XS650: Projects and Design   Leave a comment

We had a jam last Tuesday night. Industrial park workshop blues. These are good nights. Feeling pretty mellow I kicked into one of my favourite songs

And the Band Played Waltzing Mathilda

And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda Chords

When I was a young man I carried my pack
And I lived the free life of a rover
From the Murrays green basin to the dusty outback
I waltzed my Matilda all over
Then in nineteen fifteen my country said Son
It’s time to stop rambling ’cause there’s work to be done
So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun
And they sent me away to the war
And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As we sailed away from the quay
And amidst all the tears and the shouts and the cheers
We sailed off to Gallipoli

I like these nights. They’re generally a mix of good music, bikes, mellowness, great company, lotsa bullshit, and I can walk the 200 or so metres along the river home.

One of the hottest topics is flow in design.

Look around at the completed or running projects in your neighbourhood. Check out the magazines etc. What do you like? What looks good? Do you think it rides well?

You wouldn’t have one of these bikes if you didn’t have at least a little eye for classic lines. The original bikes and their motors both have their own classicness.

Whatever you are doing with your bike, all have this in common.

Now I’ve seen some, what I would call, ‘real pigs’. Of course this is subjective. VERY. But the lines just don’t flow. No harmony. No balance. If bikes had chakras they would all be blocked.

How well I remember that terrible day
How the blood stained the sand and the water
And how in that hell that they called Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter
Johnny Turk he was ready, he primed himself well
He chased us with bullets, he rained us with shells
And in five minutes flat he’d blown us all to hell
Nearly blew us right back to Australia
But the band played Waltzing Matilda
As we stopped to bury our slain
We buried ours and the Turks buried theirs
Then we started all over again

Now I trained many years in kung-fu. You learn about ch’i. Energy. Flow. Today I’m an ‘alte sac’ and stick to Tai Ch’i. Still all about Ch’i. Yin and yang. Balance. Flow. Harmony. Am I starting to talk like your wife?

Sometimes it’s a good idea to stop and listen. You don’t have to agree. Just making the effort can produce results.

If you’re really adventurous, take your missus, or better still, someone elses, and go learn about Tantra

Now those that were left, well we tried to survive
In a mad world of blood, death and fire
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
But around me the corpses piled higher
Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over tit
And when I woke up in my hospital bed
And saw what it had done, I wished I was dead
Never knew there were worse things than dying
For no more I’ll go waltzing Matilda
All around the green bush far and near
For to hump tent and pegs, a man needs two legs
No more waltzing Matilda for me

Why? Because it’s all about being at one with your surroundings. Bikes are no different. I’m not advocating you get deep and dirty with her except in pure mechanical union, at least not when anyone is watching. But if you and your bike commune while commuting your missus isn’t going to get jealous if you build her a bike too, and you will enjoy your riding so much more. You wont need to battle all the way.

Look and decide what you like and why. How does it all fit together? Does it match you and your body shape? Your riding style? Do the eye and brain connect with your balls and say ‘YES’.


1 .. pen and paper ... your second best friend

pen and paper … your second best friend



Your best friend is a pen and paper. Or photoshop. Don’t throw anything away. Keep all your sketches. They will get better. The old ones serve as an idea bank. For both those you like and don’t like.

So they collected the cripples, the wounded, the maimed
And they shipped us back home to Australia
The armless, the legless, the blind, the insane
Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla
And as our ship pulled into Circular Quay
I looked at the place where my legs used to be
And thank Christ there was nobody waiting for me
To grieve and to mourn and to pity
And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As they carried us down the gangway
But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared
Then turned all their faces away

Some popular approaches include:

  • KISS principle, (Keep it Simple Stupid, etc.), which strives to eliminate unnecessary complications.
  • There is more than one way to do it (TIMTOWTDI), a philosophy to allow multiple methods of doing the same thing.
  • Use-centered design, which focuses on the goals and tasks associated with the use of the artifact, rather than focusing on the end user.
  • User-centered design, which focuses on the needs, wants, and limitations of the end user of the designed artifact.
  • “Form follows function” Ralph Lauren

At the same time you’re collecting the bits and pieces you want. Don’t be afraid of changing your mind. Happens all the time. Shows you’re learning.

After all, these projects never really end.

And now every April I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me
And I watch my old comrades, how proudly they march
Reliving old dreams of past glory
And the old men march slowly, all bent, stiff and sore
The forgotten heroes from a forgotten war
And the young people ask, “What are they marching for?”
And I ask myself the same question
And the band plays Waltzing Matilda
And the old men answer to the call
But year after year their numbers get fewer
Some day no one will march there at all

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
Who’ll come a waltzing Matilda with me
And their ghosts may be heard as you pass the Billabong
Who’ll come-a-waltzing Matilda with me?

Now you might ask yourself ‘Why the song?’

Well it’s a classic too. A classic anti-war song. About the Allied campaign at Gallipoli in Turkey. A major design blunder.


Posted January 15, 2011 by xscafe in Frame - Design, Frame - Handling

Tagged with , , ,

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