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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

Back fresh from a week in the states at Sea Otter, I was ready to get back to enjoying all Amsterdam has to offer, and no better time to do that than this past weekend.

1) King’s Day in Amsterdam

Friday was King’s Day in the Netherlands, which is cause for significant celebrations.  Most notably, there’s lots of orange involved. Obviously, I took part in that:

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There’s numerous things going on throughout the city, including the canals being packed full of partying boats, music festivals, and sidewalk sales by ordinary people/families (not so much retailers).  In our case, with the two kids, we focused on Vondelpark, which is set aside for families/kids to sell their wares along the meandering path.  We’re talking many kilometers of packed sidewalks with mostly kids’ things for sale (and some household items).

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It’s really impressive.  And more impressive? The prices!

The vast majority of things cost only a Euro or two. We got well cared for toys that would have been 20-40EUR for just a Euro.  Perhaps that’s because for the most part the kids themselves do the bargaining, and somehow everything ends up being 1 Euro when a kid is involved in such negotiations.

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Some entrepreneurial kids even had an egg-throwing stand setup. You paid them a Euro or so, and you could throw an egg at them.  However, a TV personality came around and somehow was convinced to stand behind the board. Given his hairdo, that was definitely a mistake.

After an hour or two of meandering, I ended up retreating back to the house with the kids so they could nap, and then The Girl continued on for some hours picking up good deals.  The whole thing was just super cool though with everyone so friendly.  Love it!

2) Building a mini-office

As I continue my search for legit office space, I’ve turned the spare bedroom into a temporary office.  This bedroom isn’t much bigger than an American bathroom (not of the master variety). My bike basically can fit, and that’s the max length/width of it.

I pedaled over to the hardware store to buy a board that I could use as a desk.  I then bought two sawhorses for $5 each.  All of which I carried home via my bike:

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Once at home I simply cut down the sawhorse to fit better, and then sanded things up.  Nothing fancy. Oh, and then I drilled a hole for the Ikea wireless charging pod that I had bought in Australia.

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Funny story: It was the cheapest wireless charging mat I could find there, after the one that I brought with me didn’t charge the Stryd pod I had (otherwise, this cheap mat I use is awesome).  I talked with Stryd about it, and turns out different charging mats have different coil sizes, most of which are designed for smartphones and not tiny running pods.  So I threw a Hail Mary and hoped the Ikea one would work.  And sure enough, it did perfectly.  Thus how I have an extra charger.

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Plus, it’s even got some sorta of popping mechanism that gets you one extra USB port (while still charging the phone). Personally, I think only one port is kinda lame, two should have been there.  But I guess I’m not an Ikea engineer.

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Oh, as for the green screen in the background, someday I’ll start using it. Probably today actually. I had long wanted an excuse to buy one, and then I saw Shane’s video on it a while back…and his frequent use of it lately has pushed me over the edge.

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Well, that and having virtually no usable indoor shooting space right now (I do at least have plenty of outdoor shooting space).  So the green screen mostly alleviates that.

Hopefully I’ll find an office soon.  For context at how many places I’ve looked at or called, here’s the map of business/retail spots on the listings site.  Everything in blue I’ve either visited, called, or at least looked at.  The vast majority don’t work because they are either already taken or missing the ability to have/add showers, or are simply too small.  But most are simply already gone.

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And thus the search continues…

3) More Ikea Ice Cream

Someday, we’ll stop going to Ikea. But today, Saturday, was not that day. This time we needed some random kids’ things, a few cheap shelves, and a few picture frames, and some closet parts.  All of which are best obtained from Ikea.  The kids’ things included another high chair, and a large toy chest/drawer.  The toy situation has gotten out of control lately, and somehow we didn’t have a toy box until now.

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I was more impressed that we got it all home in a single Uber.  We had considered borrowing a cargo bike from Ikea to take it home, but the only problem there is then I’d have to take the bike back out to Ikea (a solid 45-minute pedal)…followed by then getting myself back home.  So basically, two extra ‘legs’ for no particular purpose.

