Monday, March 31, 2014

Unique patch collection up for grabs

A while back I posted about my online adventure where I purchased a patch with BitCoin.

I mentioned that there were limited edition patches and that there were just a few MV members who had virtually complete collections.
The MV member known as Tomjasz (in real life Thomas Jaszewski, and an accomplished horticulturalist whose work endures in Las Vegas at the Bellagio) is offering up his complete collection in a silent auction.  Reaction to the offer is coming in on a related discussion thread.

I put a bid in, though I very much expect to be rapidly and soundly outbid.

Tom asked if I would put up a post with a link to the auction to spur interest further.  I am honored by the request and pleased to offer this post.  I doubt that the ScootCommute will drum up much more interest than the posts on MV, but you never know.  Every bit helps.

Good luck Tom!

I sincerely hope my bid gets trounced in a vigorous stampede of patch hunters, and that Tom profits from the sale of this rare and pristine collection.  In my hands, these specimens would end up gracing my jackets and being subjected to the merciless elements.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I can't resist...

... bringing back this little guy.
He started out way back in January 2012.

I brought him back at the end of March 2012 and we haven't seen him since.
So I thought we could check in on him and see how he's doing.
Say so long!

There's no telling when we'll see him again, if ever.

This is what happens when I can't ride.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Another weekend, another dump :(

Here's hoping that the inexorable law of averages means there's hope for great weather later this spring.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Walk a mile in my shoes...

Here's what a noontime stroll looks like in Montreal's underground city.... if you condense a fifty minute walk to 22 seconds, that is.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Underground art

What does a rider do when it's not safe to ride?

OK, I get it. I did what good writers are not supposed to do.  My opening statement begs an unspoken question. Why is it not safe to ride?  I'd better get that out of the way before tackling the real subject of today's non-riding post.

It's not the cold, at least not directly.  I have enough equipment to deal with the cold.

Even at -15C like today, at this time of year the sun's rays are busy melting the snow.

You can tell this is happening because of the water trickling from the base of the accumulated snow.  And there's the rub.  That run-off water spreads to the roadway.  The sun manages to keep a thin layer of the runoff water liquid so the cars spread the liquid portion out into a very thin layer which freezes solid.

During last night's commute there were numerous places where the roadway was a sheet of ice.  That's OK in my Honda Civic, or any other four-wheeler.  Definitely not OK on a motor bike.

That's why I'm still not riding.  I need mostly positive temps from dawn to dusk to avoid large-ish and otherwise unavoidable ice patches.

Back to the original obvious question.  What to do?

The answer in Montreal is to do what other animals do in the winter.  Head underground.

Montreal is renowned for its underground city.  Miles and miles of interconnected sub-subterranean tunnels and mall space link most of the downtown core, including most of our major hotels, our department stores, boutique chains, food courts, concert halls, convention centres, restaurants, office towers, many condominium towers, and the list goes on, and on.

Our underground city has lots and lots of stairs.  It's possible to get a really good workout wandering around down there.  That's what I've been doing at lunch time since the new year began.

Truth be told, there are many utilitarian stretches of underground tunnel and not much relief for the weary eye.  You can begin to feel like a mole.

What a joy then when the annual Underground Art project brings installation art to the underground city.
Numerous artists do their best to rattle the cave-dwelling pedestrian's complacent meander with large art installations that make very big statements.  The event is curated, so there is lots of useful information concerning the work and the artist.  There are materials available online, an audio guide, and there's an app for that (of course there is).

There is no hope of giving you more than the merest glimpse of this marvelous week-long marvel.  You can learn much more by clicking on the link above if the spirit moves you.

You never know the wonder you'll encounter round the next bend.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Life's pleasures

We got a wallop of snow yesterday.
But spring is nevertheless in the air.  The winter's snow banks were battered and receding before this latest storm and lawns were peeking out along the sidewalks.

The Primavera is the new Vespa small frame model that takes its place in the Vespa lineup with the venerable LX, and the not so modern PX shifty.

It's possible that with spring in the offing, the name of the new Vespa model became a subliminal message that inspired the editor of the chi-chi insert in this morning's paper to feature a piece on Vespas.
In the world of riders there are many two-wheeled alternatives and brands, and each has its loyal devotees.  It can't be denied however,  that three brands are particularly iconic.  Harley, Vespa and...

Well maybe there are just really two.

I was going to say the third was BMW.  It occurs to me that to say so may betray more of a personal preference and less of a statement with universal appeal.  As I was going to commit "BMW" to the page, I thought of the chorus of jeers and taunts that would come from the justly proud owners of Triumphs, Indians, Ducatis, Yamahas, Suzukis, Hondas, and... well, that third place spot will have many, many contestants vying for the honor.

All that being said, this morning's Plaisirs de vivre - Living with Style magazine struck my fancy as you may easily imagine.

