1997 CBR900RR Parts, Cables and Hose Routing

Notes for next round of work on the Honda.  Doing it for myself so I can follow what I’m doing on the laptop in the garage, but might help out other ’90s Honda Fireblade CBR900 restorers too.


Missing tank mounting hardware:
BOLT, FLANGE (6X40) (missing bolts for front of gas tank)
COLLAR C6.3, MOUNTING


Throttle cable running under the right side of the centre triple fork

Vacuum routing – but not particularly helpful – air vent tubes probably connect to bottom of air cleaner box…

Upper and lower throttle cables are clear in this – they are over the handlebars now (wrong) – and like a burk, I put them together backwards, so you have to throttle off to throttle on – remove carb, remove cables, reroute and confirm on this before reattaching.

I tried a replacement LED in the neutral light – no joy – try reversing it?  Light receiving voltage when in neutral.  Confirm that?  Trace that  neutral switch wire?  

Double check choke cable – seems good the way I had it, but bike’s in a choke right now, so no movement of front wheel to check routing when the handlebars are turned.

LINKS:


Online Microfiche for parts:
https://www.hondapartsnation.com/oemparts/l/hon/50541057f870021c54bede5e/1997-cbr900rr-ac-parts


’96 Technical Review Document:
https://mototribu.com/constructeur/honda/1996/1000cbr/doc/revuetechnique_900rr.pdf


Sub Air Filter  Honda FILTER, SUB-AIR CLEANER Part # 17254-KAZ-000
https://www.amazon.ca/Honda-17254-KAZ-000-Air-Filter/dp/B00HPTLPEO
Looks to be a foam filter – might see if I can source an equivalent – take the plastic bit in an size a filter.
https://www.hondashadow.net/threads/sub-air-cleaner.300257/
https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/hondashadowacetourer/sub-air-cleaner-what-is-it-39-s-function-t11508.html
https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/atlas-briggs-stratton-lawn-mower-foam-air-filter-0607024p.html#spc





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Signs of Spring 2018

The weather is fairly crap, but there are signs of spring as the sun returns more and more each day.  All done with the Canon T6i.  Macros are done with the 18-35mm kit lens, the birds are using the ‘kit’ 55-250mm long lens.

 

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Forging Moto-Maker Spaces

As a family we attended a blacksmithing day at Happy Knife Forge last weekend.  Highly recommended, it’s money well spent.  Jason will not only show you the basics, but is keen to get you up and running as a blacksmith.  My granddad was a coal merchant back in the old country and the smell of coke burning on the forge prompted a sense memory from the crib; it smelled like home.

I’ve ruminated on fabrication and micro-manufacturing on TMD before from a digital perspective using the latest techniques.  Given the space and tools I’d quite happily spend my time designing and creating using everything from medieval blacksmithing through 20th Century metal working and on into 21st Century digital manufacturing techniques.  Connecting these processes separated by time but with the same intent would produce some genuinely interesting and bespoke combinations.

I’ve had the itch to get back into welding for some time, but a lack of space and gear means I’m not while I’m where I’m at.  The blacksmithing experience has me wanting to expand my metal working beyond just welding, which means even more space and kit getting added to the wish list.  You can do a lot in a tight space, and I am, but when it comes to storing the chemicals and managing the heat in some of these processes, there is no substitute for space.




A property with an old industrial building on
it would make for a fantastic restoration
leading to a multi-millenial foundry covering
everything from blacksmithing to digital design!

Given the time and resources I’d hit an intensive welding program, then set up my multi-millenial forge/shop/maker space with everything from blacksmithing tools through metal working and mechanical to 21st Century 3d scanning, digital modelling and printing.  The forge would be in the corner of a repurposed, old brick building that also includes space for metalwork, all very fireproof.  Across the floor in the same open concept.would be space for a paint booth/shot blasting station and plenty of mechanical workspace.  Upstairs (open concept, with just a railing) would be digital design and manufacturing in a cleaner workspace.  If I could walk out to that every morning to create, restore and repair, I’d hardly care if there were pandemics or anything else.  Put it near some good riding roads (ie: not in Southern Ontario), and it’d be just about perfect.




I’ve been thinking about a digital workshop for a while now, but the blacksmithing experience has me thinking old school as well.


The future-garage scene in Big Hero 6 gets the digital side of it right.



Dream Shop Links:

https://www.architecturaldesigns.com/house-plans/3-car-modern-carriage-house-plan-with-sun-deck-68541vr

https://www.coolhouseplans.com/plan-90821

https://www.towersteelbuildings.com/building-styles/garages/

https://www.olympiasteelbuildings.ca/garages/

https://canadianmetalbuildings.com/metal-buildings/cmb-ready-built/

https://tkmotorcyclediaries.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-stable.html

https://tkmotorcyclediaries.blogspot.com/2015/11/iihtm-digital-workshop.html

https://tkmotorcyclediaries.blogspot.com/2015/04/space-limitations.html

https://tkmotorcyclediaries.blogspot.com/2015/08/a-mclaren-p1-or-motorcycle-nirvana.html

https://tkmotorcyclediaries.blogspot.com/2020/10/diy-garage-expansion-plans.html

Forging Links:

https://canadianforge.com/products/l-brand-forge-coke

https://www.thecrucible.org/guides/blacksmithing/blacksmithing-forge/

Welding links

https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/tools/how-to/a15739/how-to-get-started-with-welding/

https://www.weldtechtraining.com/welding-courses/individual-welding-courses-certification-canada/

https://www.esab.ca/ca/en/rogue/index.cfm

https://canadaweldingsupply.ca/products/esab-rebel-emp-205ic-ac-dc?variant=14036287946796

https://canadaweldingsupply.ca/

Used Options:









Metal Working Tool Links

https://www.amazon.ca/Solary-Magnetic-Induction-Flameless-Automotive/dp/B08XTHTMZP

https://canadaweldingsupply.ca/products/metabo-5-variable-speed-rat-tail-angle-grinder

Digital Manufacturing Links

https://3dprintingindustry.com/news/car-sos-tv-show-uses-3d-printing-and-scanning-to-restore-classic-car-195222/


https://www.javelin-tech.com/3d/artec-3d-scanner-price/




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Riding Through an Oil Painting

 After a long day at work I found myself watching the sky change colours and jumped on the Tiger for a ride down the river.  It felt like riding through a Van Gogh…

All photos taken with a Ricoh 360 camera mounted on the windshield, autofiring every 8 seconds.









West Montrose Covered Bridge: one of these times I’m going to ride through and find myself in 1881!







Photos are in reverse chronological order.  Sunset was at 8:30pm – I was on the road from about 8:10 to 8:50pm.

If you want a breakdown of how to get on-bike 360 photos like this, check THIS out!  If you really want to digitally flex, you can create a 360 ‘tiny planet’ stop motion film out of this kind of photography:


Related Links:  How to capture 360-degree photos while riding your motorbike (Adventure Bike Rider Magazine)

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Face Your Fear! Maths Trauma & Inequity in STEM Education

In January the president of the Ontario Association for Mathematics Educators (OAME) sent me an email after seeing our online activity around game development and coding and asked if I might present at their conference in May.   If you’d have told high school me that I’d one day present at a maths conference I would have thought you’re having me on.  For me, maths and science were the hammers that the education system used to teach me that I wasn’t good enough, but I’m rethinking that egotistical framing.

