Friday, April 30, 2010

A couple of H-D's

I know nothing about Harleys except they are loud, have lots of chrome and you have to wear a beanie and leather clothes in order to ride one. I don't know if I could ride one because of the forward controls and the legs out front posture. I would imagine that the tremendous torque of the large v-twin would win me over if I ever ventured a test ride, especially a certain Arlen Ness custom red model that recently won best of show at the last Ace Cafe Harley Night . I think I would even be afraid to sit on it for fear of making an unintended mark, or heavens forbid if it should go to sleep if my foot slipped.

Back to reality. On the way home I noticed this biker directly in front of me. A single rider, alone, navigating their way through our mess of urban traffic.


Doesn't look like your usual macho rider. No patches, No leather, No chrome but had the distinctive loud mufflers. Upon closer inspection . . .


you would have noticed the pony tail sticking out of the helmet, and the slightly elevated low heels . The handlebars were slightly higher than normal but appeared manageable. As is the norm with most Harley riders, she did the duck walk while doing her slow maneuvers.


Here we are heading towards New Westminster, known as the Royal City as it was once the capital of British Columbia for a short time. That is the Pattullo Bridge in the background which spans the Fraser River towards Surrey. I followed her a bit until I turned off onto Front Street on my mission to record some video


During the past couple of days I had been doing some very strenuous outdoor work, like cutting the lawn. I usually perform these duties on a weekday so as to leave the weekend free for other activies and make time for riding. I feel guilty if there are chores to do and I don't do them. After work Tuesday I cut the front lawn and Wednesday I finished off the back yard lawn. Well, it must be my bad form as somehow I wrenched my back and can hardly straighten up. I think I have acquired the Jack rIEPE syndrome . I can hardly swing my leg over my bike, yet I still rode to work. Short story long I had to go to the pharmacy to pick up some Advil. I was told that this would cut down the swelling in my back. As I pulled into a parking stall this Harley pulled beside me


As I was removing my helmet I spoke briefly to the rider and mentioned that if I had known he was going to share the space then I could have moved over a bit. It is my normal practice to park on a diagonal near the mouth of the space.


I think this Harley looks good in white with blue accents. Originally when he pulled beside me I thought that perhaps I had been going to fast and he followed me into the parking lot but he did not have his flashers on


I always imagined that H-D's were large heavy machines, but as you can see, my Wee appears larger. Perhaps it is just a trick with colours, one being black and the other white


for a bike that is used all year around, it is very clean. Even the chrome shines and I really liked that large horn


Do you notice the ingenious helmet lock. Just a pair of handcuffs looped through the helmet strap loop and over the mirror stem. It didn't appear very secure but I examined it closely and it was as secure as it could be without either cutting the strap off or breaking the mirror, but who is going to vandalize this bike anyway. You would have the heat of the law on your back


There is a police decal on the rear fender


The gauges are very utilitarian; Speedometer, Tachometer (cause you got to know your RPM's) and a petrol indicator. It also has lots of red and blue lights which flash at the most inopportune times.


I didn't notice the Drill Team decal until I was about to enter the store. I was hoping to purchase my medication and come back to speak to him, but by the time I was finished, he was already gone. As a member of the Vancouver Police Motorcycle Drill team, he would have been trained to do complex maneuvers


Recently I was thinking of upgrading my digital dSLR. I've been looking at the Nikon D300, D90 and perhaps the Canon T2i but I am having so much fun doing video that I purchased a Panasonic HDC TM55 1080HD camcorder instead. It is capable of producing AVCHD up to 17 Mbps, but I recorded this footage at 13 Mbps and downsized the bitrate to 8 Mpbs for youtube upload. This is the first time I have rendered to H.264 format instead of MPEG, so I am still doing a bit of experimentation.

This video has some scenes around the Vancouver area and closes with a video of laundry hanging on a clothes line from our next door neighbour. I hope your internet connection can handle the 1080HD bitrate without pausing.


  1. Great post Bob, but a little strange towards the end.

    I would let you ride a big shiny red bike, if you promised to be careful and didn’t have 14 cameras round your neck or in your pockets to distract you! You would soon get used to the forward foot controls. For the past 8 weeks I have only been riding with forward controls and yesterday I rode my Road King once again and it felt very strange riding in a “normal” position – it is funny how quickly you get used to something like that.

    I think the police bike is also a Road King. You must have been very worried when he stopped alongside you. For many years when I was younger (and if the truth be known, more reckless) I always got worried when on my bike and I saw the police. I was always thinking I must have done something wrong and they were going to stop me. I love the helmet lock!

    You must be pleased with the quality of the finished video from your newest acquisition – the sharpness of the image is excellent. I am a little worried about your choice of one f the subjects you filmed though – your neighbours underwear – this is a tad strange and I wonder if you need to seek some help with this problem you might have. LOL.

    I hope your back gets better soon.

  2. Honestly, that laundry bit had me irritated... didn't know that you were into that ;-) naa, actually I found it very funny.

    Love the shots of the police bike. I would have been quite nervous if a cop would have shown up right beside me... although I never do anything wrong... ever (fingers crossed behind my back).

  3. Nice one Bob you big bad rebel. If Vancouver PD has to take time to keep you under surveillance you are hiding something from us.
    ps I hope your insurance company doesn't deny you coverage for your back problems if they don't get better. Good luck dealing with the paperwork. You have my sympathy as insurance companies always make illness feel worse.

