Dakar Dreams

I just finished this year’s Dakar and it always starts the itch.  As a bucket list item it’s well beyond my ken, but I still sometimes think about it.  The cost is in 1%er territory and a school teacher from Ontario isn’t likely to find support from advertisers that would allow him to compete.  But hey, what’s mid-life for if not your last chance to do the impossible?  The other day a buddy said, “you don’t want to be sitting around when you’re old wondering what you might have done.”  Even an attempt at a Dakar would be special.  Finishing one would be a crown jewel in a life well lived.


In an interview during Charlie Boorman‘s Race to Dakar, one of the competitors says he does it because it’s two weeks of singularly focusing on one thing, which he found relaxing.  Simon Pavey, Charlie’s teammate, said he does it just so he doesn’t have to do dishes for two weeks.  I get the angle.  Being able to singularly focus on something is a luxury few of us can afford.  Life is a series of compromises and multiple demands on our time.


I’ve been watching The Dakar long enough to not harbor any illusions about winning it or even placing well, but I would certainly hope to finish.  Having a Dakar finishers medal puts you in a very small circle of excellence, and toughness.  The people who know what it is would have mad respect when they saw it.


To get there you need to take on the almost religious piety of a professional athlete.  I’d give myself two years to get the experience and fitness levels I’d need to give it an honest try.  I know I wouldn’t stop unless circumstances stopped me (I’m perverse like that), so it would simply be a matter of preparing as well as I could for it.  I turn 48 this spring, so I’d be doing a Dakar in 2019, the year I turn 50.  My goal would be to complete a Dakar and document as much of it as I could in the process.  From the beginning to the end I’d be making notes that would eventually turn into a book:  Mad Dogs & Englishmen: A Middle Aged Man’s Dakar.

A Zero electrically driven Dakar Rally bike?  Yes please!

Maybe by then there would be an electric motorcycle that could manage the stages with quick battery swaps at the stops.  Maybe I should be asking Zero if they’d like to consider a Dakar run.  Being the first electric bike to finish a Dakar would be something.  Electric cars are getting there now.


Finding sponsorship with companies I already have a relationship with would be a nice way to make this attempt a more personal one.  Everybody runs KTMs, Hondas and Yamahas, but I’d love to ride a rally prepped Kawasaki, Triumph or maybe a CCM; all companies who have had an impact on my motorcycling career.  Getting some degree of factory and dealer support in that would be fantastic.


A lot of riders gopro their experiences from within the Dakar itself, but I think it would be cool to get some next level media out of the event.  Running a 360 degree camera would be a goal.  Having a small, agile, media production crew along who could capture drone footage and support the 360 footage from inside the race could eventually lead to an immersive video of the event that gives some idea of how it feels to be in the Dakar; an everyman’s view of the race.  Dreamracer does a good job of this.  I’d try to emulate that approach with newer technology.  Since not a lot of Canadians participate in the rally, I might be able to drum up local support that other rally riders could not.


Deep winter, mid-life dreams about doing something impossible… all I’d need is an opportunity.

LINKS



Where to find your rally kit:  Rebel X SportsNeduro

Sample Dakar budget, another sample budget


A 2017 Dakar how-to video series by Manuel Lucchese

What Dakar riders wear article



Dakar advice on putting together an entry:


Before setting off in an active search for sponsors, it is important to define your project clearly by

answering the following questions:


Why am I taking part in the Dakar?
What are my motivations?
What are my objectives?
What are my assets in achieving those objectives?
What sort of crew do I want to set up?
What resources do I need to achieve this?
It is important to detail the various cost items in order to have a clear idea of your expenses (Vehicle preparation – Registration – Trip – Visas and passports – assistance vehicle(s) – mechanics registrations…) After this stage, you must have answers to the following four questions:


What is my budget?
How should I present it to my potential partners/sponsors?
What are my available funds?
How much should I ask for from my potential sponsors?
Your potential sponsors must be targeted : better to count on your relational, personal, professional or regional fabric rather than “major sponsors” who may be less inclined to support you. Make a list of your potential partners and characterise them:


What do they do?
Why would they be likely to help me?
What specific arguments should I put forward?
What funds do they have available?
Which companies should I see as a priority?
“Do not make mistakes in what you say or who you target”. There is no point in talking about your potential sporting achievements if you are taking part in your first Dakar! Your aim is to finish, not to be placed! So, assess what you say and in particular your media exposure: amateurs will be the subject of one-off reports, they are frequently mentioned in the local and regional media but do not promise the TV news or a daily sports newspaper!


