheel.  He started blipping the throttle.  I’d never really even gone into the top half of the rev range on the Ninja, I only knew what it might be capable of from stories online.  The light changed and I twisted the throttle harder than I ever had before (which probably meant about 75% rather than 50%).  I didn’t know where the Ferrari was but it wasn’t next to me.  The Ninja is quick in the lower part of its rev range, more than able to stay ahead of the traffic around it.  In the upper half of its rev range something entirely different happens… it lunges.  I made a clean shift into second even while registering astonishment at what my little 649cc parallel twin could do when that second cam came on.  Second gear lasted for about a second before I had to do it again for third.  I eased off and sat up to look over my shoulder, the Ferrari was many car lengths back.  My little thirty five hundred dollar mid-sized Ninja could eat Ferraris for breakfast.  I’ve owned some fast cars in my time, this thing was something else entirely.

On the long ride back from Bobcaygeon I was within half an hour of home when I was trundling along behind a greige (grey/beige – featureless and soulless) mini-van at 75km/hr.  By this point I’m getting comfortable on the bike and have a sense of how it can pass and brake (astonishingly well!).  In my helmet I suddenly ask myself, “why are you following this clown?  If you had bought a Lamborghini would you be driving along in the row behind this P.O.S.?”  I passed the mini-van on the next broken line (easily) and, in that moment, adjusted my riding style to suit the vehicle I’m on.  Everything is still by the book (indicators, shoulder checks, passing on broken lines), but I don’t wait for BDCs to begin paying attention to what they are doing, I just put them behind me.

Speaking of which, I’m riding in Guelph in the summer on the Hanlon highway and the old guy in a Toyota appliance (it was even the same colour as a fridge) pulls right into where I was, no indicator, no shoulder check… at least he wasn’t on a phone.  I had the radar on and could see what he was going to do before he did it.  Being on a bike I was able to brake and swing over onto the curb in order to avoid getting mashed; my first experience of being invisible on a bike.  I had to look down to find the horn, I’d never used it before.  He studiously ignored me.  What is it about people in cars not feeling responsible for what they are doing?

The commute to Milton and back was a big part of my first season.  It began after I got back from my longest trip to Bobcaygeon over the Canada Day weekend.  I quickly had to get rain gear sorted out after deciding to take the bike every day rain or shine.  In those three weeks I rode 400 series highways, big city streets and miles of country road.  Temperatures ranged from 8 degree fog to 36 degree sun beating down.

One morning I left torrential rain and rode the whole way through fog, rain and spray.  Another day coming home the sky in front of me turned green and purple, real end of the world stuff.  I stopped and got the rain gear on and rode into what felt like a solid curtain of water only thirty seconds later.  As the wind came up and the rain went sideways I remember thinking, “OK, if you see a funnel cloud just hang on to the bike, you’re heavier with it than without.”  The bike’s narrow tires cut down to the pavement even as the wind was trying to send me into the trees.  I eventually rode out of that darkness and decided that if a bike can track through that it can handle any rain.  The commute also contained the first time I didn’t think twice about riding through a busy city.  Riding day in and day out on the bike gets you comfortable with it quickly.

My first tentative steps onto the 401 (staying in the inside lane for the whole 13kms) quickly turned into opening up the bike and syncing with traffic in the left hand lane.  I think a lot of that had to do with coming to trust what the bike can do, and what it can do is quite astonishing.

River Road out of Horning’s Mills

My last big fall ride before the end of the season had me doing one of my biggest rides down some of the best roads within a hundred kilometres of where I live.  The bike was humming, it was cold until the sun came out, then it was perfect.  A last perfect ride before the snow fell.

It was a great first season, and I got some miles in and really enjoyed the bike.  I’m now torn whether to get rid of it an get something else, or stick with it for another season.  Either way, first time we see the sun and some clear pavement again I’ll be out.

My Ninja and I in the fall on the Forks of the Credit