The 4th Industrial Revolution

An early 20th Century office – you don’t have
to think too hard to see what classrooms
were modelled on. Teaching tech in one
isn’t any fun, especially when you’re
buried in massive classes.

If you’re in education you’re probably still teaching ‘the’ industrial revolution.  Our subjects are still siloed and scheduled that way.  There is little different in school organization and planning from how an early 20th Century office operated… and we’re still focused on producing graduates for that non-existent office.  It’s probably just a habit.  Public education was formed in the first industrial revolution and copied many of the forms from that time.  What’s frustrating is that these systems are unable or unwilling to change now.

When I became a technology teacher I quickly learned that there is ‘hard’ tech and ‘soft’ tech.  I found those descriptions amusing because the hard techs often had low expectations and my ‘soft’ techs had more demanding expectations, to the point where my principal told me I had to make them easier.  I preferred using traditional tech and future tech, which turns out is how most of the world sees them.

In traditional tech you’re doing wood and metal working and auto mechanics following Industry 2.0 processes (hands on fabrication).  Having come from millwrighting and spending a significant proportion of my free time working on mechanics, I have a love of working in these traditional skills, but if we’re aiming students at skilled trades we’re decades out of date.

Yep, there are four industrial revolutions, and most of the world is at about 3.2 on their way to 4.0.  In education we’re still rocking Industry 2.0 in most tech classes.


There are inherent dangers with traditional techs.  Industrial machines can cut and burn you if you aren’t careful, especially if you’re going to teach these skills in an Industry 2.0 hands-on way.  As a result, these classes are capped at 21 students and often run with significantly fewer.  My ‘soft’ tech classes, even though we were operating soldering irons and power tools and working with live electricity that could kill, were capped at 31 and ran in a classroom rather than a dedicated technology space.  The icing on the cake was when, during COVID scheduling, all my colleagues went home at lunch to ignore eLearning in the afternoon (because you can’t teach ‘real’ tech like that) while I was teaching my second cohort of students in-class while simultaneously juggling eLearning because there were no other qualified teachers to do it.  This might sound like a lot of moaning but it demonstrates in a systematic way how education is mis-labelling in-demand skills and unevenly distributing limited resources to teach what is actually needed.  It turns out what we were covering in ‘soft’ tech has more to do with manufacturing than most of what was happening in ‘hard’ tech classes.

The rest of the world has already experienced three industrial revolutions and is now deeply immersed in an emerging forth one.  If you’re going to be teaching skilled trade technologies you need to be focusing on robotics and IT automated systems, and that’s if you’re aiming at the last Industry 3.0 targets.  If you’re aiming to make students ready for the world of work they’re going to enter, you should be teaching machine learning, IoT (internet of things – ie: smart devices with networked sensors) and even AI (also things we cover in computer technology, except it’s all applicable to manufacturing).

Cloud based computing?  Cybersecurity?  Autonomous robotics?  Big data analytics?  IoT?  Augmented reality?  Every single one of these things we covered in my computer technology class.  If education wasn’t stuck in a when-it-was-formed mindset, we’d be able to prepare students for the world they’re going to graduate into.

The nomenclature matters because it’s used to direct funding.  The current government in Ontario is very focused on skilled trades, which is a good thing because our academically run education system isn’t kind to non-academic students, but the definitions it operates with aren’t accurate.  My son just started working at the factory around the corner.  They’re in an Industry 3.0 strance with non-machine learning (programmed) robots doing repetitive work (including welding which is still taught by hand in manufacturing classes like it’s 1960).  They need humans to do the in-between work, but the new factory going in next door will be fully automated and will leverage Industry 4.0 to the point where there will be few manual labourers but many more IT and robotics technicians (if they can find them) along with a plethora of support services such as cybersecurity and cloud services to make this highly efficient process hum.

Guess where all those manufacturing job skills are happening?  In poorly resourced/treated as a second thought computer technology classes.  Ontario needs to wake up and revise its technology curriculums to align with the technology students will be expected to know when they leave the make-believe world of education.

I was talking to the dad of a former student a couple of weeks ago.  His son got into robotics in my program about 5 years ago.  He graduated, went to college for a robotics technician qualification and has never been unemployed since.  He currently works for Toyota Canada and is being sent down to the States to learn the new welding processes their robots will use.  Those are the same robots my son is working with around the corner.  This is pretty thrilling for me as a teacher from a manufacturing pipeline perspective.  I have a former student coding the robots that recent grads are using in their work… in manufacturing.

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CyberDay & CyberTitan: cybersecurity in your classroom for cyberawareness month

The idea of bringing cybersecurity awareness into a public school classroom makes many people uneasy, but as I said in a recent interview, “Cyber is never as complicated as you think it is, don’t let the lingo and media scare you off.”   There are a couple of events happening in October, which is cybersecurity awareness month in Canada, that’ll give you the resources and connections you need to explore cybersafety in your classroom.



CyberDay is the gentle introduction to cybersafety, privacy and cybersecurity.  


It’s happening on October 18th and the Knowledgeflow Cybersafety Foundation has been working like beavers to put together interactive resources and talks with experts that’ll make cyber accessible to everyone.

CyberDay is all online and you can pick and choose what you want to use in your classroom.  It could be a short lesson, a longer activity or even a whole day event depending on how you want to use it.

Sign up is on the site and you can even do some preliminary learning with it by having students submit questions to experts.  If you don’t think you have students in your class who are curious about hacking then you’re not getting where they spend most of their time (it’s online).  In this event students can ask white hat hackers and pentesters about their work.  That might lead more students to consider cybersecurity pathways which are in such short demand that Canada is looking overseas to bring people in because we’re not producing these careers at home.

As they say on the site, “Cybersafety is a team sport”.  You’re not alone in broaching this sometimes unnerving subject, you only need to connect to CyberDay to see how much help is on hand.


In case the ease of access isn’t compelling for you, perhaps the idea that if we’re going to use interconnecting education technology in our classroom, we should be covering best practices with our students will.  I attended a conference last week where Michael Canuel from LearnQC trotted out some current stats that should make you sit up and take notice:
  • (a staggering) 98% of data breaches are caused by user error or cyber-illiteracy. If we took steps to improve cybersafety awareness in education, we would all but solve the current wave of cyber-attacks on the education sector.

