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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

Here’s a roundup of the weekend gone by.  Lots of fun city stuff the last few days.

1) Rented an entire boat on the Seine

Back about a month ago two local friends of ours got married, but did so in Canada.  So this weekend all of us Parisian friends of theirs that didn’t make it to the wedding threw a huge surprise party….on a boat.  A chartered boat.  A rowboat this was not:

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Renting these boats in the winter is surprisingly cheap, especially for a sizeable group when you split the costs.  Even in the summer with the right sized group it’s not bad.  And there’s a million boat options to choose from on the river, suiting all budgets.  In our case, that meant bringing all our own food and drinks.  So we were effectively just renting an empty boat with a captain.  Perfect!

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It was definitely a great time, and we really lucked out on the weather as well – with no rain and it being fairly warm for this time of year.

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And a huge congrats to Skee and Michelle, and also a big thanks to Amy for organizing everything!

2) A ride around the city breaking action cams

Saturday night the weather was beautifully warm, so I decided for a night ride.  Evening rides around the city are probably my favorite sport activities to do in Paris.  In most cases, the later the ride the better.  For example a 1AM ride on a weeknight is especially quiet (and fast!).

In this case, the time of day dictated it’d be a bit busier, but far better than rush hour on a weekday.

I’d been wanting to take out the V.360 action camera onto the bike to see how it handles (it’s the 360° action cam I’ve poked at recently).  Now I’d expect better quality footage during the daytime, but eventually I’d want to see night footage so no better time than the present.  The unit looks like a miniature blender, but includes a little GoPro adapter for its native tripod mount adapter.  Thus I plunked it on a K-Edge GoPro bike mount and went to town.

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Regarding the above, as always testing power meters, hence all the head units on this ride with the Verve Infocrank.  I was also testing the Fitbit Surge’s new bike mode below (still in private beta).

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Now with the V.360 action cam my plan was pretty much just to leave it there the whole ride recording.  The first 10-12 minutes of the ride are fairly tame – just city streets as seen in the photos above.  Whereas the last 20-30 minutes are mostly cobbles or rougher roads.  It was therefore fairly disappointing that within about 4 seconds of hitting the first cobbles section, this happened:

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The unit’s included mount snapped off near instantly just due to vibrations.  Basically just a poorly built piece of plastic. All the beautiful engineering on the rest of the unit down the drain with a simple $1 part.

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Meanwhile, in related action cam type news – I had the Cycliq Fly6 (2nd edition) on the rear of my bike capturing footage for the entire ride.  As usual, it had no issues with vast sections of cobbles.

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After completing a loop of most of the famous city sites, I wrapped it up about 45 or so minutes later.

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Post ride I checked out the damage to the V.360.  In this case, some shell damage, as well as a bunch of scratches on the lens itself.  The shell damage isn’t a big deal, but the lens scratches are a deal killer.

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With the ride behind me, it was time for steak and a beer.  In this case, a beer with a bike on it:

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A perfect end to a not so perfect ride.

3) Easter at the Embassy

Saturday morning we (the CupCakery) got invited to help support the kids Easter Egg Hunt at the US Embassy.  We were pretty excited about this!  Of course first there were a lot of cupcakes to be made.  Minis in this case, since they’d be better suited for the kids.  And as normal, they were baked fresh that morning – which meant baking through the night (post-boat ride):

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Following baking it was setting up on the grounds the that morning.  While it was a bit rainy before the event started, at least it sorta stopped for the event itself – in fact it almost got sunny by the end of things.

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The idea with the kids and cupcakes was to let them decorate the cupcakes themselves.  So we had both icing bags and tubs of icing, as well as a gazillion sprinkles.  Here’s what the table looked like after 200 kids applied their artist talents to the cupcakes…and to a bit of the table.

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I’ve gotta say – these kids were without question the most well behaved group I’ve seen in a long time.  Incredibly polite and friendly, from little toddlers to teenagers volunteering.  It was a blend of of both Americans and French, as like most embassies there is a blend of local and US employees.

In addition to the cupcakes, The Girl made a big Easter Bunny cake:

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We even got a picture with the Easter Bunny!

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Good times for sure!  And a huge thanks to the folks there for inviting us out.  Really cool!

4) Toyed around with the Polar A300

I unboxed the Polar A300 this weekend, starting a bit of my review process.

