Sunday, April 11, 2021

Brompton phone mounts


I'll keep this mercifully brief (especially given that it's my longest video ever).

If the Brompton were a motorbike, this would be a farkle post. I'm not sure what the term is in the cycle world since I'm new there. I suspect that it's just an accessory. In time I'll learn the patois, most likely.

As I mention in the video, our smartphones are our R2D2's and there is therefore a compelling need (speaking for myself, of course) to have them anchored to Bromptons in the same way that they're anchored to our hands, arms, pockets, cars, Vespas, furniture...

I asked Siri "are you related to R2D2?", and she feigned ignorance. We all know the truth though.

This episode is about installing the RAM X-mount on our Bromptons. There are 239 reasons I couldn't find any videos about RAM mounts on bicycles, and 59-60 reasons why there is no shortage of videos on Quadlock and Trigo mounts. Watch the video. I think it's a little funny.
  
I compare the RAM X-mount to the other more popular mounts by referencing Victor's Quadlock and Trigo product review video. Victor is a brilliant product reviewer. I'm only fair to middling. My RAM X-mount review leans heavily on Victor's methodology and scoring metrics.


For the very few among you who are now craving a RAM X-mount they are available at GPSCity.com and GPSCity.ca.

The music for this episode (that I really like) is Parisian Street by Martin Carlberg, and Enough to Get By by Daniel Gunnarsson, both available on Epidemic Sound

Friday, March 12, 2021

Bromptons in the house!!!

It seemed like it would be forever until we receive our Bromptons, but they are finally here.

I can't begin to say how great it is to have these iconic bikes sharing our home.

Today's video explains how a pair of House Red Bromptons wormed their way into our home.

It all began... well, no. That would spoil the video.

We haven't really begun to enjoy them. Well, that's not quite true.

Yesterday I took mine out on its first little trip in the real world, a modest jaunt down the street to Starbucks at Mel Lastman Square to share a coffee with my friend Glenn. I realized that I hadn't seen a friend since last fall when I dropped in on Ed. The full sense of the deprivation sinks in when you meet that first friend in many, many months...

Not quite unexpectedly, my Brompton became an instant star of the encounter. Glenn needed to see it unfold, and fold, no surprise there. But the only passer-by stopped to marvel and ask twenty questions about my mechanical jewel. I guess that's something I'll have to get used to. Imagine when someone spots my Brompton riding pillion on my Vespa, because that day is near.

If you think that yesterday was my first time in my Brompton's saddle, think again, and watch the video, it may just amuse you.

If you are reading this and you are intrigued, and a little unsatisfied and frustrated that I am not really providing nearly enough detail, having perhaps piqued your curiosity... watch the video and be prepared to take notes. Actually, put the pencil down, the details are in the show notes, or... well, that's not fair because the video says that there are show notes here, as well. 

So here goes:

We bought our beautiful Bromptons at Curbside Cycle at 412 Bloor Street West in Toronto. They had to be special-ordered from the factory in London, because there is no such thing as Brompton inventory. Just as well, because there are many, many different configurations. You can occasionally find one for sale, second hand, but be prepared to pay double the retail price, no kidding!

The life-changing eleven best YouTube channels for everything you might want to know about Bromptons but that you didn't learn just by watching my video, are, in no particular order [drum roll]...

  1. Brian's i bike unfolded
  2. Gianni's Brompton traveler
  3. Christine's Chris by bike
  4. Victor's Everyday cycling
  5. Hannah's Brilliant bikes
  6. Pam & Gilbert's 2bikes4adventure
  7. Peter's Petrelli on wheels
  8. Susanna's Susanna Thorton
  9. Heather and Pier's Bromptoning and their blog Bromptoning.com
  10. Michelle's One car less (was called Ride on cycling)
  11. and the Brompton commuter channel Cycle every day

Be prepared to be amazed, and maybe even tempted!. If you want it all in a brilliant nutshell, then click here to watch Victor's brilliant summary "What makes it so special".

The special music for this episode is Jazz in Paris by Media Right Productions, and my favourite outtro track, Minor Blues for Booker by E's Jammy Jams, both courtesy of the YouTube audio library.

Be prepared, there will be more Brompton content, and Vespa content, and even Vespa-meets-Brompton and Brompton-meets-Vespa content. That is not a joke. You'll see.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Guess what?

Yesterday evening  I got an email I have been waiting for since September of last year.

Hey David,

Your bikes have arrived YAY!

The mechanic will call when the bikes are ready for collection.

Timm

I can't begin to express how exciting this is! 

I just had to post to mark the occasion.
 

Sunday, February 7, 2021

What's with branding and logos?

