Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sherman & addendum for Jackie

(Sherman Tank & Wee)

Ever since Mr Iron-Gran-Dad (<-- link) posted his header page a while back with a tank in the background I was trying to figure out where I could find a tank. It's not like we have many military bases around here.


It's not a very big tank but was large enough for a crew of 5. I remember as a youngster crawling into a tank such as this. There was an opening underneath which was open at the time. Even then I thought how claustophobic this must be to not be able to move around in there


There are a couple of Shermans parked outside of this Armoury and were just rusting hulks of metal enduring nature's rath. They seem to be partly restored with new tread


I wanted to ride my Wee onto the sidewalk to get a better photo angle but decided against it for fear of having to pay a ticket. Vancouver is strict about motor vehicles driving onto the sidewalks so I had to settle for the curb . I think behind those metal guards is a place for a machine gun to poke through.


The Sherman is a very compact machine. I would imagine that it would make for a great commuter. In any confrontation with another vehicle I think you would come out on top but I noticed that it only has a top speed of 48 mph


I was playing around with different angles and perspectives with my Wee in the background. I found the tread to be very photogenic


I didn't want the Sherman rolling away on me so I brought the only doorstop I could think of that was powerful enough to stop a few tons of steel


Even the matching cannon had mag wheels but with more 'spokes' than my wee has


Rear end views of both the Wee and Sherman



Addendum for Jackie rIEPE (Twisted Roads) (<-- link)

During the last weekend of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics we went downtown to ground zero to visit the Olympic Cauldron and snap a few photos. The Cauldron was one of the most photographed sites during the Games and there were lots of people meandering about having a good time. I did a mini interview with a soapstone carver which I told Jack about and he wanted to see it. I also added a few other Olympic elements such as the Zip Line where people actually waited up to 7 hours for the short 20 second ride and some street hockey on Granville Street as well as a view of the Olympic Cauldron for you to see.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

HOV: Dotted or Solid Lines

HOV, High Occupanacy Lanes are restricted to cars with only 1 driver. Most HOV lanes here in British Columbia must have 2 or more persons be be able to drive in them. Most HOV lanes allow single occupant motorcycles, but not all. It's very confusing but signs are posted on every highway as to number of persons or whether you require 2+ persons, or in some cases, more. You cannot just assume that you will be good with only 2 persons.


I have not paid attention to the line marking on the HOV lanes in the Seattle area but if I am not mistaken, they are all dotted. I only say this because if they were solid then I would be thinking twice about going into and out of them so freely.


On my commute to work I have a choice of a few different routes. Some routes are fast, another faster, and a couple are slow or slower. When I take the freeway I used to take the HOV lanes but found myself getting carried away, and I don't like the tail-gating vehicles behind me. You are in severe danger if you choose to ONLY go the posted speed and I don't find it very relaxing to go much over in this heavy rush hour traffic with people constantly jockying for position trying to get ahead. Most often I just daudle along in the slow lane. I would rather have the idiots in front of me, rather than directly behind.

So in response to Gary's (Mr H-D, UK) (<-- link) original question, I put caution aside and took the HOV lanes on the way home from work last week. Our HOV lanes are the left most lanes identified with a DIAMOND symbol. It is separated from the other regular lanes with either a dotted or solid line. The speed of the traffic that normally use these lanes are not normally travelling at the posted speeds. Aggressive drivers often approach very fast from behind and when confronted, they switchlanes back and forth without regard to the lines. Not so much on this day, but more so when traffic is less dense.

So to Gary, these dotted and solid lines are for you . . .

Thanks from the Pink Stig of BC

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Throttle Lock: NEP CC4 V-Strom

It was always my plan to install some sort of Throttle Lock on my Wee. When I rode my Maxi-Scoot down to Oregon I left Vancouver and stopped in Burlington to purchase a Throttle Locker. It was a little plastic gizmo that attached around the right handgrip (Throttle) and you put your palm on it to hold a steady speed. It was made of some sort of plastic that had a spring tension which you slipped over your bar end, and it was this gripping action of the plastic which held it in place. I could not install the throttle locker on my V-strom since I had OEM hand guards and heated grips which were of a larger diameter. I actually didn't like the throttle locker as it took up a lot of real estate on the grip and through the twisties I found that it kept getting in the way and was creating a dangerous situation by keeping the throttle ON rather than letting me slow down on downhill stretches.

I did a lot of investigation on various forums to determine which one to buy and I couldn't decide . So I bought both models that I was interested in

(NEP CC4 & Vista Cruise Universal for 7/8" handlebars)

Because I had heated grips I think the Vista Cruise would have been a little more difficult to install. It had more pieces and was more complex in its appearance. Also the fact that part of it installed over the throttle giving your hand less wiggle room. I liked the fact that the NEP could be installed between the grip and the brake reservoir "stuff" (<-- technical term) .