On the bright side, at least they have 50 cent ice cream cones at Ikea. The Peanut most definitely approved of that part of the experience.

4) A Wet Ride Through the Farms

I headed out Sunday morning for about a 60KM ride through the middle of farms.  I love how close we are to this area, and how easy it is to get out along the river and just riding for endless miles on quiet empty roads.

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As always I was testing a bunch of stuff, most of it for another day.  And most of it worked well, so that was good.

The less good part? The rain.  So much rain.

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Though you know what? It doesn’t seem to bother me here much. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s because I just expect it to be wet and windy.  Or perhaps that on flat country roads for miles with virtually no cars, I don’t worry about all the usual wet road pitfalls. The roads aren’t oily, so the dirt just easily washes away.  And there aren’t cars around much, so you don’t have to worry about a car not seeing you in the rain.  You rarely have to stop, so you don’t have to worry about poor braking performance.  And turns? Also, rarely a thing – so again, no concerns about sliding on a corner.

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Plus, there’s endless windmills and waterways to look at. And lots of sheep.

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Everyone likes sheep, right?

For those following me on Strava, you’ll have to get used to windmill pics. It’s either that or canal pics from here on out.

5) A Donut Ride

The Peanut loves the bicycle.  So much so that she’s happy to go for a bike ride any time of day…or night.  And sometimes when she’s just a little bit crazy, one of the best solutions is strapping her on the back of the bike.

Thus the solution Sunday afternoon when she was continually trying to be a bit too loving to her sister, neglecting to realize that her idea of a gentle hug isn’t exactly the same as her 5-month-old sister’s idea of one.

So, off for a bike ride we went…and there was no more logical place than the donut shop. It’s about a 10-12 minute ride at top speed…or about 15-20 if you purposefully take your time.

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Since coming back from Australia, I’ve gotten constant use of the Quad Lock mounts that I bought, even more so than there on my road bike. It’s just perfect for this sort of in-city thing.  Pop on the phone mount and then off you go.  I’ve gotta dig out the rain poncho for it though, which is in a box…somewhere.

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Now The Girl wants one too for her bike, except, she doesn’t want the black color of the case.  She wants, well, any other color.  Unfortunately, Quad Lock only makes the case in a single color…black.  Perhaps a can of spray paint can resolve that.  Though, I suppose that’s what they have the ‘Universal Fit’ attachment thingy for.

As for the donuts, don’t worry, they were great as always.

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Though ironically, The Peanut didn’t get one.  The last thing I needed was for her to have more crazy energy.  She wasn’t any wiser though, as she was too short to see over the counter, and had no idea what was in the bag.  She was just happy to be riding.

Give her a bike and she’s happy.

With that, thanks for reading and have a great week ahead!

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40 Comments

  1. Fran

    France is missing you buddy, but that’s okay it’s raining here too!

  2. Hans

    Thanks for promoting the Netherlands 😀

  3. Robert

    My wife wants to know what happened to the DC Rainmaker news letter. She enjoyed reading the news letter since it came from a woman’s perspective.

  4. Ben Faivre

    You should check quadlock website as I receive some ad about being multicolor now 😉 and if the standard colors don’t suit her, you can apparently get yours 3d printed 😉

  5. Daniel

    Ray, are you planning any training sessions while in London later this week?
    I’ll be attending the summit and will also be doing a few laps of Regents Park on my bike and feet at some point.
    Daniel

  6. Richard Braginton

    have you considered moving out a bit from the city centre like most countries should be easier to find space, or are you a city centre sort of person

  7. Henk-Jan

    Tip for office-space:
    Try contacting a “fysiotherapeut” the bigger one’s are usually in a “gezondheidscentrum” ( health centre) where there is usually a room or 2 not occupied, intended for f.e. speech therapist.
    They usually also have showers, and some fitness facilities.
    When you explain them you are in the sporting busniess, perhaps they will let you in…

    • Frank

      Doubt that will work with Ray hauling in stacks of boxes of products to test. Also think they will get easily annoyed with sound levels.

