sexta-feira, 25 de novembro de 2011

Carta inspiradora

Nas minhas deambulações pelo mundo virtual, encontrei esta carta de Abraham Lincoln ao professor do filho.

"He will have to learn, I know,
that all men are not just,
all men are not true.
But teach him also that
for every scoundrel there is a hero;
that for every selfish Politician,
there is a dedicated leader...
Teach him for every enemy there is a

Steer him away from envy,
if you can,
teach him the secret of
quiet laughter.

Let him learn early that
the bullies are the easiest to lick... Teach him, if you can,
the wonder of books...
But also give him quiet time
to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky,
bees in the sun,
and the flowers on a green hillside.

In the school teach him
it is far honourable to fail
than to cheat...
Teach him to have faith
in his own ideas,
even if everyone tells him
they are wrong...
Teach him to be gentle
with gentle people,
and tough with the tough.

Try to give my son
the strength not to follow the crowd
when everyone is getting on the band wagon...
Teach him to listen to all men...
but teach him also to filter
all he hears on a screen of truth,
and take only the good
that comes through.

Teach him if you can,
how to laugh when he is sad...
Teach him there is no shame in tears,
Teach him to scoff at cynics
and to beware of too much sweetness...
Teach him to sell his brawn
and brain to the highest bidders
but never to put a price-tag
on his heart and soul.

Teach him to close his ears
to a howling mob
and to stand and fight
if he thinks he's right.
Treat him gently,
but do not cuddle him,
because only the test
of fire makes fine steel.

Let him have the courage
to be impatient...
let him have the patience to be brave.
Teach him always
to have sublime faith in himself,
because then he will have
sublime faith in mankind.

This is a big order,
but see what you can do...
He is such a fine fellow,
my son!"

Vou enviar uma destas aos professores dos meus filhos.

Wall of Death

THE WALL OF DEATH from benedict campbell on Vimeo.

quarta-feira, 23 de novembro de 2011

Just a few things about motorcycles

There really is a lot to like about riding a motorcycle. It's exciting, fascinating and wholesome good fun. Well, it might not be wholesome and good if you were in an outlaw biker gang, but I'm sure it would still be fun.

Anyway, I thought I'd share a few reasons why I like motorcycling. Here goes:

1. The character of the motorcycle

Every motorcycle has its own unique character; something you don't get in your average car. British motorcycles have traditionally been brash, sporty and loud. German motorcycles have traditionally been meticulously engineered and smooth as silk. Italian motorcycles are expressive, impractical and reflective of Italy's love for speed and style. Even the Japanese have managed to give their motorcycles character: precision, focus and reliability.

The motorcycles produced by each country reflect their values and ethos and in turn, make each motorcycle an entity unto itself. When you talk to someone about a BMW, a Laverda or a Honda, connections are made between the motorcycle and the country from whence it came. It just goes to show that there is no correct way to build a motorcycle.

2. Being exposed

On a motorcycle, you have nothing around you. You are exposed; part of the environment. In a car, you're surrounded by this large metal box that insulates you from the world in which you are traveling. You view the world moving past your windows almost like you're watching a television. You can see the trees, the weather and the roadkill but you can't experience them. You can't feel the temperature change as you go into a shaded area, you can't feel the cool rain on a hot summer day and you can't smell the three-day-old dead opossum.

Yeah, you can get an open-air experience with a convertible but whenever it gets too hot, cold or rainy, you can put the top up and shut off the world. You don't have that luxury on a motorcycle. You have to adapt, improvise and overcome to deal with whatever nature throws your way.

3. The sound and the fury

Yes, a motorcycle with some loud exhausts annoys the neighbors, aggravates the dog and scares the old ladies, but, man, does it sound good. To go along with the unique character of each motorcycle, the uniqueness of a motorcycle's exhaust note is another beautiful thing. A rabid enthusiast's ear can tell the difference between a BMW flat-twin, a Ducati V-twin, a Harley Big Twin or a Norton parallel twin. Few sounds on Earth can match the high-pitched wail of a Japanese four as it screams to its astronomical redline.