  • cyber-awareness is vital to protecting our critical infrastructure. Canada now considers information technology to be a critical infrastructure (because it also runs all the other ones)
  • cyber-skills are part of a collection of digital literacy skills that extend well beyond coding
The need for better cyber-awareness should be self evident, but what isn’t (to me) is why public education seems to go out of its way to ignore it.  While listening to Michael’s talk about the poor state of cyber-skills in Canadian education, I couldn’t help wondering if it isn’t intentional.  Many public education organizations have vested political interests in keeping the status quo.  From a professional perspective I was left desperately hoping that educators aren’t intentionally ignoring privacy and cybersafety skills in order to sabotage eLearning.  CyberDay would be a great first step in proving that skepticism misplaced.

One of the angles I was considering for CyberDay was just how well suited it is as a library activity.  I did a piece for the Ontario Library Association’s Teaching LIbrarian online magazine about how cybersecurity (as a digital literacy) makes a perfect connection with the roll a modern learning commons has in our schools.


Library learning commons are often the first point of contact for emerging technology.  Way back in middle school in 1982, I first laid hands on a computer in our school library when we set up Commodore PETs and saw the neon green wonder of coding for the first time.

I’m hoping I can connect with the OSLA about reaching out to librarians over the next couple of weeks in order to empower them to take on this latest in a long line of emerging digital literacies.  Cyber isn’t as scary as you think, and it’s a great opportunity for iterative and immersive learning.


CYBERTITAN:  Canada’s student cybersecurity competition


CyberTitan has been running since 2017/18 in Canada as part of CyberPatriot, the US Air Force Association’s now international student competition.  If you’re read Dusty World before you know that this contest has not only opened up pathways for my students, but also played a major role in my own professional development.  I’m a huge fan of the competition and would love to see more Canadian educators get on board with it.

CyberPatriot has a live map of registered teams on their site.  As you can see, compared to the United States, Canada’s engagement with the competition has been… less.  I’m particularly focused on connecting under-represented groups in the competition.  When I coached the first ever top all-female team to the national finals in 2019, I became aware of just how toxically masculine cyber can be.  I’d move mountains to get more female (including non-binary and female identifying) students into it.  I’d move more mountains to get BIPOC and indigenous students on board too.  The finalist teams all tend to come from major cities and specialist schools which tend to cater to socio-economically advantaged youth.  Cyber isn’t an urban/wealthy issue, it’s an all-of-us issue, and rural communities, families and businesses are just as in need of safe and secure connectivity as everyone else.

You can see what the competition is about from this Prezi that the mighty @oksarge and I presented at ECOO summer camp in 2020.  Students learn hands-on defensive IT skills by fixing compromised WIndows and Linux operating systems in virtual machines.

Learning to wrangle virtual machines is a big part of CyberPatriot.  You’ll find this technology to be an incredible tool for teaching computer technology. You can abuse VMs in all sorts of ways that’d make your IT department faint, and when it all goes wrong?  Just close the window.


VMs are simulated computers that happen inside a window, so you could run Apple OSx in Windows, or Windows in Linux using a VM.  Because it’s all virtual there is no chance of spreading malware from inside a VM, which is why they’re used in cybersecurity.  Learning virtualization technology like this is really eye opening for students, and it’s not nearly as tricky as you think it might be.


Our lab goes full disco during a CyberPatriot round.  It’s a six-hour competition window.  Pizza is brought in and snacks are available.  Students dig right to the end, making a mockery of the idea that kids today have no attention span.

The competition is exciting and students genuinely enjoy it and return year after year.  Live world wide scoring pits them against students from around the world, so if they’re competitive they can follow the scoreboard and dig for points, but CyberPatriot can also be played from a purely educational perspective where students still benefit from the teamwork, iterative problem solving and cyber-skills development.  Our junior teams are always reminded that this is a reconnaissance season with no expectation of winning.  Learn the ropes and get into it.  Many become competitive anyway because (here it comes again): cyber isn’t as complicated as you think it is.

Sign up is due by October 5th, but no money is due then (fees are waived for non-male teams) and I’ve always found that SHSM and other student success initiatives are eager to help cover costs (which aren’t due until mid-November).  The swag is excellent (t-shirts, medals!) and once students understand how it all works they always say the same thing (here it comes again), “it’s not as hard as I thought it would be.”  That’s cybersecurity in a nutshell.

Libraries would be another great focus for CyberTitan, where students could access the technology they need and develop their library and librarian coach into a cyber-aware school-wide resource.  My students have used the skills learned in CyberPatriot to help our school with technical support and many went on to support local businesses as well.  The benefits from this are many, we just need to get more Canadian educators to take that step and sign up a team. Once they do, they’ll be back!

It’s still true!  If you’d like to talk about running a high school team, I’ve got lots of experience and would be thrilled to help you get going.  Krista ran a very successful middle-school team in her first year coaching and can talk you through what to expect in that division.


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CyberDay and CyberTitan: Cyber isn’t as difficult as you think it is…

The idea of bringing cybersecurity awareness into a public school classroom makes many people uneasy, but as I said in a recent interview, “Cyber is never as complicated as you think it is, don’t let the lingo and media scare you off.”   There are a couple of events happening in October, which is cybersecurity awareness month in Canada, that’ll give you the resources and connections you need to explore cybersafety in your classroom.

CyberDay is the gentle introduction to cybersafety, privacy and cybersecurity.  

It’s happening on October 18th and the Knowledgeflow Cybersafety Foundation has been working like beavers to put together interactive resources and talks with experts that’ll make cyber accessible to everyone.
CyberDay is all online and you can pick and choose what you want to use in your classroom.  It could be a short lesson, a longer activity or even a whole day event depending on how you want to use it.
Sign up is on the site and you can even do some preliminary learning with it by having students submit questions to experts.  If you don’t think you have students in your class who are curious about hacking then you’re not getting where they spend most of their time (it’s online).  In this event students can ask white hat hackers and pentesters about their work.  That might lead more students to consider cybersecurity pathways which are in such short demand that Canada is looking overseas to bring people in because we’re not producing these careers at home.

As they say on the site, “Cybersafety is a team sport”.  You’re not alone in broaching this sometimes unnerving subject, you only need to connect to CyberDay to see how much help is on hand.

In case the ease of access isn’t compelling for you, perhaps the idea that if we’re going to use interconnecting education technology in our classroom, we should be covering best practices with our students will.  I attended a conference last week where Michael Canuel from LearnQC trotted out some current stats that should make you sit up and take notice:
  • (a staggering) 98% of data breaches are caused by user error or cyber-illiteracy. If we took steps to improve cybersafety awareness in education, we would all but solve the current wave of cyber-attacks on the education sector.

