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.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

SOCNA: Suzuki Owner's Club of NA

Last year at one of the Bike Night BBQ's I met Greg who was a founding member of the SOCNA: Suzuki Owner's Club. It is new and they are trying to form chapters all over the world. He used to have a cruiser but purchased a Vee (Suzuki V-strom 1000). I have been keeping an eye on their forum and noticed that they seem to organize a lot of rides and are hosting a rally in Penticton during June, 2010 . I don't like to make commitments to ride with persons unknown but they posted a Meet & Greet recently for a Sunday Brunch in Langley, BC , about an hour east of our home. While I do not usually ride on Sundays, I got permission to attend. Sunday started out looking like a great day. A little cool in the morning but the sun was shining when I rolled my WEE out in the lane.


I decided to take the Hwy 99 south to Hwy 10 east to Langley. I timed it nearly perfect as my target time was 9:45a. I always like to arrive a few minutes early so I can mix with the other riders. I notice a few bikes parked in a cluster, mostly cruisers and Greg was there with his Vee. He is wearing full club colours today. Here is a photo of his patch


I found out he is a serious rounder and rides all year long no matter what the weather. Most of the others were on cruisers of different sizes


As it was my first contact with them I decided not to flash my camera around but we had an enjoyable breakfast and they went for a ride after breakfast, and I left to go home as I usually don't ride on Sundays.

I recorded a short video of my travels back and forth over the Alex Fraser Bridge which connects New Westminster to Surrey over the south arm of the mighty Fraser River. I've always wanted to take some still photos of the cables but there is no where to park and would require a strenuous hike to get a favourable angle as you are forced to park miles away and there are no temporary pull out areas.


I don't know where the weekends go. I leave Friday after work, blink my eyes and it is time to go back to work Monday morning . There is always so much to do and so little time to pack it all in.

Robert, the Reverend was batching it this weekend so I told him we would go somewhere for dinner, a place where he had never been before down in Richmond

(large Mixed Grill)

This is a large meal for one person. It is large enough for 2 persons. It comes with an appetizer and choice of soup. The main course consists of 5 pieces of different kinds of meat topped with an egg. You get one rib steak, one chicken cutlet, one veal cutlet, weiner & a pork chop. It was actually hard for the 3 of us to eat it.


Oh, nearly forgot we get a deluxe drink which is refillable and a little dessert. We also ordered meals for ourselves too

(Chicken with salted fish fried rice, and Cod & tofu hot pot)

We are creatures of habit and I like tofu however it is prepared .

Last Sunday found myself at the Camera Swap Meet, hosted by my Collectors Club


I was thinking of upgrading my dSLR and also looking for unusual stuff. I purchased some antique camera mounts which I may be able to install on my Wee for rear video. No such luck on the camera front. I am not sure whether I wanted to purchase a D300 anyway since I am having too much fun shooting video.

You never know what you may find at a swap meet.

(Vancouver Sun edition from: September 3, 1939)

It was another action packed weekend filled with activities. I hardly have time for myself. I managed to ride both Saturday & Sunday which is unusual for me as Sunday is reserved as family day where we go out in the car for brunch and a ride into the great outdoors, or do some errands and shopping.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Delta Tsawwassen Motorcycle Swap Meet

Last weekend we went down to Delta to see what was going on at the Swap Meet.

(looks like a facsimilie of a Triumph)

This looks like a vintage Triumph so I took a photo for a curmudgeon I know down in Key West. What attracted me to this machine is the "Who Cares" on the fender fin. It also had the gaiter fork protectors and Triumph badging, but it isn't a Triumph


It appeared to be a very nice machine, lots of chrome and in better than new condition. It had Triumph badging on the tank and side covers but in reality, this was a transplanted Kawasaki of some sort

(Vintage '57 Triumph)

This 1957 Triumph looked better than new and it should considering its $11,000. asking price which is the price of a new one and probably not as reliable.


even back then in 1957 they supplied these models with a tachometer as standard equipment.


Here is some sort of BMW K bike, perhaps a K75 but I am not so sure I like the looks of the streamlined faring.


If you had $4,500. lying around in your pocket and didn't know what to do with it, you could ride it home as it was looking for a new home . I have been going to this swap meet for a few years now but I have not yet paid the $9.00 admission fee to enter the two buildigs. I prefer to walk around to look at all the bikes for sale, and the others on display in the parking lot

For some inexplicable reason I find myself gravitating to Triumphs, Beemers and V-stroms. Not that there is anything wrong with cruisers loaded with chrome, but those I looked at with just a passing glance

(Triumph Thruxton)

The Triumph riders were out in full force today

(Triumph Scrambler)

For my novice eyes it is hard to tell vintage from modern. I suppose my method is to look at the front wheel to see whether it is disk brakes or drum.

(Yamaha SR500)

I have always been enamored of these single cyclinder Yamahas and their later derivatives SRX500 and SRX600 models. As I looked at this black beauty I was imagining what it would have been to have been Michael who travelled to Africa and all around Italy in his previous life on a similar model


It was for sale and at a reasonable price, I might add for a fully restored bike in better than new condition. With the Cdn Dollar at Par it is the same price in Key West Dollars. I would be happy to purchase this bike and ride it down to KW if Michael had so desired. It`s always nice to have a spare bike just in case you have visitors who ride.

