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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

With our second full weekend in the Netherlands in the books, here’s what we were up to. I think we’re settling in quite nicely!

1) More DCR Cave V2 Office Visits

Out of all of the complexities of moving countries, the one thing I didn’t expect to be a problem was finding office space for the new DCR Cave. But it’s turning out to be quite a bit more complex than I envisioned.  Not too much complex I suppose – but slow.  Or I suppose even further – too fast.

As it turns out, office and retail space is in high demand here in Amsterdam, and as such properties often disappear within a day or so of listing (if they’re even officially listed at all). That’s true of both storefront/retail space as well as more traditional office space.  Coming from Paris where spaces languish on the market for months or longer, this adds a new dimension to things.

In any case, I visited a few spaces on Friday. I’m just happy to get to the point where I can even get to visit a space.  The one shown below was under construction still, but should be finished up in May.

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I haven’t decided on any yet though. I’d say I still have yet to find the perfect space (actually, I did find the perfect space…but it had rented out the night before).  Ideally, for me, I’m almost looking more warehouse than office. I need uninterrupted space more than partitioned space.  And ideally, some place that can get a bit noisier with trainers and treadmills.  And having a shower onsite has been surprisingly tough here actually.  The search goes on…

[For those in Amsterdam, I’m primarily looking in southwest Amsterdam. An area roughly bounded by the Stadium on one side, not quite as far as the airport on the west, the rowing basin to the south, and Vondelpark at the north/east. Looking for no less than 80-90sqm, but ideally about 130-150sqm – ideally largely without partitions. Roughly.]

2) So much product shooting

Friday was nuts. Totally nuts. I was shooting 7 products for reviews/first looks next week, plus a few more for stuff the following week.  I’d even be dual shooting with two cameras and an automated motion control rig.

2018-04-13 12.55.51

The motion control setup (2xGenie Mini’s, 1xGenie – thus three axis control…I’ve been piecing it together over a few years) I have set for a 40-second one-way sweep that repeats indefinitely. So I just swap products into it and get essentially the same segment of b-roll for each product. Then I move it somewhere else for a different perspective/shot/etc and repeat the process.

DSC_2958

Actually, more exciting than the motion control rig was me remembering that just before I left for Australia I bought a cheap $23 adapter to let me use all my existing Canon lenses with my micro-4/3rds lens equipped Lumix camera.  I primarily use the Lumix camera for unboxing videos (second above angle), but it’s 4K capable, which keeps things matched from a workflow standpoint.  But to date I’d been using the stock lens on it.  Going to my Canon lenses though allows me to use much nicer glass and get really pretty shots.

DSC_2957

The only downside is this specific adapter doesn’t support auto-focus.  But for the automated shots that’s actually OK, since I keep the focal point static anyway.

Unfortunately, I can’t show you anything I was shooting (and I had cleared the table/bike above before those pics). Winking smile.  Hang tight!

3) We rented a shoe bike

Yes, for real. An actual Dutch clog…in the form of a bike.  Or, inversely, a bike in the form of a Dutch clog.

We didn’t entirely plan on renting such a creation. Rather, we needed a cargo bike to take the kids to the cherry blossom tree festival…and this was all the rental shop near us had left.  They almost seemed a bit embarrassed by this being the only selection remaining.  But I was thrilled!

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And even the kiddos were thrilled!

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I will note however, it’s a beast.  The Girl was struggling with it, mostly because her feet didn’t touch the ground when she stopped.  So I rode instead –and she on her red bike.

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There’s no electronic assist here, and the gearing isn’t ideal.  Thus, you end up going pretty slow unless you want to throw down some serious watt-bombs the entire way. Still, we had a blast! And it’s only 24EUR to rent for 24 hours.  Not too shabby! Oh, and the cherry blossoms were cool too.

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But really, I thought the bike was cooler.

4) Back at Ikea

Somehow I can’t escape Ikea. I’m not sure at what point in life you do, though, I’m also not sure I ever want to. Swedish Meatballs are great.

In this edition, I was picking up bookshelves for our living room. In Paris, the apartment had built-in bookshelves, but now in Amsterdam we lack them.  Thus, we’ve got boxes upon boxes of books that need a home.  We had actually picked out these shelves way back in January, but unfortunately they were out of stock that day.  So Saturday evening I got the pleasure of a quick Uber trip to the Ikea.