  • cyber-awareness is vital to protecting our critical infrastructure. Canada now considers information technology to be a critical infrastructure (because it also runs all the other ones)
  • cyber-skills are part of a collection of digital literacy skills that extend well beyond coding
The need for better cyber-awareness should be self evident, but what isn’t (to me) is why public education seems to go out of its way to ignore it.  While listening to Michael’s talk about the poor state of cyber-skills in Canadian education, I couldn’t help wondering if it isn’t intentional.  Many public education organizations have vested political interests in keeping the status quo.  From a professional perspective I was left desperately hoping that educators aren’t intentionally ignoring privacy and cybersafety skills in order to sabotage eLearning.  CyberDay would be a great first step in proving that skepticism misplaced.

One of the angles I was considering for CyberDay was just how well suited it is as a library activity.  I did a piece for the Ontario Library Association’s Teaching LIbrarian online magazine about how cybersecurity (as a digital literacy) makes a perfect connection with the roll a modern learning commons has in our schools.

Library learning commons are often the first point of contact for emerging technology.  Way back in middle school in 1982, I first laid hands on a computer in our school library when we set up Commodore PETs and saw the neon green wonder of coding for the first time.
I’m hoping I can connect with the OSLA about reaching out to librarians over the next couple of weeks in order to empower them to take on this latest in a long line of emerging digital literacies.  Cyber isn’t as scary as you think, and it’s a great opportunity for iterative and immersive learning.

CYBERTITAN:  Canada’s student cybersecurity competition

CyberTitan has been running since 2017/18 in Canada as part of CyberPatriot, the US Air Force Association’s now international student competition.  If you’re read Dusty World before you know that this contest has not only opened up pathways for my students, but also played a major role in my own professional development.  I’m a huge fan of the competition and would love to see more Canadian educators get on board with it.
CyberPatriot has a live map of registered teams on their site.  As you can see, compared to the United States, Canada’s engagement with the competition has been… less.  I’m particularly focused on connecting under-represented groups in the competition.  When I coached the first ever top all-female team to the national finals in 2019, I became aware of just how toxically masculine cyber can be.  I’d move mountains to get more female (including non-binary and female identifying) students into it.  I’d move more mountains to get BIPOC and indigenous students on board too.  The finalist teams all tend to come from major cities and specialist schools which tend to cater to socio-economically advantaged youth.  Cyber isn’t an urban/wealthy issue, it’s an all-of-us issue, and rural communities, families and businesses are just as in need of safe and secure connectivity as everyone else.
You can see what the competition is about from this Prezi that the mighty @oksarge and I presented at ECOO summer camp in 2020.  Students learn hands-on defensive IT skills by fixing compromised WIndows and Linux operating systems in virtual machines.
Learning to wrangle virtual machines is a big part of CyberPatriot.  You’ll find this technology to be an incredible tool for teaching computer technology. You can abuse VMs in all sorts of ways that’d make your IT department faint, and when it all goes wrong?  Just close the window.

VMs are simulated computers that happen inside a window, so you could run Apple OSx in Windows, or Windows in Linux using a VM.  Because it’s all virtual there is no chance of spreading malware from inside a VM, which is why they’re used in cybersecurity.  Learning virtualization technology like this is really eye opening for students, and it’s not nearly as tricky as you think it might be.
Our lab goes full disco during a CyberPatriot round.  It’s a six-hour competition window.  Pizza is brought in and snacks are available.  Students dig right to the end, making a mockery of the idea that kids today have no attention span.
The competition is exciting and students genuinely enjoy it and return year after year.  Live world wide scoring pits them against students from around the world, so if they’re competitive they can follow the scoreboard and dig for points, but CyberPatriot can also be played from a purely educational perspective where students still benefit from the teamwork, iterative problem solving and cyber-skills development.  Our junior teams are always reminded that this is a reconnaissance season with no expectation of winning.  Learn the ropes and get into it.  Many become competitive anyway because (here it comes again): cyber isn’t as complicated as you think it is.
Sign up is due by October 5th, but no money is due then (fees are waived for non-male teams) and I’ve always found that SHSM and other student success initiatives are eager to help cover costs (which aren’t due until mid-November).  The swag is excellent (t-shirts, medals!) and once students understand how it all works they always say the same thing (here it comes again), “it’s not as hard as I thought it would be.”  That’s cybersecurity in a nutshell.
Libraries would be another great focus for CyberTitan, where students could access the technology they need and develop their library and librarian coach into a cyber-aware school-wide resource.  My students have used the skills learned in CyberPatriot to help our school with technical support and many went on to support local businesses as well.  The benefits from this are many, we just need to get more Canadian educators to take that step and sign up a team. Once they do, they’ll be back!
It’s still true!  If you’d like to talk about running a high school team, I’ve got lots of experience and would be thrilled to help you get going.  Krista ran a very successful middle-school team in her first year coaching and can talk you through what to expect in that division.

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Moto-Media and Getting in Rides at the end of summer, 2022

Evening rides and changeable weather as the summer ends…


The Concours/1400GTR hanging out in a graveyard at sunset… as you do.







***


I’ve been playing with some design concepts for the WW2 historical fiction novel, Under Dark Skies (coming soon!).  I’m currently working on dividing the original manuscript into three young adult sized novels.  





I’m always looking for period bike images.  Never know when I might be able to use them for a reference on an original drawing.  I’ve been up to those too, creating scenes from the novel:

t-shirt transparency


Sketched variation –  I might have put my face on that subconsciously.


… and some sketched (pen and ink) scenes from the novel:




Here’s a mock-up book cover concept based on a 1940s comic book style:



I’ve been monkeying around with the blog logo too:



  


… and may eventually put a t-shirt out:


***

We managed an afternoon at SMART Adventures before the end of the summer:


It’s never a bad time, but I went in the ‘expert’ group which consisted of a dad who wanted his son on a bike that was too big for him.  The kid came off it so often that it became tedious, so we rode back to base and he switched to a smaller bike and then fell off that a lot too.  We still got some good trail riding in and our instructor (Louise) was fantastic, but ‘expert’?  Not so much.  We spent a sizable portion of our very short 3 hours picking this kid up or riding back and forth for his various equipment change needs.  His finally move was to ride into a massive puddle and drop the bike in the middle of it, causing us to spent 20 minutes getting it out and then following him and his dad as they two-upped back to the office.



I’m not sure how to address that as I’ve been going to SMART for a long time and I did have a good afternoon, but when I’m paying quite a lot of money for three hours of riding and almost a third of it is taken up with catering to what was clearly a non-expert rider, I’m left feeling (for the first time ) like I didn’t get my money’s worth.


***

We went to Stratford yesterday to Perth County Moto’s 5th anniversary.  T’was a good time.  If you find your way to Stratford, Ontario at any point, look them up, they’re right downtown: 








I got myself a vintage style dirt tracker team sweater (they’re like rugby jerseys) for a good price!