And, because the engine is right in between your knees, you get to experience a bevy of sounds you miss when the engine is buried under a car's hood. You can hear valves clacking, cams spinning and gears whirring. It really is a symphony of sound.

The British term 'flat chat' is in reference to the noise produced by the valvetrain in British motorcycle engines. It seems that when the riders were going as fast as possible on their bikes, there was so much valvetrain noise that it seemed like the engines were talking. That's cool.

4. Simplicity

Two wheels, a gas tank and a seat; what more do you need? Sure there are loaded out barges like Honda Goldwings and Harley-Davidson Electra-Glides that have radios and such but the real draw toward a motorcycle is the utter simplicity of the machine. A proper motorcycle has everything you need and nothing you don't. The simplicity of the motorcycle also manifests when you travel on it. With a lack of storage space, you're forced to take what you absolutely need.

However, the simplicity of the motorcycle is diminishing with our increasingly technological world. Simple carbs have been replaced by complex EFI. Electronic control modules are popping up on new motorcycles like acne on a teenager's face. Still, simplicity remains in motorcycles like the Triumph Bonneville, Royal Enfield Bullet and the iconic Russian Ural.

5. The sense of speed

I often find myself thinking "wow, I'm really moving along, here" only to look down at the speedo and see I'm doing 40 mph. It's really kind of funny. Since you're so close to your surroundings on a motorcycle, the scenery you're moving past fools you into thinking you're going faster than you are. It is kind of sad, though, when you're running up through the gears thinking you're Valentino Rossi and you get passed by a minivan. I mean, not like that's ever happen to me. Nope, that's never happened to me.

6. The jargon

Flat chat. Hoops. Pillion. Clip-ons. Tickover. Mag. Thunper. One lung. Shovel. That's just a few examples of the jargon that comes with riding a motorcycle. Even the motorcycle brands have their own names: Bimmer, Trumpet, Soozook, Yammy, Duke/Duck, Goose, Beeza, Kaw, Hog, Big Red, Velo, Squariel, Triton, Tribsa, Norvin.

Da mesma fonte do anterior

6 coisas que ninguém nos diz acerca da restauração (transformação) de motos

Estou sem muito tempo para traduzir o texto, mas vale bem a pena...

"This time last year I was happily hauling home a rusted hulk that was, at one time, a 1965 Ducati 350 Sebring. I drove home that evening with the image of me putting on an old-school helmet, tromping on the kick start and then tearing off into the horizon to the tune of a thousand fluttering female hearts.

One year later I have a painted frame, a few other bits with paint on them and an engine spread all over the basement. With coffee mug in hand, I examine my pile of parts each morning and ask “where the hell does all this stuff go?”

So, with optimistic restorations in mind, I present The Six Things They Don’t Tell You about Motorcycle Restorations.

1. The cost

Sure, the bike was cheap. I only paid $150 for my Ducati. Parts, however, are not. $100 here, $50 there, $75 over here and soon you’re $1,000 in the hole on your $150 bike. Be careful how you spend because it adds up faster than you think, even if you think really fast.

Shipping cost is another area that you don’t often think about. When you’re stoked about getting that ϋber-rare part at a nice price, don’t forget to look and make sure you aren’t getting shafted on the shipping. I bought a new-old stock piston for my Ducati that cost $200. While that made my butt cheeks clench, the shipping threw me into spastic fit. It cost $14 to ship the piston from Cincinnati, OH to my home in Pittsburgh, PA, a distance of 300 miles. I bought a part from England of similar weight and it cost me $12 to ship it to my door. Yeah, I don’t get it either.

2. Finding parts

If I had purchased a rusty British bike or American bike, I would be up to my ears in restoration parts. No, I had to buy an obscure Italian bike that wasn’t very popular in the U.S. and one that doesn’t have great parts support. All I have to say is: thank God for the Internet.