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I had actually planned on simply taking my bike there and renting their cargo bikes to get the goods back home.  But then I realized I’d have to circle back to Ikea again, and then ride home again.  Basically an extra round-trip.  And if there’s anything this weekend didn’t have it was spare time.  And The Girl most definitely wanted bookshelves built before I skipped town.  So, Uber it was.

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The shelves didn’t take too long to build – about 45 minutes for the first one, and then 35 minutes to replicate it for the second.

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I’ve long since learned that when building numerous copies of the same Ikea product, to never try and build two concurrently unless you’ve already done one. That’s because when you screw up on the first one, you have to fix it twice. I mean…if screwing up building Ikea stuff happens to you.

5) Windmills for miles:

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I headed out Sunday morning for a looped 50K ride.  I’ve been trying out various popular local cycling routes, and this day’s ride was a variant on both a popular one as well as one I’d done a few days prior. It mostly follows the Amstel river, while then snaking along other canals through farmland for basically the entire ride.

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It’s stunningly peaceful, especially earlier in the morning with the fog still present and the farms deep green from all the rain. And more than that, it’s just vacant of many cars. Most of it is small roads barely used by cars – and plenty of it has bike lanes too.

Love it, and can’t wait to keep exploring the area!

6) Off to the US!

(@#$@#…I duplicated a number above initially and didn’t realize I wrote six things instead of five…so…bonus edition!)

With the bookshelves built, and then another 50GB of photos and video taken later in the weekend, I was set for a week in the US.  And that’s where I sit now – seat 19A aboard a Boeing 777-200 to Houston, where I’ll make the connection to Kansas City, followed by a drive to Olathe, KS.  The home of Garmin.  I’ll be delivering a keynote on Wednesday morning there to the Connect IQ Summit and checking out all the various apps and products that 3rd party developers are building.  If you’re headed to the event…see ya there!

And for everyone else, you can watch the livestream of my keynote on Wednesday at 1PM Kansas time (2PM US Eastern time, 8PM Central European Time) via my Facebook page. If you subscribe/follow it now, you’ll automatically get notified on your smartphone when it goes live. You don’t need to have a Facebook account to watch it.

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After that, I’ll head Thursday to the sprawling Woodstock of the cycling world – Sea Otter. That’s in Monterey, California. It’s part cycling industry event, part bike racing, and part just enjoying everything bike.  This year it’s packed with announcements (as noted above), more so than any year in the past.  And for sports tech stuff in particular, more than any recent Interbike or Eurobike that I can remember.  I suspect it’s largely because announcing a cycling product in April is quite logical – for the season ahead. Versus doing it in July (Eurobike) or September (Interbike) is kinda stupid in this day and age.  Of course, both Eurobike and Interbike are leaning that…and also why Sea Otter has continued to expand.

In any case – I’ll be there through the weekend – so if you’re at Sea Otter say hi!

Have a good week, and definitely stay tuned to the site and Twitter, as well as YouTube. Almost every post I’ve got this week has corresponding YouTube videos being published. If you subscribe and hit the bell thingy to YouTube you’ll get notified the split second those go-live, which will correspond with the relevant embargo times.

Enjoy!

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48 Comments

  1. simon

    hi Ray

    if you’re at garmin can you ask them if there is any plan to fix up the firmware on the edge 520 so it doesn’t kill the battery in 4 hours. Lots of people having problems it seems (even on your comments). Garmin doesn’t really seem to be acknowledging its a problem, at least in the UK.

    It’s been like this since December and means the device is basically useless, especially now the weather is getting better in Europe.

    It’s like they are forcing us to buy a Wahoo Bolt 🙂

    • DW

      Pls ask Garmin to update the FR935 to allow text (SMS) responses like they do for the cheaper Vivoactive 3.

    • Bikeman

      Garmin is acknowledging the problem on their 520 forum but apparently aren’t throwing enough resources at it find the underlying issue. It is an odd issue in that it doesn’t affect everyone and for those of us it does effect, it does it in different ways. I’m assuming the problem won’t be fixed and as soon as Wahoo let’s us use Varia Radar, I’ll be moving over to the bolt.