The NEP is so simple even a dummy could do it. Basically it is just 2 split rings held together by a brace and a small flange to hook onto your throttle return line to stop it from spinning, and a lever to "set" the throttle, with a set screw to adjust the friction.


Here it is shown with the supplied allen key

In Jack riepe terms it is like a blonde with long bowed legs which wrap around the flange on your throttle to stop it from spinning, held in place by friction. The set screw applies pressure to the "clamping action" to keep the throttle spring from returning, but loose enough to allow you to still move the throttle to the desired positon while "locked". You depress the lever to SET and flick it back to RELEASE .


It mounts left of the throttle and grabs onto that lip


Like a split ring it is easy to put into position


It is very thin and made of some sort of plastic or polycarbonate, or blend


The SET lever is slotted which slips over the two halves


There is a little flange on the right which slips over the throttle tube, and stops the NEP CC4 from rotating


here's a closer view of that little flange tab. If the NEP CC4 rotates then you cannot lock your throttle and you cannot lock your speed. On some bikes you have to drill a small hole and use Zip Straps to secure so some other point.


Here it is, all installed and ready for action

(NEP CC4 , V-Strom DL650A K9)

TO SET: get to cruising speed, push DOWN on lever to lock throttle

To make fine adjustments, just turn throttle to desired position. The friction zone of the set screw should allow you to do this. ie: to increase speed while going uphill, or decrease speed while going downhill. Remember this is a throttle lock and NOT a cruise control

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring, walking and wheels

Well, the first day of Spring has arrived and I got a chance to try out a lot of wheels. On my commute to work the other day I decided to turn on my Oxford Heated grips. It wasn't that cold, around 2 cdn (34 us). It wasn't until I was about half way to work when I noticed that my grips were not even warm. All the lights on the electronic controller were making all the right moves and the LED's had the right colours, but nothing. I turned them off and on again, still nothing. I made arrangements for my Suzuki dealer to take a look at them first thing Saturday morning.


I hopped on my V-strom and headed over to Kitsilano for breakfast with friends like we have done for over a decade. Then over to the dealer where I dropped off my Wee and also had them perform my 2nd service which included LOF . (Lube, Oil & Filter) . I was originally going to wait for them to diagnose the Heated Grips problem, now I had to leave the bike and come back mid afternoon. It was a beautiful, sunny, spring day and my riding plans were thwarted. In my full riding gear I decided to take the 10 wheeled transport home

(10 wheeled articulating BUS, public transit vehicle)

I don't know why I didn't think of it earlier and take off my riding pants and jacket liner and just left them in my side cases as it was getting very warm in the bus. Later I would end up having to carry all this stuff back, as it was too warm to wear.

I was at home trying to pass the time trying to decide whether to drive my car down to pick up my bike, but then I would have two vehicles down there. Plus the fact that we had to meet friends for an eary dinner. I decided to walk the mile to my nearest Skytrain Station


I arrived at the dealer and notice that they are still working on my Wee. The LOF has been done. They had cleaned and lubricated my chain, checked tire pressures, etc. All had been done except for isolating the problem with my heated grips.


You are able to view into the shop from the customer area. I spoke briefly with the mechanic (Dillon) . He told me they checked everything. Fuses, connectors and with their VOM there was power into the controller but it was not funnelling the output to the grips.


I was a little disappointed that they had not found the cause so I mentioned that perhaps the controller was faulty. I was lucky that they had a spare controller lying about so they connected it and it worked. As I purchased my bike there and they installed the unit the repair was done under warranty, including labour.


The traffic was very heavy as I prepared for my ride home. The first day of Spring has not been kind to me. Late Friday night I heard some water dripping in the basement. It turned out to be a burst hot water line in the laundry room. I shut off the valve beneath the sink but for some reason it was still seeping. I put a small container underneath to catch the water but soon realized that it was filling up too fast to trust, so I had to turn off the input line into the hot water tank. I also learned that I had to turn the dial to Pilot (from ON) to minimize steam build up. This meant that we were without hot water until Sunday morning when my friend Gord, volunteered to come over and get me back on-line.

(Gord, contemplating corrective action)

It's nice to have friends such as Gord whom I have called upon numerous times to help repair things around the house. He came over bright and early on Sunday morning. We went to Home Depot to purchase this stuff . . .

(Doesn't look like $160. worth of plumbing bits)

Saturday evening, with 8 of our friends, we ended up with dinner at a cosy Italian Restaurant in Burnaby . It was a great and not so great day to welcome Spring and the passing of Winter .