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One of my co-presenters also didn’t have a positive maths experience in high school and we were both worried that it would be like being back in class again.  That’s where the teacher would single you out and make sure everyone in the room knew that you didn’t know what you were doing, then they’d fail you, usually with a caustic remark about how ‘this isn’t for you’.  I’d internalized the idea that maths (and science) went out of their way to make me feel stupid, but after doing our presentation (everyone was lovely, of course), I’m reconsidering my failures in maths and science from another angle.
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We immigrated to Canada when I was eight years old.  A lack of research had us moving to Montreal right after Bill 101 came in, which wasn’t great for a little kid from rural England.  By 1980 we’d moved to Streetsville on the edge of Mississauga and that’s where I grew up.  Various calamities happened both financially and emotionally while I was in high school.  I didn’t play school sports because I worked every day after school from the age of 12 on.  School sports, like maths and science, are for those privileged children of leisure who have the time and money to participate – that’s why we shape entire school cultures around them.
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In senior high school my dad was in a near fatal car accident that had him hospitalized for months.  During that time I was working as well as doing all the home things that he usually did.  This meant that the hours of homework meted out by maths and science teachers didn’t get the attention it demanded.  The tedious and repetitive/rote nature of S&M homework didn’t help either.  Before grade 11 science I was daydreaming of becoming an astronomer.  After I failed it, not so much.  High school accommodated my lack of socio-economic clout by guidancing me to go find a job that Canadians don’t like doing – like a good immigrant should.
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I dropped out of grade 13, worked as a night security guard (full time) while trying to attend Sheridan College for visual arts.  I dropped out of Sheridan when I couldn’t get to class after not sleeping every night before class.  Eventually I  found my way into a millwright apprenticeship which offered me the economic stability I needed to finish high school, which I did at the age of 22.  I eventually left millwrighting and went to university, finally settling on English and philosophy degrees, but even there my maths trauma haunted me.
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A requirement for my philosophy degree was to take the symbolic logic course.  My first time through it was run by a computer science prof who didn’t like how big the class was so he used every rotten maths trick in the book (surprise tests, undifferentiated instruction, sudden changes in direction, etc) to shake out the ‘arts’ students who needed it for their degree.  That course could also be used as an ‘arts’ credit for the STEM types who took it as a bird course.  That prof succeeded in chasing out all the philosophy students from that philosophy course.  The next semester I tried again, this time with a philosophy prof.  I told her of my fear of maths and she went out of her way to differentiate both instruction and assessment.  I ended up getting an ‘A’ on the mandatory course I thought I’d never finish.  I can do maths and complex logic, just not when it’s weaponized against me.
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As a millwright I never had a problem tackling applied maths when I needed it.  When I transitioned into information technology, again no issues using applied maths as I needed it to do my job.  It appeared that I wasn’t as bad as maths as the education system had repeatedly told me I was, though I still carried that luggage with me.
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My anxiety was high as I got ready for this presentation.  Alanna made a comment that resonated though.  If you work in a secondary classroom you’ve probably heard teens talking about how this or that teacher ‘hates’ them.  Alanna reminded me that this is a great example of everything-is-about-me teenage egotism.  My maths and science teachers didn’t hate me and weren’t vindictively attacking me for my failures; no student matters that much.  Having done this teaching thing for over two decades now, I can assure you that ‘hate’ isn’t something most teachers feel.  To be honest, when we’re not at work even the most difficult students aren’t on our minds.  For the teachers who do feel hate for students, you need to find another career.
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Looking past the teen-egoism of my own mathematical inferiority complex, I got along with my STEM teachers pretty well.  I certainly wasn’t a classroom management headache.  In retrospect, what happened to me in class wasn’t vindictive on their part, it was a result of my lowly socio-economic status.  Had I been a stable, well off, multi-generational settler whose ancestors were given whole swarths of Canada for free, I’m sure we’d have gotten along just fine.  Were I not in the middle of family trauma, perhaps I would have stuck it out.  Had I been a student of a less creative nature who thrived in structure and repetition, I imagine I’d have found a place in STEM even without the financial means – I did eventually embrace my technical skills despite the system’s best efforts to alienate me from myself.
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Last week one of our maths teachers emailed the entire building asking how she could punish students who are skipping tests in order to give themselves more time to prepare for them.  Our principal emailed all reminding everyone of Growing Success, but this didn’t stop a science teacher from jumping in with our written-in-the-1950s student handbook which still contains escalating penalties (including handing out zeroes) for late or missing work, even if that is directly contrary to Ministry direction.
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In my last round of IT testing for my grade 10s I left each chapter test available for three tries, and students could take it open book if they wished.  When you finished the test it would even review it for you and tell you what the correct answers were and why, if you could be bothered to do that.  Ample class time was provided to review the material both on screen and hands-on.  You could not design a more equitable and differentiated approach to learning computer technology.  Our class average on these three tries/open book tests/wildly-differentiated and in-class supported tests?  11.07/20 – that’s a 55% class average.  Even when you differentiate and build in equity to support assessment in COVID-world classes, many students won’t bother doing any of it anyway, and this is in an optional subject they chose to take!  I turned down the weight of those results, not because I think my subject doesn’t matter, but because the COVID malaise on students is real  (it’s real on staff too, not that anyone cares) and holding them to pre-pandemic standards is neither compassionate nor pedagogically correct.
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If someone wants to skip a period to get more study time in, let ’em.  What would be even better is having open and honest communications with your students to the point where they can simply ask for extra time rather than feeling like they have to skip because they know you won’t give give it to them   They probably won’t use their extra time anyway and the result will be what it is.  Clinging to schedules and testing that only examines rote memorization (another issue in STEM that produces A+ students who don’t know how to apply what they know), is the kind of undifferentiated and tedious ‘learning’ that made me despise maths and science in high school.

