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:
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!
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.
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.
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).
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:
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.
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.
After completing a loop of most of the famous city sites, I wrapped it up about 45 or so minutes later.
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.
With the ride behind me, it was time for steak and a beer. In this case, a beer with a bike on it:
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):
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.
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.
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:
We even got a picture with the Easter Bunny!
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.
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.
Still, it looks nice:
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.
Along with the rain came the wind. You’ll notice the French flag in the photo below, it was definitely not relaxed!
My route would take me across the entire city following the river, before backtracking:
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.
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.
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.
With that – thanks for reading! Have a great week ahead!
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