VW Camper Update – Bedtime!

The VW van has been on the road for a while now and I haven’t done an update since it passed the MOT. I’ve been slowly working on it and I finally have enough to make a reasonably interesting blog post about it.

Leo and I haven’t really used the van much since it’s been on the road. We took it to Big Bang, went to a unicycle meet in Wales and Leo used it to move house.  Since then it’s broken down twice. I had the carb off and totally overhauled it, fitting all new seals, gaskets and giving it a good clean up.

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The end goal with the van was always to turn it into a proper camper to go unicycling in, so as soon as it was roadworthy I started thinking about building a camping interior.

The most obvious thing we needed was a bed. I wanted something that could be used as a seat and a bed, so I started looking at rock ‘n’ roll beds. Proper ones seem to sell for around £300. I thought I could do better than that, so I scoured Ebay, Gumtree and the local free ads. I managed to bag this old futon for £15 off Gumtree.

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By some kind of miracle, after a bit of measuring, I discovered that the hinges were almost the same distance apart as the width of the van. I unbolted the hinges and seat from the base and set it to one side for making extra supports later. Then I cut off the very ends of the seat base and back. This made the seat the same width as the van.

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I managed to work out a way of mounting the futon hinges to the van without having to cut or drill the van. I utilised the existing seat belt mounts and made up brackets that the futon could bolt to. Once I’d fabricated those, I loosely bolted it all in to check the fit. I realised that the seat base and back were too deep. When I sat back on it as if travelling with a seatbelt on, my legs would hang in the air and the back was almost as high as my head. It also protruded futher forward than I wanted it to, not leaving much living space. To get around these problems I moved the hinges back on the brackets I had made and shortened the seat base and back. No photos of the brackets, not sure why I didn’t take any of them.

I cut out about 100mm from each so they were both 500mm deep. I also re-drilled the hinge mounting holes in them so they bolt to the hinges the other way round. I wanted the rounded corners to be on the outside so that you weren’t constantly hitting your knees on the sharp square corners when climbing in and out of the sliding doors.

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Then I cut down the wooden slats and gave it all a lick of paint.

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Then the exiting bit, I bolted it in the van smug in the knowledge I’d just saved myself £285. I cut up the original base from the futon that I’d set aside earlier and used it as supports for the front of the seat. It had rubber feet which I took off and fitted to them and makes it look quite neat. You can see them fitted in these photos.

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Finally, I cut the foam down to fit. All I have to do now is modify the cover so it fits the cut-down foam and buy a couple more bits of foam for the rear portion of the bed.

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Obviously this is a massively simplified version. In between all of these steps was loads of measuring and test fitting. I must have bolted and unbolted the whole thing from the van at least 50 times. Worth it though I think. More updates on the van coming soon!

The Finer Things: Tate Roskelley

Sometimes I watch a video and I just have to blog it straight away. This video is one example.
Tate Roskelley threads the eye of the needle in almost every single clip. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a video quite like this one. Hit play for a four minute WTF fest!

Top Five

If heaven existed, this is what it would sound like.

I heard Insomnia on an old trance album I had in the car and it reminded me of how much I actually love Faithless. This is my favourite Faithless track.

Really nice vocals and keys. Only just discovered C Recordings. I’m a fan.

Lush free tune from Gavin G.

Reef are by far my favourite rock band ever. Been listening to them a lot recently.

Shoot All Skaters – Ty Evans

I love skate films. It’s partly what got me into shooting video and going back to study media.

A friend posted a link on Facebook to these videos today. They are about Ty Evans, skateboarder and film maker. He has had an amazing career so far, shooting just about all my favourite skate videos. There’s also some really interesting behind the scenes from Yeah Right, Pretty Sweet and his new film, We Are Blood. Super interesting stuff if you’re into action sports films like me. Unfortunately I can’t find a way to embed the videos directly, so you’ll have to head over to The Berrics to watch them.

Check them out!

http://theberrics.com/shoot-all-skaters-ty-evans-part-1/

http://theberrics.com/shoot-all-skaters-ty-evans-part-2/

My course results

It’s mid-way through the summer and to be honest I totally forgot that I’d be getting the results to my HNC back soon. So I was pleasantly surprised when the post lady handed me the distictive A4 ‘Do not bend’ envelope. Unfortunately I wasn’t so impressed with the contents.

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Overall I got a merit. I’m really disappointed in myself.
I knew I’d got all merits for my previous units, so I’d tried really hard to make my final project (4 units, so half of the qualification) a distinction to bump my overall grade to distinction too, but obviously it wasn’t enough. The really annoying thing is, two of those units I’d given my all are passes. I’ve always struggled with written work and I think that’s probably what’s let me down. The most gutting thing is knowing that I tried my best but it still wasn’t good enough.

In Transition Daewon Song

I really like watching skate videos.
I don’t actually know many skate tricks so I usually have no idea what I’m watching or have any appreciation for how hard the tricks are.
However, I love watching Daewon Song because he just seems to make it up as he goes along and it’s always mind blowing to watch. I’m not sure how old this video is, but somehow I hadn’t seen it until this evening. As always, it’s off the tech scale. Great editing too!

Top Fives

I was disappointed with this on the first listen but it’s definitely a grower.

Luuuuuuuush guitar!

Been listening to a lot of classic trance this week. Can’t beat it.

This track is here purely because of Cory Kennedy’s Pretty Sweet part. Bob Seger – Night Moves

Chris Akrigg – The Water Cycle

I’ve probably said this before, but Chris Akrigg is my favourite bicycle rider of all time. I prefer watching him over Macaskill, his videos always have me glued to the screen. I’m not sure what it is; maybe it’s the fact it always looks like he’s having fun or the creativity in his riding.
I love the fact his videos always document a continuous ride rather than just random riding clips cut together. It seems more organic, more real. It also makes me think that these are just normal rides for Chris, this is what he does every time he goes out, it just happens that someone recorded it this time.
Another thing I love about Chris’ videos is how they are made. They are always shot so simply, one camera op, no crew. Just him and a guy with a camera. Maybe it’s because I can relate to that, it makes this level of film making seem within my reach.

His latest video was shot in the Brecon Beacons in South Wales and follows the water from the top of the hills to the sea. Besisdes the riding, there’s some epic steadicam work going on in it, something which could be easily overshadowed by the drone footage. Major props to Will Evans.
As ever, the riding is ridiculous. Sometimes it takes a few watches just for the riding to sink in. At first I wasn’t that impressed but on the second and third run through I realised just what Chris was doing. Nollie drop offs, pedal ups, up to fronts and balance beam tree lines all on a FULL SUSSER! None of these things are easy on the respective speciality bikes. Another great video from Akrigg. Enjoy!

Top Fives

Stunning

Heard this on the radio and it reminded me of my first trip to The States. This had just come out and it was being played in between every other song on the local radio stations in Cali.

DnBethhs husky voice is amazing. I could listen to her all day.

I’d never really listened to The Streets before, but I bought the album from a charity shop for a pound and discovered I actually really like them.

At the moment I’ve got a load of classic trance CDs in the car. Heard this yesterday and realised I’d forgotten how good it is.