Spring is definitely in the air.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Project report: Installing a Sena SMH10 Bluetooth helmet headset in a Nolan N104 helmet

This is the second time I've installed a Sena SMH10 Bluetooth helmet headset.

The first time was in a Nolan N102 modular helmet.  This is the first time I installed one in a Nolan N104 modular helmet.

The first time around was very straight-forward.  The unit installed very easily using the preferred clamping method.

Nolan has made a number of really important improvements to their flagship modular helmet since the N102 came out.

This helmet is substantially lighter, and is reported to be quieter as well due to the improved aerodynamics of the shell.  The ventilation system is improved with the addition of rear exhaust vents and improved chin, brow and head vents.  Last but definitely not least, beginning with the N103, Nolan added an internal sun visor.  In the N104, they added an instant retraction feature.

The design changes to the helmet make the installation of the Sena system a little trickier.  The main difference is a thermo-plastic fairing around the edge of helmet.  The only options for installing the Sena are 1) to forego the mechanical clamp and use the glue-on interface.  Like other riders, I prefer the clamp method; 2) cut a slot in the plastic fairing to slip the clamp plate in.

I know that installing with the preferred clamping method is possible, because others have done it before me.  I'm just a camp follower adding my voice to the crowd.

I encourage you to check out Richard Machida's installation on his blog by clicking here.

Richard referred to a previous installation that he had followed on the FJR forum.  You can take a look at that installation by clicking here.

To do my installation I used:
  • A divider to measure the length of cut I would need to make
  • A drill and drill bit 
  • A Dremel-type tool with a cutting disk
  • A box cutter - craft knife
  • A metal ruler
 1. The first step is to remove the neckroll and cheek pads.  This is a little tricky.  I watched the excellent helmet review video on to get a feel for the removal process.  At first it feels a little dicey, and I was afraid of breaking a tab or snap.  No such thing happened.  In the end it wasn't that tricky, and the parts are very well designed and built.  So just watch the video and dive in.

2.  With the pads out of the way, I spent quite a while examining where I would cut the slit for the Sena clamp.  The trick is to mount the unit as far forward as possible so that the boom mike sits in proximity to your mouth once the helmet is on and the face shield is closed.

3.  Once I knew where I wanted the slit, I carefully measured the length of the required slit with the divider.
4.  I transposed the length measurement to the plastic fairing, using the sharp points of the divider to marks the two ends of the slit.
5.  Using the metal ruler and the craft knife, I marked a line between the points on the fairing.
6.  I used a drill bit with a diameter equal to the thickness of the Sena's clamping part to drill a hole at each end of the slit, and then to drill a series of intermediate holes along the line.  I think this step may have been unnecessary.  It did give me a little comfort that I had some kind of guide to the width of the slit that was needed.

7.  With a dremel-type tool and a small cutting disk, I cleaned out the intervening plastic between the line of holes.
8. I tried to fit the Sena clamp piece in, but the slit was too tight.  I used the dremel to widen the slit, cutting away on the inside portion of the slit, the part nearest to the inside of the helmet.  Otherwise, the clamp would have been too close to the shell of helmet.
9.  I used the craft knife to clean up the slit.

10.  The rest was very simple.  I clamped the Sena unit to the helmet and tightened the screws.  I then installed the speakers in the speaker recesses in the helmet.  They were a near perfect fit.  The speakers must be the same size as the Nolan Ncom speakers.
11. I routed the speaker wires around the helmet, tucking the excess wire into the recesses on each side between the shell and the styrofoam padding.

12.  Finally, I re-installed all the padding and tested the installation.  In a word, flawless.

13.  As a last step I paired the new Sena SMH10 with my iPhone, and then paired my existing Sena and new Sena for intercom use.
That's it.  Easy really, with a minimum of fiddly work.

I have a lot of experience with the Sena SMH10 and I recommend it to fellow riders without reservation.

With two Nolan Sena-equipped helmets, I may be able to convince Susan to try a jaunt this summer, on a nice warm evening, to get some coffee or ice cream.

One can dream.

Saturday, March 8, 2014


Dar, I found it!

My Montreal spring is lingering in Vancouver, bathing the city in blessed rain, coily revealing her morning beauty through a misty veil.
Now, how do I entice it to venture east?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Dar, there's no end in sight

We received more snow this Sunday. Not spring snow. Dry powdery snow.

On Monday morning I climbed high in the sky looking for any sign of spring. It's a quest to please you, Dar.

The sun burned hot through the plane's window, yet winter won't take heed, flinch or squirm. It remains defiant, wearing its fresh white coat with pride, reflecting the sun's rays, spurning its warm embrace.
Sorry Dar. I did my best.

You shouldn't give up hope though. I am defiant too. I'm heading west where winter may be losing its grip.

If I find spring, I'll do my best to guide it east.

My Vespa sits in its stall, oblivious, wearing its shroud, in suspended animation, the soft green glow of the battery tender's status lights the only sign of life.
The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.