While the Internet was originally designed by nerds for easy access to porn, it also doubles as an efficient and easy way to buy old motorcycle parts. Thanks to countless EBay sellers across America and from stores in England, Australia and Italy, I have been able to get parts relatively painlessly. I also have to give mad props (does anyone still say that?) to the Ducati guy that sells stuff at Vintage Motorcycle Days at Mid-Ohio every year. You’ve been a life saver. *does chest thump point thing*

3. Surprises

One usually goes into a restoration thinking “a few cans of paint, some metal polish and a bottle of Lucas Oil Treatment and I’ll be done in time for bike night.”

No, you won’t.

No, you’ll find that rust has eaten pits into your frame, the brakes are frozen in place and the seat is home to a colony of rare spiders that PETA won’t let you disturb. You’ll also take the cylinder head off to see why your engine won’t turn only to find a nickel-sized hole in the piston, the same piston that is seized to the bore.

I’m speaking from experience, here, folks. The things you’ll find tearing into an old motorcycle will shock you more than finding out your parents smoked pot (which they did).

4. The work

A lot of people glamorize the restoration process but it’s not glamorous at all. It’s really messy and dirty. You will swear, you will break stuff and you'll have to improvise. It does, however, teach you to think and how to deal with unpleasant situations. You can apply the lesson you learn in your garage (or basement) to your life. Wrenchin' and learnin'. I should write a book.

Also, old parts are usually covered in old oil that smells awful and will stay on your hands until the end of time. I once asked an old-time mechanic how to get the oil off my hands. He said I should wash my hands with gasoline. I then asked him what I should wash my hands with to get the smell of gas off and he just looked at me like I was crazy. I’m crazy? You’re the one washing your hands in gas. I hope this guy doesn’t like to use a grill.

Anyway, once your motorcycle has been reduced to bits and your hands resemble those of an Egyptian mummy, it’s time to put everything together. You did remember to take pictures and mark where everything goes, right? Good, now bolt your mess back together. Don’t forget where that wavy washer goes, or which clutch plate goes in first, or where that spring went. The service manual sure isn’t going to tell you.

5. The tools

Having an old bike to restore is a good excuse to buy tools. But don’t think you’re going to get by with a cheap socket set from Sears. Most of my Ducati’s bolts used Allen heads, requiring me to buy Allen keys. Okay, drive to Sears and buy Allen key set. Wait, the fork caps are 12mm Allens and I don’t have that size in my set. Drive back to Sears and buy 12mm Allen key. Wait, the oil plug and the drain plug are 14mm Allens and I don’t have that size in my set. Drive to Sears again and buy 14mm Allen key.

But it doesn’t stop there. Disassembling the engine requires a whole slew of special tools that aren’t produced by Ducati anymore. You need tools to hold the cams, tools to help with timing, tools to remove the valve springs. The Internet can help you find new-production versions of those tools but be prepared to pay a lot for them and for their quality to be on the lower end.

6. Riding your restored bike

Um, I really don’t have much to say about this because I’m nowhere near that point. I imagine it’s very satisfying and I long for that day. Until then, though, I’m going to be down here in my basement trying to find the really small o-ring that went between the cylinder head and the piston barrel. I know it’s around here somewhere. Wait, where does this piece go? Hey, don’t shut the light out on me!"

Não conseguiria descrever melhor!


domingo, 13 de novembro de 2011

Riding for Nothing

Eis a história do evento.

Foi um ride praticamente espontâneo, mas onde ainda compareceu um bom lote de cafe racers.

Cafe Racer 351 - Riding for Nothing from Cafe Racer 351 on Vimeo.

sábado, 5 de novembro de 2011

Para refletir

Já há poucos artesãos e os que existem não têm a quem passar o conhecimento...


sexta-feira, 4 de novembro de 2011

Novo modelo de cadeira para bebés

Em vez de passar horas a pesquisar acerca de cadeiras de bebés, para ver quais são as mais seguras, as mais cómodas, qual é a melhor relação qualidade/preço (sim porque como é tudo a dobrar o preço assume uma grande importância), devia ter visto isto mais cedo... ainda por cima é o modelo para gémeos :)

On Any Sunday

Ontem chegou me à porta de casa esta preciosidade

E um trailer para aguçar o apetite