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If you’d like, here’s the unboxing video:

You’ll remember I previewed the unit back at CES in January.  It started shipping about a month ago.  The unit is sorta in an awkward price range, given it doesn’t have GPS, but rather just HR and activity tracking.  So it’s kinda like the Polar Loop or Garmin Vivofit.  Except more expensive at $139US.

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Still, it looks nice:

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In my case my first activity was my long run that I talk about next.  The unit tracked the HR without issue (paired to a Polar H7 heart rate strap), though calories seemed a bit high.  We’ll have to see if that settles down over the next few activities.  I think this would be a really competitive unit at $109US, as that’s the sweet spot for activity trackers that support HR data these days.

5) A run to Chipotle

With the Sunday clock shifting (Europe did it this weekend), the whole city seemed a bit…slow.  And that included us (well, me rather, as The Girl had to bake early Sunday morning).

So it wasn’t until a bit later Sunday evening that either of us got around to our long runs.  In order to mix things up we decided to run to Chipotle, one-way, and then just have dinner there.  It’s only about 4-5 miles away, but both of us did various overshoots and loops to make it work.  In my case, about 12 miles and change.

When I started out the sun was fading and the rain continuing to increase.

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Along with the rain came the wind.  You’ll notice the French flag in the photo below, it was definitely not relaxed!

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My route would take me across the entire city following the river, before backtracking:

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It was a Z2 long run with the first 10-11 miles at about a 7:15/mile pace, and then a mile at 6-flat, before some sprints.  I managed to time the distance almost perfectly to end at Chipotle. It’s one of the three Chipotles in the city, and one of the newer ones inside a vast shopping mall.

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It’s also open till 11 or 11:30PM depending on the night.  And despite being in the mall, it’s just inside the front door area, so quick to get to.

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So much nom!

Afterwards we brought our Autolib card and just grabbed a car two blocks away for the quick drive home.  In warmer months we would have just found a Velib or taken the Metro, but it was pretty chilly that time of night and given we were soaked from sweat and rain the Autolib was a better choice.

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With that – thanks for reading!  Have a great week ahead!

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54 Comments

  1. Sagar

    Autolib is definitely the future! When do we get to see the 360 degree video :)

  2. Julian Wong

    Not rushing you…but I’m looking forward to the review for the Vivoactive!

    • Yup, I’ll have the bulk of it ready later this week, but will hold to publish until next Tuesday of next week so I can get pool shots in Austin Sunday/Monday (taking pool photos here is really tough).

    • Daniel

      Thanks for the info on when you will be publishing tour review of the Vivoactive. Frankly, I think I know what I am going to purchase, but want to wait for your review to confirm. Anyways, your reviews are incredibly helpful and I thank you for your efforts. You are a one man Consumer Reports who is making a difference.

    • Julian Wong

      Couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks Ray! Looking forward to the review.

  3. gingerneil

    Would it be a huge ask, and trade secret violation, to share The Girl’s cupcake recipe !? :)

  4. Robert

    The girl has got some serious talent, that Easter cake looks great!!!

  5. Hey – they had one of those v.360 camera’s in Naked Gun 33 1/3 opening sequence!
    link to youtube.com

  6. Reg

    DC now riding with three garmins is just greedy, be happy to take the 1000 off your hands :-)

    Thanks for brightening up my Mondays with your 5 random things posts!

  7. Francesc

    Hi Ray
    Do you have any news from Garmin, about removal of automatic activities Sync from Garmin Connect to TrainingPeaks? It’s only a temporary bug? I’ve placed the request on the Garmin forum but no answer after a couple of days.

    • Hmm, mine’s been working all weekend without issue. :-/ I’d just delete it and re-establish it.

    • Matt

      I’m having the same issue as Francesc. Ever since i upgraded to the new Garmin Express, nothing has uploaded to Training Peaks, Strava, or even Garmin Connect. All my settings appear to be fine, but for some reason, things aren’t working like they were before the “upgrade”.

    • Brett Wilkerson

      @Franesc (Ray) – I would be glad to help you out with the issue you are experiencing. Do you have a link to your Garmin Forum post?

    • Francesc

      Hi Brett
      I solved it already enabling again the sync permissions at Training Peaks link.
      Thanks

  8. Sam

    restaurant open late on Sunday in Paris? How do you find those? (And where is it in Paris the new ones by the way can’t find anywhere on the website?)

