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Friday, May 31, 2013

Almost ready?

Does this look like I'm almost ready?

--   J. Braun  Sarcasm:  The mind's natural defense against stupidity  

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Crowded Lonliness

I found an interesting opinion piece in the New York Times this morning about the digital euthanasia of the individual.
For the pop sociologists of the period after World War II, “crowd” was a scare word, an impersonal entity that would extinguish your personality, spew contempt at your uniqueness, disable the operation of your individual instincts and judgment.

Now the “wisdom of crowds” has become an accepted platitude. “Peer pressure,” far from being a pernicious influence, is something we seek out as we race from one review site to another.
Seeking Out Peer Pressure brilliantly lays out the decline of individual ideas, will, and confidence and their replacement by crowd sourced meta-thought. It's an easy and informative read that I recommend highly.

A friend pointed out one of the falicies of crowd sourced thinking:
  • Everyone professes a desire to eat healthy
  • Oreos are the most popular food item on the planet
  • If the crowd is correct → Oreos are the heathliest food you can eat
The recent crowd sourced investigation into the Boston Marathon bombings on was so like an old west posse and lynch mob that several apologies had to be issued to the people it wrongly singled out as the perpetrators. At the same time it completely missed the two who were ultimately accused and arrested.

Sharing ideas and experiences can be a good thing. That's what I'm doing here. Following blindly the digital detritus of others without critical thinking is deadly. Cattle travel in herds and they get slaughtered. Plus, they rarely look like they're having any fun.

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Saturday, May 4, 2013

When bad news is good news

Usually no news is good news. Nobody wants to hear that the water heater just sprang a leak or that their car battery just died.

However, would you rather find out about that battery on a Wednesday afternoon when you can call a friend to drive you over to Sears for a replacement? Or on a Saturday night after a dinner 100 miles from home?

Such is the case with the bearings on my rear hub. I had given them a preliminary check and they seemed OK but when I had the wheel off to change tires I found there was excessive play in the rear axle. Oops!

Because an ATK is such an exclusive bike it's not like I can run down to the local Honda shop for replacements. Talon hubs are made in England but they do have an American distributor. So off to my friend Ben's shop, Moto Consult, for his connections. He is ordering the new bearings and seals for both front and rear hubs. When they come in he has the tools to press them in correctly. Disaster averted.

Better to find out now than have them fail somewhere in the Nevada desert. I would really hate having to do this all alone with nobody to help. I have been known to become cranky in such situations.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of other things to do while I'm waiting.

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Results from the first shake down trip

Last Saturday Tracy, Jason, and I took a trip through Pachaug State Forest to see how well the ATK was going to do on the TAT. You'll have to wait awhile for her to edit her video for a complete ride report.

The good news is that the bike is in a lot better shape than I am!! Most everything worked as it was supposed to. I, on the other hand, could use some help. Over the winter I exercised on a semi-regular schedule so my strength was good. However, my endurance was sadly lacking and after 5 hours of roots, rocks, and mud I was washed up.

This is the bike after returning home. The clever reader will notice a few bits missing. Tires were already on the menu but the fork seals were leaking and I thought it best to get them replaced.

Rather than attempt it myself I called Bill at C-Cycle Suspension to do the work. This turned out to be a very good choice. Bill found that not only were the seals worn out but so were the upper and lower bushings. Replacing them makes the forks work smoothly which, in turn, makes for more precise wheel placement.

While the bike is up in the air I'll put on the new tires, my trusty favorite Dunlop 606's. Also planned are new brake pads front and rear, plus new chain and sprockets. The brakes are in the mail, as they say and the rest of the parts are on hand. Hopefully all will be ready for the second shakedown ride on the 18th and 19th at the Berkshire Big Bike Ride (all hero sections included of course).

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