I haven’t been spending much time in the garage beyond upkeep and maintenance on the two operational bikes.  I’m saving the Bonneville project for the cold months when I need to keep my hands busy and riding is far away, though I did start re-assembling the frame (seemed like a logical place to start).


The oil filters came in for the end of year oil change (I always put in fresh oil and filter and run them through before the big hibernation).  It’s a depressing delivery, but I’ve still got another six weeks or so before the snows fall.  With the filters I got some tank pads to stop myself sliding around on the Concours.

Next week we’re aiming for the Wine y Cheese Rally on September 24th.  We’re going to head down to St. Catherines on the Friday and then be up and at it by 7am on Saturday morning.  This is the only rally we’ve been able to line up this busy summer, so I’m looking forward to it.  We’ve been fettling the Concours to make it as functional and capable as possible for this long haul.  We finished our last one on the Tiger last summer, so I’m not even super concerned with finishing so much as I am just having a good time with it.  Signups still seem to be available, so if you’re looking for an excuse to ride and ride next weekend (cooler temps but the weather looks good), then give it a go.


Gotta get time in the saddle in before the snows fall!

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Baffling 1970s British Wheel Engineering

I had a go at mounting new tires on the 1971 Bonneville project rims today, and what a pain in that ass that has turned into.  The rear tire is a mess of strange engineering decisions, including 3 holes for the inner tube valve, two of which are filled with rubber/metal pads with valve stem sized bolts sticking out of them.  Why they would do this is beyond me.  It creates a needlessly heavy wheel just where you don’t want it (where centrifugal force amplifies it at the rim when it spins).  Perhaps it has something to do with the spokes and creating a true (round) wheel by adding weight?  The rear tire went on easily enough, but the inner tube was a pain to get the valve in place and it doesn’t seem to be taking air.  I’ll have to take that apart again and figure out what the hell is going on.

Also in bizarro British ’70s engineering world, the front wheel has the valve stem hole drilled in the worst possible location, right near two spokes, which makes putting the compressor’s tire inflation nozzle on it impossible.  There are spaces all around the rim where the hole could have been drilled to allow for easier access, but the Meriden Triumph ‘technician’ threw it in there.  If there is an engineering reason for it, it’s beyond me.  Putting the hole in the space between more distant spokes shouldn’t hurt the durability, but they didn’t do that.


I’ve done inner tubes and tires for my modern Triumph Tiger recently, and just did a tubeless tire on the Kawasaki (complete with tire sensor hack), so this shouldn’t have been the faff that it has turned into.  I ended up leaving both rims sitting in the garage.  I’ll come back to it another day when I’m less frustrated by it.

Period tires from Revco look good on the rims, but the rear won’t take air and I can’t get any into the front.  Damn it.


Here’s some old Triumph ‘character’ and a bit of moto philosophy to remind me why I’m doing this…

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Crooked Paths are the Ones that Lead to Enlightenment

I’ve been relentless in my own research and development into emerging digital trends since I started teaching computer technology ten years ago – it’s why we’ve won more medals in more different Skills Ontario/Skills Canada categories than any other classroom in the province over the past six years.  Our competition successes in CyberTitan/Cyberpatriot, along with our work in Skills Ontario/Canada is one side of the equation, but where I get a real charge is hearing back from grads.  This is somewhere that public education studiously ignores (collecting data on graduates).  If I had one immediate wish for a change in public education, it would be to collect data on graduate success across all pathways.  We love flying blind in public education, that way we’re not responsible for anything other than a graduation founded on our own criteria.

A colleague is sending her son to college this year and they told incoming students that those who have taken a year off before beginning postsecondary are much more likely to finish their program.  Those who take two years off before returning are even more likely to see success.  This jives with my own post-secondary experience where I, as an adult student who left work after three years to return to school, was one of the few who could be bothered to get in for 9am classes.  It also aligns with anecdotal evidence I’m hearing from my own graduates.  It is strange that I repeatedly hear students being told that if they don’t go straight into post-secondary they’ll probably never do it.  It rates right up there with, “you’re a smart kid, why wouldn’t you go to university?”  When that advice isn’t being tested with success data, this approach seems remarkably flippant and privileged in tone.

I ran into a former student in the spring who went straight into university only to drop out in second year.  He’s now a barista.  Yesterday I had lunch with one of our strongest IT students in the past ten years (he was the only one to earn multiple CompTIA industry certifications while still in high school.  Industry certifications like this are often dismissed by traditional education institutions (mine were by the Ontario College of Teachers who gave me years of static before ‘letting’ me, a certified IT technician with years in the trade, take my computer technology teaching qualifications).  This student is currently in his coop placement in college and is taking a year off because his coop wants to hire him for a contract (in Germany!).  The college isn’t being very helpful about his stepping outside of their program plan either.  Institutions like to make sure they are at the front of the line in terms of benefitting from ‘your’ educational pathways.

I’m not the only one advocating for
a less institutionalized approach to
learning.

A career support teacher once described my own development through visual arts, millwrighting and IT to university and teaching as a ‘crooked path‘, but there is no straight path.  If you’re on that one it means you’re following institutional convenience and are and educational consumerist rather than a self directed learner.  If you’re a cradle to grave institutional educationalist (k-12 student, university student, teachers’ college student, teacher, etc), you’ve demonstrated a remarkable commitment to institutional thinking, but for those of us who want to combine complex skills across varying disciplines, or who simply would like to direct our own educational outcomes, crooked paths are the ones to enlightenment.

I struggled in public education as a student, dropping out of my grade 13 year and then following college, apprenticeship and then university pathways as I found my way to what I was supposed to be (author, artist, technician, teacher).  These decisions were often based on socio-economic difficulties (being a poor immigrant often excluded me from academic opportunities).  Something else those institutionalized pathways are is steeped in privilege.  The kids whose parents were paying for it all were also the ones who couldn’t be bothered to wake up for those 9am classes.

I’ve always considered my first-hand knowledge of the many different pathways available to students to be of great benefit as a teacher.  I can speak to students about the benefits and challenges of workplace, apprenticeship, college and university routes without having to refer them to boilerplate descriptions usually written by academics fixated on championing the institutional pathways they themselves have marched.  I’m proud of how many of my students have gone in many different directions and found success.  My own son just graduated high school and is just starting his first full time job in manufacturing in a state of the art factory and I couldn’t be prouder (he’s also making twice what the barista is and isn’t paying off student loans that never produced anything).  One of our CyberTitans from 2021 is in the process of applying directly to the Canadian Navy after working for a year (he is facing similar economic difficulties to what I faced as a young man).  I’m as proud of those students as I am of the grads who have toughed out challenging post-secondary academic programs.  Those crooked pathways aren’t easier, but they are richer experientially and no one handed them to these kids, which results in a different kind of educational empowerment.