  4. Bobskoot--nice post. I too wished you had been able to talk to the policeman about his drill team. I'm fascinated with your men and women. Regarding cameras...I think you were considering the D300S, not the D300, right. The D300 is discontinued and the remaining new stock of D300 cameras are more expensive than the new D300S, which I have. It has video, but I'm uninterested in it on the D300S. The reviews of the video portion have been just okay but those who use it, seem to really love it.

    Another excellent feature, as you may know, is that it has a dual card slot, which I have found to be an excellent feature (both CF and SD), which can be selected in three different ways.In any case, for lots of reasons I recommend it over the D90 (you already have an D80). But it sounds like you've made you decision.

    BTW, perhaps I'm biased. I can't see you riding a more laid back bike--that is, a cruiser but that's just my own lack of vision, I guess.

  5. So sorry to hear about your back Bob. I'm inclined to think that if you'd had lucky red shorts, the outcome may have been a happier one.

    Interested to see that the Police have H-D's. I'm assuming that these are solely for the mentioned display purposes unless they want to give speeding motorcyclists a better than even opportunity for escape. I jest of course, just throwing out a little bait for Gary to nibble at ;-)

  6. Geoff - You are right and that was one of the reasons that I went for a Harley - to slow down. I have had my time riding fast, but now I want to a) be safer, b) be more comfortable, c) be more relaxed and d) look at what I am riding past.

    There is no denying that H-D's are not as quick as most other bikes with large engines, but speed is I guess not what people buy them for.

    I too am a little surprised the police still use them. So Geoff, I am just gonna leave that hook well alone....

  7. Gary,

    The bait was clearly not of sufficient quality or size, haha! Like you, I've done the fast stuff on the Blackbird and don't miss it as I'm enjoying the alternate charms of the Striple. However, I can foresee the time when I'll switch to a cruiser because my wife Jennie would be keen to ride pillion with me again.

  8. Nice video Bob. Isn't it amazing how much better proper 1080P looks compared to the GoPro footage?

  9. Hi Bob,

    1080p is but a very distant dream here in Turkey,can watch in 360 though on a most days lol.

    I too was surprised like you how small Harleys are in the flesh, they look very big in photos. Saw my first one ever about a year ago in a mechanics shop, dont know what sort of HD it was, red if that(Not Garys one) helps, but very low and small.

    Not done anything here, still recovering from the dentist, hopefully should be all better for Thursday night.

    Its our elections in UK and our tradition to stay up late, eating junk food and cheering/booing the candidates we like/dislike....Democracy can be such fun lol.



  10. sorry to hear about the back bob, feel better!! great video. although, i wonder if your neighbor knows that you're airing their dirty (or clean) laundry publicly, lol! ;) ps, the great pics up top...yes way up there ... very nice. i love seeing women ride solo, theres a certain freedom in it, and, i want her jacket :-D

  11. Gary:

    I appreciate your gesture but I would decline as I would be afraid of putting a big mark on it. I have never ridden a bike with forward controls and I would probably lose my balance or something. A british bike is worse, my friend has a Norton Commando and the controls are all on the wrong side. Brake on the left and shifter on the right. also the shift pattern is racing style, 1up and the rest down, coupled also with the possibility of riding on the wrong side of the road would put my brain on overdrive. I could just hire a regular Japanese bike

    That Harley was a Road King Police. He looked like a very young rider,

    I wanted to film something colourful and all I could see from my back porch was the underwear just hanging there.


    I think you should redirect your sales pitch for the nude girls to


    Originally it did worry me. he came from no-where and was smiling. I thought I had been speeding or something and he had followed me in to give me a certain piece of paper.

    also, Nice F650GS you found

    Mr Conchie:

    I seldom will visit a doctor/physician, unless it doesn't get better in a week. I think I may have strained myself. I can still hobble around and ride. It's just the straightening up that is difficult.


    I really like bikes which have the standard riding position, upright bars, not too narrow, with less of a bent leg position preferred.

    Not sure about the Still camera, just looking and thinking right now. I did purchase a full 1080HD camcorder so that will keep me busy for a while, but I think my friend has the D300 NOT 's' model for sale.


    I have my lucky lawn mowing cap on. I need it to keep my hair from smelling like exhaust. and NO, it is not RED

    The VPD use mostly Harleys, or mountain bikes in the downtown area, and horses in Stanley Park.


    precisely the reason I changed my commuting route, to go slower. I found myself getting sucked into `slalom` mode. Before I purchased the v-strom I was looking at Litre bikes, but then decided I didn`t want to have the extra power, nor the additional insurance expense.

  12. Chris:

    with the GoProHD PREL7 the footage can be used as is without conversion. With AVCHD I have to convert first, then I reduce the bitrate which does give a bit less resolution. I have rendered the output to both MPEG and H.264, but I have found that H.264 is better with a slightly lower file size. Rendering takes 3x longer though


    I am missing your videos.

    Even on my work computer I have a hard time with 480P . Hope your pain goes away soon. Did you get an extra pair of knitting needles yet ? would greatly aid in getting your mind off things.

    Ms M:

    Thank you, I think I just need to rest my back for a while and not stress it with any more work duties. Where did I read that riding is the best stress reliever ?

    seeing a lone female rider is unusual. sort of like yourself, a rebel in leather (and high heels)

  13. Dear Bobskoot:

    I'm sorry about your back. It will cramp your riding style for a bit... But with some rest, you should be good as new.

    I was waiting for you to say, "The cop pulled up next to me, and I hocked a loogie square onto his cylinder heads. 'What's the charge, Sherlock,'" I asked.

    You spoke of the bike's large horn. I think that was the air filter.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads