Project Idea

Now that the weather is nice and the motorcycle is out, I’ve been noticing a few things that I would like on my bike.  For starters, I want a clock, but upon looking ofr a small LED clock to mount, I was not able to find anything that suited my needs.  This got me thinking that I should build a clock, as it would be a nice project now that I’ve been using PIC microcontrollers at work all the time.  Extending this, I could create a multifunction device to incorporate many more features than just a clock, which would make little use of the microcontroller.    So I’m debating about making a device with a clock, a tachometer (my motorcycle does not have one), a digital compass, and a thermometer.  I have a few ideas on how to implement the tach, but I will need to take a look at the wiring on the bike before I start any design of that part of the circuit.  Some research is in order.

Ride to Rhode Island

Last weekend I rode out to Rhode Island on the Ducati to go camping with a few friends. I realize that this was not the most intelligent thing to do for having the bike for less than 2 weeks, but the opportunity was too much to pass. Despite it not being the best of ideas, I definitely learned a lot about the bike and, all in all, am glad that I did it.

In the car, its about a 5 hour ride to the park. Since I didn’t have much experience on the bike, I felt that it would be better to avoid the Interstate for the most part, which put my trip at an estimated 7 hours total. I did start out on the Interstate, but after about 45 minutes I was bored to death and started on my planned secondary road route. Everything was good for the first 150 miles when the position on the motorcycle becomes quite uncomfortable. The total distance is about 450 miles, so I figured that gas stops every 200 miles would be good to stretch my legs, drink some water, etc. I ended up stopping 4 times, as the farther I went, the sooner my ass and knees would start to hurt. What made the ride out rather miserable was the total of 10 hours that it took, primarily because of hitting snarly traffic in New Haven, CT on I-95 and on Rt 1. By the time I finally got there, I was quite tired but glad to be there. The stiffness from being in the same position goes quite quickly and I was able to enjoy the weekend. The way back was much better, taking 7 hours, because I altered my route to avoid the issues on the way out.

The main issue that I felt on the way back, and still feel right now, is tiredness in my right hand. When I first got back, my hand was quite sore, but the fact that I can still feel a little bit of that almost a week later is rather annoying. I think that my hand will get used to this with time, but its something I need to keep in mind at the moment. I also think that a windshield, even a small one, will make the highways much better. I didn’t like the turbulence and a windscreen should reduce that when at speed. A final thing I will change before my next trip is to add some soft saddle bags. I had a friend (who left a day before me) bring most of my stuff for me, so all I had was a small backpack with food, water, and rain gear (it was supposed to rain all weekend but didn’t… just had 95% humidity). Although the bag was rather light, it starts to get heavy after 5 hours.

The best part of the ride was Rt 7 through Connecticut. It was a beautiful area and had a good number of sections that were a blast to ride. If I ever ride that way again, I’m definitely going to take Rt 7 again. Hopefully, by the time I want to do another long trip, I’ll be better prepared and not be so tired when I return.

1999 Ducati Monster 750

After taking the MSF Basic Rider course a month ago and getting my license, I finally pulled up the cash for a motorcycle. My heart was set on a BMW, like the F650GS or the older Dakar model, but they seem to keep an extreme resale value. About the only ones I could afford were broken and from the 70’s. So realizing my limitations, I started to look at some Honda or Yamaha bikes to find something reasonably priced that I could comfortably afford. There are a million Honda’s around these parts, especially from the mid 80’s, but I wanted something a bit more modern and without the issues that can come up with a 20 year old machine. So when I came across a 1999 Ducati Monster, for a reasonable price, I figured it was at least worth a look. And what a look it turned out to be.The bike is in perfect condition, with 2800 miles, and an asking price of $3350. It was apparent that the bike had been stored for a number of years, which is rather obvious from the low miles. My guess was that it had only been ridden extensively recently, but the engine started without effort and the bike ran nice and strong. The seller had receipts for the battery being new this year and that seems to be the only thing that was replaced. The tires were good, but I will probably replace them next spring. A little ride down the street made me sure that this was a bike worth its price. The seller also had a center stand for the bike, which I talked him into including, so I took his asking price.
So with a down payment, the bike is mine. I should have the balance paid in full in tomorrow or Wednesday, and if I’m lucky, I’ll be able to hit the road this weekend. Pictures will surely come once I get the bike.