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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

It’s heating up in the city!  Here’s what I was up to.

1) Friday Lunch Workouts

There are many holidays in France in May.  It’s like a Minesweeper game of holidays. Even days that aren’t holidays actually are unofficially holidays.  For example, Friday was the bridge day between the holiday on Thursday and the weekend.  All of which only matter in the context of how busy the city was with folks strolling along.

My brick started indoors with a relatively short bike – about 30 minutes or so.  I slowly rotate through using different trainers, just to keep my memory fresh on feel and such.  I’d been using a number of different TACX units over the winter, though started using the KICKR SNAP about a month ago.  Then swapped to the KICKR for this workout.  With direct-drive trainers, I also somewhat tie it into which bike I’m using (10-speed vs 11-speed cassettes).

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From there I headed outdoors for about an hour of intervals.  It was a pretty warm day for Paris this time of year, which meant between that and the bridge day, the crowds were out in full force.

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I mixed up a route between doing loops around the Tuileries, and then staying along the river for the to/from sections.

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This section of river highway is set to close permanently to traffic later this summer.  Hopefully that’s still on schedule!

2) Walking Paris

We’ve been taking advantage of the rather nice weather the past week or so in going for longer exploratory walks around the city, usually about 5-6 miles.  Friday evening we did a loop through the newly re-opened Les Halles area.  I had hoped the large grass portions would have been opened.  But that didn’t appear to be anywhere near the case.  Instead, just the shopping mall structure.

So we continued on and swung through Le Palais Royal.  You’ll remember this from last year at the Dine en Blanc.

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Oh, Lucy was with us.  She seems to enjoy the longer walks.  We bring a little fold-out plastic bowl for her so she has water.

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Le Palais Royal is a lot like Luxembourg Gardens (which I’ll talk about in a moment), in that most tourists miss it despite being across the street from the Louvre, so it tends to be a bit calmer.  It’s a true oasis in the middle of the city.  Another one of our favorites.

3) Things arrive, 25+ days later

This was actually a relatively quiet weekend for technology stuffs.  Partially because the internet at the Studio/Cave crapped out around lunch on Friday, having me work from home instead.  And partially because I’ve got enough product launches coming up over the next little bit that I’m somewhat busy focused on those, plus two other near-term product reviews (Cycliq Fly12 light/camera, Garmin Vivoactive HR).

However, Saturday afternoon brought a young woman knocking on the window of the Studio.  Most times when young women knock on the expansive glass of the studio, they wish to talk cakes or cupcakes.  A wedding, a birthday party, or the like.  I’ve gotten used to it.

This time though, it was actually for me.

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Or rather, it had been for me – nearly a month ago.  You’ll remember at Sea Otter that I noted 4iiii has shipped out a package to me with their new $399 crank arm in it.  That was actually done before Sea Otter, designed to arrive before I left for Sea Otter.  Thus enabling me to get everything done before the event (as opposed to at the event).

For whatever reason that early April morning FedEx decided to deliver the package elsewhere in town.  Except, it didn’t tell us where that ‘elsewhere’ was.  Just a single first name (‘Floria’).  I asked all over creation, but nobody knew who this was.  So I eventually gave up, and 4iiii was set to ship out a new unit on Monday.  Talk about perfect timing.

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As a funny aside, the UPS man (who is awesome, unlike our FedEx person), is actually the same guy for both our apartment and the studio (it’s only 3-4 blocks away).  He’s so awesome that he’ll not only attempt deliveries numerous times a day if we aren’t there initially, but will also try to deliver it to the apartment (or the inverse).  Pretty cool.

4) Luxembourg Gardens

Saturday late afternoon seemed like a great time to continue enjoying the weather up at Luxembourg Gardens, just a short stroll up the hill from us.

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We picked out a spot on the lawn and had a nice picnic with a few friends.

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They open and close the lawns depending on the season and condition of the lawns, and thankfully today it was open again.

