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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

This weekend The Girl was off enjoying the weekend away in Austria, giving me full reign of the two kiddos.  As such I was a bit limited in terms of doing things like outdoor rides on a road bike…but I more than made up for it with the cargo bike! Here’s what went down.

1) Off to the dunes!

Ok, so I said no outdoor rides. And that’s true…except I snuck in one ride just before The Girl left, this one on Friday with a few of the guys from Zwift that were in town for a meeting.

We met up in the morning and rode the roughly 40KM to the coastline.  Part of that included riding through the dunes heading northwards. Why do I mention the direction? Because the wind was very much headed southwards.  The weather wasn’t exactly awesome this day, and the majority of that non-awesomeness was the headwind.

DCIM\100GOPRO\GOPR7490.JPG Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

We stopped at a small café along the beach for some hot drinks before making our way back.  In theory we had some tail winds somewhere, though, they seemed non-proportionally helpful compared to that of the headwind.

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Thanks guys for the route and ride, all-in about 50mi/80km, I appreciate it!

2) A new WiFi router via cargo bike

Saturday I decided I needed some better WiFi’s. Not the internets you see, but the actual WiFi coverage.  Specifically, I needed a mesh network of sorts to get coverage in one hallway near the door far away from the well-concreted cabinet where the WiFi currently exists.

So with that mission, I loaded up our newfound cargo bike with the kiddos and off we went.  The bike is actually on loan from Urban Arrow, we haven’t bought it yet.  Oh, and it actually has disc brakes. For realz.

In any case, two petite humans and a diaper bag. Being this was the first journey with small humans involved I decided to skip adding Lucy (the dog).  Oh, and then I stuck in a GoPro with a dead battery…because…sigh.  On the bright side, The Peanut waved to all the boats in the canals.

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I pedaled across town to Central Station to the electronics store, kinda like a Best Buy.  Then relocated the kids to a shopping cart.

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Inside, I picked up the WiFi and did the entire thing in reverse.  I got Google WiFi, mainly because it had a three-pack that ensured good coverage everywhere…and primarily because they had it in stock.

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It doesn’t have anywhere near the geek customization of some of the other options on the market, so it works well in a home setting but I may not buy it for the new DCR Cave/Studio…we’ll see.

Still, I like it, and I think The Girl will as well since it’s super easy to double-check status and such.  And the priority bits is cool, to be able to prioritize quickly something like Apple TV.  And most importantly, the door/hallway now gets good WiFi, so the Nest Cam in there works.  Woot!

3) Unboxing lots of stuff

I unboxed a large pile of devices this weekend in my spare time.  Regrettably, I can’t really show you many of them.  I did do some catch-up unboxings though, of items where I now have final retail boxes that I didn’t necessarily have before (sometimes I get final devices without boxes for a variety of reasons).  For example, the Edge 130:

Garmin-Edge-130-Main-Box

Unboxing photos are rarely very glamorous, but, ya gotta get em done!

4) Off to the windmills (and ice cream)!

Sunday around lunch time I packed up all the kiddos again and set out for an adventure. I had initially planned to go about an hour away by bike…but then set my sights a bit closer.  You know, still an hour away by bike.  But a logistically easier hour away that didn’t involve routes unknown.  A route I’ve ridden many times here.  Oh, and it has windmills.

And windmills make pretty bike pictures.

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For those curious, I used the GoPro Fusion to get these pics. Though I do wish you could export out a flat pic from the mobile app from video, as opposed to having to take a screenshot of the pic and trim out some stuff (you can export out 360° pics, but not flat ones, at least on iOS).

At the turnaround point I got The Peanut a small ice cream cone.  She was pretty excited about this situation.