(Penne with Prawns in a white wine sauce)

I have not taken the Skytrain in many years so I as unfamiliar with where the stations were and how the stations were laid out. And had to ask assistance from the multitude of Skytrain attendants. I hope you like the following video of my Skytrain experience, and also the last part when my Wee was ready to be picked up

NOTE: Mistake on Video Title. It was recorded using a Panasonic Lumix ZS3 NOT GoProHD as the title infers. sorry, had GoPro on the brain

Friday, March 19, 2010

Last Gasp of Winter

Tomorrow is the first day of spring, which will be arriving precisely at 10:32am which means that today is the last day of winter. Temperatures are still cool here hovering around freezing, give or take a degree or two. I got a late start which explains the lack of darkness. I rolled out my Tachometer, which is attached to my Suzuki V-Strom and switched on the Heated Grips


I have the Oxford Heaterz with electronic controller.


another uneventful ride to the office where I can keep an eye on my bike from my window . It was a warm 14c and the sun was out for most of the day. You could nearly walk about in T-shirts and tomorrow is forecast to be warmer.


I have a video following which records some of my commute home a few days ago using my Hero GoProHD. Unlike KW where they only have one great Ocean Highway, I have a choice of 4 routes. I classify them as; fast, faster, slow and Indy 500. I found myself getting carried away with zipping in and out slaloming around cars and thought it wiser to take the slow route, which I showed you on the prev post which meanders through Burnaby and New Westminster hindered with numerous traffic lights.

This time I took the freeway (Hwy 1) eastbound back to Vancouver from the Cariboo Road interchange. Motorcycles are allowed to take the HOV lanes but I find that however fast you go it's not fast enough and you end up being tailgated. There is a solid white line for much of its length which means you are not allowed to change to the regular lanes, at least, not legally. By the time it changes to a dotted line we get to a congested area and I am forced to change to the extreme right lane to get to the Grandview Highway exit which is not always safe. That is the main reason I go with the flow in the slow lane.

(cockpit view)

At the beginning of the video I was also testing the mounting position of the GoProHD on my car windshield with the camera Upside Down using the supplied suction mount. When the camera is recording upside down, the video is also upside down and has to be flipped rightside up by software. GoPro has software being released soon which will do the job inside the camera while being recorded, but I found a way to flip it using PREL7.

(outside view)

As previously mentioned, all freeways end at the boundaries of Vancouver. To reach the city core you have to travel on surface roads. From the Grandview Exit to my garage takes about half an hour.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Simple Ride --> to Work:

I noticed lately that some of us are writing more about our ride to work. It's such an uneventful activity, so routine, that even more than a mere mention of that fact makes for an uninteresting post. Recently Mr Conchscooter was criticized by a certain Jack, in PA


about lack of motorcycle content on his recent blog postings so Mr Conch came back with a vengeance and I feel has issued a challenge. It's amazing what one or two well placed words will do

Sunday was "Spring Ahead" for Daylight Savings time so we all lost an hour. I don't know why we just don't keep our clocks ahead all year around. I would rather have daylight after work, than before work. Going to work in the dark is okay with me, but to have daylight after work would be just great. Finally we had gotten to the point where it was daylight when leaving the house, but now with the "Spring Ahead" business it was again dark when I rolled the V-strom out of the carport


It was also very stormy and the rain was coming down in torrents


I remember in the days of carbureted bikes rain would affect the air fuel mixture and you had to work the choke to keep it running from a cold start, which worsened in colder temperatures. With modern fuel injected machines of today all it takes is a mere slight push of the starter button and the engine springs to life and maintains a steady 1000 RPMs as you will notice from the factory supplied tachometer which is the gauge on the right on the instrument cluster. It is supplied as standard equipment on every V-strom Suzuki produces.

My commute involves riding upon surface roads from central Vancouver, through Burnaby and New Westminster until I reach my destination in Coquitlam about 25 kms away. There is no freeway system within the boundaries of Vancouver as the city fathers determined many years ago in an effort to reduce dependence on motorized vehicles. It takes about 20 minutes for me to reach the boundary of Vancouver on urban roads with signal lights every mile or so.

Boundary Road is the Eastern boundary of Vancouver .

(Boundary Road at the signal light)

I am riding eastbound on Kingsway cutting through Burnaby and pass one of the major shopping areas in the Greater Vancouver area (in Burnaby, BC)


Kingsway is a major artery which cuts through South Burnaby on a diagonal, but more or less West to East. This is a major commercial area with a very large MetroTown Mall, and numerous Towers. I notice that the sun is just making its appearance. Sunrise comes about half way durng my commute. Notice there are 4 lanes in each direction, not counting the curb lane. It is still early and I am going in the opposite direction of the rush hour flow.