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While not always on the radar of many tourists, we think Luxembourg is the best park/gardens in Paris.  So much attention to detail, and so many little hidden areas to check out.  Love it.

5) Swim-Bike-Run Lakeside Brick

Sunday morning we headed out of the city about an hour away to Cergy, where there’s a small lake that’s great for doing brick workouts from (or, picnics).  I was joining the Expatriés Triathlon club, which I finally became an official member of.  They’ve got a special hook-up to be able to swim there (normally it’s not allowed).

Most folks were doing their own workouts.  First up in my case was a swim.  We ended up going a bit longer than I planned for the swim portion, but that worked out just fine – about 2,200y or so.  I totally forgot my GoPro waterproof case, so I’ve only got a single swim related photo above water.

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While motor boats aren’t a huge concern in this lake (though paddle-boats actually can be later in the day), the swim buoy does make it easy for both people on shore to see me, as well as others in my swim group following along.  Plus, it’s just a handy place to store your keys stuff.  Or in my case, stick another GPS on to have as a reference distance track for GPS testing.

After the swim I joined up with another group member and we knocked out a 60km (40mi) loop ride.  The sun was definitely baking things by this point, but the route and scenery were beautiful.

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It took us a bit over two hours.  It’s a fairly stop-free route (assuming you don’t have to backtrack…).  We even swung by the gates of hell:

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After the ride was over, I headed for a 5K run around the lake.  It’s rather quiet once you get away from the parking lot areas, as the bulk of the crowds don’t tend to walk too far with their massive BBQ setups.

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From a pace standpoint some sections were a bit slower, as it’s a bit of an uneven trail near the lake edge with large potholes.  I believe there’s a larger/flatter walking trail further away from the lake, but it’s also a fair bit longer path.  No worries, I like ‘adventure’.

We’re looking forward to getting back up there again.  Hopefully next time bringing proper picnicking stuff.  Sections of the lake where people were BBQ’s were absolutely crazy (in a good way).  Though I suspect we’d walk a bit further to more quiet sections.

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With that – thanks for reading, and hope everyone has a great week ahead!

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45 Comments

  1. Tim Philbrook

    Hi, Admiring the trainer setup, who makes the laptop stand in the picture, looks perfect for the job?
    Tim

  2. Mike Richie

    You seem to be collecting a lot more bikes then usual. How many are you up to?

    • I think four (of mine):

      Cervelo P3C on the trainer (Spring 2010 purchase)
      Giant on the wall (Interbike 2014 purchase)
      Trek on the wall (Summer 2013 purchase)
      Trek around-town bike (Summer 2012 purchase)

      The Giant purchase was mostly because I was running out of bikes to put power meters on. The Trek townie bike was because my work at the time had a crazy $800/year credit for bikes, so I bought one just because: link to dcrainmaker.com

      The other Trek was kinda a random purchase when I didn’t have a road bike and I needed something for some road-specific product reviews. I got a pretty good deal on it during close-out. It’s a bit heavy…

      And finally, my trusty Cervelo. I got that when my other one got broke with the car accident: link to dcrainmaker.com

      That’s it!

    • Graham R

      What was the wall mount you settled on? i remember a 3d printed one being mentioned a while ago – wondering if that is how you went in the cave- I have 4 i need to mount soon, and was thinking of going the same orientation.

    • As of today, it’s still the little cube ones. But I’m finding it just doesn’t work as well long-term in the cave from a tight confines standpoint. I’m always moving stuff around and constantly bump into the bikes. About 25% of the time, a bike will then depart the wall following the rules gravity.

      I have some other ones (much bulkier), I’ve had sitting around for a year or two. Gotta mount those up. Just a PITA because the cave walls are beastly concrete, so it’s basically a full workout with the power drill getting those done.

      Plus, the pic you see above is about 2 hours before I unpacked the secondary storage cave full of spring cleaning, so basically, the main cave is now completely packed with boxes stacked high to deal with. Kinda a mess right now.

