Monday, June 25, 2007

More testing of the cooling vest; using the N800 without a sunshade

Temps in the mid 80s to apparently a high of 100. My motorcycle's thermometer never went above 97.1. Sunny and hot but with southerly winds gusting enough to get your attention.

I did not go riding till 1430 hrs, waiting for the heat of the day to build up to further test the cooling vest's ability to help with the heat. I also went ahead and removed the homemade sunshade from the N800's windshield mount to see how the display did without its shading effect.

The cooling vest took over six hrs to fully dry out overnight, pretty good, and something to keep in mind when using it as a commuting aid. I recharged it again just before I headed out, this time wearing an Everlast brand long-sleeved compression t-shirt. Initial contact with my body, like last time, was nice and cooling...almost cold. It helps keep your cool as you don the rest of the riding gear. Again, I chose the clear visor for my helmet and no sunglasses, relying solely on the tape on the visor to block sun glare to my eyes.

I rode out East on CO30 or Quincy Road, taking the road to Watkins when it presented itself. Again, it's hottest when one apparently rides in same direction as the wind which was coming from the South. Perhaps it's a feature of motorcycles with full fairings, not sure. As I neared Watkins, I took the I-70 Slab eastward. I stopped in Strasbourg to tank up and then proceeded onwards towards the town of Limon.

The vest was keeping me cool just fine as before. I noticed however that the long sleeves on my compression t-shirt were actually helping more to keep my arms cool than just having a short sleeved t-shirt on. I'll have to get more of these for the trip I think.

The N800's display was pretty washed out in the direct sunlight again, some of the features on the screen were still visible but I believe a sunshade will be a mandatory item for usage on a motorcycle. Since I was still lacking the license code for the Navicore software, was still using the freeware Maemo Maps application. I basically ran it in the background, listening to the N800s media player and my tunes as I rode, occasionally switching (with some repeated attempts due to using gloves and the small GUI icons) back to the mapping utility to see where I was on the map.

I must say the mounting kit that came with the Navicore unit is starting to grow on me. While it does preclude me from moving the windshield up and down, it does hold the unit quite steady(minor vibrations), is fully adjustable as to viewing angles, and I could switch tunes easily while on the move. For those of you who might be interested in the mounting kit for your use: Windshield Mount: Nokia Type HH-12, the plastic holder for the N800 which screws onto the windshield mount: Nokia Type CR-86. I don't know if these are available separately from Nokia.

I was nearing Limon when I spied the exit sign for CO86 which leads you to Kiowa. I elected to do this and enjoyed this dual lane county road (mostly straightaways)in the afternoon heat with nice views of rolling terrain dotted with mostly ranches and many cattle basking in the heat. Cooling vest was doing it's job nicely, camelback kept me hydrated and I just enjoyed the road listening to tunes. Once I got past Kiowa I could plainly see two thunderstorm cells approaching from the South and West. Quite a lightning display from the one to the South so once I got to Elizabeth I headed North via county roads, away from the storm.

I managed to outrun the Southern storm cell and did not catch up with the Northern storm cell so no need to stop and stow away the N800. It is of course not even close to water resistant so it's another thing to keep in mind. I am not sure the N800 will catch on with motorcyclists as a device to use not only for tunes but for GPS, and FM radio. If it does, I hope some manufacturer comes up with a nice waterproof casing for it with a built-in sunshade perhaps. At this point, I'd settled for a nice looking sunshade.

I do plan on taking the N800 with me on the ride to the BMWMOA National Rally next month so it'll be a good workout for the GPS software and the mounting kit.

So, a three hour ride, in apparently mid 90s weather (the strong southerly winds helped keep things bearable along with the cooling vest). Saw many bikers out, with not much in the way of protective riding gear however. The cooling vest was still cooling me off when I arrived home. About 150 miles of riding, N800 still usable in terms of display controls. I was not however able to read the tune titles in the built-in media player, but was able to actuate the virtual controls for tune switching.

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