Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Family resemblance

Photo of me with one of my island offspring, taken in Bonaire a year or so ago. I don't see it, but I'm told there is an amazing resemblance. Nothing to do with cycling, but I came across this last night sorting photos with Katie and we were both tickled.

Built for comfort

Willie Dixon said it best: "I'm built for comfort, not for speed..."

I'm changing my saddle. Brooks saddles are classics, and I like them. I have two of them. The one on my Tikit now is absolutely terrific for fast commute-distance rides... but after doing some significant miles recently, I see a change coming. After 30+ mile ride, that great little saddle leaves me feeling like I sat on wasp nest.

The other saddle (above) is lovely soft leather, like an old baseball glove. By comparison it feels like sinking into a fine, fine armchair. Head and sit bones agree: it's time for a swap.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Some plans emerge...

OK, travelling completely sans plan is a neat goal but hard to realize... our reach should always exceed our grasp. I do now have a basic plan for first few days.

Will stay with Cathleen, Garrett and Jonathan in Amsterdam for two nights (thank you!). Have known Garrett for a long time, Cathleen for a couple years, and have yet to meet Jonathan -- looking forward to meeting him! That will take me up to the start of Queen's Day weekend. If you have never experienced Queen's Day in Amsterdam, you've missed something. If you have experienced it... you'll understand why I'm heading out of town. Will go to Arnhem by train, cycle to Otterlo and stay at a little B&B for two nights... do some cycling in Hoge Vulewe and visit the Kronner-Muller museum (a long-term "gee I'd like to do that" goal). Then cycle to Nijmegen, spend two nights there and visit the cycle museum. After that, no plan for a few days. Probably just ride and see what happens.

Meeting K at the airport in early May (reminder to self: be there! Check that date and arrival time). We'll visit C/G/J for a day or two, then head off for a bike/barge trip.


A run of flat tires lately. Three flats in two months.

For the first two, I'll take the credit - one flat was probably result of a poorly installed tube, the second from riding miles over insanely rough terrain and construction debris. The third however looks like the tube simply failed -- a split, without any apparent cause.

The bright side is that I'm getting very proficient in removing and replacing rear wheel, which is a bit of a fussy process with Shimano Nexus hub.

Replaced tube in this latest flat c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y. (If I ever need surgery, I hope the surgeon is so focused!)

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I'm a big fan of walking. Done in moderation, for the right reasons and in the right context, walking is a great form of transportation. For example, on a round-trip between sofa and refrigerator, walking is nearly always your best choice.

An ex-colleague is taking walking to an extreme, but in a very neat way. Rich Ambrose has begun an extended walk -- he hopes to cross America on foot. I'm looking forward to sharing the experience (sans blisters, thank you) via his blog: Walkoverstates.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


"Fietser" is Dutch for bicyclist.

JT told me of a similar sounding word in American slang: "Fiester". Per Urban Dictionary, definition of Fiester is: "A man who is beyond cool; a man who women want to sleep with and men want to be." (I am NOT making this up!)

I'm cool and all that, but really... this blog is Footloose FIETSER.

(For the adventures of a footloose fiester, try the Jack Reacher novels. He's a guy who really travels light:
"... foldable toothbrush and an expired passport." Not great literature, but fun.)

Monday, March 22, 2010

27 / 61

One of the big attractions of SFBay area is the cultural diversity.

Did an informal quantitative study during a local ride yesterday: kept track of the languages involved in snatches of conversation overheard in passing.

Of 61 conversations sampled, 25 involved languages other than English, and 2 involved non-US English variants.

Breakdown by language frequency: English (including UK and AU variants); Spanish (variants unknown); Chinese (variants unknown); Tagalog; Russian; Japanese; French.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fine Dining on the Road

Ask any springtime cyclist, and they will confirm: you'll have an ample supply of fresh protein, consumed "on the fly" so to speak. However -- a steady diet of tiny gnats, while nutritious, ultimately fails to fully satisfy. What a cyclist wants and needs is Fries.

Moreover, cycle enough miles and you can almost justify fries as health food... especially if you've already had your daily protein.

My friend Rogier just suggested my second "must do" destination: a fries stand in Belgium. Check it out: Once you make it to Maastricht you have to cycle over to Belgium to get the best fries ever! Here is a link to my favorite place when I lived there: http://frietfindr.be/frituren/p/detail/lucienne-erik

Pause a moment and parse that URL: "frietfindr.be" implies -- an entire site dedicated to finding great Fries. This could be the genesis of my next trip!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Feeding the reading habit

I'm a compulsive reader. If I run out of books, I'll read the toothpaste tube in a pinch. How to reconcile traveling light with lugging a library? One answer could be a Kindle, but I don't want to carry yet another electronic gizmo and charger.

Just found out that Amazon's Kindle software is available (for free) as a PC application. Downloaded it onto my netbook, and it seems to work very well. Special bonus: there are thousands of public domain books available at no charge, in addition to the current (eg, paid) titles. Who knows, I may finally read some classics I was supposed to have read back in high school.

Will still pack a paperback, but this Netbook / Kindle / Public Domain hybrid looks like a life saver. Big thank you to Katie, who turned me on to this solution!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Velorama... National Fietsmuseum

I do have one fixed destination: a museum dedicated to 200 years of cycling history, with 250 bicycles, tricycles, quadricycles ranging from an 1817 Draisine (hobby-horse design, basically a padded beam with 2 iron-shod wheels) through... who knows.

Will the museum crowds there be 6-deep as they are for Vermeer, Van Gogh, Rembrandt? Or will the 'crowd' consist of me?

Check it out: Velorama National Fietsmuseum

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Mountain of Stuff

Started putting together an actual packing list. Even pared down, it seems like a lot of stuff, at least until I remember that I'll be wearing ~50% of the clothes at any given time, and if I'm wearing something I don't have to find room for it in a bag. So, may not be a Mountain of Stuff after all. Goal is: Molehill of Stuff. (But I would like to stay warm and sort of dry... damp is ok... soaking wet not.)