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After COVID swept through our family recently, my son returned to class only to get no lunches for days on end (while still recovering from the virus) as he took test after missed maths test.  When he didn’t do well on them we had to intervene and ask for some compassion.  Why do S&M subject teachers believe that curriculum comes before differentiation based on circumstances (especially IEPs!), or even basic wellness?  We’re all in exceptional circumstances.  I suspect these teachers believe that this ‘rigour’ makes them a credible and serious discipline of study.  I’m not sure how you change that rigid culture founded on privilege, conformity and exclusion.
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My maths trauma in high school sent me on a crooked path before I was finally able to come to terms with my intelligence and abilities; it made me doubt myself and misaim my expectations.  I’d hope public education would do the opposite of that, but it still doesn’t.  We’ve got too many classes still predicating success on hours of homework using undifferentiated and repetitive rote learning under the assumption that everyone has the time and inclination to find success in that.  It’s even worse now two years into a pandemic.  During quadmesters it was particularly acute with students in S&M heavy quads telling me they were expected to do 4+ hours of homework EVERY DAY – even as the working ones were forced to take on extra hours as ‘heroic’ front line workers.
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In my classroom I aim to find every students’ talents and help them find digital pathways that will support them in our technology driven economy.  My senior classes are supposed to be ‘M’ level post-secondary bound students (which is why they cap me at 31 like an academic calculus class), but in actuality the majority of my students do not attend university and good percentage go straight into the workplace.  We also frequently have essential level and special needs students finding their way in our program because we differentiate even when the system holds us all back with an inequitable distribution of resources.  My stuffed classes serving all pathways help make grade 12 academic physics classes with a dozen students in them happen because those very special kids need that credit for university.
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In order to find student strengths I focus on foundational skills like practicing an effective engineering design process, which is more about organization and self-direction than it is about technical details.  I could drill them on tests about technical specifics and fail the ones who skip rote memorizing reams of facts for a variety of reasons (they can’t afford the time, their IEP doesn’t allow them learn like that, etc), but then I’d be doing exactly what was done to me in high school.  That’d be a jerk move.
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“You! Yes, you! Stand still laddy!”
When we grew up and went to school
There were certain teachers who would
Hurt the children any way they could
By pouring their derision
Upon anything we did
And exposing every weakness
However carefully hidden by the kids”
We don’t need no education, but we all need direction to help find our strengths… especially in STEM.

 

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Variations in On-Motorcycle 360 Photography

The other day I tried a variation on the on-bike 360° photography I’ve previously done.  Rather than mount the camera on a flexible tripod on the front of the bike, I attached a carbon monopod to the rear top-box rack, extended it and put the camera on top.


The bottom part of the monopod had a screw in point.  With that removed I could bolt this very light weight, carbon fibre monopod to the rear luggage rack (which itself is attached to the frame) very securely.  In almost an hour of riding on typically lousy rural Ontario roads both the camera and monopod were very secure and the photos showed no evidence of wobble or blur.


These are the parts used:

With the camera over a metre above and behind my head, the three-sixty degree pinched perspective makes the bike and I look quite far away:




After doing a round at full extension (the monopod extends to just over five feet or 160cms), I reduced the bottom leg.  I couldn’t see the results of the shots until I got back and I was worried that the full extended monopod would produce wobble and blur or be structurally stressed (it didn’t and it wasn’t).  The monopod only weighs a couple of hundred grams and can hold 10 kilos or 22 pounds of gear – the Theta weighs less than a hundred grams.