 My friend Steve Williams of Scooter in the sticks fame asked questions, and he deserves answers.

"Where will the new logo appear? A new logo for the blog? A new blog? On a T-shirt?"

Some answers are simple and straightforward:

Definitely not a new blog. If this blog's confines become too much, the blog will evolve, there won't be a new blog; but... 

... the YouTube channel will adapt to featuring bicycle content and as I began to prepare for that, I felt that the Brompton bits will need their own context, hence the logo. It still needs words. This morning in the shower "the fold" came to mind. I think that works for me.

On a T-shirt? I've never done that. Bill Leuthold of Rocket and me gave me a T-shrt with his blog branding on it. I generally avoid all branding on clothing if possible. To every rule there are bound to be exceptions. My two armoured moto jackets are those exceptions. I have badges sewn on those jackets for ModernVespa.com, the world's best Vespa forum, for the Vespa Club of Canada, to commemorate my Vespa jaunt in Tuscany, to mark the first 10,000 miles commuting on my Vespa, and yes... the logo for Life on Two Wheels is sewn on there too.

I have debated getting stickers made for the new Brompton adventures logo and sticking them on my bike and on the Vespa. The jury's still out on that one.

Mostly the new logo will serve on the vlog to brand videos that are Brompton specific.

Why bother?

I suppose that's really where I should focus this post.

I have always been interested in branding.

Branding was something that was only an option for the largest fanciest companies, and logos were the sine qua non of every branding exercise. Growing up with 1960's TV culture in the suburbs, logos were prominent everywhere, for grocery and drugstore chains, gas stations, TV and radio stations, and other large national retailers.

When, many years later, building my own web presence became possible, branding became something I could do too.

And so it began. I could brand myself, brand my ideas, brand the vehicles of my modes of expression, both tangible and intangible.

My first logo was for my personal web site. I wrote the code for that site from scratch. Computer technology went from the beast I thought would doom my career, to a beast I managed to tame and that helped to advance my career. I personally wrote all the code for my firm's web site with the result that my firm was one of the first law firms in Canada with a web presence.

My early-adopter computer literacy made it a no-brainer for me to co-opt @, one of the dominant iconic internet symbols as a basis for my personal logo.

My personal web site dates from 1997. Until then I used my law firm's web site to publish my ideas. In 1997 I left the firm to take on new challenges. I couldn't give up having a web site. My dear friend Andrew got in touch at about the same time to suggest that I snap up my name in the .org domain. and that is how masse.org was born. The logo came along just a little later.

My next foray into branding came along much later, in 2015, when I redesigned this blog. That was when the Life on Two Wheels logo was born.


That was back when my life was caught up in a slow motion explosion. I am glad I documented that. It was among the most amazing and enriching experiences of my life.

An opportunity came along in the wake of all that change to teach records management in the context of corporate governance. Once more branding exercises more or less imposed themselves: one for the cover of the book I wrote...


... and one for the related governance consulting business...


So perhaps now the inevitability of the new logo for Brompton adventures becomes more apparent.

None of the foregoing branding exercises generate anything resembling income. In that respect these are are not sources of tangible value. In fact, after mulling it over, even if Brompton videos generate a lot of traffic, I'm pretty sure that I don't want to monetize the YouTube channel. I find YouTube advertising increasingly annoying and intrusive. It's as if the algorithm is being used to make the experience of watching YouTube videos you like so painful that you'll opt for the paid subscription to get rid of the advertising.

There you have it Steve.

My love of branding is just a hobby. Something I do just for fun, as I enjoy masquerading as a bunch of logo-worthy enterprises.

10-year-old me would be so impressed.

Although in truth, my logos would fail to tear his attention away from flat screen TVs, iPhones, iPads, AirPods, GPS, proximity sensors in the car, all the remote controlled lights and thermostats... 

Friday, January 29, 2021

The story of life on two wheels

 

One more than one occasion I have told the story here about the two-wheeled path my life has often taken. I won't cover the same ground again today. Those stories are easy enough to find on the chronology page above. I re-read them just now. They brought back fond memories, and while I read, it was like traveling in time. I could see the scenes unfolding in my mind, experiencing the same emotions I felt all those years ago. That is the wonder of keeping a journal, and the amazing thing about keeping one online, like this.

I don't recall explaining how Life on Two Wheels became the new name for this journal. I looked over the posts I wrote when the new look was unveiled, but I didn't find that topic covered.

 Life on Two Wheels owes its name in no small way to my mom.

My mother was someone who was always ready for whatever the day's mission was a good half-hour to forty-five minutes earlier than the most punctual person would have dared.

It was annoying. 