    Thanks

    • PaulinPortland

      If you look at the receipt in the 2nd last photo, you can get the Chipotle address, the server’s name and Ray’s credit card number…..

    • Funny guy you are…got me all nervous for a second! ;)

      Hi Sam- It’s open till 11PM on certain days, and 11:30PM on others. Strangely, their site is incorrect (we had rushed to get there by around 9:35PM since we thought it was closing at 10PM. Here’s their web address: link to chipotle.fr

      As for other places, there’s not too many that actively serve newly seated customers at 11:30PM, other than just corner cafes that are 24/7.

      As for regular restaurants we eat at all the time, here’s my listing: link to dcrainmaker.com

  9. Doug

    Hi Ray, RE: your Fl6 v2. Are you running the original MicroSD card or have you opted for another / larger card?

    I’ve bought a 32Gb card but the recording stops after about 30min, Cycliq say you need to format it (which I’ve done) but it keeps stopping.

    I was just wondering on your experience of ‘3rd party’ SD cards

    • I have two Fly6’s. In the one from this weekend it was the stock card, whereas I also run with with a larger card I bought on Amazon, I can dig it out and see what is is precisely.

    • Doug

      Thanks Ray! It’s a Kingston 32Gb so the same make as the stock card. Formatted with the SD formatter as suggested. I will pick up with Cycliq but was just wondering if you’ve had / heard any problems

  10. Chris

    Running to Chipotle, that’s fantastic! Last weekend I had to settle for hopping off the trainer and driving straight to Chipotle.

  11. Fab

    Very nice post, as usual!
    Wondering where both you and The Girl find the time for non reportable/reviewable activities. Would like to have just a tenth of your time management skills.

  12. Will

    Ever been to Le Relais De Entrecote? Excellent steak frites in St. Germaine if you don’t mind waiting in line.

  13. Jack

    I know this isn’t really related to the post above but I wasn’t sure where to comment!
    Are there any activity trackers on the market at the moment that are able to leverage GPS data from a phone rather than having their own GPS chip?
    It would make little activity trackers very appealing to a wider audience I’m sure.

  14. stefanos

    magelan echo and timex run +50

  15. HA

    Hey Ray, Any thoughts on the Surge’s bike mode? Any word on the release date? Is fitbit looking into the optical HRM accuracy issues while working out.
    Cheers.

  16. Oscar P

    Maybe you can repurpose your camera as a… food processor of some sort… or at least a pencil sharpener!

  17. John

    Testing power meters, nice! This begs the question: have you received the one from 4iiii yet? :)
    Looking forward to a review!

    • It arrives tomorrow morning. According to FedEx it left Memphis at 5:41AM this morning, which usually means it arrives in Paris around 8-9PM, clears customs (or gets tangled), and then delivery around 10-11AM at the Cupcake shop. :)

  18. Chris

    Is the restaurant with the “La Parisenne* beer a secret? Will be visiting Paris next week and the table looks nice :-)

  19. Chad W

    I’ll be in Paris for the marathon in a couple weeks. Will you be running it again or participating in another fashion? I found your race report from 2013 and the advice in it should help me a great deal. Thanks! My main worry is lack of electolytes on the course, but I should be able to manage (hoping to see if my ‘The Girl’ will pop up around miles 10/11 with a bottle full of good stuff). I did a local half marathon this past weekend in Philly for a 1:35 finish with ease so hoping that’ll translate to a good 3:08 time to get me a BQ.

    Cheers mate and keep up the good blogging! :)

    • I won’t be running it this year (I fly back in Saturday morning), but I’ll definitely be cheering – likely right in front of Hotel de Ville (city hall), which is just across the street from the Cupcakery.

      Good luck this year, and rock it!

    • Chad W

      Nice. That’s around the area where I told the girl she can cheer for me during the middle of the race. And maybe get me a bottle of Skratch hydration mix. :D

      Thanks for the good luck wishes.
      Cheers mate! :)

  20. Gee Ray, when do you sleep?! I wish I could squeeze as much into my days as you do yours.
    Great post, as per usual. ;)

  21. Skee

    Ray, I’m honored I made it into your 5 Random Thing I Did This Weekend! The only way to party is on a boat, thanks for a great surprise. We should watch the Paris Marathon together and cheer people on.

  22. Alec Eror

    Best marathon sign to cheer runners on “Worst Parade Ever”