Thursday, November 26, 2015

Busy But Good Week

Proud Grandparents

Every once in a while, Dianne and I spend a few days or so with our granddaughter Emma, usually when travel takes her mother away. We help her get to school, Upper Canada Chorus (UCC) rehearsals, Karate lessons, and whatever else is required. Sometimes there is an upside to all this, and there was this week.

A Canadian group of four male singers known as The Tenors entertained a few thousand people at the Air Canada Centre this week. On a few of their songs, a subset of the UCC kids provided a backup choir. Of course, they did an excellent job - they would not have been asked to perform otherwise. The UCC leadership is superb and the 4 to 17 year old choristers experience  really unique singing experiences. The improvement over a couple of years is incredible.

Changing Oil on the RT

It's recommended to winter a motorcycle with a full tank of gas and fresh oil. Did that today. I had been watching the weather forecast for a couple of weeks and it all was typical November weather. Except for today. 16 C !!!

So, I poured some Startron into the gas tank and rode a short distance to my favourite Shell station and filled up. Then back home to dump the now hot oil and refill with new stuff.

It all went quite easily. Surprisingly, the hardest part was reinstalling the lower plastic fairing part. It covered the oil filter and had to be removed to get access. All OK now.

John suggested trying to turn the engine over without starting it to fill the oil filter, which is on the side of the engine, not under it. If under, I could have filled the filter with oil and then installed it. But, the way the RT is equipped, the kill switch and the starter switch are part of the same toggle switch. You can do one or the other. I checked the sight glass after adding the oil and it was completely filled with oil. I figured the level would drop after starting the engine. It did. After shutting it off, I let the bike sit for a bit, watching the sight glass level rise, rapidly at first, then slowing, until it came to a rest exactly at the half-full level. Perfect. I had been careful to add exactly four L of oil, as is called for by the manual. All very satisfying.

A bit of positioning, adding a cover, all that's all she wrote until Spring. Won't be too long, but will feel that way.

In the meantime, I will have to make some trip plans.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Fall Colours in Ontario

Every year, my friend Rodney and I try to take a ride in search of pretty Fall colours. We don't always make it, but last Friday was a fine day and we were able to get off. Actually, when we left my house it had just stopped raining. But, by the time we arrived in Horning's Mills north of Shelbourne, ON, it was sunny and very pleasant.

I made good use of my GoPro POV camera. Some 1.5 hours of video. Takes a lot longer than that to edit it and post to YouTube, of course. Here is 9 minutes of the total ride. Real time for riding the segment shown was a bit more than 15 minutes. Hope you like the resulting video.

And, I will look at the other segments to see if they are worth adding. If they are, I will do more posting.

On the other hand, a little goes a long way, with motorcycling videos.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Kingston ON Fall Ride Day 2

It was a cold and windy day, even at 11 am. I felt the wind blow me off vertical while getting the bike ready. V-Star Lady arrived and we agreed that if the day got worse, truly awful, we would just give it up.

In the end, we had a great ride. The wind died, the sun shone, and the heated vests worked great. Here is the route she led the way on:

A Senic Route north of Kingston to Perth and Around

As you can see, it was a nice loop, quite good roads. However, the fall colours have not really developed and we only had one photo stop:

The "World Famous Lyndhurst Bridge"

Colour Is Coming Soon

V-Star Lady & V-Star

Ed and San Marino Blue RT

So that was a fine day.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Kingston ON Fall Trip Day 1

I'm in Kingston ON today, for a ride around some of the local roads. This is a short post just about the ride here from Toronto to my hotel.

The day started out cool to coldish, 10.5 C according to the bike's readout. Given it was gusty, the real feel was even colder. (Balmy when compared to the 0 C temperature one morning on Manitoulin Island though.) I have a heated vest and used it, along with the heated grips and seat. The grips are powerful and I had them at 3 or 2 out of 5. The seat was mostly at 5 or perhaps down to 3 after a long while. Not any different from the heat from the high seat.