Prepare a personalised dossier to present your project. This presentation must be clear, concise, persuasive and imaginative; it must make them dream of the rally but also convince them of your personal qualities.


You need to highlight your special features, your motivation :


What is original about your entry?
Why are you passionate about motor sports (and cross country rallies in particular)?
What previous experience do you have?
Consider presenting your sporting profile: draw inspiration from statistics on Dakar 2015. Put yourself into the rally: in terms of age, type of vehicle, number of entries, status (professional or amateur). Stress your nationality and your region! Identify potential media spin-off: media statistics can help you identify press, radio or even TV spin-off in your region.


Regional media are frequently looking for a potted history of amateur competitors; so do not hesitate to contact them and suggest an interview, your potential sponsors will only be more impressed!


Present your arguments to justify sponsorship:


To give out a good image of the company at local, regional or national level thanks to media spin-off. The company’s name (and/or one of its brands) is associated with your entry and the adventure of the rally.
To change or strengthen the company’s image internally. To advertise the company’s main values, the directors can use event sponsorship to motivate employees and/or associate the company with values such as courage, surpassing oneself, competition, human adventure,… which characterise the Dakar.
To build a relationship with their suppliers/customers. Sponsorship may be a way for one of your suppliers/customers to build strong links before or after the conclusion of a partnership.
To involve your sponsors indirectly in the adventure. The Dakar is a mythical trial in which everyone who is interested in motor or extreme sports will want to take part one day… These fans, potential sponsors, will be all the more inclined to help you in this challenge if they can live the adventure by proxy.
To enable the partner company to enjoy tax relief. Depending on the country, sponsorship offers tax breaks. Consider putting forward a small sales pitch to demonstrate these tax breaks according to the legislation in your country.


Highlight the benefits of financial support or support in kind :


Visibility of their brand/company name on your vehicle, your clothing, your helmet, your Leatt-Brace, your trunk, your assistance vehicles…
A free trip on a rest day or on arrival: for the most generous sponsors, a day at the rally is a weighty argument for those who want to taste the atmosphere of the Dakar!
Event organisation: exhibiting the vehicle before or after the rally, or a photo exhibition…
Finally, do not forget to…
Keep them up to date with your exploits during/after the rally (sell IRITRACK!)
Give them a DVD collection of Dakar articles, or a detailed press review, or a photo album to thank them.

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Around the Bay: Part 4, the kit

900 kms in a day and a half led me to some consideration of the kit involved in this trip:

THE BIKE

First up would be the bike, in this case a Connie I picked up in a field late last summer for eight hundred bucks.

After a winter of repairs, it safetied in April and I’ve since put on almost two thousand miles with nary a complaint.  It starts at the touch of a button and feels much more substantial than the 650 Ninja I had before.  It also continues to surprise me with its athleticism.


As a long distance bike its comfortable seat and upright riding position (greatly aided by risers on the handle bars installed by the previous owner) make long rides very doable.  It’ll manage about 40mpg in regular use and gets up into the mid-forties on the highway at a brisk pace, giving you well over 200 miles to a tank.

I miss the lightness of the Ninja (the Conours weighs over two hundred pounds more than the Ninja did), especially when I do something stupid like ride the Concours into deep sand, but it handles two up riding with ease and still wants to play on winding roads.  As a compromise it’s a great piece of engineering that still has soul.  