    • graham r

      Good insights! i keep going back to those – I saw some nice ones in use on twitter from Cycloc (i think was the company) – once the walls are done ill have to pull the trigger.

      As much as you hate mounting in concrete, it still beats drywall and a 2×6 stud – You can space things our where you want, not based on 16″ on centre spacing (providing they actually are 16″ on centre”

    • John

      If you’re willing to replace a few sheets of drywall, those studs (and blocking) can be whatever spacing you want them to be. (Caveat: sanding drywall is a messy proposition.)

    • Graham R

      yep – That is the boat we are in now – framing and electrical are done, getting inspected today. :) drywall is such a mess.. haha

    • Mike Richie

      To Grahm – why wouldn’t you put up a nicely painted cross brace and mount to that?

      To Ray – part of why I asked is I count 7 bikes just visible in the first photo. Are all the rest The Gi5r

    • Mike Richie

      Whoops I’m typing with a splint on my finger. I was trying to say The Girl’s or should we know call her The Mom ;)

    • The Girl has one tri bike down there, I think a wheel is visible to the right.

      The others are actually just solo wheels sitting aside. A few PT hubs, and some other random wheelsets. The Zipp wheel you see is just waiting for them to pickup that one (SRAM loaner).

    • Mike Richie

      Ha Ha – I thought your gadget buying habits got extended to the bikes themselves. Glad you have it under control. I do think you probably need a Mountain bike, though.

    • Yeah, I’d love a mountain bike. But more accurately, I’d love worthwhile and close-by trails for a mountain bike. It’s the second part that’s so much harder.

    • NGarcia

      I wish I had that problems :” Giant purchase was mostly because I was running out of bikes to put power meters on”

      haha

      I would like to see power meters for montainbikers that use carbon crankset´s!!!
      I think I will never see that… i Use raceface next SL super light and stiff crankset!

  3. Mark

    I totally agree about Luxembourg. I can’t believe how many time we visited and missed it, despite walking past bits of its perimeter several times. But it’s now a regular every time we visit. Although lets just keep it a Parisian and Rainmaker-reader secret. I love that’s it’s rarely too crowded. :)

  4. midpackbiped

    Best random post ever. Lucy and Luxembourg.

  5. John

    I’ve been to Hell in Grand Cayman. Nice to have that checked off the old bucket list for those moments when someone tells me where to go. :-)

  6. Ken

    I like that you did a customized version of the Safer Swimmer with Clever Training. Nice!

  7. John

    Also, really liking that wall-mounted drawer system.

  8. Matthew

    One picture we haven’t seen is the electronic devices charging station that must exist. What are your thoughts on maximizing battery life of your devices? Do you leave them plugged in all the time to stay at 100% or do you only change when needed?

    • Martin

      +1

      I was wondering if you (or anyone out there) had any tips on extending battery life, I have a 2 year old Garmin 620 which only goes 2 runs before it needs charging again. I assume that maybe you never get into this situation as you probably don’t use the same unit for a long period of time.

      Thanks
      Martin

    • I think in my original DCR Cave post I have a pic of the charging stations (USB strips).

      But essentially I mostly charge on-demand. Sometimes I’ll keep bike lights plugged in, simply because I’ll always forget and then it kinda sucks when I need them.

      As for extending life, that’s a tough one. Typically you want to reduce charge cycles, but sometimes you just get a lemon on battery. I know Garmin will swap out the battery on units, I think it’s about $80 to do it.

    • (Note on the battery swappage, if in the EU you have a 2-year warranty, so then it’s free. If in US, it’s 1-year).

  9. the UPS person sounds rad.

    “floria” sounds like the van morrison song.

    re: KICKR, I haven’t really had trouble with 10/11 speed incompatibility, but all I need with the KICKR is one good gear, since I let ERG take care of the “shifting”.

  10. Grant

    Hey DC,
    I dont know if youve done it before but you should do a post of your “workshop”. From images of this post it looks like a good setup.