With the camera reset closer to four feet above the back deck of the bike I did some more miles, including riding over some very rough roads.  Even in those circumstances the rig was solid, unmoving and took sharp photos, even in the relatively poor light (it had been heavily overcast, foggy and raining on and off all day).


The pavement leading up to the West Montrose Covered Bridge is particularly rough, but even then the photos were clear and sharp.
Good horizons on such a tall camera mount, and this is at the lower setting.
With the camera set so much higher, corners don’t seem as dramatic.  When the camera is mounted on the rear view mirror it turns with the handlebars, amplifying the lean effect.

Perhaps the best example of the camera’s lack of wobble was the shot from inside the covered bridge.  On an overcast, dim day in a poorly lit environment with the bike bouncing over rough pavement, the sharpness is still surprisingly good.  This was so dim that I had to raise the sun visor in the helmet:

This is a photo uploaded to the Theta 360 site and modified with the little planet geometry tool.

I’d call this a successful test.  Setting up this kind of monopod on a Givi tail mount for a top box works really well.  The monopod base fits snuggly in the tail mount, which is a very solid, over engineering piece of kit designed to carry potentially heavy luggage.  The monopod takes a big quarter inch bolt.  I used a big washer on the bottom and a smaller one that fit perfectly inside the lattice on the top of the rack.  With the monopod tightened down with a ratchet it was extremely secure.


The camera didn’t wobble on full extension, but with the monopod retracted one level (the shortest, narrowest one at the bottom) the monopod rubber met the top of the luggage lattice and it was even stronger.  With the camera on the shortened tripod, the photos still offered a surprisingly distant perspective:


With the monopod shortened one level it’s still well above six feet off the deck (I’m 6’3″).

It’s another unique perspective to pursue with 360° on-motorcycle photography, but I have to say, I think it feels a bit alienating because everything is so distant and you can’t see the rider’s face.  Short of flying a drone perilously close to a rider, there is no other way you could get this perspective though…

One of the few sunny moments on the ride – you can see the monopod’s shadow on the road.



Something like this might look really cool on a bike doing a wheelie, or someone knee down in a canyon.  It also does a nice job of capturing the surroundings, but unless I’m looking for shots that are more about the scenery than the ride, I doubt I’ll be doing it again.  I prefer the more intimate and exciting angles you get from mounting the camera closer and in front of the rider:


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A Letter to Candidates: Is Anyone Interested In Changing Public Education For Student Needs?

I’ve been assisting with the Ontario Literacy test this week at school.  Watching students have to put phones away in a system that allows full access all the time is like watching a long distance runner getting a foot amputated before having to run a marathon.  Students didn’t understand the instructions and many ignored them and had to be individually assisted in unplugging themselves from their devices.  They then looked disorientated and confused, and then we hit ’em with a high stakes literacy test!

The threats and fear generated by the test are also part of this wonderful experience.  “You can’t graduate without this” is the most common refrain.  I’ve been wondering why it’s all stick and no carrot with the literacy test, and then I got one of those ‘support education’ emails that’ll send the email an organization wrote in your name to your members of parliament.

We have a provincial election approaching and the stakes are high.  My problem is that no one has any vision for Ontario’s public education system that would actually improve it or make it sustainable into an uncertain future.  Liberals are entirely invested in keeping things as they are (they’re also the main reason why things are the way they are), and the conservatives aren’t interested in improving it at all as they collect supporters intent on privatizing it.

Rather than send off someone else’s words to my representatives, I sent a suggestion for a leaner, diversity-of-pathways honouring system that might also be greener, but no one in Ontario politics has a vision for public education beyond either keeping it as it is or selling it of to their donors.  Ontario students deserve better…

***

Dear Candidates,

I’m going to cut out the form letter and speak frankly.  After years of Liberal stewardship, the public education system in Ontario wasn’t in the best shape and needed an overhaul.

As a teacher in the system, I believe the entrenched political entities (councils, unions, colleges etc) have become more fixated on their own continued status quo than they have in an education system focused on student needs.

I had hoped that the current government would go about the serious business of fixing it, but they seem entirely focused on dismantling it for private benefit, which isn’t going to help anyone.