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All in all the ride went well.  Two hours on the dot, and nobody had any mental breakdowns. Not the kids…or me.  And we got ice cream. #Winning

5) Testing new power meters

Finally, after the kids went to bed Sunday night I jumped on the trainer to test a pile of new things, most notably a new power meter (but also some apps too).  Now technically, I’ve had this power meter for almost two months, but this was the latest prototype of it, set to address a few quirks the previous ones had.  Of course, this first required swapping bottom brackets on a different bike due to some tweaks in the shell design.  The bike shop next door is confident I eat bottom brackets for lunch. I’m in there roughly once a week getting new ones for my fleet of test bikes as I shift from power meter to power meter. I despise bottom bracket standards.

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But at least I’m really good at swapping them. I’ve got the tools to do it, and can do a swap in about 5 minutes.  Certainly that kit is overkill for almost everyone except mechanics and fake mechanics like me, but, I’ve used at one point or another almost everything in it.  And, I’ve pretended to learn how to service my bike too.

I actually dragged the trainer out onto the deck, mostly so I wouldn’t wake any of The Nuts up. Given I put a significant amount of parental planning into getting everyone bathed and in bed on a military-like schedule, the last thing I wanted to do was wake anyone up.  And yes, I could have used the STAC Zero trainer I’m also testing, but that was set up with a different bike and I didn’t want to re-configure everything among the 6 different head units I had set up.

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In any case, the test went well…but more testing to be done before posting about it.

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With that – thanks for reading, and back to nutcase watching I go!  The Girl arrives back later tonight. Based on her Instagram, she seems to be enjoying things in Vienna.

Momma’s weekend away is going just fine

A post shared by BBMaker (@bbmaker) on

Based on my Instagram…I still seem to suck at uploading to Instagram regularly.

Ok, for real this time – thanks for reading, catch y’all later!

Oh, and reminder, the big trainer/power meter/etc 20% off sale ends Wednesday evening (May 23rd – 11:59PM US Eastern Time).

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52 Comments

  1. Aaron

    very nice! looking forward to stac FC info. also “despise” not “despite”.

  2. giorgitd

    Ray…I don’t think that you ‘despise BB standards’. What you despise is *so many* BB ‘standards’. I mean, if there are an unlimited number of variants, is it really a standard? Back in the day…yes, I’m that old…there were really only three BB standards and they were all the same size, but different threading. Now we have variants on variants: BB30, BB30A , BB30-83 Ai, anyone? Bleh.

    • Scott E

      +1 Bleh

      But being able to swap BBS in minutes takes you out of the amateur category and into the semi-pros….whether you like it or not.

      —Cheers

    • That’s true. I guess more generally I despise everything about that portion of the bike. It just shouldn’t be this screwed up. Imagine if water bottle cages and water bottles were that non-compliant?

    • I had a boss once, who (on the subject of offshore engineering standards) enthusiastically exclaimed: “The wonderful thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from!”

  3. redRover

    You should put some power meters on the cargo bike!

    • Yeah, I plan to stick on a power meter pedal at some point to see what things look like for fun, primarily between the different e-assist modes (or none at all).

    • Remco Verdoold

      The bosch motor should be 250W, so actually I am really curious too to see the assist mode power too.

  4. Patrick R

    Unfortunately I don’t think you can pair garmin devices to google wifi (at least my forerunner 935 fails). Not the biggest deal bc I can still upload through my phone but mildly annoying.

    See here for details – it’s the same issue with Skybell devices: link to support.google.com

    • Huh. I’ll have to poke at that. A quick test of the Fenix 5 sitting on my desk does seem to work and just transferred successfully.

      I had configured it previous to doing the swap, and then used the same SSID/password for the Google WiFi, so it probably doesn’t know any better. Will have to setup a new device and see if there are any troubles.

    • Dave Lusty

      It used to be dependant how you configured. Typing in the ssid allowed roaming but auto discover used the mac of the router so wouldn’t roam. This is back on the Fenix 2 but Garmin rarely fix the obvious stuff so probably still the problem. One day we might get sport specific units too…

    • Patrick R

      ahh interesting I’ll try setting it up on a different network with the same SSID and pw and see if it fixes my problem.

    • Patrick R

      no luck! But I’m not sure that my iphone mobile hotspot broadcasts in 2.4Ghz, so still need to check another router probably.

