RTFM (Part 2)

Published by Liane Langlois on

Read the "Fine" Manual

by R. Bruce Thomas

Yes, I know. The typical expansion of the acronym at the top of this piece is a little different than what I have used here but that's because this is a family-friendly organization.

At this time of year I find myself thinking a lot about manuals even though it is rather rare to get much of a manual with a new product these days. If you're lucky you will find a quick-start guide in the packaging and a QR code to a web site to download a proper manual.

Even with the nice weather we had this winter we're all eager to get out and ride regularly (I did enjoy a short ride on March 18 when Mother Nature gave us a little break from winter) and maybe some of us are keen to try out whatever new items that we received for Christmas (or bought for ourselves. Black Friday everyone!). Whatever new item that got added to your gear since the previous riding season ended is a good candidate for RTFMing.

Maybe you acquired a new bike. Some of the modern machines come loaded with high tech gadgetry. Have you mastered all the buttons yet? Don't try to do that in traffic. Head to an open lot or get out early on a weekend to have space to yourself.

Even a new phone can throw a kink into your plans if you haven't sorted out all the cameras and automatic cloud-backup options. You don't want to return from a great trip to find all of your photos have been lost.

I'm not sure about you but I tend towards using tech when I jump on my motorcycle to go for a trip.

I need to brush up on the wifi in my camera and the app on my phone to control it.

I upgraded my SPOT Satellite Tracker last year and need a quick refresher on the buttons since they are different than the buttons I'd been using for the last decade.

I discovered a long time ago that GPS can take a lot of the anxiety out of a trip when you are in the middle of nowhere and need to find the closest gas station. Sometimes even in the middle of a small city when there aren't any obvious fuel stations on the main highway passing through. Keeping the maps updated can mean software updates on your computer as well and often this is rather intuitive but now and then a check of the manual can be helpful.

A drone can provide a different perspective to your travel photos

I like to have music playing while I ride and it is often just background noise but it does require a delivery system. Over the years I've used many different helmet-mounted headsets so having the manual handy for the current one is a necessity. While some of the newer units have voice control it is important to brush up on the supported vocabulary as well as the physical control buttons before hitting the road.

In addition to brushing up on my comm system controls I have some RTFMing and flying to do. Last year I bought a drone to hopefully provide a little different viewpoint to some of my travel shots. I had some fun with it but definitely need to spend more time at the controls in order to get the most use of it this summer.

One last thing to point out here is physical conditioning. In addition to my time at the gym and the yoga that I do, at the beginning of March I started swinging my leg over the bike every time I go to the garage. I need to do this to get my lower body working correctly and my hip moving again. After the first few days it got easier and I'm starting to feel like I'll be ready for daily riding once the snow disappears.

Ride responsibly, and often.

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