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J. Sinclair/CONCEPIA LLC J. Sinclair/CONCEPIA LLC Old and new brickwalls. Which has more character?

Well, here we are at the end. But it's not really the end; It's the beginning of something new. A bike has been given a new life; a chance to thrill and excite; a chance to put a smile on your face, even on the darkest days. Motorcycles rock. Sure, there are inherent dangers with riding, but everything has risk associated with it. How you decide to mitigate those risks is your own matter. But why get on a motorcycle at all if it's so risky. For me it's the feeling of freedom, of being present the world, rather than just existing. Robert Louis Stevenson said "The great affair is to move." He couldn't have been more right. Whether its a multi-leg cross country tour, or just nipping down the the store for some milk. Every journey has the potential to amazing. It's all in your perspective.

Okay, esoteric ramblings aside, today was the day that Natasha and I went on our first ride. The day before she finally ventured out of the Misha, my mobile motorcycle workshop step-van, and we spent an awesome afternoon with Craig Thompson at his photo studio taking some clean cyc-wall shots of Natasha. I learned some cool things to take back to my own studio; first and foremost I am going to shoot tethered. What does that mean? Well, instead of having the camera capture all the images, then download them later and review/edit/process, being tethered means there is a USB cable running from your camera to a laptop. When an image is taken the file gets zipped over to the laptop and you can see it in all it's glory almost instantly. This makes for a quick process to dial in everything and get that killer shot.

Secondly, I am going to purchase a heavy grade camera stand. This was awesome to bolt the camera onto, and take the same positioned image over and over again but with different lighting, so that a composite image could be built later on in Photoshop.

So with those taken care of, the next day I decided to take Natasha for her first ride. I knew that she started up and idled okay, but with a little tweaking I got the carbs a little better balanced. But saying that, I was totally doing it through 'feel'; hardly very scientific, but enough to get me on the road.

I adjusted the clutch, tested the brakes, put more gas in the tank, and then pulled on my leather jacket and helmet/goggles, which were also getting their first outing today too. 

For a number of weeks I had driven past an old building on the way to work with lovely distressed/flaking brickwork. I had a vision of shooting Natasha with that as her backdrop. The juxtaposition of the old and new brickwork seemed appropriate. New does not necessarily mean better.

Amazingly the weather was perfect, if perhaps a little chilly with a strong wind blowing. We rolled out of my driveway and headed the 1/4 mile to the pharmacy building. She was so light and nimble, and the low seat height/COG meant I was flipping her side to side with ease. What a lovely feeling.

But of course, nothing is that perfect straight out of the gate. Her midrange throttle was lumpy as hell, and I didn't even try her wide open. Sure, the brakes were working, but I'd rather not find out the extent of their range today. But I know that I have some serious tweaking of the carbs to get her running super smooth all through the throttle range. This is just another part of the build process. Sure, I could take it to someone who has been tuning bikes for years, but where is the fun in that. BUILT, not BOUGHT... remember? :)

So we pulled into the parking lot and set up. I had, of course, the biggest smile you can imagine. We made it to this point. Actual movement! Woohoo!

Below are the results of that shoot, plus the studio session too. Finally I can replace the aging photos on the website slideshow, but I have one more session I want to shoot, and that will be with a model back on San Juan Island. I really want to do it in a parking structure, but we don't have too many of those on island so we'll have to find something else industrial/urban to fit my vision.

Current hours on build: 212.0 

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Rebuilding, restoring, and recycling classic bikes into unique custom-made cafe racers.


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Friday Harbor, WA 98250

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