Ontario’s education system was broken by the 2006 learning to 18 amendment to the education act.  There are many pathways and learning should be a lifelong commitment; schools do not own the concept of learning.  Forcing students to stay in public schools until 18 has done irreparable harm to students and the system itself, though none of the many groups with a vested interest in a bloated public system will want you to address this.

A lean and individually responsive education system (that is also more fiscally responsible) could be achieved if we shelved this legislation and opened up pathways by allowing students who have demonstrated sufficient literacy and numeracy skills to move on if they wish.  In this way our high-stakes and expensive OSSLT would offer an opportunity rather than being a purely punitive experience.  If students were able to graduate at the end of grade 10 with a basic Ontario diploma which would allow them to pursue pathways directly into the workplace or into alternate learning situations like apprenticeships, our senior classrooms would no long be daycare centres for students who don’t want to be there.  The students in senior high school would be there with intent and the system would be able to align their limited resources to serve students who are learning with the intent to continue on into post-secondary.

This change would drastically reduce our overages on building maintenance by reducing the number of buildings needed.  It might also offer an opportunity where schools can amalgamate beyond the rigid elementary/secondary system we run now, offering hyper local schooling that drastically reduces busing costs.  In a world where fuel prices are skyrocketing and supply chains are stretched to breaking, this seems like an inevitability.  Moving towards a digitally enhanced, hyper-local future now would mean it doesn’t come as a violent upheaval later.

With strong digital/remote skills and effective leverage of emerging technologies, we could create a leaner, greener and more individually responsive public school system in Ontario.  Academic teaching in classrooms works for students who understand that they need what’s being taught in order to prepare for post-secondary, but for many Ontario students who aren’t on that pathway, these final years are torture for them and for front line education staff trying to deal with them with ever shrinking resources.

No one will consider options like this because there are far too many organizations committed to the way things are for their own benefit.  Conservatives won’t do it because their private school friends won’t like them taking away customers.  The Liberals are so entwined with unions and other educational groups that they too won’t touch this.  I hope someone can see the light here and make moves to create a more student responsive, less bloated and more environmentally responsible education system.  In such an Ontario, redundancies like multiple education systems serving the same region would also end, but no political party will touch that either for fear of upsetting status quo religious privilege

Our public education system wasn’t in great shape before the last four years beat it to a pulp.  If Doug doesn’t win again this June, whoever does will give us half of what was stripped away back and we’ll be told by the various colleges/unions/councils they’re aligned with that we should thank them for it.  I don’t want things to go back to the way they were, I want them to respect the many pathways students choose and honour those choices by not forcing students to remain in classrooms that aren’t aligned with their learning needs until they are eighteen.  Does anyone in Ontario politics have anything like this kind of vision?

Sincerely,

Tim King
Classroom Teacher
Elora, ON.

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My First Motorcycling Accident: ATGATT Saves The Day!

 … and it wasn’t so bad thanks to all the (quality) gear, all the time.  This weekend we had family friends coming over so I took their son and mine up to S.M.A.R.T. Adventures for an afternoon dirt biking.  My boy did a day on bikes last year so he was stepping up to intermediate level, the other boy had never ridden before.

It was a glorious day.  We had snow last week but it was 15°C and sunny on Saturday, and we weren’t gettting on a bike until it had already reached that lofty high.

They kit you up good at SMART!


We got kitted up and out to the bikes.  Ethan went with another new rider and did the how-bike-controls-work introductory lesson.  Max hadn’t been on a bike in 10 months and had only had a day when he last did, but he remembered all the basics so off we went.



We had Joe instructing us who I’ve had a couple of times before.  He has psychic trail reading skills and is a joy to follow in the woods.  He’s also big on the basics (elbows up, sit at the front of the saddle right above the pegs and most of all, clutch control!).  Max had the basics down, but his work on the clutch dramatically improved his ability to ride off road this time around, it was time well spent!


We did the ride-over-a-log thing and after a tentative start Max got a handle on that too!  All in all it was a very satisfying afternoon of riding.