I am now convinced the low seat was the right choice. I can plant my foot or feet much more solidly on the ground at stops. And, the angle of my knees seems to be fine. In cold weather and a 300 km ride, I did not feel any complaints from my knees at all. And, there were no hip cramps either. This is a really nice bonus for me. All my other bikes have given me problems. A bit more padding or gel or something would be nice. Might try one of those beaded seat pads, as half the bead thickness would be in the seat, I figure. Any experience from readers?

On the way home, since it will likely be mostly on the 401, a slab, I may put the low seat in the high position as an experiment. Don't know yet.

I live 20 minutes west of Toronto International Airport, if there is no traffic. This morning at 0930, the rush hour continued and there was traffic until Keele St. It was mostly a first gear slog. It's not like this is a new thing, but it just gets worse. There really is no alternative for getting east of Toronto, there just are not other parallel roads. The 407 is both a toll road and ends up being 12 Km north of the 401 out by Whitby, so I chose to try the 401.

By Port Hope I needed a bio break. And, the service centre had  a Tim Horton's so I thought a coffee and something sugary might be nice. I was shivering just a bit. But the serpentine line to the counter was not only full, there was a lineup to get into the serpentine. 1030 in the morning! I decided to press on and my next stop was in Kingston at my hotel room.

I do like the fuel range on RTs. A full tank is good for almost 500 km. The fuel level was down one bar when I left, and by the time I got to Kingston, there was still 80 km range left. The stop and go had a bad effect, I think.

So, that was Day 1, Just a re-positioning, not a very great ride, but another chance to bond with the bike. Hopefully, more to come, pics and all. Some of the trees are changing colour nicely and I hope to see some great stuff tomorrow.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Ride to a Covered Bridge

West Montrose Covered Bridge

Back in the mid-sixties, I was the navigator in a car entered in the annual car rally hosted by the Engineering Society at the University of Waterloo. I did not have a car at the time, so I was pretty ignorant of the roads and points of interest around Waterloo. The route took us over this covered bridge...

My Bike Joined by Another Pair

More History is on the Web

Bridge used by Menonite Farmers

Something for Scooterpie

Dar has been in Ontario recently, as any visitor to her blog knows (see on the right for a link to her blog). We have not been able to meet, but I did see something that reminded me of her:

A Rural Bakery

Turned out the raisin tart was tasty. Not like Mum's used to be, she used Black Currants, but it was very good.

Wow, Never Saw Pumkins like This!

Unusual Shapes & Colours

And This Caught My Eye

Very appropriate as we approach our Canadian Thanksgiving in early October.

So, it was a nice ride today.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Nice Ride Today

Great day for a Ride

It was a nice day today, so I was determined to go for a ride.

September Field Visit

A nice blue sky.

A nice blue bike

By the Fence

What you see in the way of countryside is pretty typical of the landscape just north and west of Toronto. Really nice farmland. On a gentle down sloping bit of road, I noticed a nice wide and paved shoulder and decided to stop and take some pics. Let me know which you like and why, if you care to.

The Bluetooth Rocks!

As the edit to the preceding post noted, I updated the firmware in the Cardo G9 last night. I was warned this would require deleting all previous pairings and redoing them again. Shit.

Fortunately, the last time I did this I made a record of what was paired to what. That allowed me to very quickly do the pairing(s) again in the garage. Then, I moved the car away, rode the bike out, put the car back, and dressed for the ride. G9 ON, helmet on head, Start bike. Hear announcement that the GPS is connected, hear music, good to go, I hoped.

And it was! Damn!

I did not put the GPS on a route at first. Just sort of pressed the screen to get the GPS lady to speak. Too much distortion. Well, there is an "audio mixer" screen that had three sliders all maxed out. So I moved them to about 75% and that cured the distortion issue.