The rain is starting to ease off and it is just sprinkling. That is a pedestrian overpass ahead . I continue along Kingsway for a few more miles, turn left at Edmunds and stop here at Canada Way for another photo opp . I continue on my way through Burnaby and into New Westminster and finally to Coquitlam. I have to transverse 4 cities to get to work, which takes about 45 minutes in the morning, and over an hour to return home.


I continue on my way and eventually snake my way to my ofice. When it is raining I usually wear my Olympia Hi Viz Orange riding jacket. I really wanted the Hi Viz fluorescent Green but it wasw not on sales and would have cost another $100. plus taxes, so I settled on the orange one


I have a good view of my bike from my office window. Right now I am outside of my window, but I get the same view from the inside


Later in the morning I go outside to snap another photo and notice that it is getting much brighter and the rain is drying up


Jimbo recently posted photos of the spare shoes he keeps at the office. I also keep spare clothes at the office and today I had to make use of them. My boots are supposed to be waterproof and I didn't notice until I got to work that my socks were waterlogged. Lucky thing I have spare socks at work just for this eventuality.


Not that it matters, but I have a few extra of everything at the office, including "Slacks" and I always keep extra underthings in my right hard case. I used to be a Scout and you have to always "be prepared"

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wet, Dry & Warm, Dark & Cold

I don't what is happening, perhaps it was the full moon, perhaps everyone is moody or it is that time of the month. Perhaps it started with Jack Riepe (Twisted Roads) (<-- link) making a few snide comments to Mr Conchscooter (Key West Diary) (<-- link) about his lack of motorcycle blog content and using his beloved kennel to transport Cheyenne. Jack even picked on me, I hope it was in fun, I mean . . . I thought we were buddies


Anyway Mr Conchscooter fought back with a vengeance


I think Mr Conch was writing to Mr Jack but then he included Moi, CPA Jim (Premeditated Scootin') (<-- link) in Kansas and even poor Orin (Scootin Old Skoot) (<-- link) in Portland . I mean, there is no way he can win against 4 other keyboards aimed towards Key West so I can only attribute his bad behaviour on OLD age and his set ways, which accompanied him from the old country.


So Mr Conch, see what you did. You lashed back at me and I have such a weak fortitude that I inadvertently lashed back at Irondad (Musings of a baby photographer)
(<-- link)


So inter-related is our community is that emotions get transmitted throughout the Blogosphere, even when not meant. After all, Irondad is my hero and I strive to copy his every movement. I should because he is a motorcycle instructor extrordinaire the best in the country and if you follow his advice you should be able to have many years of 2 wheeled enjoyment and ride in safety, through proven scanning, cornering and braking techniques (to name a few), that is . . . when he is not posting baby photos or photos taking in grocery stores.

Here is a recent photo posted by Irondad during December (I hope you don't mind me "borrowing" this image)

reading on bike_irondad 15dec2009
(Original image posted by Irondad, December, 2009)

I strive to copy your every movement but not make it blatenly obvious so ended up with this


I chose the left view as in your original we cannot view the title of what you are reading, but we gather that it doesn't have a vertical photo in the centre-fold


I must say that it is relaxing to sit, read and watch the traffic go by


A few days ago I received a comment from Cpa3584/Jimbo asking where I stored the Pink Crocs, in my left hard case of course, along with my reading material which was sent to me at great expense by a curmudgeon who walks about Key West in the dark being led by a dog who travel together in a Kennel-mobile, exploring every alley, lane and trail while a certain Triumph bonneville remains parked under a stilt house. You will be able to recognize it by quickly glancing at the instrument cluster as it will be without a tachometer.


Not all comments are delivered in scorn. I actually get some praise once in a while. This is one from Gary France (Mr H-D from the UK) (<-- link)


Gary, that mount you received with the "diamond" RAM mount can be used with the RAM GPS cradles. I have one for my automotive Garmin

And to Chris (
(<-- link), I have some rain in the video below


I am getting some rattling noise from the waterproof case, but it is not the camera that is rattling. I think it is the spring loaded shutter button, or on off switch button. Also I have not yet applied Rain-X to the lens protector so the water droplets are not "blowing" away in the wind.

It started out raining in the morning, then it cleared. In the afternoon it was a warm 10c. Later in the afternoon it clouded over and started to rain again. The ride home was after sunset so you can see how the GoProHD handles the lack of light, and how it handles the flare from the passing cars.

(Wet, Dry, warm, sun, cloudy and dark, all on a typical Saturday in Vancouver)