RIDING GEAR

The Helmet

I picked up a Bell Revolver Evo Warp (!) helmet during the winter.  I tried it on my first trip of the year and it was AGONIZINGLY PAINFUL!  Since then I’ve had at the inside of it, removing the snap buttons from the padding around the temples.  Without the hard buttons pressing through the padding into the sides of my head like a torture device this helmet has suddenly become very wearable for long trips.  It managed the Georgian Bay run with no pain, though it is heavy and noisy wind-wise.  It looks a treat though.

The perfect helmet? Full face when
you need it, open when you don’t.

I’m still looking for the perfect lid.  I enjoy the view and lack of claustrophobia in an open faced helmet, and the better ones seem to offer good wind protection too.  Weather-wise, a full face lid is usually quieter and keeps you warmer when needed.  What would be ideal is a helmet that converts from one to the other.

Jo Sinnott wears just such a helmet in Wild Camping, but those Roof Helmets are impossible to find on this side of the world.

The Jacket

I picked up a Teknic Motorcycle jacket at the North American Motorcycle Show in January from Two Wheel Motorsport.  My first jacket was a discount deal, the first thing that looked like it would do the job.

This Teknic jacket is next level in every way.  It breaths well in warm weather and keeps me remarkably warm when it isn’t.  It was able to handle the twenty degree swing in temperatures on this trip with ease.  It’s a bit disco, but I like it, and with my initials on it, I couldn’t say no.

Too bad Teknic seems to have gone under.

The Gloves

I brought a long a pair of colder weather gloves but never used them.  Between the Concours’ wind protection and the multiple talents of the gloves I brought, I never used them.

These leather mits from Leatherup.ca have far exceded any expectations.  They breath well, are warm in the cold and feel both sturdy and protective.  Other than some tired velcro on the wrists that still work, these gloves have been flawless.  I need a red pair to go with the new colour scheme.

The Boots

Another second generation purchase, these Alpinestars MX-1 boots were a second season buy to replace the discount boots I purchased to attend riding school.  Like the gloves, they manage a wide range of temperatures, especially on the well equipped Concours.

Unlike the cheap boots, I sometimes forget to change out of these when I get to work, they’re that comfortable.  They did the whole Georgian Bay trip flawlessly.  The only time I’d worry about them is in rain, which I didn’t face – they are vented.

The Pants

I brought along a pair of motorbike-specific jeans, but never used them (I intend to pack much lighter next time around).  The Macna pants I got last year but got too fat to fit into fit much better now, and I never took them off.

They look a bit spacey, but I like that.  They breath like shorts and still manage to provide excellent wind protection and remarkable warmth behind the Concours’ fairing.  Best pants ever?  Maybe!  The armoured jeans stayed in the panier all weekend wasting space.  These Macna pants are one of the few pieces of kit I can offer no improvements on, they are ace!

The Luggage

The Concours comes equipped with a pair of panniers from the factory which I used for tools and tech on one side and rain gear and clothes on the other.  I generally never had to go into either.

When I first got the bike I got a Givi Blade B47 tail box.  In general use it stays on the back and is used to hold helmets and bits and pieces when I commute to work.  Like my previous Givi it has performed flawlessly.

New for this trip I picked up an Oxford X30 magnetic tank bag for less than half price thanks to Royal Distributing’s tent sale in the spring.  What a fine piece of luggage this bag is!  On the ferry to Manitoulin I consolidated the book and camera bags I brought along into it and put them away in the panniers never to appear again (I plan to pack much more lightly next time around).

The Oxford worked as a backpack, camera bag and laptop case.  Fully expanded it carried all of those things and more with room to spare.  It was also nice to lay on when bombing down the highway when I wanted to get a couple of minutes out of the wind.  I’d highly recommend it.

***

Good kit can make all the difference, and what I had for this trip did the job so well I didn’t need any of the backup I’d brought along.  After you’ve done a few trips I imagine you refine the kit until you’ve narrowed it down to just what you need and nothing more.

I’m still looking for the helmet I fall in love with.  I must have an oddly shaped head, but I live in hope.  I’m going to have to commit to a top tier helmet, but not until I’m sure it fits, and it can do everything I need it to.