  8. Ed

    Hey Ray – do you nowadays do most of your office work during “normal” work hours? If so I might have a wacky idea for you for an office space… we have a couple large extra rooms in our house in Amstelveen. Give me PM if you think it’s something that could work…

    • It’s a blend. Some days I’ll work ‘normal’ office hours, and then other days I’ll be up till 3-4AM to get stuff knocked out.

      I totally appreciate the offer of extra rooms in a house! But I think it might be tricky when I’m looking to do a treadmill or trainer test at 2AM. :-/ Then again…makes for a great noise machine!

    • Ed

      heh, yeah – I think that might be a bit much 🙂

      I’ll keep my eyes out for space down here, it’s just to the south of your map..
      It’s a tough one though, I heard at my office in the Zuidas the other day that all the new construction commercial office space in Amsterdam is already rented through 2020 – some of those buildings are just holes in the ground right now!

  9. DLinLV

    For some reason, Ray, I look forward as much to stories about the kids as your reviews. Family rocks!

    Stay safe and thank you for the reviews and sharing your life journey. Bless your family.

    Dennis

  10. Ken Guthrie

    Ray,
    Do we know when Wahoo Fitness might be releasing the Kickr Climb? Did they run into more issues with the production run?
    I understand if you’re not able to give anymore insight.

    I would have thought they would have made an announcement about it around Sea Otter. Because of my busy schedule I stick to riding my Kickr and Zwift 3-4 times a week. It would be nice to make the ride a bit more challenging.

    Thanks for what you do in providing great reviews.

    Ken
    Thanks for

    • It’s been delayed till mid-late June now.

      They did start bringing a small number of production units via ship a few weeks ago. But it wasn’t even a full container yet. The hope was to launch at Sea Otter (hence why media folks were sent units ahead of Sea Otter), but that’s now been pushed till June so they can have inventory.

      Personally, I don’t really get that approach. If you have production units…ship what you’ve got. Though admittedly, if you have only a portion of a container…then that’s barely enough to equip my and Shane’s Cave’s. 🙂

  11. Richard

    I have tons of empathy for your 5th thing! “Trying to be a bit too loving to her sister” describes almost exactly our 4 year old with his baby brother. We call it “loving him so hard”. Same thing, really. 🙂
    Glad the cycling works!

  12. Vince

    I’ve used the “Universal Fit” QuadLock mount on my preferred case for years. Basically a 3M sticky thing. Works great, it’s not remotely close to ever falling off. Works so well I’ve never bothered to get a dedicated cycling computer.

    • Good to hear on the universal one, I was a bit nervous about it…especially since The Girl’s phone is brand new!

    • Mike Richie

      My concern with the universal mount is that it sticks out, where the case seems more imbedded. I had a case with a mount on it years ago (iPhone 4) and it bothered me While in my pocket and when I tried to pull it out. Do you have that issue?

    • theboxers

      I’ve been using the universal stick on mount for at least 3 or 4 years now. I currently have it on my s7 edge case which I use in the car. I also use one on my works note4 that is in a rubber covered otter box, again for use in the car. I don’t notice the mount much as I have had it so long and normally don’t put the phones in my trouser pockets

      I have moved the mount from other cases and had to replace the sticky pad, it doesn’t survive the removal process, on the mount with some 3m vhb sticky pad from ebay about £2 if memory serves. The mounts have both been on at least 2 other cases.

  13. Melanie W.

    Yes, everyone loves sheep! Loving learning about Amsterdam, and always enjoy sheep, Peanut, and Lucy pics.

  14. Scott E

    Moving is such a pain. Just when you get organized it becomes disorganized again. The upside is that you’ll get use to it if you do it enough. We’ve been using the same boxes since the ‘90s, and it save times labeling the contents. Hint, lose it if it is an item not used in the last two years – keeping it thin will save your sanity. Good luck doing that with all the electronics in the cave.