(1973 Triumph Bonneville)

there were lots of Triumphs for sale this day

(Triumph Trident)

I do not know much about these different models but I am gaining more appreciation for them and the way they look


There were a lot of British Bikes on display by their owners

As I was leaving this bike for sale caught my eye. It was a Kawasaki H2 750 Triple

(Kawasaki H2 750 Triple)

I wondered to myself whether this was that famous model that Jack `r` used to own a century ago when he was a skinny teenager full of hormones


This bike I am sure, looks better than new AND it was for sale

I have another short video following which shows you a bit more of the bikes that were parked in the lot and on the grassy area. Many bikes have already left as you can see from the empty spaces.

A comment from jack riepe a couple of posts ago where he requested some front or rear views of some female rider(s) has prompted this response for which I have included a short bit on how to fold a napkin around some utensils, to end up with this . . .

(A tray of feasting intruments, wrapped in a napkin)

It has nothing whatsoever to do with motorcycles or riding which is the reason I have included it. The last time I tried to take an incognito photo, the subject noticed me and I was `caught`, but not this time. I was very careful to blend into the background, which is hard to do if you happened to be wearing PINK footwear.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Few Hacks

This past weekend there was a huge Motorcycle Swap Meet. You could purchase parts, bikes, riding attire or just hang around the parking lot and look at all the eye candy. While I was walking about and looking at all the bikes, I noticed a few Hacks . So for Charlie6 and Chris , this video is for you


Also I need your opinion for selecting proper footwear for one of my internet friends, so I suppose this is sort of a poll . I have a pair of Pink Crocs which have great power and generates a safety force shield wherever I go. They are also quite stylish if you are man enough to purchase a pair. I think Gary is on the fence but I know with his impending trip to the USA he is secretly coveting the idea of getting a pair for off bike use so he doesn't have to wear his new riding boots 24/7 .

Now just imagine that you have a very bright pair of favourite shorts,


don't you think that you should have matching Crocs ? (I think you can get them in RED)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Urban Riders (of Greater Vancouver)

Last Saturday was a warm looking cool day. It was to be the 2nd attempt at the 1st inaugural ride for the Urban Riders. The Urban Riders (Riding Club) was formed in an attempt to satisfy a need for an inclusive group of people who ride various sizes and makes of bikes and scooters around the urban areas of Greater Vancouver.


It is the brainchild of Robert, the Reverend. You will notice from the above photo that we are a varied mix riding scooters or motorcycles. Lead by Robert, the Reverend most of our rides will be destination rides what will encompass dining or beverages along our route(s).

(Suzuki GSXR, Suzuki V-strom & Piaggio MP3)

As we ride along our intended route I am sure others will wonder if we are riding together as a group or just riding by chance due to the varied styles of our machines. Many riders in our group have full motorcycle endorsements and many have scooters as well as motorcycles. It is more about our mutual interests and the social aspects of group riding which bring us together as well as photography.

(Jeff & Rob, both with Nikon dSLRs)

Jeff is riding his GSXR today, and Rob is on his Piaggio MP3. Rob recently sold his BMW and purchased this MP3 for city commuting. We are all passionate photographers looking for that allusive masterpiece. We are here at WhyteCliffe Park in West Vancouver, high on a cliff overlooking the water and heading back to Horseshoe Bay for a refreshment break

(Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver, BC)

There is a small marina, a few restaurants and a Terminal for BC Ferries if you should desire to travel to either Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island, or north to the Sunshine Coast (Gibsons and Sechelt)


This day we had 7 riders and it was not intended that we not park together, but for some reason we are clustered in two groups. I think because we split up at our last stop as we wished to take some photos and the rest of the group arrived here first to get a table


No matter where you travel there always seems to be a Starbucks there


Some one noticed that Geoff had a "low" tire and leant him a bicycle pump to put more air in his tire

I usually ride SWEEP so I was the last to leave. Here is my mighty V-strom DL650A alone on the street.


So there you have it. A new riding club for Greater Vancouver, introducing the URBAN RIDERS . . .

(The author on the wrong side of the Camera)

Highlights of our ride took us through Vancouver's Chinatown, through downtown Vancouver, over the causway through Stanley Park, over the Lion's Gate Bridge then along a very scenic and twisty Marine Drive until we reached Horseshoe Bay for a beverage to warm ourselves up

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A new season begins

Finally we are out of winter's grasp. There are many signs which signal the end of winter. The sun is shining warm and bright. There are sounds of gas lawnmowers doing their intended purpose. The first cut of the year is very satisfying. It levels out the uneven clumps of grass and sets up the lawn for the next cut.