    • simon

      Yes – a couple of Garmin employees have posted on their forum saying they are “investigating” and went as far as saying “we are working on a fix”….that was on the 6th January.

      Meanwhile support staff in the UK continue to say that “it’s the first they’ve heard” and then make you factory reset the unit etc etc etc.

      It’s obviously impossible to say how many people are affected but the forum thread is 17 pages long so it probably an appreciable number. If it is a problem only affecting a few then they should swap out the, basically useless, units.

      Handling of this situation falls below the already low bar set by Garmin support.

  2. Simon

    Not sure about Interbike, but Eurobike is usually in September.

  3. Jim

    I live in Kansas City and we had some snow yesterday. Hopefully it will warm up a bit for your stay here. Safe travels. 🙂

  4. Bob Hewlett

    Really enjoy site, especially 5 things.

  5. Florian Lungu

    I wrote a Garmin cycling app over the winter and wondered what you think of it. It’s mostly just styling and ui updates rather than doing anything different but I find nicer looking with more useful information for training and racing >> link to goo.gl

  6. Jim Flesch

    Ray,

    Can u ask Garmin when they will fix the problems that v.3.9 on the 1030 caused to the Varia Vision i.e., you can no longer properly set the data screens.

    This problem first began in late February and shortly thereafter I submitted a ticket along with many other people.

    Whenever I call tech support they say the engineers are working to fix it.

    Thx

    Jim

  7. Chris S

    Can you tell me the name of those IKEA bookcases? Looks like something we have been looking for

    • Yup, it’s the Hemnes bookshelves (120x130cm).

      It’s a bit more pricey than the usual Ikea bookshelves (or usual Ikea anything), but the build quality is definitely a bit better (something I noticed while building). Little nuances like some of the clamps and sliding mechanism (albeit hardly worth the increased price here).

  8. Eli

    While you’re at asking Garmin to do things, any chance of them doing more for sleep tracking on the 935 outside of just finding your lowest heart rate? Say doing HRV tracking like what is done on the Ambit 3:
    link to firstbeat.com

    Seems like the data collected by the watch doesn’t really tell you very actionable data while the built in optical HR can to HRV measurements at rest so should be able to collect the needed data for that algorithm. At least I think it can

  9. Robert Cuadro

    I guess I should add to the Garmin grumbling.

    Are they going to get the Vector 3s working? Between the right pedal resets, right pedal missing, batter cover warnings, I feel like a beta tester that had to pay a grand to participate.

  10. David

    It would also be nice to know what their solution is for the FR935 8.0 update that broke elevation (for all activities plus stairs climbed) and the Stress measurement. Right now they’re saying “RMA your watch” which of course is a PITA when the also have no way to truly back up all your settings.

    link to forums.garmin.com

  11. Stuart J

    Thanks for these sorts of posts. I’m headed to Amsterdam with the family (kids 7 & 4) via a work relocation in July so all this type of info is marvellous. Cheers!

  12. Simon

    Ha, I‘m sorry for not checking that myself. I live across the lake and I didn‘t know that 😛

  13. sabeard

    See you at the CIQ Summit. I am driving up from Houston in the morning.

  14. Christopher

    Speaking of Garmin, are they planning on getting back to old support habits replying to emails within days not and three to five weeks as it is the case right now in Germany? Pretty disappointing for premium products – considering their pricing.

  15. Brad Arrington

    No grumbling, but Garmin questions nonetheless.

    Any plans on easily transferring data between the Garmin and Fitbit platforms? I’m on Fitbit and regularly do challenges with friends. I would go for a Garmin smart watch if I could get the data going either direction esp into Fitbit. (Unlikely, I know, esp on the Fitbit side).

    Plans to expand banks supporting Garmin Pay, and to add it to the Fenix 5 line?

    Plans for future version of Descent Mk1? Would like to see air integration option, Garmin Pay. I would really be inclined to buy one, especially if they could solve the Fitbit data problem

  16. Andre

    Nice to read that you are already enjoying yourself on the bicycle. Your 50k loop looks very familiar. In my better days I used to run along the Amstel, from Amsterdam to Ouderkerk, cross the bridge there and back on the other (east) side of the river. Hardly any traffic there, that road is closed for cars except for people who live there. The beauty of cycling there is that you can find a whole different (more quiet) world just 15 minutes from a busy city and a noisy highway.