    Always enjoy the family updates!

    • Scott… I’ve been telling him this for years!!! If the —- hasn’t been used since I first moved in with him in 2010 it needs to gooooo away!!!! But alas, Ray likes to have things for “historical” purposes! haha

      …I tend to do a lot of “house cleaning” when Ray takes those nice long work trips 🙂

  15. FrankJ

    What are your requirements for an office space? I have large network in Amsterdam and I might be able to help you. Location, size, budget? By email is fine, too.

    • Thanks Frank.

      Roughly speaking:

      A) 80-150sqm (a wide range, but I can go smaller if it’s one big open space, versus compartmented spaces)
      B) Shower onsite, or that I can build-out a shower in the space
      C) Location-wise roughly where the blue dots are on the map above. I could go a bit further in certain directions, but that’s about what I’m looking for.

      For the most part budget-wise things are fine in Amsterdam, short of sitting across the street from the “I Amsterdam” sign/area. 🙂

      Much appreciated! My e-mail is simply ray at the domain name as well.

  16. matt

    Ray I have only one thing to say – I want your life!! That ‘sawhorse and plywood on the bike’ move is so MacGyver that I think only you and I would think of it. Plus I love Paris, and LOVE amsterdam. Love the updates!

  17. Adam Okoye

    “Give her a bike and she’s happy.”
    My first thought was, “well of course she is!”, but I know that is far from a given. Either way, it’s always lovely to read about Peanut One and Two. Your pictures of riding in and near Amsterdam are making me want to go to grad school in the Netherlands that much more. Here’s to hoping we end up being in the same small flat country in a year and a half!

    Also good luck on your search for office space!

  18. Jesper

    When are we gonna see that “just got our new cargo E-bike” post????

  19. Good to see that you are already getting used to the rain. Like we say here to children complaining: “You are not made out of sugar”

    Some tips for you:
    Bosbaanswim is open for entries starting of today: https://www.bosbaanswim.nl

    Rollende keukens (Foodtrucks) at the westergasfabriek next week: http://rollendekeukens.amsterdam

  20. Kevin R.

    Hey Ray! Good luck with the move to Amsterdam. It looks awesome so far.

    I too use the quadlock case for my iPhone 8 plus and was wondering if your wireless charging mats work when the phone is in the case? Or do you have to take it out to use the mat?

    Thanks and keep up the great work.

    Cheers,
    Kevin

  21. Bjørn Jansen

    Hi Ray, when you are settled you should visit some other parts of the country like ‘de Veluwe’ or Zuid Limburg. Less canals and windmills but really nice places for a bike ride 😉

  22. Erik Driessen

    Cool you’re getting acquainted with the Dutch way of cycling! Cycling must be as much a means of transport as that it is done for recreational purposes. This means quite a different cycling behaviour, mostly quite relaxed.
    Was that also why you visited cargo bike brand Urban Arrow? I think I briefly saw you there.
    Any plans on reviewing one of the Urban Arrow bikes anytime soon??

    • Yeah, I visited them last week (or maybe it was the week before). Either way, they’re looking to loan me (or rather us, The Girl included) a demo bike to use for a bit. So probably not so much review, as just toying around to see what we think of it, and whether or not we’d end up buying one. Cool folks!

    • Erik Driessen

      Cool, curious what you think of it. Probably quite a bit different from any of your other bikes.
      Also, if you would want to get to know cycling routes (from Amsterdam or any of the single track MTB routes on the Utrechtse heuvelrug); I’d be happy to show you around.

    • So what you’re telling me is that I’ve got a semi-legit excuse to buy a mountain bike?

    • Erik Driessen

      Haha! Indeed; you’d be surprised how many fun and well-build trails (with even some height differences) can be found in this otherwise flat country …No actual climbs or down-hills, but still a stiff cross-country fully will work here. Or you could try the (Dutch invented?) beach bike; basically a mountainbike with wide but relatively smooth tires and no suspension otherwise.