There are forward thinking organizations out there who aren’t interested in maintaining traditional educational power structures so much as they are in empowering individuals so that they can leverage this information technology revolution we find ourselves in.  We live in a time of unique opportunities where learning could be more accessible, less restrictive and more individualized than it has ever been in history, but only if we can reduce the institutional drag we’re currently hauling with us into the future.

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Getting a Flat Tire on your Motorcycle

I’ve been riding for over a decade now on a lot of different bikes and I’ve never had a flat tire.  A work colleague got one once and it made her quit riding, so the terror of riding a motorcycle with a flat has always had an inflated (ha!) place in my mind.


Last week my son and I went to look for hairy cows (highland cattle up by Creemore) on two wheels.  The mission was a success and after a quick lunch in Creemore we headed home.  A stop for a stretch in Grand Valley must have picked up a nail as once we were back in motion the tire sensor started flashing on the dash.  It should have been more obvious that a catastrophic tire failure was under way except the Kawasaki was also in a panic about being low on fuel.  Whoever did the dash layout for the C14 didn’t have a good grip on digital ergonomics (a rapid tire decompression shouldn’t be vying with early low-fuel warnings on the screen).

I started to feel the back end get squishy so I slowed down and pulled over once I’d sussed out what the panicky dash was trying to tell me.  With a 200lb+ passenger on the back this was the worst possible getting-a-flat scenario, yet I found it very manageable.  I like to think all that time at SMART Adventures getting used to a bike moving around on loose material helped.  We pulled over, the tire was very flat, so we unloaded and then I pushed the bike off the side of the road and into the grass.  We were on a country road so there wasn’t much of a shoulder and everyone was steaming by at 100kms/hr.  I then got on the phone trying to find anyone local who could give us a hand.

Nice spot for a breakdown, as long as you can manhandle the bike away from the verge. No one stopped to check on us or even slowed down or moved out of the lane to avoid us. Country living ain’t what it used to be.


No point in being all long faced about it 🙂

My wife was heading out to ballet but a friend in town, Scott, was around and offered to come out with some spray filler to get us home.

It was a nice day for a flat in a lovely part of the world.  Potatoes were growing behind us and cows grazed across the road as the sun streamed down.

Scott was there in a flash.  I removed the topbox and Max and it went with Scott in the car (no point in putting more weight on a bad tire than necessary).  The spray filler went in and bubbled out of the hole and the bike’s pressure sensor said I had 5psi.  Perhaps the foam expands as the tire spins and heats up?  Scott and Max followed me as I took it slowly down the road toward the village of Belwood, but the fill-in-foam did bugger all.

I was only a few minutes in motion but the tire pressure fell off to zero again and the tire was starting to come off the bead, so I pulled over on the edge of the road in Belwood.  Scott and Max went back to Elora to see if he could borrow his neighbour’s trailer to get the bike home, but I was in my hood now.  Belwood is the edge of the catchment area where I teach and teaching generations of people here means I’m connected, even when I don’t know it.

The guy mowing his lawn across the street came over and said he had a portable air compressor and some tire plugs and would I want to give it a try?  He came back a minute latter with a rusty old plug kit and the air pump and as he plugged the hole we discovered that he was the uncle of one of my top students (the kid’s going to German to do IT this fall!).  He waved me off when I offered to pay, but a bottle of Glenfiddich is coming his way next time I’m passing through there.  Scotch is cheaper than a tow and I’d like to cultivate what little small town spirit is left in our rapidly urbanizing county.

Plug kits are the way!

The Concours uses tubeless tires on alloy rims, similar to a car, so the plug did the trick and the portable air compressor he had put 20psi into the tire which held all the way home.  I stopped half way and texted Scott that I was in motion and they met me at the house.  I took it slow and steady but the bike felt fine even at half pressure.  If you’re frantically worried about getting a flat on a motorcycle get some off road training, it’ll make you comfortable with the squirming.


Lessons learned?

This wasn’t my first time seeing
biker ‘brotherhood’ fall on its face
.
It’s all a load of nonsense, isn’t it?
I stop, but it has nothing to do with
this fictional B,S, designed to make
the loud  pipe crowd feel good
about themselves.

  1. Flats feel like riding on gravel.  If that freaks you out, so will getting a flat.
  2. Pressure filler goop doesn’t work, it’s a waste of money.  This was only a nail puncture and it did nothing to solve it.
  3. Plugs are the way!  There are moto-friendly options that aren’t big (or expensive compared to getting towed) and can get you back in motion.
  4. Don’t expect Kawasaki’s tire air pressure system to prioritize the danger in any kind of way that makes sense.
  5. Don’t expect the biker brotherhood (or anyone else) to pull over and see if you need a hand, they all just potatoed by while we were on the side of the road.  In fact, no one stopped to check on us.  How’s that for country hospitality?
  6. Because of 5, be self sufficient in sorting your own flat.

Jeff the motorcycle Jedi suggested getting an all-in-one micro-sized puncture repair kit and suggested the Stop And Go kit which includes all you need for plugging including a mini pump that you can clip onto your battery for under $100.  Packs up nice and small too so throwing it in a pannier is no problem.
I got mine from Fortnine, but Amazon has ’em too.


As for tires, I ended up going with Revco and getting a single new rear tire rather than doing both.  When I got the C14 it had a relatively new (2019) front tire and much older rear on it.  The front was still nicely rounded (no flat spots), so it stayed on.  I didn’t want to mismatch tires so I stayed with Michelin Pilot Road 4s.  If you want a COVID inflationary kick in the head, the rear tire cost $235 when I looked it up last summer.  Your latest inflationary price (Aug, 2022)?  $274.  That’s a 16.6% price jump, aren’t economics fun?  I can’t imagine what the dealership is asking these days, probably five hundred a tire installed.

All that shitty milk in the bottom of the tire? That’s courtesy of the utterly useless ‘tire repair’ foam filler – don’t bother with it!


Revco did its usual excellent job getting the tire out (it was here less than 48hrs after ordering).  Installation was straightforward and gave me a chance to clean up the rear end and shaft drive which I hadn’t been into yet.