    As for the working space: That might not be easy (nor cheap). You may want to look into “bedrijventerrein Schinkel”, the industrial estate very close to you. The area is a bit run down in some places but “AF61” on the Anthony Fokkerweg is quite nice. A friend (cook/writer/organizer of events) has a unit there in an old officebuilding converted into a business centre. You share a servicedesk, canteen etc. with mostly young/creative companies. He has a very small unit but there are (much) bigger units too:

    link to fundainbusiness.nl

    Did you know there are also office spaces in the Olympic stadium? Would be perfect for you. Most likely a bit small for your purposes but you never know:
    link to olympischstadion.nl
    link to wehaveanyspace.com

  17. Steve

    Hey Ray,

    I don’t suppose one of those products you were shooting was the new Stac Zero smart trainer. I have the original, and while I like it, I’m looking at the smart trainer upgrade, and was wondering if you had had a chance to get some time on it to work out response time, setup, etc.

    • Not yet. We had chatted about getting it in last week, but given the schedule craziness and them wanting to get a few more pre-prod units built, they’re targetting getting it to me early next week (in time for the end of upgrade promo).

  18. gingerneil

    Safe to assume you’re going in for the Amsterdam marathon later in the year?? 😂

  19. Ed Lee

    Go to Montrio Bistro in Monterey. Get the rib eye to share if you’re with a crowd – or you’re really starving. Get the S’more for dessert.

  20. Sabine

    Please tell the Garmin people to fix Garmin Express in Windows10! It stopped working according to the message I’m getting. Who knows why and how to fix it?! I need it to upload custom workouts to my watch. Thx

    • Simon

      Sabine,

      I had similar problems with Windows 10 and Garmin Express. Right click garmin express and run the compatibility troubleshooter which gives you the option to sort out using Windows 8 settings (just for that program). This fixed the issue for me from what I can remember.

  21. Sam

    Kansas City native here, I enjoy reading your site. Welcome to our cold, flat, friendly city! (Also, Olathe is not indicative of the rest of the city. Head downtown/Crossroads for a much better city experience)

  22. Arne

    Yeahh, my Garmin Edge 820 alway crashes while trying to upload activities via wifi.
    Add this to the list. 😉

  23. Steve

    Please ask Garmin, when they will fix the remote-bug for the Edge 1030.

  24. Domen

    How can someone tell that Ray is moving? Well it’s quite obvious from second picture. While he was packing stuff from DCR Cave he came across drawer with cycling computers. On its bottom he found Garmin Edge 500 from previous decade. 🙂

    Or is this respond to previous comments from Garmin. A device with long lasting battery.

    • Ed L

      Turning off bluetooth on my Edge 520 helps improve battery life quite a bit. I also turned down the brightness. I could turn off Glasnoss as well but haven’t felt the need yet.

      Will probably take a small portable USB charger battery and charging cord for the next century ride though, just in case.

  25. jill

    Missed the scoop on the move from Paris to Amsterdam – any link that I can catch up with?
    love living in Europe vicariously through you guys! 🙂

  26. Alex

    Can you ask Garmin if they’ll give me a million dollars?

  27. Nick Radov

    Do you know where you’ll be at Sea Otter? I’m planning to ride in the Gran Fondo on Saturday.

  28. Egil Garberg

    Have Garmin & Firsbeat integratet sync between units yet? ( Fenix5 and edge 1030)

  29. Hi Ray, what a great bike with the yellow shoe 😉 Just had to write this because it make me laugh so hard!

  30. Jorick

    Hi Ray,

    I think there’s still a space for rent on Delflandplein (I haven’t been there for a while). A guy used to run his bike related webshop from there, so I’m going to make the assumption it’s large enough. You can also check Wichersstraat 81, the lady who runs her shop/workspace there is looking for someone to takeover the lease. It doesn’t fit your area but it’s a really nice space (I live in that building).
    Good luck.

  31. Willard Murray III

    I’ll see you at Sea otter on Friday or Saturday👍