Motorcyclist’s Bridge to Nowhere

I’m enjoying the new format of Motorcyclist magazine.  It’s one of the few US bike magazines I make a point of getting.  They write smart and with a Californian perspective that is very positive and engaging.  Their new graphics format is like nothing else out there.  They also take risks with their stories.  In many other magazines you feel like you’re reading the same reviews and comparisons over and over again.  Motorcyclist is like Bike UK and what Cycle Canada used to be in that you know you’re reading something unique.  I think that has a lot to do with them focusing on getting the best writers rather than the most industry connected people they can find.

In the last issue they had a bit on towing a dirt bike into the desert using another motorcycle.  It was a bit silly, kind of like a bridge to no where, but I could appreciate it from a more bikes is good perspective.  Having said that, I have to question the logic of trying to go car-less this way.  Towing a trailer means you’ve lost all the benefits of splitting lanes (try to imagine you’re somewhere sensible like California) and, you know, riding a motorcycle.  They said at the end of the article that chucking the dirt bikes in the back of a truck instead of trailering them and towing them with two touring bikes would have been easier, but I think there is an even better way to make that all motorcycle ride into the desert.

Things you don’t see anywhere else. It’s a story of excess, exhaustion and a lot of motorcycles.

The KTM 690 Enduro weighs only a couple of dozen kilos more than the 250 dirt bikes used in the story.  You get great wind on it while on the highway, unlike the hot and sweaty touring bikes used, and best of all the KTM costs about $27,000 Canadian less than a CRF-250X and a Goldwing.  I bet it would take you across the sand and up the mountain they went to in the article as well.

It’ll take your camping gear and you don’t need to slavishly fulfill two motorcycle style requirements, so you can leave your ever so fashionable heavy leather touring gear behind.

That’s a long, hot slog through the desert – two ways.


If the point of the exercise is to get out there and back on two wheels, something like the KTM would have done the business, though it might have been a bit less dramatic doing it.  The highways would have been full of wind blast and the nimbleness of two wheels rather than two towing two more.  The off road riding would have been mighty close to what the 250 dirt bikes could do, and you’d be doing it all cheaper and more enjoyably.


Having said all that, what a great thing it is to see an article so uniquely silly and full of excess.  I’m glad the editor let it happen.

The Swiss Army Knife KTM 690 Enduro.
ift.tt/2rJA4i0
ift.tt/2qqk8gB
ift.tt/2rJKdez
… and the new ones are in! ift.tt/2qq5oP5  If I had fifteen grand free I’d pop up to Ottawa and ride one back.

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Can You Run a Game Development Studio in a Senior Highschool Class?

Yes, you can!


Over the past four years we have built a high school grade 11 and 12 software engineering program focused on video game design. The course uses the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge – a freely available document from the IEEE, that clarifies and develops the organizational and engineering best practices needed to build a modern video game.  Using SWEBOK as a guide to project management and with the support of Unity, who gave us professional licenses for their game design software and Blender, a non-profit software company who offers professional grade 3d modelling software for free, we build our games.

This semester our three student led groups conceptualized, planned and managed to completion three very different projects:

Slimecing: slime fencing game: Slimecing (@slimecing_) | Twitter

Nuclear Fist VR boxing simulator: Spook Box Games (@box_spook) | Twitter

Knockback Knights: physics driven FPS: Knockback Knights (@BackKnights) | Twitter
 

Nuclear Fist is our third VR title and like Gravedug from last year (whose lead went on to Sheridan College for Game Design), we have been able to pass on the experiences and knowledge from semester to semester as the class is always a combined grade 11 / 12 split class. The juniors learn from the seniors who learned from the previous seniors. In this way we’ve been able to build up a body of knowledge within the school that has produced stronger and stronger finished projects each year, even in challenging development environments like virtual reality.

Management is the most challenging part of the process. It’s hard enough to manage people to begin with, but when you’re a teen trying to manage other teens it becomes monumental. Setting high standards, encouraging collaboration, communication and goal setting to produce a transparent, adaptive and ultimately effective engineering processes is the real goal. Once again these students can’t believe what they’ve achieved in only 12 short weeks. Being an M level technology credit we have a full range of academic streams in the room, but the collaborative approach means everyone is working towards those higher standards.