  5. Augsburg

    We have an LvH Bullitt E8000, but the Urban Arrows we saw in Berlin recently looked very well designed and the details seem well thought out. We look forward to hearing more about how the modern cargo bike works for you.

  6. Marc Steingrand

    Hello ray I am a longtime reader of your blog I think about 8 years still when you where in Washington ….
    I actually have sneering for 1 week in amersfoort near Amsterdam arriving the 10 and flying back the the 17 , a couple of quick questions do you know if there are places to rent a tri or road bike ? Where is a good place to buy electronic and bine stuff was thinking of buying the garment n bike radar
    Are you town would love to meet you if possible ..

    Perhaps you could drop a message to get in touch …

    • Hi Marc!

      Good to hear from you. I presume you’re talking in June? If so, that’s a bummer! I’m out of the country those days. 🙁

      I don’t yet know of places to rent road/tri bikes. However, there’s a massive number of comments on my previous Amsterdam ‘Moving’ post, and one of those was someone looking to do the exact same as you. 🙂

      Here’s the exact link to the comment with recommendations on road bike rental spots: link to dcrainmaker.com

      For electronics, I’ve been going to Media Markt, which others recommended as well. Similar to Best Buy in the use, FNAC in France/Europe.

      Sorry to have missed you!

  7. Jaques

    What ‘standards’ in bottom brackets?! Another bike industry marketing scam.

  8. Cav

    I wonder if that prototype is the 4iiii power meter that is already behind schedule? Their communication as a company sucks. I feel like I’m part of a kickstarter.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Friends don’t let friends set up network / Wi-Fi without Ubiquiti gear 🙂

    • John

      @Annonymous:

      Does the UBNT stuff still require Java to run their administration tool?

      I opted for the new Eero system once they (finally!) added IPv6 support. As set-and-forget as my AirPort Extreme, except with better coverage.

    • Yeah, I used to fall into the land of geeking out the home network….and in certain slices I still do.

      Back in the day I had my own Active Directory forest (even with a separate root domain), as well as all computers on said forest, even used Group Policies to apply settings…because, obviously. And of course, there were a few legit servers too. Working at Microsoft certainly helped enable this warped reality. 🙂

      Networking-wise that of course led to all sorts of fun devices, both hardware and software. Remember DD-WRT builds?

      These days though, I generally value the ‘just works’ factor, and that I can focus on the things that actually are core to my business (writing/shooting content). Which isn’t to say I don’t occasionally geek out. I’m sure there will be a day where I can’t do something I want to on Google WiFi, but I realize over time how little I end up messing with the WiFi router side of things. As long as it’s fast and I can walk The Girl through basic troubleshooting, that’s my core requirement today.

    • Dave Lusty

      Does anyone know of a good mesh WiFi solution that can use wired backbone? All the ones I’ve seen use a wireless backhaul which in my scenario is pointless. Power line backhaul would work fine though. I also now fit into the want it to just work category but the crossover between that and the features I want and need seems rare
      I realise this isn’t the best place to ask but Rays readership know everything!

    • In looking at this Google WiFI support page, seems that doing an Ethernet back-haul is permitted: link to support.google.com

      I’d argue that article could use a diagram or two, because their text based diagrams suck. But, should work just fine based on decoding that article.

    • Dave Lusty

      That’s frustrating. Now I need to decide between good WiFi and good privacy. Not a fan of Google at all but I really really want mesh WiFi in the house, garage and garden!

    • Gordon Freeman

      Is it really a mesh network if you wire the APs between themselves? Then it’s just a regular network with several APs no? I thought mesh specifically meant the APs serve as wireless relays… Or am I misunderstanding something?