The music was controllable for album, track, and playlist. Quality was reasonable. I had heard the BMW Audio System had terrible quality, but I think there are some settings that interact with each other and will fine tune a few of them to see if I can improve it a bit. Still, given the wind noise and all, the music was quite acceptable. Those little helmet speakers ... they are not audiophile quality either.

At a safe place, I touched the NAV V screen, chose Phone, pressed "Call Home" and heard dial tone and dialing! Fortuitously, I was invited to leave a vmail message. I listened to it when I got home and next time I will put the mic right in front of my lips. It was level with them but a bit too for to the right. May have to play with the Cardo AGC function to see if it affects speech clarity. Dianne said before the quality was better with the helmet visor down. Another variable. Still, I was perfectly understandable and you could not determine that I was on a motorcycle. Maybe you might think I had a somewhat poor phone.

Right near the end of the ride, I purposely went off the route. This excited the GPS lady announcer no end. I wanted to do that. I wanted many announcements in a short time. And, that is what I got. The music was interrupted and always resumed. I think they fixed that old problem that caused the music to be disconnected. So, the update might have been a really good thing.

So, altogether a good day. I might play around a bit with the NAV V, extract the track record and see if that might make a good graphic.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

How Easy Is It To Use Bluetooth Stuff?

Bluetooth enabled devices can communicate with each other. Supposedly. Sort of. I have a bunch of them and have been trying to use them the best way possible on my bikes, the 2011 and the 2015.

Here is the list of Equipment.

Cardo G9 + Samsung Galaxy S5 + Nav 5 + BMW Audio system: How to get them all working nicely is the target.

I have tried two setups:

1) G9 paired with GPS and Phone

This worked fine except before each ride I had to fiddle with the phone to start music and verify the GPS could see the contact list in the phone. Sometimes this got more than a little irritating, having to turn the phone off then on and so forth. I also noticed that when the GPS gave a series of messages in rapid succession the music would sometimes not come back on. This occurs with both the old Zumo 550 and the NAV V. Sometimes using the G9 voice command "Music On" would fix this, but sometimes it would not. I have had this happen with a Zumo 550 and an iPod arrangement I used to use. Same thing with the both GPSs and the NAV V. Don't know if this is a G9, Garmin, or S5 issue. I think it may be the G9 and have asked Cardo to fix it. No response yet. It prompted me to try ...

2) I found several hints on the MOA Gear forum and on other web sites about the RT Audio System. BMW wants $110 CAD for the cable to connect an iPod. My friend loaned me one and I had to buy a 30 pin to new lightning connector ($36) to fit my iPod Nano 7. All worked as advertised to allow me to see music and playlists. But, it's too much stuff in the little compartment on the right side of the bike.

So, I returned all the items except the Nano. Then I bought a 64 GB USB stick ($27 on sale at Staples!), put 15 GB of .mp3 files on it, plus some .mu3 playlists. If you put this into the USB receptacle on the cable in the bike's compartment, use the SRC button to find USB, you will be able to choose a playlist just as if the stick was an iPod.

  •  pair and connect the Audio System to the G9. Music under control and heard in the helmet.

  •  pair and connect the NAV V to the Audio system. GPS prompts go to the helmet.

  • pair the smartphone to the NAV V. Phonebook seen on the Nav. 

  • pair the smartphone to the G9. Phone calls heard in the helmet.

This is going to be my setup for a while. I have done this and checked it out only in the garage. Rainy days are preventing my going riding.

Questions as yet unanswered: When I start things up, will they all reconnect nicely without fiddling? They should. The G9 has told me before things like "GPS connected" and "Mobile phone 1 connected" without any fooling around.

Will advise.

Edit 11:15 Sunday (day of post)

Just browsed to the Cardo site and discovered there is a software update. With unspecified bug fixes. Well, I did the upgrade and will now have to re-pair the bluetooth devices for audio system and NAV V. Did the NAV V and now will have to do the audio system - in the morning. And test. And fix, likely.

As above, will advise.