This semester we worked cross curricularly with our arts department to build up our visual design consistency:

Concept Art Knockback Knights – Google Drive

Concept Art Slimecing – Google Drive

Concept Art Nuclear Fist – Google Drive

We’re thinking about working with business marketing students next year to expand our outreach.  The cross curricular opportunities in this are continually expanding.  Eventually we hope to have arts students helping us build a consistent and complex visual style, drama helping us creating realistic movement in our animations and business helping us market the results.


I just finished marking the exams.  With a class average over 80% you’d think this is considered an easy course, but all the wishy washy types were shaken out in the first few weeks and replaced by keen students fighting to get into the course.  Even those with exceptional final grades commented on how challenging and ‘real’ the course feels.  One noted, “there is no where else where we’re trusted to work on a project this large and complicated.”  It can’t happen if standards aren’t high, but the reputation of the course and the exceptional output it produces have done more to stream this course than academic streaming ever could.


We’ve never run this course in semester one before.  We’re over subscribed every year but not enough to spawn a second section.  If we had multiple sections working on this we could hand off projects between semesters and run the course all year.  We come incredibly close to making a viable game title in only eleven to twelve weeks in a single semester.  If we can leverage the word of mouth from semester one, perhaps we can bump sign ups to about 50 students and warrant a second section.  Were that to happen, both sections would still be 11/12 splits in order to encourage the handing on of hard won knowledge to new students.

***

You can download and play Slimecing from here: Slimecing by Q

…and here is their engineering review:
Slimecing Project Wrap Up Presentation – Google Slides 


Knockback Knights and Nuclear Fist both intend to continue to develop their games but don’t have a release ready yet.  Below are their engineering reviews.

Nuclear Fist Wrap Up Presentation – Google Slides

Knockback Knights Final Presentation – Google Slides

The Slimecing lead asked if we might start a GameDev club to continue working on these projects in semester two.  That tells you something about how engaging our approach to tackling very complicated software engineering processes can be.


Two of our digital artists are taking a run at Skills Ontario’s 3d character modelling competition this year.  We have grads from this course who have started their own game development studio with over a million downloads.  We have graduates who have attended top programs at Waterloo University, Sheridan College and other post secondary locations who are now working in the industry.  If you think it video games aren’t a big deal, you haven’t looked at the opportunities there lately.


Between this software course, one of the strongest grade 11 computer engineering classes ever, qualifying two teams for CyberTitan national semi-finals, and some very promising new grade 9s, what a satisfying semester it has been!


Follow these student software engineering projects on Twitter if you want to keep up with what happens next.

CWDHS Computer Tech (@CWcomptech) | Twitter

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Taylorism In Edtech

I’ve just taken over as the tech-support teacher for my high school after a brief absence.  I don’t generate technical problems, so I was right out of this jet stream until I came back in to manage it again.

Our first issue involved our student database system (Maplewood) being programmed to drop inactive students after 90 days of not logging in to the network.  Why 90 days?  No apparent reason.

In semester one you might be taking shop, phys-ed, co-op or food school (amongst many), and find that you are never asked to log in to a school machine in the course of your studies.  Or you might simply have followed the board’s new BYO-device policy and use your own machine.  Semester 2 rolls around and suddenly you don’t exist and are unable to login, and neither do hundreds of your colleagues.  On the first day of class you fall behind.

The emails started on the first day back and didn’t get resolved until three days later.

The purpose of automation is to reduce repetitive, pointless work and make us more efficient.  This particular piece of automation created pointless work and reduced efficiency in teachers and students across the building, not to mention my time and our technician’s time.

Why not set the shut down to six months, safely moving you into semester 2 before doing the automatic account shut-down?  Because the people who set up this system are not educators, they have little or no idea how the schools they service are scheduled.  If you don’t know (or care) how something works, you’re not likely to support it very effectively.