Here’s where things get even craftier (or Norfolk stingier if you like).  I like mechanics, but like my dad before me, they also scratch a why-spend-money-when-you-don’t-have-to itch.  The tire pressure warning system has been flashing low power warnings at me since I got the bike.  I looked up replacements and they are an eye-watering three hundred bucks or more a piece, then I did some research and found this handy video where the guy dismantles the sensors and solders a new lithium battery in.  Recommended?  Not unless you’re really handy soldering (lithium batteries don’t like a lot of heat).  Fortunately, I’m handy with soldering.

The TPMS (tire pressure measurement system) is a wireless sensor screwed into the valve stem and held in place with a big hex bolt.  It sends a wireless signal to the dash once the bike is in motion which gives you your tire pressure in real time.  Removing the sensor is easy enough and taking it apart equally so (there is a torx head bolt under the sticker).




Disassembly is straightforward.  There are plastic clips on the sides that can’t have much to do in a thing spinning round and round inside a hot, pressurized tire.  The hidden fastener is a tiny torx head bolt under the sticker.


I removed the old battery and picked up a pack of 4 of the Energizer C2032 batteries (we use them all the time in motherboards at school) for under $10.


I soldered wires onto the extensions from the PCB and then soldered them onto the battery.  Solid connections all around and it all went back together nicely.  For a hack around a non-repairable high-expense replacement, this went well!


The new tire went on without any headaches.  Compared to the winter install of the tubed tires on the Tiger, it was a much easier summer job.  No inner tubes to wrangle and (after leaving the tire in the sun for 10 minutes), everything was pliable and easy to stretch over the rim using tire spoons.


I was worried about the tire not inflating if I didn’t have a tire installer with rapid inflation on it, but I needn’t have worried.  Perhaps the Armour All helped (I used it on the rim edge as a lubricant), but the tire started to take in air with a bit of jiggling and once it started filling, at about 20psi the edges popped out onto the bead and were airtight.

I set the tire pressure to 42psi and went for a ride around the block and then up and down the river (about 20kms).  Everything it tight and working well, including the tire pressure sensor – no more low power warnings!  I’ll do the front one when I eventually replace the front tire the same way.  A new tire always feels fantastic (like a newly sharpened pencil if you’re older enough to know what that feels like) with the bike feeling friskier and more willing to drop into corners.  The new tire is a 190/55 rather than the stock 190/50 and it subtly shifts weight forward by lifting the back end up a touch – it felt good, and is a bit less crashy on bumps too (a bit more sidewall means a bit more flex).

Thanks to Steve A on YouTube for some genuinely useful help researching the tire pressure management system and how to hack a fix.


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Nerdy Moto-Trip Planning: Ride to Watch Artemis Launch to the Moon in Florida

I’m facing impending return to a perilous workplace of questionable effectiveness.  Expect to see more pie in the sky posts on TMD as I find ways to escape from a terminal re-entry into another year of politics and frustration at work.

The ride to watch the Artemis moon launch set for Monday, August 29th (at the earliest) at Cape Canaveral in Florida.

What I’d do if I didn’t have to go back to work in the coming weeks and was looking for a way to be busy and gone while the education machine groans back into life again.

Leave Monday, Aug 22nd, take an extra day either around the Dragon’s Tail or in the Appalachians (or in Savannah! …so many choices!).

THE RIDE DOWN (to Florida Aug 22-29):

Day 1:  Elora to Philpsburg PA:  https://goo.gl/maps/iRjHDdWnTBmzbAzD9  569kms

We Are Inn:  https://theweareinn.com/

Day 2:  We Are Inn PA to Lydia Mtn Lodge VAhttps://goo.gl/maps/Lcpj7DG9ZD1o4gnCA 254mi

Lydian Mountain Lodge: https://lydiamountainlodge.com/  Nice place for a two night stay!

Day 3:  Lydia Mtn Lodge VA to Quality Inn Bristol:  https://goo.gl/maps/gE8YTZgtah3gwDnn8  300mi

Blue Ridge Parkway: https://www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit/maps.htm

Day 4:  Bristol VA to Dragon City & Tail of the Dragon: https://goo.gl/maps/J3abTNzNRbvYV8VL9 246mi

Dragon City:  https://dragoncityresort.com/

Day 5:  Dragon City to Savannah GA: https://goo.gl/maps/HFmeunyXjyEBV4sr5 397mi

Day 6:  Savannah GA to Daytona Beach (1 hr north of Cape Canaveral): https://goo.gl/maps/PkdWNezM1f6eRQML7

Day 7:  Daytona Beach to Cape Canaveral to Boca Raton: 246mi (70mi/1hr to Cape Canaveral): https://goo.gl/maps/CUMKUyFTFvKtUzTM6 Watch the launch (!!!) then head on down to Miami.

August 22-29th for Aug 29th launch.

POST LAUNCH (Aug 29-last week of September):

Miami & Key West:  Boca Raton to Key West:  https://goo.gl/maps/7kkU1jXwXmWQ8xf79 207mi

Spend some days in Key West and then work my way up around the Gulf Coast to New Orleans:  https://goo.gl/maps/1KsFe1qwuqpFEpCC7  ~1000mi

After some days in and around New Orleans, it’d be a slow ride up the Mississippi River Delta with a swing over to The Ozarks before returning to Ontario end of September:  https://goo.gl/maps/MD75Q3DvWWDwmMmBA  ~2500mi over a couple of weeks.

On the road for approximately 4 weeks (August 22 to September 22ish).  One week down, 3 weeks after launch covering Florida, New Orleans, the Mississippi and the Ozarks back home: https://goo.gl/maps/x5TP3usybdxU3gSh9

I have just the machine to make this trip on:

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A Cure For Your Insanity Part 3: Getting Lost and Finding Myself in North Eastern Ontario

Mapping it old-school in Calabogie.  Having to stop and
do this throughout the day resulted in a much more 
enjoyable ride.

 Ottawa isn’t quite as manic as the GTA when it comes to driving culture, probably because it’s a fraction of the size.  I didn’t see the intentional assholery that GTA drivers seem to revel in.  That used to be arms-reach from us out in the country where I live, but thanks to COVID and rich people speculating on the real estate market, there has been a cidiot diaspora to my neck of the wooks and aggressive driving is the new norm on our country roads.

The 417 out of Ottawa at noon on Sunday was thrumming along at 130+kms/hr.  I kept to a steady 120 on the inside lane and was passed with regularity.  When we were in Alberta in July I noted that the speed limits are set reasonably without clinging to 1970s limits designed to generate revenue and justify more police.  The 110kms/hr on the highway had everyone moving at about 110kms/hr.  The 100 limit on country roads was the same with no one blowing beyond as has become common on our backroads.  Ontario’s artificially low limits (and then the intentional ignoring of them until the police and insurance industry feel like making it rain) produces a kind of cognitive dissonance in Ontario drivers.  They know the limits don’t mean anything and tend to drive however fast their vehicle feels good at, which in a modern vehicle with advanced tires, anti-lock brakes and computerized suspension and engines is much faster than the limits set for woody wagons in the ’70s.

