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1969 Honda CLT 350


ASSIGNMENT 1: Participant observation

  1. Identify a task that you don’t know how to do at all.
  2. Find someone willing to teach you in person (could be a several hours project), and learn how to do it by participating with them in doing it. Ask the expert about the history of the practice and its place embedded within other cultural practices and roles. Find out as much as you can about the practice both through asking and through doing.
  3. Record the whole thing either by video or by audio.
  4. Record your “field notes,” describing how the task was done, the equipment required, the ideology behind certain “tips” or instructions for how to do things, and other cultural and social aspects.
  5. Use pictures, drawings, etc to make your account as detailed and accurate as possible.
  6. Comment on participant observation as a way to learn about aspects of culture.

1969 Honda CLT 350

I asked my friend Maclean to teach me how to ride a motorcycle.

Here are some of my field notes:
  • There are two models similar to the CLT: the CL has upswept exhaust pipes while the CB has both pipes going underneath on either side. It’s a model that ran from 1968 until the late 70’s/early 80’s. “ubiquitous motorcycle”—cheap and reliable and efficient
  • He points to a logo reading “350 CC”: engine power. Maclean describes the first bike he rode—2000 Yahama TTR 125, the 125 refers to the size of the engine. Therefore the Honda CLT 350 has double the engine power, and quicker acceleration.
  • The 350 is a full sized bike, but relatively small. Not ideal for highway riding. It can manage to reach velocities around 65, the gauge lists a top speed of 110, but Maclean doubts the bike can achieve this top speed.
  • “this bike is the biggest conversation starter”
  • Have the choke up and get engine warmed up, check the fuel line—when turned to the side it means it is off, must turn the fuel gauge on, turn to reserved fuel when low on gas to have enough gas to get to a gas station, turn off when not riding so to not damage the engine
  • Turn the key, a light will tell you if you’re in neutral or not, Maclean explains that sometimes the light lies or won’t turn on. To test if you are in neutral: without the clutch in, if you can roll the bike forward and back, then the bike is in neutral. If you switch bike into first gear, the bike is unable to move. Neutral is the only time you can start the Honda CLT 350. Maclean explains that this is not the case for all bikes.
  • Shifting must be done with the clutch in, Maclean points out front brake at right hand (accounts for 70% of stopping power) and back brake at right foot (only accounts for 30% of stopping power)
  • Apply a steady amount of gas while slowly letting go of the clutch; bike begins to roll forward—called the friction zone. If you let go of the clutch without gas, the bike stops and engine dies.

Still working on the paper write up...
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