      If it’s about just connecting APs to a network, you could try PoE APs and switches, this way you just have to put up network cables. Makes it look less messy. There’s even some PoE-enabled PowerLine adapters apparently, so you could even dispense with most cabling and PoE switches, if those adapters are compatible with the APs (do check this though there are different standard PoE levels)…

      But it will cost a bit, and I don’t know if it fits the “just works” definition. You have systems that are easy to set up software-wise, but you’ll have to put up cables, so you will definitely spend time on it…

    • Gordon Freeman

      Yes it still does require Java, but actually I run their software on a docker image on my Synology so I don’t care, it just works 🙂
      You could also invest in their usb controller key which I haven’t tried.

    • I cleverly hard-wired up my house sometime with cat6 cable predicting the smarthome of the future and even linking my glamorous shed up to the e-world. Downside: I somewhat failed to predict the rise of wifi.

      my retrofit wifi solution has been to re-use my collection of routers as wifi access points at various ‘hard’ network access points around the house.

      that’s a sort-of free solution but is a complete PITA to configure and maintain. The out-of-the-box firmware on nearly all the routers seem to disallow the setting of an internet gateway. however they eventually find the gateway/internet automatically (usually, maybe, when they feel like it).

      apart from no deadspots, even in the garden, this solution has the benefit of being able to grant kids/guests the access to just one of the access points – this keeps them huddled around it and it can be more easily controlled to add restrictions without affecting my wifi access.

    • Dave Lusty

      @Gordon yes you are misunderstanding something fundamental about how the network operates. For routing purposes each WiFi point knows the MAC addresses connected to it, and tells the central router which it has and their IP addresses. When a packet is sent this is how it ends up at the right access point to get to the client.
      Traditional APs didn’t know you’d moved to a new AP so didn’t update those tables. A loca packet would therefore not forward to the main router. The new AP would tell the router it had the device and often cause a reconvergence event during which no traffic moves – seen as a pause in WiFi traffic to devices.
      Mesh allows all APs and routers to update in real time as well as proactively push clients to new APs for better signal or to balance traffic. Corporate kit has had this for years but it’s been pricey.
      Using wireless backhaul is useless where wireless doesn’t reach, making it basically a wireless extender. Using wires means you can be certain of seamless signal throughout the property. Also wires means the bandwidth is all used for clients. Wireless uses a WiFi band to backhaul so reduces throughput.
      Hope that explains it, it’s not complex but there are some important and subtle differences that break certain scenarios like mine.

    • AO

      Ahh, how did I miss this post? I’ll have to Ctrl+F next time. Big fan of UBNT gear myself.

    • I know exactly what you mean about wanting stuff to just work these days even if you compiled kernels back in the day, but he’s got a point about the Unifi access points. I’ve installed two AP AC Pro’s at home and the setup was really easy, and it’s been working perfectly since then. Seamless device roaming, perfectly stable and really really fast. And relatively cheap.

    • CMV

      Dave:
      Netgear Orbi also supports an Ethernet backbone with the last firmware – it’s the way I setup mine.
      Was also unwilling to go the Google way on this one, Orbi works well for me (but is also horribly expensive).
      Gordon:
      A mesh network also allows seamless transfers of portable devices from one AP to the other (they all use the same SSID) – I never managed to get this working with independent APs.

    • Anonymous Coward

      DD-WRT builds? Buffalo still sells gear with built-in DD-WRT (“AirStation Open Source”.) Not awesome, as it’s still DD-WRT and baseline features like IPv6 are a PITA to set up.

      For mesh, I’d go with AmpliFi and shy away from Eero (heard too many stories, and the layoffs don’t instill confidence.) For wired backhaul, UniFi APs (and a Cloud Key) against an EdgeRouter PoE box. Once configured, it’s fire & forget, apart from the security patch installs. Best bang for the buck / euro at the moment.

  10. Michael Swann

    These GoPros must be getting pretty complex. SD card? Check. Battery? Check. Oops, battery not charged. D’oh!

    Maybe you need to be an astronaut to figure them out. Hang on, even astronauts get it wrong sometimes.