To end the day we joined the new riders and did some of the easier trails.  Earlier we’d been talking to the instructor who had been looking after the new riders and he said you can never underestimate how tired the newbies are.  The physical and mental demands on learning to ride from scratch are heavy.  We all lined up as a group and headed out into the woods for one last ride together.

We were coming down a washout with rocks and loose dirt when the instructor eased up at the bottom, perhaps deciding which way to turn.  I was up on the pegs behind him and was able to stop, but Max was behind me and couldn’t.  Ethan was behind him and said Max hit the back brake hard enough to lock up, but with the loose surface and incline he slid right into me, trapping my ankle between his front fork and my bike.  When he came off, his bike surged forward as it stalled, driving into my ankle even more.

It was trapped so tight I was thinking it was already broken, but SMART doesn’t mess around with the kit.  Those SIDI off road boots are the balls.  Having been caught between the two bikes (which were now locked together), there was an incredible amount of pressure on my ankle, but the boots were taking the brunt.  I couldn’t move and was frustrated that I hadn’t avoided the situation entirely, but it was a series of events I couldn’t see behind me and the accident was no one’s fault.  Max was feeling terrible about it, but once the tail end instructor had run down the hill and seperated the bikes, I got up and tested the ankle and was stunned to find I could stand on it without any real pain.  Even now, a day later, it’s only mildly bruised and I’m able to walk on it without any pain.  If I hadn’t been in good off road boots I’d have dust for an ankle.


We got the bikes sorted out (one of the plastic panels had popped out on my Honda 250cc, but was popped back in – it wasn’t even cracked!) and continued the ride.  At the end of the day we got back to the SMART office and all was good.


As I told Max, “this was about as ideal an accident as you could have!”  He learned about
leaving space, keeping his eyes up and experienced target fixation for the first time (which might one day save his life if he’s learned to look where he wants to go).  It also underlined my belief in ATGATT.  I tell you what, thanks to SMART I’m going to be looking for some SIDI dirt boots when I finally get my own kit.  They aren’t cheap, but then neither is a broken ankle.  Wear the right kit and even if you have an accident, you walk away!

I’m still hoping to get Max and I sorted out with a couple of tidy 250cc bikes to go trail riding together.  It’s great exercise, a wonderful way to get deep into the woods and sure, it could be dangerous, but with the right kit and a sensible approach to riding it’s a manageable risk that can also have minimum environmental impact.  A knowledgeable trail rider leaves no trace while exploring wilderness in a way that few other activities allow, often enjoying over 70mpg.


I know a lot of people think of motorcycling as a pointless risk that is destined for injury, but that isn’t the point at all.  When done well, as we did it yesterday, riding is the best kind of exercise for your mind and body, and something I’m always willing to mitigate risk on in order to enjoy.  I’ve heard of many people who have an accident and never ride again, but that isn’t my way.

We’re aiming to do a full day SMART later this year.  Funds permitting, we’ll get ourselves independently riding off road eventually, but in the meantime, SMART provides the kit and the bikes along with some vital mentorship.  We’ll both be better riders by the time we’re soloing on the trails in our own gear on our own bikes.

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Making Miles on the Concours

We had a break in the Canadian winter (in April) and I finally got a chance to exercise the Concours.  This jaunt took me over 250kms from where I live in the tedious industrial farming desert of South Western Ontario, an hour up to the road to the edge of the Niagara Escarpment where I have a small chance of finding a corner to ride around.  It usually gets colder by the lake, but contrary to physics, it went from 12°C when I left up to 27° by the lake.  It only dropped down into the low 20s again once I found some altitude on Blue Mountain (a hill anywhere but in Ontario).


https://goo.gl/maps/6DWBjfGv1WgbX6Ws5
https://goo.gl/maps/6DWBjfGv1WgbX6Ws5


It is actually nuclear powered!  I feel like I really bonded with the Connie on this ride – we sailed for miles and we had many more in us when we stopped for the day.  If you’re light on the throttle it gets reasonable mileage, but it’s a wonderful thing when you wake up that motor.  Kawasaki has a special touch with engines.


I had the 360 camera along for the ride and put together a montage using an incredibly complicated process that involves batch processing the 360 panaramas into ‘tiny planet’ images and then clipping them all together in video editing.  It isn’t for the faint of heart, but it sure looks unique.  This is the how-to if you’re feeling brave.