  11. Elvin

    ahhh, you didn’t give up calibrating the Watteam PM didn’t you? I see the funny water bag which reminds me of the nightmare, whatever it is I get my full refund. What a lovely road, here in china crowded city I can only ride on trainer or suck the pollution outdoor.

    • Oh no, I just left that bag there. I quickly realized I’d need it often and didn’t feel like filling it back up perfectly every time (and weighing the bag too!).

      Right now I’m basically just in a holding pattern there.

      Plus, the floors in the Cave are unlevel, so without someting there, the desk will roll away or into me, depending on the spot in the floor. ;)

  12. Resi

    Kind of unrelated, but it seems like your product comparison tool is broken. I can select “watch” in the first drop-down menu, but there is no second, third, or fourth menu – not sure how many there used to be, but I’m sure there used to be more than one, to select price range, and some features you wanted, right? Now I’m just left with a matrix of tons of watches, which isn’t all that helpful.

    I hope you can get it back to working soon, trying to decide if I should get the new vivoactive HR or something else.

    Thanks for the great reviews!

  13. Jamie

    Ray, I have been reading your writings for some years now. I am fascinated by the things you get up to and the beauty you show around Paris and where you visit. Are you a permanent resident in France now?

    Also I wonder if London is as nice as Paris, strange I live her but Paris seems to look so much more appealing at times. Maybe its your photography..

    Keep up the good work, all the best to you and the family.

    • Thanks!

      We have permanent resident cards, but not French citizenship. Essentially we can stay here as long as we please.

      While there are many beautiful cities in Europe – and I’m certainly biased living here – it’s hard for me to come up with another large city as beautiful as the core of Paris (specifically within city boundaries). Especially along the river.

  14. andrew jackson

    Hey Ray,
    Really like seeing the photos in your posts. When you’re out and about are those pictures a mix of just iPhone and GoPro?

    It would be really cool to see a post or video on how you do your photography. I struggle to get cool looking pictures while I’m out doing stuff.

    • It’s almost all GoPro & iPhone.

      I think the only photo not on one of those two is a single photo of the two people on a bench in the gardens, just taken on the small EOS-M Mirrorless camera. I rarely use it, but tossed it in the bag (and then forgot it was in there).

      I used to carry a DSLR all the time, but as phone quality grew my desire to carry a DSLR day to day shrunk. It’s too bad though, because I really enjoy the DSLR quality.

      Of course, 99.99% of my product review shots are on a DSLR. It was the Canon 7D, though I’ve transitioned now to the Nikon D500 DX. But you’ll see a few product type shots over the next month or so linger from the Canon 7D, based on things that were shot prior to the camera arriving, but announced later.

  15. Erik

    Product launches coming up? What’s “the next little bit”, time-wise, if you can share that? Watch it be an Edge 820, seeing as how I just bought the Edge 1000 from Clever Training.

  16. Jerome

    Les portes de l’Enfer ! Excellent … reminds me Hell in Norway as well (link to en.wikipedia.org)

    I do like your weekend blog post around Paris or inside Paris, a bit of nostalgie for me. Merci :)

  17. Mathieu D.

    Looks like there is some serious training going on there, any race planned for the near future?

  18. Scott Shell

    I also find the UPS guy that delivers to our house to be much more pleasant then the FedEx drivers.

  19. TC Moore

    What do people typically eat for BBQ in Paris? Are there just charcoal grills there that people use?

    • Yup, small portable charcoal grills that people bring in. I didn’t see any pre-provided/static grills.

      BBQ is pretty similar to that in the US. Burgers are the big craze, but sausages are popular. Along with vegetables.

      But no, it’s nowhere near the level of BBQ sophistication that you see in North America. :)

  20. Hans

    I like your transition approach to keeping shoes clipped in while dismounting… even on a trainer in the cave :)

  21. Bill

    Hi! Your wall-mounted slide-out bins in the “cave” look great. Who makes those?