  11. Bsquared

    Some of my best training for epic climbing events is 1 hour rides at ftp into a major headwind 😉

    • Dave Lusty

      If you’re riding at FTP why do you need a headwind? I guess it adds that unpleasantness factor but surely the effort is the same with or without wind, why else spend £1000 on a power meter 🙂

  12. Francoise

    Best bang for the buck for a cheap and efficient mesh network infra the Google Wifi, good choice! (I work in the industry)

    • Dave lusty

      Every time Google do something free/cheap/good value you need to ask where their revenue stream is. Chances are you’re the product, not the customer.

    • To be fair…at over 330EUR for the thresome, it’s definitely not cheap (or free!). And I’m not even sure I’d consider it a good value.

      What I would consider it is a functional easy button. 🙂

    • Dave Lusty

      Thanks Ray. The high cost actually makes this more attractive for me as it suggests they might not be monetising my data 🙂 if you think I’m paranoid ask someone with an Android to show you the “where have I been” calendar. Scary!

  13. AO

    After yet another higher-end commercial router started getting flaky on me, I gave up and bought a Ubiquiti access point (UAP-AC-LR-US 802.11ac). Note that it’s just an access point, you still need to connect it to a router. It’s supposedly enterprise grade and you can have a bunch of them around the house, all powered over the cable (PoE). It’s been working completely hands-off for half a year, handles 2.4 and 5 GHz devices seamlessly, and resolved all my interference issues. A coworker of mine got the same AP recently and thanked me for the tip.

    I bought it because I used their point-to-point radios at work and liked the ease of set up and reliability. Impressed by their software too.

    Also, saw someone on an UrbanArrow today with 2 kids in the basket and an empty seat in the back. Cool ‘bike’.

  14. AO

    P.S. You call that a SMALL ice cream cone? It’s half her length! My daughter goes nuts for ice cream, it’s like the most amazing thing in the world for her. So yeah, ‘exciting situation’ is right.

  15. Patrick Utrecht

    Welcome to the Netherlands, where there’s lots of wind even on windless days! When you ride often you sorta go take a look at wind apps like windfinder to see which way you want to ride to first, best start with headwind. And you finally can start to philosophize which is the greater evil: rain or headwinds when you go cycle 😉

    I hope your office hunt / cavehunt is going better. Looking forward to see what you end up on.

  16. Andrei Lozovik

    I just got google fiber and on wifi it maxes out at 250 mbs, but wired it is supposed to get up to 1000… Have you tested performance of this google wifi router by distance from the device?

  17. ralph malph

    Put on your helmet jackass. Your kids won’t enjoy growing up with their dad a vegetable or dead.

  18. Cause I see, the picture above: damn I got my Edge 130 last week. Bought it for races, because the Edge 1000 is 100g heavier, and … its new. But for races there are some things missing, like Power Data every second or zero averaging, because I use this all the time on my racing data, and during mtb you have a lot of zeros while downhill riding.
    All in all, its a good racing computer, and ideal for races. A nice upgrade is the drinking timer, I often drink to less during races, and this will save me against cramps.
    First race tested, got 7th overall at a MTB Marathon, happily he worked the whole race.

  19. Anthony

    Actually, I am surprised you brought the smart trainer out to the deck. I tend to train mostly on my balcony during the winter months because of having a small apartment, and the temperature there is cooler and was postponing getting a smart trainer because I was worried that increased humidity outside would damage it. What is your take on this?

    • I don’t think there are any issues for taking it out for a short stay. I wouldn’t keep it outside year round, or anywhere when it was raining. But for a nice sunny/dry/cloudy/whatever time – no issues.

  20. Patrick Smit

    Hey Ray welcome to the Netherlands, unfortunately you live in the flat part. But close enough to visit for example the Schoorlse duinen, Utrechtse Heuvelrug, Nationale Veluwe Park (including the must see Posbank), the Hevea stuwwal or the N70 trail near Nijmegen. If you like to beat the hills and take small tracks these are the places to visit.

    Keep up the good work with your site

  21. Adrian

    Ray is that the Avio PowerSense you tested? What did you find?