Picture Queen Elizabeth, standing ramrod straight, in a signature bland sky blue cloth coat, her purse hanging on her arm bent at the elbow, a matching bland hat topping off the look, with a slight  but unmistakable "we are not amused" scowl.

That was my mother standing in the hallway, visibly annoyed that she was the only one in the household poised for departure. When, moments later, my mother would begin hectoring us to leave without further delay, she would often plead "Please, I want to get going, I really don't want to be heading there on two wheels!"

"... on two wheels..."

Whenever that happened, I pictured a car careening around a corner on two wheels.

Perversely, I developed a certain appreciation for things going off on two wheels. In my way of seeing things, it evoked a dashing adventure rather than the impending disaster my mother always feared.

And that's a part of how this journal got its new name.  The other part is well... two wheels.

Today is, by my reckoning, 31 days to Bromptons. By that I mean that our Brompton bikes are supposed to be in the production line, in London, within easy cycling range of Buckingham palace, on week 7, from the 15th to the 21st of February. Once built, they arrive here within two weeks. Hence the 31 days. Yes, I know, that's foolishly optimistic, what with Covid mucking up the works.

If it sounds like I'm counting down the days, I certainly am not. I have an Excel function doing that for me.

What to do as the dawn of a new two-wheeled adventure remains just over the horizon?

Work on a logo of course.

A new adventure like this deserves its own branding.

I wouldn't dream of misusing or abusing the manufacturer's logos, that just wouldn't do. 

So I came up with my own that is mine and mine alone, to do with as I please.

 
I also ordered two new bike helmets, a white one for Susan (her choice) and a black one for me.

Hmmmm... the temptation to order stickers...

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

No caller ID... a tiny act of kindness

This afternoon I received an anonymous call.

Anonymous in the sense that my phone said "No caller ID".

For some reason I resisted the temptation to dodge the call, which is my first instinct, and the thing I usually do.

I answered in my usual guarded tentative way.

"... hello?

The voice on the phone didn't sound one bit like a telemarketer. If anything, the voice seemed polite, earnest, and measured, and, if anything, sounded a little like I would expect a call from the North Pole might sound.

But what the mystery caller was saying I was having a difficult time coming to terms with.

"I sent you my business card?"

What the... ?

I denied sending anyone my business card. It was weird. Why would I do that?

He was doing his best to explain, to ease my obvious concern. I mean, how else did he get my number, Mr. No Caller ID?

The call was going sideways quickly, until he said that his daughter was the one who had solicited my business card...

My suspicious, wary, slow-motion brain finally made the connection, just in the knick of time. The dark murky veil that was about to eclipse the call suddenly fell away as a warm ray of sunshine finally appeared. 

Back in late November, I received a message from a lawyers' email list I subscribe to. It's what I would call a serious message board and the members tend to be prominent highfalutin legal eagles. I tend to be a lurker, not a mover and a shaker.

99.09% of the emails, as you might expect, stick to the legal topic at hand.

Then there's that 0.01% that stray from the path.

In this case, the lawyer, apologizing for the interruption, inquired ever so politely, if anyone on the list would mind sparing a business card.

Good morning, 

My dad collects business cards (hey, everyone needs a hobby!).  He is 74 years old and lives in an assisted living seniors’ residence here in Winnipeg.  Due to COVID restrictions, I have not been able to visit him for several weeks.  I’m not sure what Christmas will bring.  But I know that he would LOVE to get more business cards for his collection.  So, if you (a) have a business card; (b) have access to same; and (c) can spare one business card, an envelope and a stamp, please respond to this e-mail and I will send you my dad’s mailing address.

Thanks for your help with my little Christmas project.  Apologies for trespassing on the list with this personal request.

How could I resist? I lost no time rustling up an envelope and gathering some cards, including one of the precious few of my late Dad's pre-retirement circa 1993 business cards (I knew my Dad would be pleased).

 Hi...

It's on its way:

Denis Masse - Kodak, VP Ottawa (retired)

David Masse - Caravel Law, lawyer

David Masse - Governance View, consultant

David Masse - Governance Professionals of Canada, Chairman (former)

David Masse - Life on two wheels, explorer

Warm regards and best wishes to you and your Dad for Christmas!

 Roy was calling to thank me for the cards.

I have to say, I think that my little November gesture brought me as much joy on this cold dreary grey January afternoon, as it may have brought for Roy.

We had a great chat. I asked Roy who the most important person was in his collection. He paused to consider, as he cast his mind's eye over the more than 17,000 cards in his possession. "Pierre Trudeau" he said. I had the honour to meet our former Prime Minister in 1997, and if I had his business card it would be the top of my collection too.

I am sharing this little story because we are all in serious need of small acts of kindness.

Do what you can.

The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.