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2022 Imaging Kit Wishlist

What I’d upgrade equipment-wise if I had my druthers:


360 Cameras


Ricoh Theta Z1:  most 360 cameras are built for action video and make photography an afterthought.  The Z1 is a photography first tool with the largest sensor, raw image file options and a quality of image quality rather than quantitity.  It’s expensive, but if you’re into 360 photography and especially exploring the edges of it, the Z1 is the tool.

Cost:  $1350


GoPro Max 360 Camera:  I’ve chewed up a few Thetas doing action photography.  The GoPro Max is pretty much everything proof and produces quality 360 images, though it is (like most 360 cameras) video focused.

At 16.6 mega-pixels the Max produces nice images, and the time lapse photography option would work well for on-bike photography.

It’d be nice to have an on-bike camera that I could just leave filming when the rains come.  I currently have to get the dainty Theta out of the way whenever the weather sets in.

Cost:  $730



Aerial/Drone Photography

DJI Mini 2:  I’ve got a Phantom 2 and it’s a fine thing, but it’s big and increasing restrictions on drone flight make it more and more difficult to fly.  You can get around most of that by flying a micro drone (under 250 grams), which don’t require the same restrictions.

There are super cheap options with poor cameras and disposable air-frames, but the Mini-2 borrows the best tech from its big brothers in a small, foldable package that travels well.

Cost:  $520




Digital SLR Camera Updates

Canon 6D Mk2  SLR camera body:  I’m still enjoying my Canon Rebel T6i and I’d want an more advanced camera body that would still let me use the lenses I’m familiar with.  The 6D is the next step on from the entry level Rebel cameras with improved features and range.  Stepping up doesn’t come cheap though, though it would still be able to use my current lenses.

They describe my Rebel as a ‘beginner’ camera, though I’ve won competitions against ‘pros’ with ‘pro’ cameras, but the marketing does mess with my pride.

Body Cost:  $1800


CANON EF 100MM F2.8 L MACRO IS USM LENS

I love macro photography and use the Canon basic macro lens on the Rebel.  This is the stop up full-frame lens for the 6D.

It would have to be next level because this lens alone costs more than my current camera body with a tele, prime and macro lens.

$1700



SIGMA 24-70MM F2.8 DG OS HSM CANON (ART)

Described as a bright standard lens that makes use of the 6D’s full frame sensor.  

Another lens that by itself costs more than all the lenses I currently have.  DSLR shooting out of the ‘beginner’ cameras is for the privileged.

$1600



CANON EF 70-200MM F2.8L IS III USM LENS

If you think the others are dear, here’s your telephoto, and only up to 200mm, for less than most of my motorcycles have cost.


$2700



I’d like more reach with a full frame camera but pro-really long telephotos start to get into same-price-as-a-car money.  I’ve explored Olympus’s DSLR alternatives and enjoyed owning super-zoom all-in-one cameras too.  Super zooms have come a long way in recent years.  Sony’s DSC-RX10MIV  has a massive 1 inch CMOS sensor promising good low light photography while also offering an astounding 24-600mm reach on a built in lens.   Rather than chuck thousands at lenses and DSLR bodies (and then have to lug it all around), maybe a next-gen all-in-one super zoom should be next, though if this is a wish list then the money wouldn’t matter.


Rather than flash “pro” kit around, I’m looking for ways to innovate my photography.  A full-frame DSLR would be nice, but for a fraction of the cash I could get myself a current micro-drone, a powerful super-zoom and the latest in 360 camera technology, which even with all my experience with, I still feel like I’m only just scratching the surface.

In a variation on photography, I’ve also previously explore 3d scanning with the first gen Structure Sensor.  Their current PRO model is $695 (US) and comes out this summer.  That’d also be on my short-list of ‘imaging tools’.

If I avoided the DSLR money-pit, I’d be into five and half grand in the latest imaging tools (360 cameras, drone, big sensor all-in-one super-zoom and 3d scanner).  That’s 1/3 the price of a single ‘pro’ level telephoto lens.  Wish list or not, I think I can do more interesting things with digital imaging with a more diverse set of tools.


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