Monday, July 15, 2013

Cargo bike plan in the shade

The Transporter Cargo Bike parked in the shade

Yesterday, I decided to try out our new arbor for the first time by writing the new Transporter Cargo Bike plan outdoors. It was great to actually have some shade out in the blazing summer sun, and although my old laptop screen was a bit dim outdoors, I really enjoyed the fresh air and scenery. Since our home is a ranch-style modular home, it offers practically no shade as the sun passes overhead, so this arbor is our only shaded spot in the entire yard. Well, I guess I could hide in the bush and get shade from a big ol’ pine tree, but then the bugs would eat me alive.

We live in the path of some kind of odd wind phenomenon, so stand up umbrellas get torn and tossed practically every time we tried to use them, but this time we have a solid structure with a lattice roof that blocks out about 75 per cent of the overhead sun. I think I will be doing all of my writing out here from now on and maybe even some of the website design and upgrading.

Having an injured back this week meant that I could not get the cables on the new bike just yet, but I had enough of it done to dig into the meat of the plan. I dragged the bike up the hill, parked it under the arbor and ran an extension cord to my laptop. I make a large document of images and dimensions when I build a new plan, but also double check with a tape measure and angle finder as I write, just to make sure that everything works out.

A typical plan write-up consists of editing about 120 to 150 photos from the 1,500-2,000 that I take during a build. I then edit them all in Photoshop for color balance, resize them, number them and then start adding text in a logical and sequential manner. So, as you might have guessed, this is a LOT of tedious work; being outside was just great. Looking at my office walls for 15 straight hours is boring compared to looking at the tree line and watching the deer stroll past. Hey, was that a bear checking out my Saskatoon berry trees? Grrrrrr!

Making the photos follow the plan

Sometimes the 1,500 or more photos can get out of sequence with what I have on paper because I often work around the weather. There are days when I can put the frame outdoors for welding and then other days when I am stuck in the shack to work on the small bits, so this can really mess up the storyline. Oh well, I had a cool summer breeze, no traffic noise pollution, a view of the greenhouse and the sounds of birds to make the work easier. I sat under the arbor from morning to night to edit the photos until the black flies, mosquitoes and noseeums drove me inside.

Getting some advice from the real expert

Of course, I never work alone on a technical project. My silent partner is always around to give me the look when I do something not so smart. A tilting of his head to the left means that I have a measurement wrong, a right tilt means...hmmm... “Get me more food?” Well, not sure on that one, but my furry buddy "DJ The Prince of Dogness" does know his stuff.

Well, I’d better get back to the plan so I can get it ready for the website and then move right to the next bike project of 2013. There is so much stuff to do around the yard and the weather has been so wacky this year that I must hit it hard every free second or Old Man Winter will be back before I know it. Bark at ya later!

~ Brad