And so it was time for me to drag out the lawn mower and top the tank with gas. No it was old gas from last year. I did nothing to prepare the engine for it's winter hybernation. No fuel stabilizer, nothing. It was left outside to fend for itself exposed to the elements with a mere cover to keep the rain off. It's last use was around late September and with just a few primes and one pull of the rope cord, it puffed to life spewing a huge cloud of smoke. After a few seconds I went about my business of walking back and forth in a straight line pattern cutting the grass as I listened to the music of the day on my headphones. After a short hour my backyard was properly trimmed and I readied my Wee for a ride to visit my M/C Mechanic

(DJ Paul and Friend)

I always get a guilty feeling when there are chores to do and I decide to go for a ride instead. I still have the front yard to do but that can wait for another day. DJ Paul has been doing my servicing for a couple of years now. He used to have a garage in a residential area and would come over and pick up my bike and when finished would bring it back. It was very convenient for me. The DJ part is for his secondary job as DJ for parties. Paul is the one on the left with the deep sun tan. He told me he has been working on his tan for over 40 years. It was just a time to visit, have a chat and just enjoy the warmth of the sun


Here is Janet (apologies if I have your name wrong) trying out a customer's Huyabusa for size. Her regular ride is a Yamaha FZ1 and she can really tame those twisties. I doubt you would be able to keep up with her.


For me, another sign which signals the end of winter is removing my snow tires and putting the summers back on. We had one of the worst winters in history LAST YEAR so I thought I would be smart and purchase a good set of snow tires on separate rims to be prepared for the ice and snow which was non existent. There was not even enough snow for the winter olympics and we had to truck it in from Manning Park. I could think of better things to do with the $940. it cost. And today for the first time in 2 years, $940. canadian is worth more than $940. US

With the change to summer tires I declare winter to be officially over.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Good to have Full Power

It all started a couple of weeks ago when BC was bombarded with a few strong wind storms, coupled with torrential rains. They call it the pineapple express with humid air from Hawai'i . There were numerous power outages and downed trees everywhere in the greater Vancouver area. In fact one day when I rode to work I nearly got blown over in the wind gusts of only 50 km/hr. Later in the week when the wind built up to 95 km/hour I thought it safer to just take the car. It is hard to deal with gusts of wind which goes from a standstill to full power without warning. I have experienced strongs gusts of wind down in the Gorge but it is nearly blowing all the time except when you enter an underpass which can catch you off guard.

About the time of the wind we noticed the lights flickering and just assumed that there were power failures in the area, or else our power grid was being challenged. A few days later we were still getting the flickering lights and I was trying to figure out where the problem would be. Then the lights flickered and a second later the heat came out of the register to I made the assumption that our furnace fan motor needed to be replaced. I reasoned that anytime a motor draws more current than normal on startup it would be attributed to a warm armature. I called my friend who services furnaces and he was going to inspect the problem on the weekend and perhaps replace the motor. While I was staring at the Telly (Gary UK talk for the tube) I heard the fridge compressor cycle on (Ice box for UK talk), again the lights flickered. Then someone used the microwave and again the lights flickered and flashed as if there was a power surge. I now reasoned that I had a big problem and was experiencing "brownouts" . My first reaction was that the storms had caused a problem with one of the transformers in the area which was causing low power in our area. My next step was to contact my neighbours to see if they also had problems.

Long story short, here is what I noticed last Saturday when I went outside to inspect our power feed from the power pole


Hard to see in the bright sunshine against a white wall, but one of the wires supplying power is just dangling in mid air. My friend, the plumber electrician said that my 2 phase is working but single phase is only working through the ground. I called BC Hydro and because the dangling wire is less than 9 ft in the air they consider this an emergency repair and would dispatch a truck as soon as possible.

I had to go out and about a couple of hours later I returned home to find this coil of wire on the front lawn


The old wire had already been removed and coiled up ready to be taken away.


A ladder was leaning along the side of the house


and a new replacement wire had already been connected to my meter . I think that the repairman connected the wire to my meter, strung the wire to the pole and made the appropriate connections. As I arrived home I noticed his lift arm was up in the air, but before I could go out to speak to him, he had already lowered his hydraulic lift and was driving away


I received very fast service. The repair truck came in about an hour after my call and it took him 45 minutes to install the new wire. All in all it was all done within 2 hours and I am back to full power again. The first thing I did was put a glass of water into the microwave and set it for 60 sec. NO more dimming lights and I am thankful indeed for having this work done with NO cost to myself.


Our temperatures are still a little cool in the shadows, but warm in the sun. If this weekend is any indication of things to come then I am going to find myself time challenged. I am already backlogged with projects and postings. I went on a group ride on Saturday afternoon to Horseshoe Bay but I can't post anything until I get the video's edited and that will take another day or so. When the sun is shining I find that I prefer to be outdoors rather than inside typing way on a keyboard.

(Teaser photo: tulips in Horseshoe Bay, BC)

Unless I have something special prearranged I do not plan to ride on Sundays. I call it family day, as Mrs Skoot does not ride we spend our time together and go somewhere different for brunch, perhaps visit friends and in general roam the countryside snapping photos, esp now that the summer weather is near. That being said I broke tradition and met up with another group for breakfast .

(Teaser photo: De Dutch Restaurant, Langley, BC)

There were around a dozen bikes there, and all they do is ride around the country. I have noticed from their forum that they have lots of activities planned and I wanted to go to their Meet & Greet to make my initial contact and see what the members were like and to scope them out. More to say on a future post.