Once off the madness that is Ontario’s 400 series highway system things settled down and I fell into a nice rhythm on the 508.  I usually have to ride miles to find a corner (and corner) where I live in the tedious S.W. Ontario agricultural desert.  Speaking of which, I was struggling to understand why my visor wasn’t plastered in bugs while riding through Eastern Ontario woods, but it’s the lack of factory-farmed livestock.  Those closely packed animals generate more flies than meat.  When you’re not always passing by fowl (sp!) smelling chicken manufacturing facilities or cow paddy strewn fields, there aren’t the kinds of flies that knock your lid off.  I didn’t have to stop and clean my visor once on these rides, and being able to ride roads where the corners keep finding you instead of the other way around is like water after days in the desert.  Since all the OPP are on Highway 7, there wasn’t a one of them on any of the roads up this way (speed traps aren’t about safety, they’re about income generation – there’s no money in setting up speed traps on quiet roads).

No one sells pens anymore (the Canadian Tire had none even with school starting up in a couple of weeks), but I found some sharpie markers in Calabogie’s McGregor’s Produce, which is a general store that has pretty much everything in it (with a fraction of the footprint of the city-sized Canadian Tire).

It was another sun drenched day, though the shadows from the trees takes the sting out of it, unlike the concrete oven than urban areas turn into.  I got the map folded to where I was and markered out a route that took me on the twistiest roads I could find over to Bancroft where I would spend the night.

I hadn’t figured out how to hot-key the 360 camera to auto-fire shots so there are no photos from this glorious day, but perhaps this is as it should be.  Google didn’t know where I was and I had to engage my atrophied brain to remember the route, but the map was only a stop away.  Instead of constantly aiming at the next waypoint and having the phone barking directions and corrections and other information that I didn’t need (while tracking my progress to offer timely advertising), I was untethered.

I actually doubted my ability to remember turns so started with just the first three, and what a three they were!  The 508 through Calabogie is ok, but the 65 to 71 east is SPECTACULAR, to the point where the road had me laughing out loud in my helmet (which I could leave in open face mode because I wasn’t being battered with livestock flies).  This magical strip of tarmacadam twists and turns over and around some proper hills; this may be the best riding road in Ontario, particularly for me on this day where I had my head up (nothing to constantly tug my gaze down to the next direction), no traffic whatsoever AND it had just been resurfaced and was billiard table smooth   I had a realization halfway through this bit: I don’t care if I’m ‘lost’, rollercoasting along this road was absolutely brilliant!

I stopped for a drink and to review next steps at the end of 71 at Calvyn’s Takeout.  I wish I wasn’t so soon from a big breakfast or I would have stopped, it smelled fantastic.  The next bit had some arterial highways then onto smaller back roads.  41/28/514/515/512 was another great mix of twists and turns on pretty much empty pavement (I don’t think I passed or was passed by anyone over the next hour and this was on an August Sunday with lovely weather).  I stopped in Quadeville to update the mental map and pressed on when the mosquitos prompted me back into motion.  A thin film of mozzies was the only thing on the visor, unlike the plump livestock flies that’ll take an eye out down south.

By now I was hours deep into the woods.  I can appreciate the diversity and cultural richness that population offers, but the manic nature of time in these places exhausts me.  Out here you tick along at the speed of the breeze, and when you see someone else you make a point of giving them a wave because you’re not tripping over piles of people all day.

Never underestimate the citiot’s ability to
trivialize
anything that doesn’t exist to support
their all-encompassing urban lifestyle.

I ended up missing the turn south to the 68 and stayed on the 66 all the way up to Wilno on Highway 60 (the road that goes through Algonquin Park).  It was all the advertising for Opeongo camping that made me realize I’d missed a turn and had come too far north to Hwy 60, but it didn’t matter.  The roads were clear and I was enjoying the ride.  The alternate route added some kilometers to the day, but even in August the sun is up for a long, long time.  I stopped in Barry’s Bay and charted a new route down 62 to Bancroft where I had a hotel room waiting.

62 was another beautiful Eastern Ontario road with views through the hills in the lengthening shadows on winding, though higher-speed roads.  I made good time and after about 350 kilometers, most of which were on twisty country backroads, I was ready to hang up my boots for the night.

The Bancroft Inn & Suites is just the sort of place that would wind up someone from the city.  It’s basic, but clean and doesn’t offer fancy coffees or fancy anything else; it was the perfect stop for the end of this analog day.  It was about as far as I could get from the neon-disco GLO hotel I’d stayed in the night before, but that jived with the thematic point.

By now I’m 3 days into a ride and far away from where I’d been starting to have PTSD anxiety dreams about work.  There is nothing like breaking out of a routine to clear your head and offer you some perspective.  My only regret is that I kept wanting to share moments with my partner but she was booked solid back home.  I’ve never done more than a 4 day trip on the bike, and I think that’s a goal now.  Getting into the rhythm or riding along unfamiliar roads to a new destination is incredibly energizing.  I need to do this for more than 4 days at a time in order to get lost in the ride more completely.

The next morning I’d figured out how to hotkey the 360 camera to shoot on auto.  I was up early (the joys of being in your 50s) and after a cup of in-room coffee I stepped out into a cool single digit morning.  Steam was rising from the lakes as I filled up in Bancroft and found my way directly onto backroads. aiming for Haliburton an hour down the road where breakfast beckoned.


The roads were once again startlingly empty and I rolled unimpeded north east of Bancroft and around the 648 ring road through Highland Grove and Pusey before finally connecting to my favourite Ontario highway: 118.  Even with some traffic and construction I was still well in my Zen pocket.




The Kosy Korner in Haliburton is what you’d expect from a $10 country breakfast: 2 eggs, bacon, toast and tatters and bottomless coffee.  The service was incredibly quick (less than 5 minutes from ordering to eating), but it was getting full of locals so I decamped to the Upper River Trading Co. where I got a nice Balzac coffee and people watched while going over the map for the day.


Feeling full and caffeinated, I hit the road out of Haliburton by 10am and subsequently enjoyed one of the most meditative rides down an empty 118 yet.  Mysterious black lakes and rivers appear on the side of the road and wind into the never ending forest, hinting at what may be beyond.  The road weaves through ancient rock and living nature like the best kind of Canadian poetry.

Cathedrals of stone…


The animals here be prehistoric!

A ride down a near empty Hwy 118 is something to look forward to.


Not as busy as the road into Algonquin, the 118 offers similar views without the maddening crowds.  As I approached Bracebridge the mania returned.  Like many places within reach of the GTA, Bracebridge has turned into a pale imitation of it over the past decade as its population has exploded.  As a general rule, the larger and more austentatious the vehicle, the more likely they are to drive like a tool.  The first one was a Cadillac Escalade, the rolling definition of fuck-the-world-and-get-yours consumerism, which blew past me at 120+kms/hr (I was doing 95 in an 80 zone).  With the Zen bubble popped I switched on my rampant biker paranoia and eased back into the super-heated and pressurized world of Southern Ontario driving culture.

I still eked moments out of the ride through Port Carling to Bala and out through the Mohawk territories to the 400 Highway, but once on the 400 Southern Ontario’s driving mania was in full force as I pulled out onto the highway to discover the trucks all doing 120+kms/hr and the rest doing better than 140.  Accelerate or be a moving chicane that’s likely to get rear ended by some doofus in an SUV doing 150kms/hr while looking at his phone.

Back into my usually riding range, I stopped in Creemore for a quick bite having not had anything to eat since breakfast at Kosy Korner that morning.  From here in it’s lots of flies and straight lines.  The next morning we sat on the porch with a cup of coffee at 7am while enjoying the symphony of backup beepers (5 or 6 of them at once?) along with the bullet crack of nail guns building more houses in the once empty field behind our subdivision.  The tintinnabulation of construction was eventually drowned out by our neighbour’s lawn service showing up with their helicopter-loud professional lawn mower (to cut about 200 square feet of grass).  We gave up at that point and went inside.  Maybe we spend so much time on connected devices in our urban hell holes because we’ve made them so uninhabitable IRL.

There are some beautiful places to live out of the madness that are only an hour out of Ottawa.  If we could escape the grip of Southwestern Ontario, perhaps we could find something more livable (and rideable) in the east.  I’ve always wanted to live somewhere where you could enjoy the ride at your backdoor, Calabogie delivers it!

Looking back over my longer rides, I think four days is the longest I’ve ever been able to arrange for a motorcycle trip.  Max and I did a four day loop around Ontario and Michigan many years ago, but busy work/life responsibilities makes it difficult to pry more time free, though that’s maybe what I need to find balance in this chaos.  A colleague just spent 60 days this summer riding out to the west coast to do the PCH.  My mind feels rebooted after four days away, I can’t imagine how he’s feeling, but I’d like to.


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A Cure For Your Insanity Part 2: Ottawa Construction And Traffic, Gatineau Off-Roading And Happy Accidents

Saturday morning was sunny and clear and I’d had a good nights sleep in Osgoode.  I talked Fiona, who I was staying with, into coming for a ride over to the Gatineau Hills in Quebec.  I’ve never ridden in “La Belle Province” before so it would check that box, and Gatineau Park in the hills is lovely.

We found a Cora’s to do breakfast out near where I used to live in Ottawa before we pushed on through town.  I hadn’t ridden two up on the Tiger since the summer before (the Concours does that duty now), and Fi hadn’t been on a bike in a long time, so we were a bit jerky to begin with but got smoother as we went.  I also don’t spend a lot of time in cities if I can help it, especially on a bike, so I was re engaging with my urban riding skills.  Ottawa has a fascination with traffic lights and (like everywhere in Ontario this summer) construction is running rampant.  I had the G-maps up again which did a good job of navigating the maze of closures to get us over the bridge and into Quebec.

The park was also full of closed roads which had us turning around many times.  Where data is easily collected (ie: in urban spaces), online mapping apps are functional, but the moment we were in less data driven areas (like Gatineau Park), it lost the plot, first suggesting we head around Meech Lake.  That ended at a heavily secured gate complete with RCMP with automatic weapons.  We guessed someone was in residence.

Back around Meech Lake (the road is atrocious but the views are nice), the bike was handling the crumbling pavement, but the x-cross smartphone holder I use on the handlebars was slowly giving up its grip on my phone.  We finally gave up on trying to get to a lookout (all roads to it were closed) and headed back into Hull to cross the river again.  Roads there were in really poor shape and while making a left hand turn we rolled into and out of a mega-pothole (no way to avoid it, it was lane wide) and the phone popped free and flew over my shoulder.

The old OnePlus5 was in its fifth year of service but didn’t survive the crash.  I  ran back to get it and when I rounded the corner a shifty looking fellow had picked it up to take it back to his car.  I trotted up in head to toe kevlar and told him it was mine and he handed it back.  Some shifty cloning and he might have been able to get into some sensitive data on there, so I’m glad I got it back.

Fi got us back through the construction madness and to Osgoode where I loaded up the paniers and made my way over to the hotel by the party in Kanata.  That involved lots of changes of direction because of all the road closures (including the main 417 highway through the city).  Finally finding the first open on-ramp, the Tiger and I pulled onto an empty five lane highway and legged it to Kanata, the temperature gauge falling back down to normal levels once we got the wind moving.  Even in the heat and traffic the bike worked flawlessly with the fans running when needed.
The Best Western GLO in Kanata is ultra-modern with Team Sweden coloured (royal blue and yellow) furniture and big neon lights on the outside.  Fi called my old friend Darren and we discovered we were staying in the same hotel, so I arranged a ride over to the party with them, like it was 1989.  How didn’t we know we were in the same hotel?  Because smartphones isolate us in strange ways.  They stop us from asking for directions.  They stop us from talking to each other because they provide the information we need (at a price).

All my maps were on the phone and the phone was no more, so I didn’t even know where the party was.  Being dependent on someone else for directions or information is what a smartphone frees you from, but is it really such a bad thing?  I was more annoyed by my atrophied brain struggling to remember phone numbers, something that I used to have no trouble with.  We off load all of this information into our devices and then convince ourselves that we’re incapable of doing it ourselves.  Read The Shallows if you want a deeper dive into what I’m talking about here.  Losing the phone has me rethinking how to map a road trip.

The party was another piece to the puzzle on this trip.  Getting older as a male can be an isolating experience.  Seeing the old faces and sharing memories was sorely needed.  We got back to the hotel around midnight and I was soon asleep.  The next morning I followed Darren and family over to a breakfast in Barrhaven with the old crew.  Afterwards I stopped by Canadian Tire and picked up a paper map of Ontario.  A brief look in the parking lot got me as far as Calabogie where I aimed to stop again once clear of the urban sprawl and do some old school mapping.  What would it be like to ride without the phone barking orders?  Would I be able to remember my route without stopping every five minutes?  I was about to find out…

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