It’s a kind of interdepartmental blindness that results in the left hand having no idea (and no patience) with what the right hand is doing.  This kind of systematization might seem cheap on the surface and satisfy an accountant’s spreadsheet, but it’s hardly efficient or effective.

In order to support a system, the person operating it should have lived with it.  There are plenty of teachers who understand school needs that don’t necessarily want to teach in the classroom.  I’d rather see them managing our network than someone with no ED background who has little or no idea of even simple needs.

Efficiency isn’t always about hiring the least educated (and cheap) person possible.  You can actually save money with quality.

Snow Garage

The snow’s flying.  I like watching Waiting out the Winter for some inspiration at this time of year:



WAITING OUT WINTER from Andrew David Watson on Vimeo.

I did my own less cool and moody version of it here:



I’m beginning to see why I’m sore after doing a few hours in the garage.  I’m all over the place!  The Tiger has new oil and filter and has been cleaned and coated and is now living under a blanket until the weather comes back to us.  The battery’s in the basement on a smart charger.



In the process of cleaning up I noticed a missing rubber on the bottom of the seat.  Gotta figure out how to get that, the cracked rubbers on the mirrors and the rubber thing that covers the rear brake wiring.  






The Tiger’s going on fourteen years old.  Fourteen years in Canada means wild swings in temperature.  The rubbers need renewing.  There’s a winter project.

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Facebook vs Twitter: the epic showdown

Like everyone else, I got into Facebook. Never the pointless flash games, but as a place to share photos with family and friends, it worked for me. It also allowed me to stay in touch with family and friends who are far away. Recently though, with the constant addition of new ‘friends’ many of whom aren’t, I find myself staring at news-feeds of people I couldn’t care less about, and, in some cases, I wouldn’t recognize if I passed them on the street. One day, after spending ten minutes trying to find a comment from someone I genuinely thought about often, I simply switched it off.

A couple of months ago I started using Twitter at a computers in education conference (ecoo.org). I’d tried Twitter a couple of times and it hadn’t caught – I couldn’t see the point in it, but this conference turbocharged the tweets. Following flash mobs to prizes, getting well researched links and ideas from other teachers, backchanneling in presentations… I got hooked.

Twitter is like facebook in that it’s a social networking tool, but without the social dead-weight. Follow who you want and lurk, or twit away. If people enjoy it, word spreads and you get a posse. Keep grooming who you follow. After a while it’s a steady stream of people you really enjoy reading. Twitter’s not about you in the herd, it’s about customizing a herd FOR you.

The teacher angle has let me build a PLN, personal learning network. Recently, at another conference, I ran into people I’d been tweeting with over several months. It felt like we already knew each other, but only in a certain way. Filling in the blanks was a wonderful experience, and a great opportunity to pick and choose new people to follow.

I’m still only 6 months into twitter. I’ve dropped more people than I now follow, and I suspect that I’ll top out at about 100, and constantly be grooming out filler. I’m interested in following thoughts and developing PLN, not seeing what a celebrity thinks (rare exceptions: @naomiklien, for obvious reasons, @stephenfry because he broadcasts intelligently).


Twitter feels intimate and direct, while at the same time letting me broadcast far and wide. The idea that it’s somehow limiting in scope is inaccurate as well. Twitter and blogs go together like 3 pound lobsters and butter. You can point to deeper thinking in a blog post, or to presentations and mind maps in Prezi, or photos on any number of photo sharing sites (or mashups and collages on glogster, etc etc). Twitter gives you the sign posts, aggregated by the people you trust to follow, and allows you to reciprocate for them.


I just culled the facebook herd and I’m finding it somewhat useful again, but I’m waiting for the blowback from in-law cousin’s husbands who want to know why we’re no longer friends. We never were dude.

Motorcycle 360 Photography and Digital Art

Setting up a 360 camera on your wing mirror using a gorilla pod and setting it to automatically take a photo every few seconds seems like the best way to catch some interesting self portraits while you ride.  It’s a set up and forget system so you can just enjoy the ride.

Afterwards you download what the camera caught and then frame the photos as you wish (the 360 picture lets you move the point of view around until you’ve framed something interesting).


I’ve been trying to replicate the tiny planet view that the Ricoh Theta could do in its software on the Samsung Gear360.  GoPro makes a little planet capable app that they give away for free, so I’ve been using that.  Here is an example of a time lapse video tiny-planeted in the GoPro software:

The photos are screen grabs of time lapse scenes on the Samsung 360gear. They’ve all been worked over in Photoshop to give them a more abstract look.  I’ve included the original photo to show variations:

Here’s the original photo.
Here is a posterized, simplified version.
Here it is with an oil paint filter and a lot of post processing.







Here is a tiny-world ‘wrapped’ image taken with the 360 degree camera.  Below are some variations on it…




 Below are some other 360 grabs – they’ll give you an idea of how you can select certain angles and moments and then crop a photo out of them pretty easily.
















One of the few things the Samsung does well is make time lapse video fairly straightforward (I miss my Ricoh Theta).  The software Samsung bundles with the gear360 only works with Samsung phones (which I don’t have).  The desktop software won’t render 4k video at all (it ends up so blocked and pixelated from artifacts as to be almost useless).  And when you’re first importing video it takes ages for the software to open a video for the first time.  By comparison the Ricoh renders video almost instantly, has never had artifact problems when it renders and has never crashed on me (the Samsung software has crashed multiple times). If you’re patient and are ok with crappy results, go for the Samsung.  Meanwhile, here’s what I could get out of the damned thing:

This is a 360 fly video sped up, the weekend after the April ice storm:



Software used:  Adobe Photoshop CC, Adobe Lightroom CC, Paper Artist, Windows movie maker, Go-Pro VR Viewing software

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Connie’s Ready For Some Miles

It hasn’t been easy, but then that was kind of the point.  The leaking engine on the field-found ’94 Kawasaki Concours seemed like it would never stop dripping, but it finally has.  I’ve learned a lot in the process and become familiar with the layout of the bike.

The previous owner rode around with the fairing off.  The abuse to the bottom end of the engine from road debris cost me an oil cooler.  I tried to get it repaired through the metal shop at our school, but it turned out not to be an easy fix.  I eventually gave ebay a try purchasing a replacement oil cooler through Pinwall Cycle Parts.  I’d highly recommend them.  The cooler I got off a ’97 was in fantastic shape, got to me very quickly and cost 1/8th what a new one does.

With the bottom end sorted out it’s time to look to the fairings.  The bike has been dropped on one side, and the fairings need some TLC.  With the fairings sorted the bike should be ready to go come the end of the snows.

That’s a new-to-me oil cooler that works like a charm

The rest of the bottom end has been cleaned up… no drips now.

ZG1K: Customization, Inspiration & Aesthetics

Graphical thoughts on the ZG1K customization…

I’m still working through the proportions of a naked Concours.  It isn’t a delicate device…

In spite of the colourful nature of the bike, it’s a muscular heavyweight.
Inspirations for this build revolve around 80’s sport bikes and naked streetfighters.  I grew up in the ’80s and have a thing for fully faired race bikes with blocky rear ends.  The big, bulky Concours’ tank lends itself to a strong, balanced back end.
A box shaped rear fairing working off and 80’s race bike vibe combined with a minimalist cafe racer look

The paint’s already coming off the tank.  I need to figure out how to make a rough 3d outline of the rear body work (cardboard, wood, thin metal?) in order to begin getting an accurate sense of how the back end will look.  If I can get handier with 3d editing software I’ll 3d print a few various prototypes first (maybe scan it with cardboard panels in place).

The front fairing will be a minimal street-fighter type of thing.  I wanted to go with a bikini fairing, but it’s a bit too delicate for the big shoulders of the Concours.  Monkeying around in Photoshop has gotten me this far:


But this is more of a sculpting thing than a pen and paper thing.  I need to make some cardboard outlines and see what feels right in 3d (Close Encounters style).

The Mike Tyson/heavyweight feel of the Concours means I’m thinking more melee fighter than I am lightweight and delicate.